April 19, 2019

Dating 101 – An Invitation

I spent yesterday afternoon with my son. We went shopping to get a few things for his apartment, then had an early supper. It was great and while I am always a little sad when he leaves, I was looking forward to my evening. The plan was to stay in for a much needed night at home. I made a perfect Cosmopolitan and snuggled up on the couch with the cat to binge watch season one of The Crown.

I was very content and as I watched what can only be described as one of the best programs television has ever offered, I was sent an email by an online dater. He introduced himself by name, and then went into great detail to explain what he was looking for. I say what rather than who, as he was clearly looking for something, more than someone. He is on mission, bless him, but alas, no.

This man is in his 50’s and has been happily married for 22 years.  He and his wife have a teenage child who is currently away for year one of university. They live in the valley, he works in insurance, and she stays home. She has MS and is not as mobile as she once was, but is fighting the fight and doing the best she can. The email was in fact from not only this man, but also from his wife.

They are looking for a woman to join their lives. Not for dinner or the movies, but for sex. Important to note that he did mention sex can include movies of course, porn, and dinner in so far as there are a variety of food items they like to incorporate into their sex lives. It was fascinating, absurd, creepy, hilarious, disturbing, and in the end rather tragic for him, her, and me.

As the year ends, this couple have brought me one step closer to my cat lady status. The good news is I have mastered my favorite drink, have lovely conversations with Fiddles the cat, and am enjoying the entertaining answers Alexa has for all of my questions. If it weren’t so funny, it would be sad. Or perhaps if it weren’t so sad, it would be funny. My dating life is ridiculous.

Good things are coming however. I am certain of it. I don’t know what the good things are, but I know they are coming. I am blessed in many ways and even though I may not have be in love, my life is filled with love, and so I am grateful. In an attempt to clear the slate, I will not go on another date until next year! Until then I will be brave, stay hopeful, and keep the faith.

Of bad dates and good intentions

I went on what was arguably the worst date ever. Thank God, it was neither tragic nor violent, but in the category of terribly disappointing, it was the worst.

It is a long story that involves visuals, pauses for the shock to sink in, and words that cause me to cringe inside even though I am quoting someone else. He insulted my teachers, complained inappropriately and made scandalous comments about my cats’ sex lives. That was just the first 10 minutes. He used a handicapped tag to get a good parking spot. He went to get himself a drink and then ate leftovers from a brown paper bag in front of me without saying a word as I stared in disbelief. He told me I was wrong about something and tried to bet me that he could prove it. If this was the best first impression he could muster, what would happen when he did not care?

Lately, though, I’ve wondered what ever happened to the man who was the worst date ever. Is he married? Is it possible that someone fell in love with him? Could it be that he is doing fine, and I’m the problem? OK, he is definitely part of the problem, but maybe I have not found my match because there is something wrong with me.

What is wrong with me? For any possible honest answer to that question, I could probably identify 10 married people, off the top of my head, who aren’t that different from me. Or are worse. I see people all the time with offensive characteristics, rude mannerisms and less-than-charming personalities who nevertheless have gotten married. Nothing is wrong with me. I just have not found my match.

After learning my marital status, people sometimes comment on how attractive I am, what a total package I am or even what a wonderful mother I would be. Occasionally I allow the comments to sink in and accept them as compliments. However, the astonishment of how such a catch like me has not been caught sometimes smacks like a backhanded compliment.

“You look normal, and you seem nice enough,” they seem to be saying, “I can’t believe someone hasn’t snatched you up.” In other words, I can’t figure out what is wrong with you, but there must be something since you are still single.

I needed inspiration. I date because I believe I will eventually meet the man I will marry. Rejection hurts, but it has not shattered my belief that there are decent available men out there. Too many dates on the worst-date-ever scale have left me wondering if there are any decent men left out there. I only need one.

So I was inspired to write a prayer to say before a date. It is my prayer to be able to balance the fears of rejection and disappointment with the excitement of potential, to recognize my date’s vulnerability as well as my own, and to know that the experience of encountering another can be an encounter with the divine.

This is my prayer: