Matthew

There are absolute down sides and up sides to internet dating. A definite drawback is that a person can seem totally cool on the phone and by email and then be a presumptuous ass in person.  Dating with less personal investment does mean, though, that you can be on a date, realize that said date is a presumptuous ass and be on another outing within an hour. Sometimes it is all about speed and efficiency.

Matthew seemed very, very attractive by email. He had moved to Seattle from LA about a month prior and was looking to meet more people, preferably of the female variety. While living in LA, Matthew had worked for a very popular national music venue and his musical taste therefore, in my opinion, was top notch. Huge points. The company consolidated and Matthew got laid off but he had enough savings to travel around the world and play golf for a year. He finally got bored (it happens, right?) and got a job in Seattle working for the biggest software company in town developing their newest mp3 player. On top of being well-travelled, musically-inclined and seemingly wealthy, Matthew was a season ticket holder for the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics. This was my kind of guy. He suggested talking by phone before meeting and, even though I am not a huge fan of a first meeting by phone, I agreed. I was already charmed by this guy.

Given a choice between meeting in person and talking on the phone I will *always* choose the former. Face-to-face is the full-meal deal and you are able to tell pretty quickly whether there is any attraction, any chemistry. Talking on the phone removes the whole aspect of whether a guy’s pheromones are going to work for you. I was green then, I tell you, so I was a little foolish. A phone call it was. Matthew called me on a Sunday night and, surprisingly, the conversation went very well. He was quick, easy, smart, had a good vocabulary and there were no awkward pauses or lapses in conversation. Matthew was an interesting guy. We talked about our families, careers, music, sports – the well of topics didn’t seem to run dry. While we were chatting, though, Matthew did suddenly gasp and swear. He had recently moved into a company-rented apartment in a trendy albeit sketchy neighborhood and  had, mid-conversation, stepped on a hypodermic needle in the carpet. Holy shit. This was a situation that I had not encountered. Matthew rolled with it, though, and asked, “Well, I was thinking of moving to a different location. I hope the Hepatitis I just contracted doesn’t make it hard to look at new places.”  Nice. I liked this guy. He asked if I wanted to meet for drinks, his treat, and I was totally, totally game.

Matthew was not that familiar with the Seattle area so I suggested a local bar/bistro for us to meet. I got there first and grabbed a table. Matthew soon walked up and I was not unhappy with the presentation. He was tall – probably 6’4” –, pretty cute and very nicely dressed. Check, check, check. He was a little heavy-set but he was able to pull it off with his height. He sat down and I could tell right away that something was…off. He disclosed, first thing, that he was sick, really sick, and had almost called to tell me he couldn’t make it. Lucky me, though, he decided to stick it out and make our date. Seriously? He looked like he was about to throw up. He was pasty and holding firmly onto the side of the table like he was on a keeling boat. Cool. This would be fun. I had experienced some pretty awful dating experiences but I had yet to have someone hurl in my lap. Internet dating – good times! Matthew was a trooper, though, and ordered a drink right off and asked to see a menu. Before I had even said more than five words, he flagged down the waitress and ordered macaroni and cheese and an order of mozzarella sticks. Well, this guy obviously had a way of dealing with nausea that was new to me. Grease! Cheese! Alcohol! Oh, my.

Regardless of the dairy, fat and carbohydrate overload, with a drink for the kicker, Matthew and I had a great conversation. Looking back I am not sure how he managed to pull it off. He was witty, funny, a little bit cocky and I was sorry to have to end the night. He managed to eat every single bit of pasta, too, and not a cheese stick was spared. In some way I was impressed. This guy didn’t mess around. Matthew walked me to my car, gave me a big hug (he also smelled fantastic) and asked if we could meet again that Sunday to watch a little football. Yes and yes. And yes. If he was this charming when he was sick I couldn’t wait to see him recuperated. And there would be NFL in the background? This was turning out quite well. Sunday could not come fast enough.

