Monthly Archives: March 2014

And then there are demons

Red Zone

I glossed over date two with tall, buff, blue-eyed, silver-haired, and gorgeous. (Tbbeshg?) Norfolkguy834 and I met at Tautogs, his suggestion, but one of my favorites. When I arrived, I saw him standing on the sidewalk in front of Tautogs. Because of its proximity to the beach, casual attire is perfectly acceptable; however, I was glad to see Norfolkguy834 had donned grey slacks and dress shoes. His winter jacket covered the upper layer. I parked and started around the front of the building to greet him, but he had recognized my car, and walked back to meet me with a huge grin on his face. I smiled in return and turned my cheek to accept his quick cheek kiss. Yes. That’s where he was aiming. I was impressed. He told me that there was a twenty-minute wait. We walked in to the waiting area. Even though the bar was filled, I wouldn’t have suggested sitting there because he had mentioned in our first conversation that he was a recovering alcoholic of 27 years! I would have called him cured after that amount of time, but he insisted that alcoholics are never cured. I demurred to his expertise on the matter.

Several empty tables were clearly visible on the porch area and through the window in the main room. Norfolkguy834 wondered at the wait. My friendship with a local sommelier and several servers at her restaurant allowed me to explain that the ability of the kitchen to meet serving demands also plays a role in seating at restaurants. We chatted amiably as we people watched. At one table, with one exception a group of eight twenty-somethings took turns going outside to smoke. The lone non-smoker texted on her phone while alone or with others. I am never surprised by the texting in company, but I remain surprised that this generation smokes, and I said so. Norfolkguy834 told me he had quit smoking only four weeks prior to our date. He still struggled with it. I mentioned that I never dated smokers; he laughed and said he had seen that in my profile.

Finally our table was called, and we were placed in the second of two main rooms. A large party of young women and one young man provided much people-watching entertainment. I ordered mussels, an appetizer, and Norfolkguy834 followed suit. I am one of those people who like to exchange food so we can try different dishes, but if he wanted mussels, I wasn’t going to talk him out of it. Tautogs does a good job steaming them in wine, garlic, and a little light tomato base. The flavor of the mussels is enhanced instead of buried under heavy flavors. Our conversation flowed easily as we finished the meal. We ordered tea instead of coffee as the large table cleared. Norfolkguy834 was easy to talk to; our conversation continued about a variety of subjects until I realized we were camping. We hadn’t ordered a thing in an hour, and no one was visible. Embarrassed, because I know how difficult this is for restaurant staff who just want to go home after everyone is fed, I suggested we leave to give the staff a break. Norfolkguy834 must have been enjoying the conversation as much as I; he looked through the window to the main room to announce two other tables remained. We continued chatting until I saw people walking out the door. He walked me to my car, kissed me gently, and then pulled me in for a more serious kiss. He kissed nicely, and bent down to alleviate the height difference that was there in spite of my 3” heels.

We texted and talked over the next few days. On Thursday, my sister came over to visit me for a girl’s night out. We started at Sonoma where my friend is a sommelier. Our goal was to continue elsewhere to hear some live music. While we were sipping our first drinks, Norfolkguy834 texted. My sister insisted that WE read his text. He was fishing for an invitation to join us. Curious, my sister insisted that he do so. I was driving, so I switched to a club soda with a twist of this or that… placed in a wine glass by one of my favorite servers. She grinned and said it looked more like wine that way. It took Norfolkguy834 only about a half hour to arrive at Sonoma. He walked toward us, looking just as fine as the last time I had seen him. Tonight, he had ditched the formal jacket and grey pants in favor of dark jeans and a windbreaker style jacket. A blue button-down, open at the neckline complimented his blue eyes. I smiled and waved him to the seat to my left. Unexpectedly, he came in for a full on kiss; I ducked and presented my cheek. His beard and moustache smelled of cigarettes. Strike one.

Norfolkguy834 turned his seat sideways, draped his arm around the back of my chair, and tilted his body toward mine. I felt trapped. I pushed my body against his arm and then pulled away in an attempt to hint that I wasn’t comfortable. He didn’t get it! Strike 2.  My favorite bartender and my friend were casting questioning eyes at me wondering who the guy was. I mouthed to my friend; it’s 6’4”, the name I’d used when I discussed him as an interesting date who had potential for repeats. Reassured slightly, they continued to watch his encircling of me.

By this time, my sister was on her third drink, and a white-haired gentleman was sitting to her right and flirting outrageously with her. I squeezed her leg and gave her the “let’s go” look. She grinned and said, “No worries,” thinking I was running interference for her. As she rose to make a bathroom run, the old guy commented loudly, “Great! I get to watch you walk away!” That broke the tension for a few minutes as Norfolkguy834 and I laughed at the dumb line. My sister sent him an “Oh Honey!” look and walked off. I took Norfolkguy834’s right arm from the back of my chair and placed it in his lap.

