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.
Dating continues although much more infrequently than before. I know I said I was going to take a break, but online dating is a little like a treadmill. Once you start the thing it’s hard to get off unless you bring it to a full stop. So, although traumatized by my date with Man #39, when I received an invitation to join Man #40 for a drink, I went. What can I say? I grew up in Montana, and when a horse bucks you off, you get right back on.
I believe the failure of my date with Man #40 is all mine. I wasn’t very present. However, I don’t know if it mattered that I was present or not. He didn’t seem particularly present either. This was truly one of those dates that was so boring, it’s difficult to write about it. What I wouldn’t give right now for a man asking me to put a finger up his ass! NOT! No, believe me; I just want a normal date, but you have to admit the crazies make for better blog fodder.
Anyway, about Man #40…I had seen his profile on OkCupid. He seemed intelligent and wasn’t bad looking. He was also a musician, and you know how I love my musicians. It was one of those magical, OkCupid moments when both individuals, browsing the internet from their separate locations, mutually rate each other four or five stars. The next thing you know, an automatically generated email arrives in your inbox announcing that you have chosen each other. It’s so romantic.
So, I get an email from Man #40.
“Hi, got a message that you chose me. Not sure what that means, but anyway, I like your profile and photos. Would you like to meet?”
I responded, “Well, that message means I rated your profile 4 out of 5 stars. (I rarely give out fives.) I liked your profile for your love of music, your height, and your photos. I play piano and love to sing. I would definitely like to meet.”
And there you have it. We very quickly moved on to making plans for a date.
We met at Sonrisa, a Mexican restaurant at the University Village. Always trying to save money, I suggested we meet for the late night happy hour, which started at 9 p.m. I happen to know their sangria is pretty good. Man #40 asked if we could make it earlier, like 8 p.m. and I was fine with that. An hour later he changed it to 8:30 p.m.
Man #40 was already seated in the bar when I arrived, and I chose to sit next to him on the booth instead of sitting across from him. I don’t know if this seemed weird or not, but I don’t like having my back to the rest of the restaurant. The tables in the bar at Sonrisa are high, and the extra height makes me feel really vulnerable when my back is to everyone. I wasn’t trying to be forward; I was just trying to be comfortable. It wasn’t like I sat down next to him and started rubbing his thigh or anything. I just sat down next to him. I have no idea whether my proximity on this first date made him uncomfortable or not, but it’s possible.
I took off my coat and made myself comfortable. I could tell that Man #40 was as tall as I had expected, but he seemed much thinner in real life than he did in his pictures. This made me feel self-conscious about my weight, and I found myself wishing I could shrink right there in my seat. I’m pretty sure my body language gave this away. I’m not sure how, but the feeling was so strong; I was certain he was disappointed by my size.
Overall, he wasn’t unpleasant, just sort of withdrawn. In a way, he was sort of like The Interrogator but with a less obvious, more laid back style. He was definitely asking me interview questions, but he was trying to be more conversational about it.
The reason I take responsibility for the failure of the date is, first, because of the choice to sit next to him instead of across from him. The second reason is because I waited to order my sangria until happy hour started at nine. I tried to play it cool for the first fifteen minutes and act like I wasn’t sure what I was going to order. I kept looking at the menu when all along I knew I was going to order the sangria. Then as the time grew closer to 9 p.m. I actually instructed the waiter to put my drink order in at the stroke of nine so I’d get the happy hour price.
I know. Tell me. I’m cheap.
Thinking back on it, I’m positive this made a bad impression. I’m like one of those cheap bastards who won’t even buy me coffee. He probably either thought I was totally broke, which I am right now, or worse, he thought I was trying to hint that he should pay for the date, which I was not. Yes, I appreciate it when a man offers to pay, and it does make a good impression, but I always show up with money to take care of my check. Always. I just don’t see the point in spending $7.50 when with a little patience I can spend $5.
It’s a sickness.
Then, in the course of my interview, he mentioned that he was thinking about buying a house on Lake Washington so he could have a boat. Most women hearing this would probably start assuming he has some money and try to snag him, but no, not me. I blew it by commenting that boats are expensive. I didn’t say it in some obnoxious, angry way. I simply stated it matter-of-factly. I’m pretty sure this is what put the nail in the coffin for my date.
Soon after, he said his jaw hurt and that he needed to go home and take some ibuprofen. It was the equivalent of “I need to go home and wash my cat.” He paid the check, walked me out to the parking lot, said goodbye, and I haven’t seen him since. It’s too bad really, because if we had gone out at a different time, like not right after my nightmare date with Man #39, I might have been my more entertaining, charismatic self. As it was, he got the “I’m so sick of dating I could hurl” version.
I don’t deserve to hear from him again.
And with that I leave you with a quote from comedian, Judy Tenuta,
“They want $19.99 a month!”
“What? What are you talking about? Who does?” Sarah asked.
“JDate. They want $19.99 a month for a six month membership. It’s $39.99 per month if you only sign up for one month. That’s online dating highway robbery!”
“Well, maybe they’re trying to keep out the riff raff.”
“Well, maybe you’re getting what you pay for with these free online dating websites. Think about it. If a guy’s paying twenty dollars a month to meet a woman, he’s probably somewhat serious about wanting a relationship.”
“Well, I did the analysis on this when I tried Match.com and it wasn’t worth the price. At twenty dollars a month, at one date a week, that’s five dollars per date with no quality guarantee.”
“Yeah, but if a guy is willing to pay five dollars a date to meet someone maybe you would meet less freaky coffee dates and more quality men.”
“But I have no way of knowing that and I have no way of knowing whether or not these Jewish men will even want to go out with me. Do you know that when I go on JDate to fill out a profile I have to pick a tribe? There’s no category for “shiksa goddess.” They expect the members of JDate to, you know, actually be Jewish. How do I know I won’t be shunned?”
Sarah just sat there looking at me. I swear I saw a slight smile on her face, like she was really having fun with this. “Well, that does present a problem, doesn’t it?” she sighed.
“Well, I’m not paying that to find out. I think everyone is wrong. I don’t need to meet a Jewish doctor. I need to meet a Jewish economist. I love economists.”
“You’re so cheap.”
“I’m not cheap. I’m frugal. There’s a difference.”
“Yeah, well, you’re going to make some Jewish man very happy someday.”