Monthly Archives: June 2014

Time Insensitive

Red Zone

I had a beach walk date for 6:30, so my afternoon had to be productive.

I graded two sets of papers and one set of assignments, and then I commented on forum posts for the other class. GAH! Coming up for air around 5, I cooked burgers and ate before I headed to his house. Traffic on Rosemont and Holland Roads was messy, so I sent a quick text from a stoplight:  I’m OTW but running late.

Big Red: LOL OMG You suck!

I’ve been 5 – 10 minutes late before, so he was used to this.

Upon arrival: “You suck!”

I smiled. “You’ll live.”

We climbed into his truck and headed to Sandbridge.

He continued to comment on my tardiness.

“I was only 12 minutes late.”

“You were almost 45 minutes late!”

“No you said 6:30.” I pulled out my phone to prove it.

“Oh. In that case I feel better. I was kind of angry. Think of it this way, you were almost 45 minutes late and acting like it was no big deal.”

Then I read my messages:

Big Red: Want to play hooky with me and go for a walk on the beach?

Red Zone: I’d like to, but I have a few things I have to do before I can go.

Big Red: TBD or 6 for sure?

Red Zone: Let’s say 6.

Mea culpa.

I’ve been eating crow ever since.

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Fit and Intelligent

Red Zone

Hi,

I love your smile in the photo where you are wearing the green shirt. I see you have a graduate degree, so do I. I’m fit and work out 5 or 6 days a week like you, and we both like music. It seems like we might have a lot in common. Send me a response if you are interested.

T-man

With an email like that, how could I not be interested?  I responded, and we chatted for a few days before he asked to meet. It was the Thursday of Virginia Beach Lindy Exchange, and I had signed up, which meant I would be dancing each night. T-man asked to meet after dance on Friday. I laughed. After dance could be quite late. T-man thought I meant midnight, and suggested we meet then. I was not about to meet a strange man somewhere at midnight, even if he was a doctor and an officer (his words, not mine). I corrected him; dance didn’t officially end until 6:00 a.m. Although I hadn’t planned on staying that late,  I didn’t have a set time to leave.

After he conceded that he would have to compromise, we finally agreed on a pre-dance drink at Yardhouse before the Saturday night dance.

I walked in right on time. No single man loitered outside or near the door. I texted, and as I waited for a response, I scoped the bar. Directly in front of me were two couples, a single guy, and a small group of guys. I didn’t recognize T-man, so I cruised around the bar to the right. After coming full circle, I took a second look at the slender bespectacled man in the short-sleeved orange and yellow plaid shirt sitting alone right at the entry. Yep… he was checking his phone and looking around. I walked up.

After brief confirmations, I sat for a minute. I considered not ordering a beer and just leaving. The early hour kept me from heading to dance immediately. I ordered a Left Hand Milk Stout and joined T-man. I already knew the likelihood of a match was slim, but as he stared at the soccer match on TV, my opinion was reinforced.

“Do you follow soccer?” I asked.

“Not really,” he replied.

Huh???? His arms were crossed, and his eyes were glued to the screen….  OOOOOK.

I started a conversation about baseball, which was visible on another screen, and then beer… his response to each was also monosyllabic.

To my right, and just at the corner of the bar, a couple watched the game. Well he did. She was knitting.

I mentioned that I knit to T-man. His arms across his chest, he responded pleasantly, but without a way to expand the conversation. I then walked over to say hi to the knitter. Of course, we had mutual friends: it’s a small knitting world after all. We added each other on Ravelry, the Facebook of knitting. Our conversation contained more words than all of those exchanged between T-man and I at that point.

I returned to my seat next to T-man.

“Well… it was… “ Interesting, I thought?  “Um. I guess I’ll finish up and head to dance.”

“Oh?” T-man questioned. “Wouldn’t you like another?”

I took the direct route.

“I can usually carry a conversation,” I replied, “But you’re giving me nothing.”

He was surprised by my direct approach, and he turned to face me. For a full, painful fifteen minutes, T-man tried to make small talk… all the while with his arms firmly clamped across his chest.

“What type of guy do you like?” he asked.

Believe it or not, this is a common question. I provided my standard reply: Fun, fit, and intelligent.

“Oh,” he met my eyes. “I guess I could work on fun.”

