Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life goes on...

Most of you know that my first marriage, the one that you think will last forever and have all the fairy tale fantasies about, fell apart in early 2009. I did what I could to save it, but he had apparently made up his mind several years before that I was a "mistake" for him. He was already in love with a good friend of mine by this point (I don't ride roller coasters, she does - obviously she's a much better mate...). I was finally able to say "good riddance" after living without him for several months. The divorce proceedings began in February 2010 and were final in October.
In April 2010 I hired a sweet young woman from church to watch the kids so I could go to my monthly scrapbooking night and commisserate with some of the most wonderful understanding women ever. My babysitter, upon finding out that I was not going on a date, said the sweetest thing. "You're not going out with a guy? But you're wasting all that smartness and cuteness being single!" I told her I'd adopt her.
That next weekend was a weekend alone for me. I cleaned out two closets and got another pile of his hoarded junk bagged up for him to take away (seriously - recently I found four plastic grocery bags full of tootsie roll wrappers, a stuffed animal from his first girlfriend, and the boxes from all the cell phones he's ever owned in a cupboard. And I married that...). And then, with a cup of coffee and a bowl of ice cream, out of morbid curiosity, I went to Match.com. I spent a little time taking the quizzes and writing clever answers, uploading the three pictures of me that are moderately flattering, and then completely chickened out and disabled my profile.
But a week later I activated it, the warning about curiosity and dead cats failing to have an effect on me.
Over the next three weeks I was winked at 79 times. I'm sure these men are very nice, but after wading through their profiles, the spelling and grammar errors, vacation photos that show more scenery and less face, pictures of boats and cars and bloody animals (apparently I'm very attractive to hunters), and profiles that clearly indicate:
1. a complete lack of education and understanding about women - "I dont do girlee moves i meen the movies that you chiks like not the other kind so dont thin about taking me them, k?"
2. a gigantic ego (I like my women to be in great shape like me, to look good in jeans and tight clothes like me, and to be able to keep up with me - these profiles contain dozens pictures of individual muscles being flexed)
3. weirdness they shouldn't be that honest about. I'm sure there are other websites for stuff like foot fetishes (I like really long red toenales and high heeles if you ware them I will love you) and wanting to share clothes and makeup with your date (we can dress each other up in lacey things and I like to wear eyeliner).
I decided to deactivate my profile again. I did send my email address to three candidates, however, before doing so. Scott is my age but has never married and has no kids, a retired military man getting his elementary education degree. Shawn is younger by a few years, divorced with three teenagers, owns a drywall company, and has really amazing blue eyes. Daniel is by far the best looking of the bunch, a little older than me, and a lawyer who rides a Harley.
After emailing back and forth for a few weeks with these three, who all turned out to be intelliegent and funny and relatively normal, Shawn finally asked me out. We had a very nice dinner with good conversation. He asked me out for the next night as well, and since it was a kid free weekend, I agreed. He said there was a small pub near his house that he went to occasionally, knew the bartender, and it was a fun place. Would I want to meet him there? Sure.
Turns out "occasionally" means six nights a week, "near my house" means a block away so he can walk and avoid DUIs, and "I know the bartender" means she has to cut him off and kick him out frequently and tries to stay out of arms' reach after 11pm. I left him at 11:03.
One down, two to go.
Daniel called me a lot, and we had fun conversations. He made me laugh, and asked me a lot of questions, which no one had done for years. One night we were laughing about a comedian we both liked when he finally asked if I wanted to go out for coffee. He suggested a weekday, which was fine since the kids were still in school for another week. He was waiting outside for me when I got to Starbucks, held the door, and most of the conversation was just as fun as on the phone. But... (oh, come on, you knew that was coming) then he said that he travels about 3 weeks a month for work. What he really wants in a relationship is someone who understands that, won't bug him on the road, and will be waiting in lingerie with homemade food when he gets back to town.
Two down...
Scott and I actually went on several dates. He had a small get-together of military buddies at his house one night and invited me. We talked and laughed a lot, and he kissed me on the cheek whenever we parted, and I actually thought he might have potential. Until one day during lunch at his favorite Mexican place, I mentioned something about my kids. "One thing I'm glad for," he said, "is when I date a woman and the baby daddy is still in the picture. Kids are so not my thing." I must have stared at him for a full minute before he looked up from the menu. "What?" he asked - as if the irony of a man who just said kids are not his thing studying to be an elementary teacher was totally lost on him. Not to mention the fact that I have three kids. I went out with him a couple more times, but it just wasn't the same, and I think he knew that. I got a text from him one day that simply said, "I'm seeing someone, it's been fun, good luck." I didn't waste a text on him. Right away. I waited a few hours so he'd think I was busy. Good lord, being single sent me back to junior high.
Alas... three strikes, I'm out of the dating game.
But I know that the reason dating sites offer you six month subscriptions is not to give you that much time to find your soul mate. It's because finding your soul mate the second time around is a numbers game - you have to play the odds. For every hundred people you talk to, you may be mutually interested in ten, may actually date five, and one of them may be an acceptable choice to spend a few years with.
When I was young, I kind of understood that I probably was not going to marry someone from my high school. I thought the guy in college might have been the one except that I was informed frequently by his obnoxious little sister that no one in his entire Catholic family wanted him to marry someone who'd have to convert (and I wasn't about to convert). I dated a little after him, but didn't meet anyone I thought was The One. Mind you, I was not the least bit worried about this - I was perfectly fine being kind of a free-spirited gypsy, dating or even living with someone until the romance was over and then moving on. I knew that marriage was a forever thing, a non-voidable contract, and I really didn't want to mess it up.
So the fact that these three guys were not going to be Mr. Me #2 did not really upset me all that much. They all in their own ways reassured me that I was just fine - I'm still attractive, still a good match for someone out there, still wonderful just the way I am, and I certainly don't have to settle for less than amazing.
Soon, I'll tell you about how "amazing" found me. Happily ever after is out there after all.

1 comment:

Susan Raihala said...


I've been thinking about you and wondering how you've been. This post had me in STITCHES!!!!! So funny, but I'm also so impressed that you put yourself out there and took chances.

Eagerly waiting to hear about amazing,