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.