Matthew and I decided to meet at a local sports bar around 1 p.m. and, again, my experience with drinking early on a Sunday did not go well (see Trent).  From the moment I sat down there was nothing but awkwardness. I tried to make some conversation but it was clear that Matthew did not want to be there. He kept looking everywhere but at me and his replies were never more than five words. What was I missing? Was this the same guy? We both ordered drinks and I waited for the alcohol to set in. Maybe he just needed to loosen up, get a little relaxed. The libations did help him talk but it only succeeded in making him show himself to be a complete jerk. Within ten minutes, he proceeded to brag about all his fantasy football successes, the amazing amount of money he was making, the five cars that he was going to buy and the five cougars he had recently had to fend off at the Ruth Chris. This was early 2008 and the term for ‘middle-aged lady on the prowl for young man meat’ hadn’t yet come into the popular lexicon. I wasn’t sure how he had encountered jungle cats at a steakhouse but he quickly cleared it up. “I cannot go ANYWHERE without those old bitches swooping in on me from every angle!” I started to laugh because he clearly had to be joking but, no, no, he was serious. “Jesus Christ. They are like a plague. A guy has a little success, some money, good looks – I am just doomed.” Had this guy forgotten he was on a date? With a girl? I was absolutely speechless. To this day I think Matthew had multiple personalities. I know he was ill the first time we met but that simply did not explain this shift in behavior. Again, silence fell on the table and I quickly finished my drink and stood up to go. I thought I was going to have to come up with some reason for my hasty departure but Matthew didn’t even look at me. I said something about helping pay the tab and he, not even glancing my direction, said, “Don’t worry about it. That’s cool. Later.” I made a beeline for the exit and that was the last I ever saw of Matthew. He never called or emailed and I never saw him active on Match again. Maybe that Hepatitis did eventually take him down and was, maybe, responsible for the Jekyll and Hyde performance. That is what I tell myself.

If there is one thing that dating online is good for it is giving a girl some thick skin. Did I want to cry as I left that sports bar? Yes. Did I wonder if there was something inherently wrong with me that made it impossible for a guy to find me attractive or endearing? It may have crossed my mind. But the thing is you never, ever know what a prospective date is dragging along as baggage when they come into your life. Taking anything too personally is a sure way to end up in very lonely and bitter place that I did not want to be. So what is the answer? Move on, and quickly, and try not to get hurt feelings. Ethan, a medical resident at the University of Washington, had sent me a couple of emails and, just that morning, he had included his cell phone number along with a request for a cocktail with me sometime. I got in the car, erased Matthew’s number from my phone and gave Ethan a call. I asked if he would be up for that drink in about an hour and he agreed. Matthew? Matthew who? Maybe the cougars did get him in the end.

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Published in: Uncategorized on August 25, 2010 at 4:42 am  Comments (1)  

Trent

In going out on dates with over 100 guys, I have met some socially-questionable and awkward people. Trent was the first guy that I encountered that I really thought was insane. I am still not convinced that he didn’t escape from a local mental hospital just so he could have a date with me.

I got my first email from Trent while I was out of town for Christmas. I was visiting a friend’s family in Nebraska which is the only explanation I have for why I answered Trent in the first place. The Midwest is very flat, very slow and I needed something to occupy my time. His picture passed muster. Shaved head, attractive facial hair, slim and fit from the mid-torso up – nothing too objectionable. Trent’s email was very enthusiastic with lots of smiley faces and exclamation points. He also liked parentheses and would follow every comment he made with an aside (almost like he was having a conversation with himself). He did have some interesting things to say, though, about sports and books and movies so, after a few more almost-one-sided emails, I agreed to meet Trent for a drink.

