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.
Read more here.
You may have noticed that today we’re going out of sequence. I’ve been holding out on you, dear readers, about something, which could prove to be important to my future physical or emotional well-being.
I have a stalker/super fan.
It all started quite a while ago, last year in March, in fact, the night I placed my Craigslist ad. I received a ton of emails, and amongst those emails I had a message from a man informing me that he couldn’t possibly date me at Man #4, because, quite frankly, I would fall hopelessly in love with him and he would screw up my therapy.
He also asked if I knew what I was getting myself into by placing a Craigslist ad, and if I was ready for my inbox to be flooded with a thousand penis pictures. He said he had considered providing a picture of his own, but the last time he had tried to send a picture of his penis the internet had shut down for 2 hours because of the file size.
You may recall that I suspended any further communication with him, on that particular night, because I feared I was only one email away from receiving a naked picture of his package.
Anyway, after my Craigslist Crap Shoot post, I heard from him again.
“I just read your blog! How cool you mentioned me, and referred to me as a “gentleman”. Now I must say my feelings were slightly hurt (being the touchy, feely, metro-sexual that I am) when you “feared” my next email might contain pictures of a graphically gratuitous nature.”
And, as I feared, this email contained a picture of his cock (seen below), and he signed his email with “#100.”
I couldn’t help but be intrigued though. He obviously had some of my favorite characteristics in a man.
Confidence. I like that. In My Stalker/Super Fan’s case, I had no way of knowing if his was the delusional self-confidence of a sociopath or if his confidence about making me fall in love with him was based on some sort of actual charisma, which I would find utterly irresistible.
Sense of humor. Back when I was tracking my dates in an Excel spreadsheet, the attribute that most often appeared in the men I liked and wanted to date again was a sense of humor. Check. I am such a sucker for a sense of humor, and humor appeared in every one of his emails. Some of them even made me laugh out loud.
Intelligence. Let’s face it. A sense of humor of this caliber takes intelligence, and he writes well, which, as you know, is a big thing for me.
A dirty mind. This, coupled with a sense of humor, is, apparently, one of my favorite combinations and could also explain why I’m always picking the wrong men.
Anyway, for all I know, he could be a 3 foot tall, 80-year-old man with Morton’s toe, and yet, I find myself looking forward to his emails. Over the past year, I have heard from him periodically after traumatic dates or big events. (Getting my MBA) He almost always makes me laugh, and, at times, has shown a more serious side. Basically, he’s cyber seducing me, it’s working, and anyone who has done online dating knows this is dangerous, dangerous territory to get into.
A few nights ago, in an email, he said he was going to have dinner at a local restaurant, and I found myself fighting off the urge to go to the restaurant, park my ass on a seat at the bar, and see if I could figure out which patron might be My Stalker/Super Fan. I did not follow through however. I wussed out.
In an ironic twist of fate, I am becoming My Stalker/Super Fan’s stalker.
Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with me? I know better than to start fantasizing about this guy. Just a couple of weeks ago, on Dr. Flora Brown’s show, I was warning listeners not to get their hopes up for anything but a first date before actually meeting someone. It doesn’t matter how amazing the emails might be. When you meet in person, there may be no chemistry whatsoever.
And yet, I’m falling for him.
I am a sick puppy……and my therapist worries about me now more than ever.
Photo here. (Note love rule #2.)
While pushing me out into the dating world has definitely been an effective cure for getting me out of my house, away from nights spent alone with high-carb snacks and red wine, I’m not sure it has been particularly effective in convincing me that there are many men out there with whom I would want to spend more than a few fleeting hours. After dating over 20 men, I’ve only met a few who I was interested in seeing again, and, ultimately, none of them were men who would make a good long-term partner for me.
My enthusiasm for dating has certainly dwindled as I’ve dealt with bad manners, sexual aggression, unresolved anger issues, and as of late, gum disease. The thought of a night spent alone, watching a movie while sharing a bowl of popcorn with my dog, Thor, ranks much higher than the thought of another night gambled on a date with a stranger. To be quite honest, if it weren’t for the fact that this blog has become a bit of a “project” I doubt that I would bother dating at all.
And yet, I try to keep an open mind and open heart.
So, in an effort to keep moving ahead with my dating prescription/project, last Friday, I finally responded to an email I had been neglecting in my inbox. Man #22 was a respondent to a Craigslist ad I had placed several weeks ago. We had sent a few emails back and forth, but I had lost my enthusiasm for the volley of emails that ensued. As I’ve said before, I’m not good at texting or emailing excessively before being asked on a date. Once you’ve exchanged pictures and an email or two I figure you pretty much know whether or not you would be interested in meeting someone. If a man doesn’t quickly move things to the next step and ask for a date, I’m already looking for other options.
Anyway, after letting his last email sit and marinate in my inbox for well over two weeks, I finally decided I might be ready for a date. I emailed Man #22 and asked if he was still interested in going out. Luckily, he responded right away, and said, “Yes! Thought I wasn’t going to hear from you. How about tonight? Dinner? Movie?”
I couldn’t believe my luck. Finally. Decisiveness.
I responded, “Yes, tonight would work. Typically, I think movies make bad first dates because you can’t really talk, but I would really like to go see Moneyball. Maybe we could talk before or after. Let me know what you think.”