His reply surprised both of us into a laugh.

Yeah… I guess he could. T-man was a nice guy, but…

I Know You

Red Zone

Sooooooooooo Last night I went out with Steel Blue and one of her friends, Surfer Girl. Surfer Girl met two guys from online dating sites at our different watering holes. I’ve never considered meetings like that; not that mine are very different, but I do my assessments alone. Steel Blue and I started with dinner at Mahi Mah’s. Spicy tuna and rainbow roll. YUM! Mahi’s one of my favorites for sushi.

Once we finished eating, we headed to Calypso to hear Jesse Chong play. He sounded great. As usual…even in his typical state… the dude can play guitar and sing up a mean streak. Steel Blue and I were dancing to the music over by the exit. Surfer Girl looked around as she waited for the online catch to show up.

Steel Blue and I went to get a beer when the band went on break. To our right were a group of young men wearing identical shirts: Iain’s Stag Party. Scots, I thought, so I leaned closer to confirm. The one talking closest to me had a British accent.

I turned and asked, “Are you Iain?”

“No. He is.”

“Good luck.”

“You must have married a SEAL; you sound cynical.” Iain’s thick brogue indicated he was from Scotland. He confirmed my guess, and told me he and most of his buddies are with NATO. The others flew over for the wedding. There were eight of them in all; all in their late 20s to early 30s. Flirting practice.

A tall red-headed bearded man wandered over.

“Hi there; another redhead.” BIG smile. Did you know Scotland has the most redheads in the world?” His thick brogue indicated another Scot. Sweeeeet.

It was turning out to be an interesting evening.

Steel Blue and I played along for a few more minutes, and then we returned to Surfer Girl and her friend. A tall, gangly, white haired man was sitting next to Surfer Girl. Catch of the day was in. It was loud in there, but body language indicated things weren’t going well for the tall guy. Surfer Girl introduced us; Tall and Thin looked at me and said, “I know you. You’re Red Zone on Match.”

Wellllll … good thing my friends all knew about my online dating. Some people prefer to keep that to themselves, so I found Tall and Thin’s announcement rude. I gave him a cold nod. “Yes.” I turned to look at the band.

I wandered off to say hi to a friend, and when I returned, he’d walked over to stand near Steel Blue.

“We talked on Match,” he said to me. It was possible but not probable. Tall is my type but only when it is joined by muscles.

I sent the go away vibe with another one-word response. “OK.” I turned and danced with Steel Blue.  He gave up and left.

On my arrival home, I found a message from him on Match:

“Hi Real Name, I enjoyed meeting you tonight. It would have been nice to talk more. You look better in person than in your photos. Surfer Girl and I agreed we are not an item. Are you still interested in us getting together?”

Huh? I do not think I had ever spoken to this man before, and I certainly had not given him any indication I was interested when we met at Calypso… on his ‘date” with Surfer Girl!

I showed EA the weird message… and then opened his profile to show her his photos. The guy has more photos of his expensive home and toys than personal photos. NOT my type. EA and I were discussing the reasons men display their money like that when a new message arrived:

“You looked, are you going to write me? You should, we would have fun. I like dancing and I know you do!”

Uhhhhh Nope. Not gonna happen.

DrumBum

Red Zone

DrummerDude’s photo was small, but a huge, white smile against tanned skin invited a second look. I could see he had plenty of dark hair that he wore parted on one side, and swept back. The blue of his shirt looked good with the combination, but it looked suspiciously like a Hawaiian shirt. I’m not a fan of Hawaiian shirts. Lifting weights was listed as a hobby, and his profile said he lifted weights, and the photo reinforced that. His profile also said he had a graduate degree, and his summary mentioned that it was in Psychiatry. I wondered why he was on a dating web site… but then I was too.

He initiated a month of messages back and forth. DrummerDude could write; I’d hope for as much with a graduate degree, but sadly, based on the men of Match and OK Cupid bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees’ did not guarantee decent writing. Of course, the poor writers could be writing about fictional degrees just as they exaggerated their height and under-reported their weight.

Anyway, DrummerDude provided a first and last name and insisted I Google him. I would have anyway, and his distinctive last name would have guaranteed a hit or two.