Almost as if I was subconsciously trying to continue the trend of bad decisions, I agreed to meet Trent at 2:00 p.m. on a Sunday because, obviously, that is a perfect time for drinking. I am not sure what I was thinking. When I walked into the bar, Trent stood up from a booth and shook my hand. Oh, my goodness. I think that he found a GQ from 1985 that advised a guy how to dress on a first date because Trent was about 20 years behind. He had on a smokin’ leather bomber jacket, pressed acid-washed jeans and a loud-patterned sweater. Even though I felt like I was maybe unwittingly in a ‘Back to the Future’ movie, I sat down across from Trent. Those first few minutes, before the alcohol arrived, were quite possibly the most awkward I have ever endured. Trent looked so nervous I was waiting for him to throw up at any minute. He sat there, with his jacket still on, furtively looking to the left and the right and tapping his fingers over and over on the table. He also repeatedly, perhaps 20 times, cleared his throat, shaking his head vigorously each time. I think some words were exchanged but I seem to have blocked what they were from my memory. A drink, please, waitress, to get me through?

Watching Trent drink his first cocktail I was reminded of footage I had seen of marathon runners hydrating during a race. He practically threw it in his face almost as if getting some in his mouth was second to splashing some over himself so he could cool down. The waitress walked by literally a minute after dropping off the drinks and looked down at Trent’s glass. She looked at the table, at his lap, then the floor as if trying to figure out where the liquid could have possibly gone. Oh, lucky me, my date was going to be drunk in about five minutes. Trent tapped his glass on the table and asked for another round.

The alcohol did seem to loosen Trent up. In the ten minutes I had before he blacked out we managed to have a little conversation.  Even though his profile said that he was a ‘product developer’, he actually worked part-time as a mail sorter at the local post office. Easy mistake – I can see how he got confused as the professions are almost interchangeable, right? Trent also still lived with is ex-girlfriend although, he assured me, it had been a long time since there had been any hanky-panky, heh heh. He actually winked at me as he said this.

Trent had actually done a fair bit of travel so, during his fourth round, we managed to talk a little about places we had been. I had recently been to Ireland and, when I mentioned that, I got to see the crazy up close. Trent’s eyes got wide, he poked his head up, scanned the bar and then leaned in close. In a whisper, he asked, “Did you see any demons?” Taken a bit aback I asked if he meant ghosts. “No, no, no,” he said, “Not ghosts! Demons! Demons!” I didn’t know how to respond as this conversation had suddenly gone into territory I had not yet explored. Was he serious? Was he putting me on? Was I about to get chopped into tiny pieces? Because I was in a bar with lots of people I felt it was safe to ask the difference between demons and ghosts. At that point I was just curious and fascinated and horrified, almost like driving by a car accident. Trent leaned in again and, talking behind his hand in a furtive whisper, informed me that ghosts are dead people still hanging around whereas demons are just malevolent spirits that were never alive but exist solely to perpetrate evil. How did I not *know* that? He went on to explain the whole history of demons in Europe, how they walked among us, etc.; Trent was a demon expert.

Sensing imminent disaster, when Trent paused in his lecture to order a fifth drink, I looked at my cell phone and feigned disappointment. “Oh, no,” I told him, “I am going to have to go. I need to go take care of something at the office. Right away.” Normally, this is not how I roll. I don’t have girlfriends call me saying they are at the hospital or set up phantom texts so that I have an excuse to get out of a date in a hurry. I always make sure I have an activity planned after our date so, even if it is going well, I have a set time I have to leave. That technique has saved my bacon more than once and it eliminated the need for me to be rude. Trent, though, was obviously a special case. I needed to get out of there and fast. His face fell and he looked crushed that I had to go but he stood up, gave me a hug and refused to take money to help with our (now quite substantial) bar tab. He asked if he could see me again and, desperate to not create a scene or end up injured, I hastily said yes and darted out of there. Trent sent me an email that night, very exclamation point-heavy, about how much he had enjoyed meeting me. I very politely told him that I was afraid that I just didn’t feel a connection but I wished him luck. I never heard from him again. I went back and read through Trent’s profile and emails thinking that I had missed some glaring indication of insanity but there was nothing that stood out. Apparently, just like demons, crazy potential dates just walk unnoticed among the rest of us.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm  Comments (1)  

Ed

With prose this charming, how could I possibly have let Ed go? Dating by force is always such a turn-on.  When I turned down his request to join him for a Tom Petty concert, I got this lovely email:

“That’s interesting (not really).  The way I see it, either you’re not into me and are too nice to say it directly, or you’re truly undecided (unlikely).  Either way, nothing in it for me.