My sister returned, and old dude continued to flirt as she explained she was a happily married woman. Norfolkguy834 leaned across me to tell her softly, “And even if you weren’t, a beautiful women like you wouldn’t bother with someone like that guy.” He returned to upright in his own seat, but once again his right arm draped the back of my chair, his full body was facing me, and his left arm was in my space on the bar! I felt TRAPPED!!! Strike 3.

I went to the bathroom. While there, I texted my sister.

Drink up. I am feeling encroached on. Let’s go to the next stop.

I returned to my seat. Norfolkguy834 had returned to his own space. A reprieve… and then my sister ordered another drink. Old dude insisted on buying us a round. I didn’t need another… didn’t want another, but old dude loudly ordered and the drinks were delivered quickly. My club soda and Norfolkguy834’s Sprite didn’t break the bank; nor did my sister’s Captain on the rocks. Norfolkguy834 was back to figuratively peeing a circle around me. After tapping her leg and saying let’s go, I excused myself to text my sister again: Let’s go.  No response.  Sigh

I returned to my seat determined to leave. I walked up to my sister and said, “It’s time for some sister chat time. I have champagne on ice at home. Let’s go. OK?”

With a big grin, she responded, “Absolutely!”

We paid our tabs, and my sister stood next to me to leave. Norfolkguy834 stood and walked us to my car. He came in for a kiss, and I gave my cheek again. He looked at me quizzically, but said only, “Good night.”

As the car warmed up, my sister dug in her purse and said, “Oh look! I have three texts from you.” As she read she burst out laughing,  “Oooops!”

I have no idea what demons possessed Norfolkguy834, but his behavior toward me after only two dates screamed, “Mine! MINE! MINE!!!” I have no desire to meet or deal with those demons. He’s out!



Red Zone

On Wednesday, Mandy sent me a text asking if I had time to hang out that evening. Save me from grading… YES. We both like live music, so we planned a visit to Boneshaker’s where the River Boyz, aka Tidewater’s #1 Party Band, were to start at 7. I volunteered to drive if she met me at Yardhouse, where I would be finishing a date.

The date…was a dud. Airdale27 was NOT impressive. Although he was still in the Navy, Airedale27 had failed to meet his flight qualifications, and had moved to other duties. According to Airedale27, he hadn’t had time to maintain his right to fly because he had two children under the age of 13, who needed him. While I understood loyalty to his family, I leaned toward the idea that a dad with a steady job would provide better support for children than a dad who was spiraling downward through career options. Mom was also in the picture and lived only three miles away. He discussed her constantly during our meal. She was crazy; his co-workers were lazy and stupid; he helped coach basketball for his boys, and the other coach was inept. By 6:00, I was tired of his tales of woe; he was never at fault in any of the stories, and really… who among us is blameless? I made my excuses, gave a quick handshake in lieu of awkward kisses, and headed to my car, where I sat with the seat heater blasting at the hottest level for a few minutes to give him time to leave the area, so I could head back in to Yardhouse to wait on Mandy.

At 6:15, Mandy texted that had been wrong. There was no band at Boneshaker’s. We decided to stay at Yardhouse for a while.

Mandy was on a mission: to get laid.

Four guys sat at the corner down from us, a three chair gap was to my left, and a two chair gap was open to Mandy’s right. A tall, lean man walked in and, ignoring all bar etiquette, sat to my immediate left. He didn’t say, “How YOU doin’?” but the flirting started pretty quickly. Ben was from out of town, and he worked as a headhunter for an educational setting. I’m an underpaid educator, so I took his number when he offered it in lieu of a card. Mandy and Ben  were not able to chat easily because the Yardhouse is LOUD. He bought one round, and then another for us. I was the DD, so I switched to diet Coke. Mandy ordered her usual Yuengling lager. Ben was drinking Jack and Coke.

After a while, Mandy became antsy; her goal of getting laid would not be accomplished sitting still at the bar. She wanted to do something, like go find some live music or play pool. Ben agreed, WE should go do something. Mandy and I settled on Footers for pool. John asked to go along. I said sure. He seemed safe, and Mandy was with me.

Both Yardhouse and Footers are dark; that and the fact that they serve alcohol and food are the only comparisons. Yardhouse, a corporate bar has a huge, oval bar centered on a tile floor. It has to seat 100 people in high top chairs surrounding 100+ beer options. Black-clothed bartenders loudly repeat the bar orders while customers do the same. Did I say it was LOUD in there? Footers is privately owned and a local hangout. While they have a smaller bar and few beer options, they serve their regulars quickly and with smiles and chatter. The advantage at Footers are the pool tables, a kick-ass jukebox, so I, not a corporate stylist chooses the music, and a friend who works the bar.