DrummerDude was inordinately proud of serving on a town council in a small town in Pennsylvania. Apparently, he’d had a home there in the past, so he remained eligible for election, and because he was semi-retired, he could afford to take the time to go back there for meetings. A son lived there too, so he visited when the son’s schedule allowed it. At 17, I guess some sons skip hanging with a visiting dad for other pleasures. (Red Flag #1?)

After the second week of texting, he asked about my marriages…not divorces. Was that a red flag? I am not sure. Those questions do arise, and I am as likely to ask them as the guys. I want to know what they have to say… the online dating process is much like a job interview, and men who blame or denigrate their former spouses or significant others without accepting any blame are just like job applicants who describe their former jobs negatively… suspect. As a result, I hadn’t considered his question to be a red flag.

Anyway, our discussions led to the multiple diagnoses that had been provided over the years for my ex: clinical depression, ADD, OCD, and narcissism. DrummerDude insisted my ex was more likely a person with a borderline personality disorder. He insisted on calling instead of texting. When he did, to my Google number, he was a bit louder than the average person on a first call, but his voice was pleasant. He was very excited to tell me about borderline personality disorder. I already knew a little, but DrummerDude proceeded to talk over me (Red Flag #2) and tell me that my ex sounded like the perfect example of borderline personality. I reminded DrummerDude he was hearing the information second hand and from a very biased party. He agreed, but noted that I seemed very analytical about the situation. I am…but still… (Red Flag # 3?)

He was taken aback by and asked a lot of questions about the Google number. He claimed I was at least a little paranoid to use such services instead of just talking to him or others with whom I’d exchange numbers. (Red Flag #4) Isn’t it a good idea to be careful on dating websites?

When he asked what I had seen in my ex, I mentioned his good looks. Even today, I can separate my dislike for the way my ex is handling the divorce process, which includes a Supreme Court Appeal… YES!  THE United States Supreme Court!!! (Please forgive me Judith Viorst, but I call it the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad, VERY Loooooonnnnnnnnngggggggg, Drawn-out Divorce.) Despite his multiple appeal shenanigans, my ex remains a great looking guy with a firm, fit, muscular body and handsome face that a persistent dour expression only diminishes a little. A full head of curly hair that is only partially grey completes the picture. If he’d get a decent haircut instead of sporting a half pony tail, which reminds me of a mullet, it would look better though.

DrummerDude chided me for mentioning the ex’s good looks. He insisted I was overly concerned with looks. I agreed, and mentioned that I was OK with that shallow part of myself. My profile mentions that fitness is not an option, and that I consider looks important in a potential match. He stated that all good looking people were narcissists (Red Flag #5); I called him on his sweeping generalization, and he backed off a little. He then told me he was a good looking guy; when I teasingly asked if his mother told him that, it took an explanation to allow him to see the humor. (Red Flag #6).

We talked and texted for another week. On a Friday afternoon, after chatting for a while before lunch, he wanted to meet. I was already busy, so I demurred. He insisted that taking a break would be healthy; of course he was right, but I didn’t need to meet him to have a break (Red Flag #7). I agreed to meet him anyway, but I had to do so immediately, and I could do so for exactly one hour, as I had a teleconference call that I couldn’t miss. We set up a meeting at California Pizza Kitchen. I warned him I’d be setting a timer, so I could leave in time to arrive home in time for the call.

It was mid afternoon, and I arrived a little before him; I sat on a metal bench right in front of CPK, and waited. The sun was shining but heavy clouds were taking over; I wore Ray Bans. He called, asking for parking advice. He stayed on the line as he continued talking to me. Then he rounded the corner, and he was round! His hair, was cut significantly shorter than in the photos, and it made his face look even more full than it already was. He wore well-worn cargo shorts with the same shirt as in the photos, but he filled it out differently, and the bulky shorts didn’t quite work with the Hawaiian shirt. On his feet he wore grass-stained tennis shoes that were stretched to maximum width. In many of our chats, including the one earlier that day, he had mentioned running. He must eat a lot to maintain that kind of figure while running regularly.

Ahhhhhhhhh geeeeez! I wanted to leave. I didn’t. I stayed and made stilted conversation without bothering to enter CPK. He asked why I was dating as I hadn’t seemed overly eager to meet. I responded that I was dating at least once a week and writing about it. He seemed surprised. “A date a week? Wow! That’s a lot.” I didn’t bother telling him I usually managed 3 or 4 a week.

