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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“I know,” I said, “I’ll be fine. I told him the same safety rules apply to dating internationally that apply at home.”
“Well, what do you know about this guy?”
“I don’t know. How much can you really know about someone you’ve never met face to face? We’ve been sending emails back and forth for about four months, but everything he’s said could be lies,” I said.
“Look, I don’t think anything will happen, but just in case, here’s a copy of my ticket with his name on it; here’s my hotel reservation, also with his name on it; and here’s the passwords to my computer and email accounts. If anything happens, there’s a folder with his name on it that contains all of the emails we’ve exchanged.”
“Wow. I hope I don’t have to use any of this.”
“I know. I don’t think you will. It would be different if I’d never travelled by myself before, but the fact that we’re having this conversation means you won’t need any of it.”
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. I was going to meet Man #42, The International Player, in The Bahamas. I would be gone for three days, too short for a good vacation, but too long for a bad date.
He first contacted me via my MDP email. His email was simple and to the point,
Just wanted to say, I think it’s really cool what you’re doing. And you’re a really good writer, I’ve really enjoyed your blog. I do wish I could have the honor of taking you out on one of those dates, though.
- Man #42″ (Not his real name)
I responded, “Thanks, Man #42. If you live in the Seattle area, I suppose it’s entirely possible that we could go on a date.” I figured his contacting me through my email address was no different from the dates I had set up from Craigslist in the early days of my blog. Those men had also read my blog and knew what they were in for.
When he initially contacted me, The International Player was in London. He invited me to go on a date with him there. He would pay for my flight, but I would have to pay for my own hotel. I thought this might be a thinly veiled ploy to get me to stay with him, and I wasn’t about to risk it. What can I say? I’m a safety girl. I approach every new situation as if I could be raped and murdered, so although it would have been great to see London, I let him know I could not afford to visit. That was back in November.
Plus, as much as the thought of seeing London with all of its landmarks and Olympic venues appealed to me, I couldn’t help but think I’d just be trading one cold, dark, grey locale for another. I needed a place that would get me out of my Seattle-induced Seasonal Affective Disorder. I had been popping Vitamin D caps every day for months, and I was ready for some sun. I just kept telling myself that all of the cloud cover and moisture was good for my skin.
Anyway, as the winter months wore on, The International Player changed locations, and by the end of December he was traveling to The Bahamas. At that point, we had been emailing about once every couple of days since November. He hadn’t mentioned a date for quite a while, when suddenly on Christmas he brought it up again.
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. =). Hope you have a great one, and hopefully I’ll get to take you on that date soon (a weekend in the Bahamas next month, perhaps?”
I responded by telling him that my body was not Bahamas-ready.
“In what way is your body not “Bahamas ready”? =P This is the best time of year to escape to a tropical beach island, isn’t it?
Well, yes, it most certainly is, especially when my supply of Vitamin D was running low. (My naturopath informed me that everyone in Seattle should take Vitamin D, and not just in the winter. Apparently, we’re all deficient.)
And so it was decided. I would meet Man #42, The International Player in The Bahamas for a weekend in the sun. I wasn’t sure how my body would react to Vitamin D that lacked enteric coating, but I was willing to find out.
I’m not sure what’s been happening lately, but all of a sudden there are a bunch of youngsters asking me out on dates. Currently, there are emails from three men under age thirty in my inbox on OkCupid. Can I call them men? Should I call them men? I don’t know. What is going on? Is there a MILF challenge trending on Twitter or something? Are they all ganging up to bag an older woman this month? Where is this sudden interest in me coming from? I don’t know. I’m completely confused. Men my own age don’t seem to be interested in me, but suddenly young boys my sons’ ages are.
You’re probably thinking, “What’s the problem? You go girl,” but dating men significantly younger than me has always been a challenge. It’s quite simple. I always start thinking about what my sons would think if I brought home a date who could be their brother. Granted, I have never asked them how this would make them feel. I just think they would think it was weird and wonder what the fuck I’m doing.
Just as I so often wonder what the fuck I’m doing.
So, what’s a…um…girl…to do?
Well, I made a date with one of the youngsters; that’s what. What the hell? You only live once, right?
Man #41 contacted me through OkCupid, “Hi! You are very beautiful! Can we get together to see if we have a connection? We should do coffee, a movie, happy hour, or something fun together. I’m a massage therapist…You can call\txt me any time…When are you free to get together? Hope your having a great day!”
Oh dear, another massage therapist. Ignoring the fact that he doesn’t know how to use you’re in a sentence and that his message sounded completely canned, do I dare?
He was cute, and I needed a date. At this point, I don’t have anything to lose. A while back when I passed up an opportunity for sex with a much younger man, I got chided for not taking the boy up on his offer, so I decided this time I would go for it and at least agree to a date.
We met at Sonrisa. (I know, again with the Mexican food.) He wanted to meet at 10 p.m., but I told him that was too late. Could we meet at 9 p.m.? Grandma’s gotta get in bed by eleven on a weeknight.
I arrived first and received a text from him that he was running late. This seemed like a passive-aggressive way to get the meeting time he wanted, but I made myself comfortable in the bar. I ordered a margarita and started slowly noshing on the complimentary chips and salsa. Before long, Man/Boy #41 arrived, and I was immediately uncomfortable. He looked younger in real life than he had in his profile picture. I wondered if he was even legal. What does one do in this situation? Should I ask for his ID?
Luckily, the waiter did this when he took his drink order.
Whew! At least he was 21. The waiter looked at Man/Boy #41 and then looked at me. I wondered what he was thinking. The waiter looked like he was my age. I’m sure he was wondering what I was doing with this youngster.
There were so many things wrong with this date I don’t even know where to begin. First, Man/Boy #41 had atrocious manners. He was very grabby with the chips, grabbing full handfuls at a time and chewing with his mouth full and talking while he ate them. He was also very talkative, telling me all about his job, how bad it sucked, and about how his mother died, leaving him with a house he couldn’t afford. He talked a lot about not having any money, and I got the sense he was looking for someone to help him.
I’ll admit; on one hand, I felt sorry for him. He seemed very young, lost, and in a very tough spot, but on the other hand, the whole scenario made me very uncomfortable. First of all, I’m done rescuing men. I have no patience for it anymore. It’s a thankless job, and I expect any man I’m with to have his shit together. Second, Man/Boy #41′s bad manners, the way he talked, rather loudly I might add, and the way he ate the chips made him seem like a twelve-year-old. It didn’t help that the waiter kept looking at us like he was trying to figure out what was going on. I couldn’t help but think that I’ve raised my sons to have much better manners than this. In a similar situation…God forbid…my sons could probably hold their own on a date with a woman in her mid-forties, but Man/Boy #41 could not. The thought, “I’ve raised three sons, and I’m not raising another one,” went through my mind.
Then he started talking about how he was a massage therapist, and he could give me a massage if I wanted one. Really? Again with the massages? I just need to stop here for a second and ask a question.
Are women really falling for this massage bullshit? They must be, or it wouldn’t be such a popular ploy. Can I just say? If I want a massage, cheap as I am, I will pay for a professional massage. I don’t want a massage from a man who is just trying to get in my pants. During a massage, I like to relax. I can’t relax if I have to worry that in mid massage I’ll suddenly find a finger in my cooch.
“Oops, I don’t know how that got there.” Really? There’s nothing I hate more than having my intelligence insulted. Do men honestly think this is a good way to ask for sex? Like women don’t see through the massage tactic? Or is it just me with my superior intelligence who gets this? Do other women simply say, “oh, a massage sounds nice,” and then wonder why there’s a hard-on in their ear halfway through the massage?
I doubt it.
No thank you. I’m not interested in a “massage.”
As soon as my margarita was finished, I asked for the check, paid my portion, and stood up to leave. Sugar Baby Wannabe suddenly stood up too and blocked me in the booth under the guise of trying to give me a goodbye “hug.”
Oh for fuck’s sake! This was IN the restaurant!
“Back up,” I said, “I need to get out.”
He moved and then insisted on walking me to my car, which was actually parked very close to the front door of the restaurant. I had been lucky in scoring “rock star parking.” Our waiter and another man from the kitchen were also outside smoking, so we again received weird looks from the waiter. This time, however, I was glad he was there.
When I got to my car, Man/Boy #41 was suddenly all hands again. It was like he had tentacles. In an instant there was a hand on my breast and he was trying to pull me in for a kiss. I pushed him away with some “wax on, wax off” arm blocks, and got in my car. Most of my dates end pretty calmly, but at 5-foot 10-inches tall and 240 pounds I am not afraid to knock somebody’s fucking block off if I have to. Plus, I’ll play dirty. I WILL fight like a girl, which means a man’s groin, instep, and eyeballs are all fair game.
What part of, “No, I don’t want a massage,” did he not understand?
The next day I received a text message. It read, “Do you think we could get together for a massage and sex? I would really like to eat you too. The worst thing that can happen is you will get an awesome massage and some awesome orgasms. ”
Seriously. I can’t make this shit up.
“No. I don’t think so,” I said.
“Plz. Just once. I would love to give you at least a massage. I’m a master at necks, backs, shoulders, arms, legs, feet and everything else. U would love it….
…No charge either. Will you plz reconsider?”