Another round of diet Coke for me was accompanied by a round of beer for Ben and Mandy. During the first round of pool, Mandy insisted I take turns at the table; I am awful; however, I joined in. Ben escalated his flirtation by standing behind me and directing my shots. On a trip to the jukebox, he followed, leaned in smelled my hair, placed his hands on my shoulders and pulled me toward him. I stepped out of his grasp.

“No touchy?” he asked.

“No touchy.” I affirmed.

My friend John finished his shift, so he joined us to play a few rounds of pool. He and I partnered against Ben and Mandy. John’s a good looking guy, and Footers was short on them. Mandy asked about John’s availability. I responded, “Zero. He’s in a relationship.”

We won the first round of pool, because John coached me through my few shots, while he cleaned the table with his. I headed to the jukebox to add some songs. Mandy followed.

“So, you’re not interested in Ben?”

“No. I’m not.” I responded.

“He’s not bad looking. Why not?” she asked.

“I just don’t do one-night stands.”

“That’s the main way I get laid,” she responded.

“Hell. I don’t care what you do. I just don’t do them.” I could sense her question before she asked.

“Are you sure you don’t want him?”

“Absolutely sure.”

“Would you mind if I tried?”

“Absolutely not.” I confirmed.

Within 15 minutes, Ben and Mandy were cuddling between plays.

Finally, John was ready to head home to his girlfriend; I was ready to go. Mandy and Ben took cab to his hotel.

Go Green

Meet and greets are an especial challenge. Steel Blue sees why most people do not bother with online dating. You text then talk then meet to see if there is any chemistry. This process can take weeks or months, but Steel Blue prefers to knock this out in one week. Sitting at the computer texting and emailing is work for her. Meet and greets are putting oneself on the line and facing the chance of rejection. Even if the gentle reader is confident and ready to partner, meet and greets have much at stake. And yesterday it was rainy and cold, a very atypical beach day. It is spring for Pete’s sake!  Mr. St. Patrick’s Day wants to meet at a gelato place – hard to resist in the best weather; last thing on my list in this weather. Steel Blue has about 18 reasons to stay in the warmth of her home and cancel this meeting. Then she realizes, Mr. St. Patrick’s Day probably does too. And he is driving 40 minutes in from the great beyond, or Pungo or somewhere. Parking is a nightmare; no one else wanted to stay home tonight; I can guarantee you that! After riding around for 15 minutes, calling him near frantic about being late, an end space, Steel Blue’s favorite, opens up miraculously. She whips in the spot, walks confidently into the gelato bar braving 40 mph winds and icy rain, and the door magically opens as she approaches. What a smell! What dazzling colors! What an array for the taste buds! Then she saw the ice cream! So glad she overcame the 20 reasons to stay home, and ventured out on this ominous night. St. Pat was all smiles, chivalrous, charming, and talkative. Excellent conversation, delicious gelato, and polite body language. They did not air out too many skeletons from their closets, but Steel Blue and St. Pat broke the ice and began to get to know one another. He has an easy, funny flair, but he is not very secure. Makes Steel Blue wonder who broke his pride and probably his heart? Note: he wore his Miami Dolphin ball cap in the gelato bar. Steel Blue has been out of WV too long to appreciate that anymore. But he was not so redneck that he dove in for a kiss either. There is a first date in the future. Gentle Reader, what was green about this St. Patrick’s Day?  The pistachio gelato: do not turn your nose up at the color; the taste was orbital. 

Friends Without Benefits is a Benefit (FWBB)

Last year, Steel Blue met computer guy online. We dated some, ran many miles together, and I found out we do not have much in common. I don’t really get his sense of humor, and a sense of humor is a must. We have since become friends as he is such a nice man.  He can carry on a conversation, he is not pushy, he is polite, he is employed, and he is well within the normal realm. Friday nights in Lent the KOC has fish fry dinners, so I called FWBB for a platonic Lenten celebration. Good meal, super cheap, for a good cause, and great conversation. If you’ve never been, the seating is cafeteria style, so you typically sit with your people WITH other people at tables of 8. You’re guaranteed to meet someone new each week, if you’ll step outside of your box and talk to strangers. If not, take a gander to the dessert table full of home-baked goods for sale to benefit the KOC Ladies’ Auxiliary. Those ladies will talk to anyone! FWBB wanted to go shoot pool afterward, so Steel Blue took him up on that proposition. Not many of Steel Blue’s friends enjoy billiards, except for this night. Maybe it was a full moon. Might have been a fluke, baby I don’t know. Wait, that is a country song.  FWBB is a good shot, and we rocked the table for quite a few hours. We had about six other peeps join us for a billiard marathon.  When I lost, he wanted to rack the balls. I literally had to bump his ass out of the way. I guess by 10pm, he had gotten on my last nerve. Any therapeutic advice anyone?