He commented on my attire and sunglasses. He said I was over-dressed, and I was strange for wearing sunglasses during our meeting. I wore pants, a shirt, and sandals. I’m not sure what type of outfit would have fit his idea of correct. I don’t wear yard shoes in public. I’m lying: I don’t own yard shoes. Although it was becoming greyer, the sun was shining, and we were sitting outside. Sunglasses were appropriate according to my fashion rules. Helllllll…. His outfit gave him no license to talk about fashion in any way.

BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!! Yay!  My alarm saved me. I stood, shook his hand, and walked to my car.

He didn’t text until the next day. Here’s what he said:

“was nice meeting you. I love the sunglasses she kept on for the whole meeting and I have to say overall it was strange. Good luck on your 500 first dates with 500 different people. You’re going to need it. You are not a quality person. As far as your ex husbands concern the truth. Rings through. There’s always two sides to every story.”

I didn’t bother explaining my sunglasses or 52 vs. 500 dates, and I certainly didn’t ask him to clarify his ex husbands (plural or possessive?) and “concern the truth.” Instead, I sent the following: “Thanks for the instanalysis.”

He responded: “Don’t contact me any longer.”

I had no intentions of doing so; thus his command was superfluous.

Note to Self: Pay Attention to Red Flags, and the shallow wench that lives inside me knows with certainty it must have been his mama who told him he was good looking.

 

Jesusing me up

Red Zone

I agreed to meet him at Braise; after all, I’d known him a long time, even though he no longer lived in the area. I arrived early, and chatted with the bartender as I waited for MJ to arrive. It was early, so the parking lot and sidewalk were in full sunshine, and from behind tinted glass, I watched him walk up to Braise. My assessment started immediately: he still strutted like he was the big rooster in the nicely sized hen-house. He still cuts his own hair… not as bad as it sounds He’s been practicing a while, and product he applies to muss-up his fine brown hair worked for him. The custom-fitted, blue linen shirt stretched at the buttons a few places more than in the past, but the baggy cargo pants still looked like they hid what I knew to be a decently fit body. The Merrel’s he wore beat the hell out of white tennis socks and shoes that so many men find appropriate for wear outside the gym or tennis court.

He tucked his keys in his left pocket as he entered Braise and allowed his eyes to adjust. His moustache hid his smile just a bit as he sauntered toward me. His blue eyes lit up… I am very biased; blue eyes are quite delightful when they are lit. His hug was not quite perfunctory, but I ratcheted back my expectations… a lot.

I had a glass of wine in front of me, and he easily ordered the same. With regular tutelage from EA, my wonderful sommelier roomie, I knew which of the reds both he and I were sure to like.

“ummmm,” he breathed and took a sip.

“It’s soooooooooo  good to see you,” he leaned into my personal bubble. I didn’t retreat.

I replied in kind, but I noted his words didn’t quite match the hug. I hate mixed signals. However, I’ve been told a direct “Well show it,” or “Huh!?!?!” are not acceptable responses.

Instead, I said, “Oh?” That’s non-committal and not accusatory, right?

Apparently not… the hyper drive approach was immediately launched. It was funny to watch the play. I knew exactly when MJ realized he had prematurely launched. He didn’t complain or retreat, he merely switched to charming mode.

“Another glass,” he smiled oh so winningly at both the bartender and I, “That’s OK, right? We can order an appetizer or meal and enjoy our time together. He leaned in for a KISS. The sizzle was still there too. MJ can kiss…. Really. And he smelled delicious.

The second glass, with a shared calamari appetizer, hit my head. I knew I was going nowhere for a while.

“Oh my goodness, MJ, I am really feeling that wine.”

Again, he leaned in; this time he placed a soft lingering kiss on my lips and lightly dropped his hand to my shoulder.

Yowza!  Of course I hadn’t said that aloud, but I bet he knew exactly what I was thinking

For an additional hour, we stayed at Braise flirting and mildly touching each other as if we had never met, but of course we had.

I cut myself off, and after he finished his last drink, we headed to my house.

