Watson here, Sarah’s sister in law and intrepid substitute blogger. When last you heard from me, I was embarking on a marvelous adventure called “online dating.”
Since some of you have asked Sarah how I’ve been doing with that, I thought I’d give her a break today (Sarah’s note: alligators!) and describe my awesome experience.
Overview: Online Dating
There’s a certain fun freedom to online dating. The Internet provides that marvelous anonymity– sure, folks hide behind it to become e-thugs or iThugs (depending on your operating system), but it also lets you lurk in relative safety. Which, given some of the creepazoids online, is comforting while online dating.
For online dating, it also means you get to ask all of your qualifying questions before that awkward first date—you know the ones, the really important ones, the make or break questions, like Are you a DC or Marvel comics guy? Hey, mixed marriages can be rough. Oh, you’ve been married three times? Next. Oh, your profile says you’re six one but you’re really five seven? Next.
It’s a bit frustrating. You have to weed through the freaks, the sexual deviants, and the flakes. And the guys desperate for the American green card— let’s not forget those. Not entirely sure how many times I was propositioned, or misled into a conversation only to find out all he was looking for was a little cybernookie. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not a big fan of taking pictures of me naked and sending them out into the internet to be dug up ten years from now when I’m up for a curatorship at a major museum.
I met quite a few interesting people online—traveling contactors, teachers, businessmen, soldiers overseas in Iraq. I was flattered by a 24 year old (not a cougar, sorry). Sex freaks aside (that’s a post for an entirely different blog), most of the guys ended up duds and others didn’t seem to have enough of the kind of imagination required by the nut factory that is this family.
In the end, three guys made it past the first interview.
Guy the First: The Flake
We’ll call him Roger.
This guy was perfect for me— not only was he very smart, he was creative and fun and raced his Porsche at the track. Like me, he was a bit of a speed freak. It got even better—he was a comic book nerd. He made a real good living. His hobby was starting businesses. He was the son of a diplomat. He loved to travel. He was a foodie. Did I mention he was a speed freak? And wore glasses too?
Two months of texting and calling. Really good rapport—even Sarah liked him.
So, we set up a Saturday date in Chicago—neutral territory as it were. I’d planned to stay with friends, to ease Sarah’s fears of me being discovered in pieces in a garbage bag, and we talked three hours on the phone the week before The Big Date. Everything was great.
And I never heard from him again.
Not an email, text, or phone call. He just disappeared.
This is a family blog so I can’t record what my biker friends say of him. “Flake” is about as nice as they got. Their anger on my behalf was heartening – and amusing.
So what did I learn?
Guys are flakes too . . . and looking back, he was probably married or otherwise committed. Thank goodness I wasn’t too emotionally involved— sure I moped a bit (the guy was PERFECT after all) but no real skin off my nose. Better to have him flake out after two months than after a year or more.
The only thing I missed out on with Roger? I never got my ride around the track in his Porsche. Dammit.
Guy The Second: The Drill Sergeant
We’ll call this guy Lance.
If Roger was creative and able to communicate his feelings (even if he was lying through his teeth), this guy was . . . not. A career Marine, he was a Lt. Colonel in the Special Forces. He was the guy you never hear about in the news, the fearless guy, the one who does the dirty work. If it kept America safe, he did it. Politics aside, you gotta admire a guy with that much conviction.
He started off nice— just a guy with two college aged kids about to retire, looking for someone to grow old with. Perfect! I’m in! He wanted someone to help take care of him, and let’s face it, I’m a caretaker. If you’re willing to watch my back, I got yours.
Then the questionable questions started rolling in. The ones that made you blink and go hmmm. Apparently what this guy really wanted was a housewife from the 1950s. After a month of texting—I hadn’t met the guy, remember—he invited me to South Carolina for the weekend and was insulted when I asked about a decent hotel. I changed my mind, asked him to Chicago instead, saying that my family was a little worried about me meeting a new man in an unfamiliar city. He was the father of a college aged woman, and he was upset about that? Really?
I won’t bore you with the details, but Sarah and I had a lot of Wow, are you KIDDING me? conversations about this guy. He was like Jekyll and Hyde. Lesson learned: avoid the hardwired military men.
Guy The Third: The Keeper (?)
We’ll call this one Steve.
I showed Steve’s smiling picture to Sarah. Her first comment: “that’s the guy. He’s the one.” What. A. Smile.
He had a great profile too—he listed the usual things like I hate coconut, but there were some funny gems, too. Number 22 made me laugh out loud: I got my cootie shot in second grade.