This apparently scored points as Man #22 responded that he also wanted to see Moneyball, but had thought that he would have to go see it by himself. I let him know that it was playing at Big Picture and he suggested that we see the show and then head to The Spaghetti Factory for dinner.
Again, decisive. I like that.
I agreed to meet him at Big Picture for the 6 p.m. showing. We exchanged cell phone numbers in case anything came up, and he sent me a text, “BTW, I’m 6′-3″ so feel free to wear heals if you want.”
A bit odd, but I responded, “I’ll take that under advisement. Thx.”
I wore flats. Since I knew I would be climbing the hill from The Spaghetti Factory up to Belltown, I decided I wanted to be comfortable.
I hate running late, and I was cutting it close as I drove to the movie theater. Since I could not find parking on 1st Ave, I sped down Wall Street and turned north onto Western. As I rounded the corner, I spotted a space on the opposite side of the street, so I zipped acrossed three lanes of traffic to snag it before anyone else could sneak in and grab it. I pulled my trusty little Jetta into the space and manuevered into place. As I did, I looked up and saw my date standing on the sidewalk. He had been walking by when I zoomed in.
I rolled down the window and said, “You didn’t see that, did you?”
“I didn’t see a thing.”
“Good. I happen to be a great driver with a good insurance rate. I can’t have witnesses to the contrary.” (Apparently, at this point, I’ve become a bit nonchalant about first impressions.)
He smiled as I rolled the window back up and got out. Suddenly, like a magician, he produced a huge pink carnation from inside his suit jacket. It was lovely.
“I asked a woman I work with what kind of flower I should get for a first date, and she seemed to think it was a bad idea,” he said.
To which I responded, “You know, there are women who feel insulted if a man opens a door for them or offers them a seat on a crowded bus. I happen to NOT be one of those women. Thank you. This is beautiful.”
We started to walk toward the movie theater. At the stop light, The Suitor turned to me and said, “You really threw me off when you said you wanted to see this movie. It’s not exactly a chick flick. So, I have to ask. Do you want to see it because you like Brad Pitt, because you like baseball, or did you read the book?”
“None of the above. I’m getting my MBA and last spring my project team in statistics tried to determine what it would take for the Mariners to win the World Series.”
The Suitor looked a little confused, like when Thor perks up his ears and tilts his head to one side. Uh?
After a brief pause, he said, “Cool.”
“And if you really want to know the truth, I do like Brad Pitt. There’s no place I would rather be on a summer night than the ballpark with a hotdog and a beer, and, no, I didn’t read the book. But, for the most part, I’m interested because of the stats.”
We watched the movie, which I would rank a 3.5 out of 5. It was entertaining, but there wasn’t enough about the statistics in it for me. (I know. I’ve always been a bit of a geek.) Then, afterward, we walked to The Spaghetti Factory for dinner.
Now, the other night amid glasses of red wine, one of my friends was actually reading my blog to me. Don’t ask me why, but it’s an interesting experience to have your own work read back to you. She was reading the post about Man #21, and said I sounded like a snob. (I find this interesting, considering that I don’t recall ever seeing her with a date who was missing his teeth.) At the risk of sounding like a snob again, however, I have to say I’m not a big fan of The Old Spaghetti Factory.
Despite the fact that I’m not a fan, I was not going to complain. I graciously accepted, and decided I would make do with whatever menu options faced me. So, yes, maybe I’m a snob about this, but here’s the deal. I lived in Italy for a short period of time, and while I was there, in addition to taking some language lessons, I took cooking classes. The result is that it has ruined me when it comes to most Italo-American dining. The Olive Garden…The Spaghetti Factory…these sorry excuses for Italian cuisine usually just leave me feeling sort of disgusted. When I go out to eat, I tend to choose dishes that I typically cannot make for myself. This means I usually don’t order pasta, risotto, or salmon, just to name a few.
Of course, most of The Spaghetti Factory’s menu consists of pasta. I took my chances and ordered The Manager’s Favorite, which allowed me to order pasta with two different sauces. I ordered the meat sauce and the clam sauce. I knew I was taking a risk, but I didn’t let on to my date that I was having any anxiety about my choices. I also noticed that they had spaghetti squash with marinara on the menu. I asked the waiter if I could substitute brown butter and mizithra cheese for the marinara, so we ordered the spaghetti squash to share.
There aren’t a lot of good things I can say about the meat sauce or the alfredo-like clam sauce that came on my pasta. It was food, and it was filling, but that was about it. There is a very easy way to tell if a restaurant knows anything about Italian cuisine. Italians do not put cheese on seafood. Therefore, an alfredo-like clam sauce is a kind of blasphemy you will typically not find in Italy. The spaghetti squash with brown butter and mizithra was good though, and it’s pretty much impossible to fuck up the free spumoni ice cream that they serve at the end of every meal.
The Suitor was completely unaware of all of these thoughts that were swimming around in my head, as I concentrated on having a good conversation and being polite to both him and our waiter. I do care enough about first impressions to resist the urge to sound like a picky bitch, and in the total scheme of life, there are a lot more important things to make a fuss about than fleeting alfredo-like clam sauce.
We had a great time and a good conversation. He wants to see me again, and I just might let him. He has all of his teeth. I might try to influence our next food experience though.