Date Du Jour

Red Zone

At Starbucks, he met me at the door and opened it. Chivalry wasn’t dead on that cold evening last week. Snow still clung to the frozen ground on which it was piled, a rare occurrence in Virginia Beach.

I took him in in a glance: He’s 6’4″.  I like tall.

He’s fit. I am also a fan of fit.

He has blue eyes. What can I say; I’m biased. Another like.

His hair is turning silver in the right way, and his beard and moustache are also silvering and closely cropped to his angular jawline.  Two thumbs up.

Our conversation flowed easily and wandered across families, cold climates, snowy weather, and careers as we talked for hours sipping hot tea.  It was so chilly that neither of us removed our coats. When it was time to leave, he smiled shyly, the lines crinkling around his eyes and asked me for real date… dinner. Of course I said yes.

I drove away wondering about the demons this very nice man might have.  :/  Cynical? Yes.

As we are going out to dinner this week, I will learn if he is boob-dazzled.  Look for an update.  😉

He’s not boob-dazzled. 🙂  There will definitely be demons.

Fish Tacos

Concrete guy disappears for a few weeks; come to find out, he had another job in Florida. Steel Blue thinks it’s pretty cool to be able to work where you want to, ie. to escape this freezing winter to follow the warm weather. The downside is that he did not have any jobs here, so he had to leave. Concrete does not allow for sick days or snow days. They just shut down. Escaping really appeals to me, a warm weather friend. Apparently, the phones were not working it was so hot down there. Upon his return to the northern climes, he does call to check on Steel Blue who is working away in the cold, dry air. Fresh, new stories of friends with different issues. This one had indoor plumbing so to speak, but a violent streak a mile wide. Concrete advised the girlfriend to leave his friend as the violence was in proportion to the escalating drug use. Interesting. I missed that red flag, thinking that he gave the girl good advice. Red flag #3: friends with addiction problems. Switch your FMP’s to tennis shoes and RUN.

But Steel Blue is hard-headed, and as I said, missed red flag #3. There is another Mexican place nearby with tantalizing fish tacos. Can you imagine? Two in a city of 8 million people? Again I meet him there because I cannot ride in the rat van. He is 20 minutes late, but he calls to see if I am going to wait or walk away. The water is cold, and the lemons are free, so I’m chilling. The fish tacos are good, but hard to swallow with all of his talking. He rambles on for two hours. The stories are all running together. I can’t imagine one person hogging all of this conversation. In my mind, I’m imagining he must work alone all day. I miss adult conversation, but at least I am around people. I get to talk sometimes. As he continues, I’m drifting to analysis of my conversation skills. Could I possibly occupy 6 continuous hours of conversation without learning anything about my listener? Would I have no questions? What would possibly spark no interest in my listener’s stories or lifestyle? After like 6 glasses of water, I excuse myself to go to the restroom. My spinning head is heavy now, so I throw in the towel and go home. I thank him for dinner, and he walks me out, not to my car, only to his van. As I said, it’s cold. I get in my car and drive home.

Red flag#4, or 3.5 since I missed the last one, but this one is important. NEVER leave your drink on the table. Never. Period. I would have felt weird taking my glass to the bathroom, but from now on, that’s just what I’ll do. I don’t remember driving home, crawling into bed, or turning on the tv. I didn’t take off my clothes, wash my face, or brush my teeth. I just passed out. I awoke the next morning very confused. I am a creature of habit. I think it’s been 20 years since I slept in my clothes. I think I was in middle school. We used to sleep in our bathing suits so we could go to the lake as soon as we woke up. Really. Ask my friends. They will tell you I have a huge vocabulary but spontaneous is not in it. Why is my tv on? I hate tv. My head reminds me of a college keg party, but I only had one drink last night. So I do what any educated woman would do. I start calling my friends. What is this? What is going on? Our consensus is that something was slipped into my drink while I was in the restroom. The spinning led to a complete blank about driving home and getting into bed. Thank God my son was home. Who knows who followed me home. Steel Blue may have to change her name to Concrete Head. That’s enough of that one!

Coming up…..flower power!

Problem for an Online Professor who is Online Dating

Red Zone

I teach online, which requires a lot of responses in forums and to emails.   I am involved in online dating, which also requires a lot of responses to online messages.

I have to stop grading/responding and using the dating sites as a light distraction between godawful posts from my students.  I have signed my professional title: Dr. _________ to four guys I am chatting with… and used my given name with a few students.  I think the Dr. _________ is worse.

Think about it.  The guy asks me to meet for coffee/tea.  I respond: Sure. Dr. __________   He probably thinks I am an M.D. about to give him a check up.  :/