Safe at home, I poured another cabernet for each of us. We sat in on opposite ends of the sofa in my dimly lighted living room with our feet stretched toward each other. He lightly traced his finger along my instep. I reciprocated with a light rubbing on his feet.

Everything was going swimmingly… and then…

“Red Zone. I’m so concerned about you.” Hmmmmmmm….

“Oh yeah?” my stock reply of the night, it seemed.

“Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.”

SERIOUSLY?!?!?! Ok… I didn’t say that. I equivocated.

“I believe in what Jesus taught.”

“Red Zone, Red Zone, Red Zone,” he shook his head and looked down slightly as he repeated my name.

“Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?” sigh…. Really, MJ?

“Uh…. I don’t think so, but I’m willing to consider it.”

He followed my response by Jesusing me up for the next few minutes.

I finally halted him by rising from the sofa for more wine. Red. Just like that served at communion…better quality though.   😉

On my return, I took his glass, placed it on the table, leaned over him, and planted a big one right on his smiling lips.

That shut him up.

 

 

 

 

Two Weeks in Review

Red Zone

I’ve been very busy the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done a few meet and greets. I’ll do a simple list here, and then I’ll elaborate on one.

Mark lives in Suffolk with one of his two grown sons. He met me two days before leaving for Idaho for 3 months for work. He didn’t tell me this until we met, in his words, “in case it scared you away.” He’s a nice guy, and we agreed to keep in touch while he is in Idaho.

Jason lives in Norfolk, and we met at MacArthur Mall. I wanted to visit Black House │White Market anyway. I don’t think Jason’s photos were old, but they were decidedly complimentary. I’m going to hell for such thoughts, but as soon as he walked up, I thought Mr. Potato Head. His hair is brown and there’s a lot of it emphasizing  a receding hairline and the shape of his face… to explain my Potato Head thought. He definitely needs to hit a good hairdresser.


 

Alex lives in Williamsburg. He insisted on meeting me in Virginia Beach, even though I had no problem meeting him half way.

Because he didn’t have a profile photo, he sent me a few via email. His job, he explained, was such that he didn’t like to post photos. He was handsome; classically. His height was listed as 6’ 2”, so I wondered via email why he was on a dating website. He responded that the hours he worked made it difficult to meet dates. OK…He didn’t tell me the exact nature of his job, but said he was an investigator.

When we met at Burton’s Grill at hilltop, shallow, shallow me… I was pleased to see he looked like his photos: Tall and fit, with nicely cut dark brown hair shot through with just a little grey. He wore Levis, boots, and an open collared button down shirt. It was happy hour, so he had saved me a seat to his right. I sat, and we ordered drinks:  wine for me; Jack and Coke for him.

He has one child who will graduate from high school in June. My only child just graduated from college, so we chatted easily about the “loss”.  It was clear from the conversation that he’s a good dad, but he reinforced my thoughts by whipping out a wallet filled with photos of her. Our conversation moved to family, and then to things we like to do for fun.

I was enjoying myself, and it was obvious he was too. We ordered appetizers to share, and he ordered another drink. I refused the offer of a second glass of wine because without a heavy meal and a lot of time, I don’t like to drink more than one when driving. He liked that. It turns out he’s a State Trooper. Our conversation moved to drinking laws and other laws.

By that time, we had become quite comfortable with each other. He shifted his chair to face me a bit and leaned in just a tad with his body. I didn’t mind. The attraction was definitely mutual. I was even thinking I’d see my sister in Yorktown more frequently because dating this guy would mean taking turns travelling the bridge tunnel … ugh… and over the tourist season. Yep… I was doing some forward planning.

He shifted his chair again and moved closer and to fully face me. I did not move away. He reached across with his left hand to touch my sleeve. I looked to see a distinct tan line and indentation from a ring on his ring finger. I reached out with my right hand and held his hand.

A smile spread across his face showing a dimple on his left cheek.

“What’s this?” I asked.

The smile disappeared. “Oh I’m out in the sun a lot, and I used to wear a ring even after the separation.”

“You listed yourself as divorced, and there’s an indentation from recent wear.”

He looked at me. I looked at him waiting for further lies.

“Okay! Busted! Is that a deal breaker?” The tilt of his head accompanied with a charming grin showed he was used to a positive response to his question.

“Ya think?”

Siggggggggggggggggh!