He found me first, as he’s a little bit younger than my search range, and contacted me. This led to some soul searching on my part—just how low in the 30s could I go without entering cougar territory?—but the difference was under a decade so okay, let’s see where we end up. Comic book fan (check). Movie buff (his collection makes mine look tiny, check). Motorcycle license (check). Esoteric trivia (check). Quirky sense of humor (check). Dr. Who fan (check). Not a Monty Python fan (red flag!).
Me: Steve, what are you up to tonight?
Steve: Same thing we do every night, Pinky.
Told that one to Sarah, who was ready to ship me off to Texas the next morning (Sarah’s note: Lies—we’d all starve).
We eventually set up a date in Chicago. I expected a one day date—sure, it was a long way to travel, but online chemistry doesn’t necessarily translate into face to face chemistry. You don’t want to get stuck all day with a wet fish, right?
Somehow, as we planned, the one day date turned into two days. Then, suddenly, I was picking him up Friday afternoon at the airport and dropping him off Monday morning.
Did I just sign up for a three day first date?
This was either going to be epic good, or epic bad. Really, there was no grey area on this one. Bravely I soldiered on.
I got the nails did with Sarah Friday morning, took off for Chicago, checked into my hotel, paced the floor for an hour, chewed my thumb (carefully, it was freshly manicured), and headed for Midway. Butterflies were in full effect as I waited at the luggage carousel.
Steve found that highly amusing—he was cool as could be.
Friday night was a bit awkward. We were both tired, both nervous (well I was, anyway), and it showed. We went for pizza at a place Yelp recommended—wow, it was bad. I cannot express how bad that place was. I don’t care if it’s a cheeseburger pizza, ketchup is not an appropriate sauce substitute. Luckily, we bonded over the horrible and ended up laughing.
Driving back to the hotel, I of course took a wrong turn despite the GPS. They became our in-jokes—bad pizza and wrong turns.
Saturday, we went to the motorcycle shop, of course, then did some shopping and hit the zoo. He laughed at my well-documented phobia of snakes, I impressed him in the open bat enclosure by laughing at his nerves, and we had a great time watching the gorillas interact.
That night we went on a ghost hunt— not a ghost tour, a ghost hunt.
Not the best idea. I’m a skeptic, he’s a believer, but we’re both scientists at heart and found the experience irritating at best. We both manipulated results despite trying to play along and not ruin any of the other participants’ experiences. Lame, but we both learned that we handle these kinds of situations with humor.
I was determined that he was going to have a decent Chicago pizza before he left, so we hunted up a Lou Malnotti’s near the hotel for lunch. It was only a take-out place, but I brought my DVD player (nerd) and he’d brought some DVDs, too, just in case, so we decided to eat back at the hotel. We were told the pizza would take 30 minutes.
He stole my heart when he looked at me, somewhat shy, and said, “I saw a comic book shop a few doors down, you mind walking over there with me?”
Nerds of a feather, as the saying goes.
We wasted 40 minutes in the comic book store before my stomach reminded me we had to get some lunch, and headed back to the hotel with our pizza to watch City of God and City of Men (both HIGHLY recommended). Anything else we’d decided to do was put off because I had to finish those movies, even though I fell asleep halfway through City of Men out of sheer exhaustion.
It was a sad parting Monday morning, and of course I took a wrong turn getting home after dropping him off at the airport, which is on the same street as the hotel. Seriously. Fifty percent chance of getting it right, and I went left.
While I rolled my eyes at myself, my phone buzzed with a text. Given the usual post-first date moratorium on communication for three days, and it had only been ten minutes, I figured it would be anyone but him. I was wrong.
I’m through security, let me know when you get back to the hotel.
I responded at a red light that I took a wrong turn “for old time’s sake” and would let him know when I was at the hotel.
His response? That’s my girl lol
I let him know I was back at the hotel. His response: Did you throw the deadbolt? Want to make sure you’re safe.
I’m not used to other people taking care of me, but this self-rescuing princess could seriously get used to it.
That was two weeks ago. We’re still talking. He still makes me laugh.
But our schedules are not easily aligning for a second date*, and it might be January before I see him again. I have a wedding to attend in October, he’s moving November, then the holidays.
I might have a (for lack of a better word) boyfriend—though nothing official has been discussed—and I can’t see him for another six months to officially discuss it?
Then I got a text this past Sunday morning. How soon can you come to Texas? I don’t want to wait until next year to see you again. Come see me in September.
I think I have a boyfriend!
*If the first date was three days long, which in time spent probably equaled a month’s worth of dating, is our next meeting really only the second date? You make the call.