I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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Man #29, The Kept Man, Part 1
As much as I found myself fantasizing about who My Stalker/Super Fan might be, I tried to balance my daydreams with the search for a real-life, flesh and blood date. Despite my earlier resistance to OkCupid, I actually found I was getting emails from more intelligent men through this online dating site than I had from match.com or Plentyoffish.
After several rather long emails with a divorced father of two, I scheduled a date to meet Man #29 in Pioneer Square for a beer and a peanut butter bacon burger at McCoy’s Firehouse. I found him in a booth and he won brownie points right away by telling me that the pictures in my online dating profile didn’t do me justice. Considering how many times men have complained to me that the women they met didn’t look as good in person as they did in their online profile photos, I took this as a huge compliment.
We had a great conversation. He happened to be one of my favorite types, the well-read, intelligent, technology geek. He also happened to live in a very nice zip code. He told me all about his days with a local software company, how he had worked on a couple of business start-ups, and how he had thrown million dollar fundraisers. It was all very impressive. I found myself feeling slightly inadequate.
He elaborated on his divorce. He had been married to an executive at another local technology company, and when they had children, he quit his job to stay home with them. At this point, it had been ten years since he had worked outside the home. He had won a large child support and alimony settlement in the divorce, which allowed him to continue to stay home and care for his children.
I told him I was working on my legacy project. (Believe it or not, it’s not a dating blog.) I covered the major project details as well as some other things I had in the hopper. Man #29 and I got along great, and ended up talking over our beers until 11 o’clock at night. Toward the end of the evening, in a very awkward, stuttering, bumbling fashion, he asked if I would go out with him again.
I found it rather charming in an “oh my god, I’m rendering him almost speechless” kind of way, and, smiling, I said, “I would love that.”
He walked me to my car, gave me an awkward kiss, and we parted.
The next day I received an email thanking me for the date. Most men forget to say thank you, maybe they don’t think it’s necessary, or maybe they don’t have any manners, but this guy was doing everything right. I responded in kind.
A few days later, I had an email from Man #29 asking me if I would accompany him to dinner at Metropolitan Grill. He had seen an article about some free-range wild boar from Spain they were serving, wanted a date, and worried that I would think him less environmentally conscious because of it. This is how I responded,
“Wild boar is one of my favorite things. If this is even remotely related in taste and texture to the cinghiale I had in Italy, I will look forward to having an orgasm in the restaurant, with moaning and eye rolling included, like Sally, in When Harry Met Sally, only I won’t have to fake it. In recent years, I have tried everything that has popped up in the news claiming a resemblance to wild boar and usually been disappointed, but I don’t want to prejudge. I assume the chef at the Met knows what he’s doing.
So, in my quest for amazing pork, my answer would be yes, yes,…YES!
Instead of thinking that it’s not green, think about the fact that it’s free-range.
Ciao and chow!”
I had to say yes. I mean the damn thing spent its days wandering around the European forest eating fresh acorns for fuck sake. How could I say no? We set a date for our porkfest and I eagerly awaited my foodgasm.
In the meantime, I got bored one evening and asked Man #29 if he could step out for an impromptu date. He agreed, and we again found ourselves conversing over beers and bar food. During this date, he started to tell me more about how his wife had been a runaway wife, how he had continual drama with his ex, and some discipline problems with his teenage son. I listened attentively, and injected comments and questions where it seemed appropriate. He complained that he was still very much at his ex’s beck and call.
“Why don’t you set some boundaries?”
“Well, she pays me a lot of money, so I try not to rock the boat,” he said.
Oh dear, I thought. He got the kids, but his wife still had custody of his balls. I wanted to see the good things about him, but I don’t deal well with other people’s drama, especially when it’s coming from an out of control ex. This second date was merely ok, since it mostly consisted of talk of his home drama. I’m all for letting a man vent, but at the end of the night, I felt emotionally fatigued.
I was enjoying our exchange of intelligent emails, and I wasn’t ready to write him off over a dominating ex just yet. I kept my date for porkfest.