If I’m wrong and there really might be some potential, let’s not waste any more time.  Let’s go out again soon, in the next week or so assuming schedules allow.  Otherwise, we can delete each other’s e-mail addresses.”

I have come to determine that I like a little ‘cock in the walk’. A guy that is assured and confident is very, very attractive. There is a fine, fine line, though, between assured and asshole and Ed unfortunately fell on the wrong side of the divide.

Ed’s profile showed up in my daily ‘you might be interested’ email from Match and I was immediately intrigued. His photo was in black and white (very rare) and he had the user name ‘TheRealSteveNash’. I am a big sports fan so his NBA-name-dropping was attractive in that way but it was also a bit ballsy. There aren’t a whole lot of girls that know who Steve Nash is but he wasn’t going to worry about that. If they didn’t know who Mr. Nash was they could figure it out. Cocky? Cool? Fine, fine line, I tell you. I was even more impressed by Ed’s profile. He was an attorney, lived fairly close to me and we had similar political and religious views. His profile was snappy, smart and he was really, really cute. He ran a basketball league for under-privileged kids and had excellent taste in music, movies and books. He shoots, he scores!  I decided to take the chance and shoot him an email.

Warning sign #1 was that Ed didn’t seem too interested in the wonderfulness that is Kate. I am biased, of course, but I think I can put together a decent email and writing one to Ed was like knocking a softball out of the park. We had so much in common that I had to stop myself from just listing all of the numerous ways we were alike. I played it cool, not too eager, and sent my correspondence out into the ether. Ed didn’t answer me for 3 days and his response was barely lukewarm. I understand that, just because we both exalt in the gloriousness that is ‘Fight Club’, I can’t assume Ed thinks I am an attractive girl. Men don’t always make passes at girls that wear glasses. Fair enough. His email, though, made it seem like he wanted to talk further. We emailed back and forth but his responses were always kind of terse and not very flirty. I had decided that I was not going to beat a dead horse when, seemingly out of nowhere, Ed asked if I wanted to meet. It wasn’t the most eager of invites but, fine, I would at least meet the true Mr. Ed.

Mr. Ed was kind of an apt moniker because this guy had pretty big chompers. I must have a thing  and somehow had not realized it (see Scott, Bachelor #2). Other than his large teeth, Ed scored pretty high on the hotness charts. He was tall, well-dressed and had a very nice physique. The basketball was paying off for him. We had decided to watch a NBA game for our first outing and met at a local brewery. We had a better-than-average conversation but I noticed that Ed was a very loud talker and he was a bit of a conversational bully. I would start to say something and he would just start talking over me, and loudly.  I also noticed that he did not take well to opinions different than his own. He mentioned a movie that he had seen and I honestly said that I didn’t really care for it. I wasn’t rude or a jerk about it and didn’t spit on the table but Ed acted like I had. I guess I was lucky that we agreed on most things. The thing that stands out in my mind most about the date was that Ed got almost belligerent about, of all things, sports-betting. He threw out of some fact that I *knew* to be false and, again, very politely, I asked him to further clarify because I thought I had heard something different. Jerk switch = turned on. I think he *did* spit on the table he was so disgusted at my utter stupidity. I didn’t want to end up in a fist fight so I quickly changed the subject. Thinking I was walking around misinformed, I later checked and that jerk was totally wrong. If you are going to go totally ape over something, asshat, you had better at least be right. What is worse than a cocky jerk? A cocky jerk that isn’t even accurate.

I managed to stick it out for the rest of the game and Ed walked me to my car. He had chilled out a little during the second half but I still knew that I was not going to want to see him again. I didn’t want to incur his wrath, though, in a dark parking lot so I gave him a hug and didn’t slug him when he asked if he could call me sometime so we could go out again. He didn’t call but rather emailed and told me, to say he asked would be more than generous, that we were going to a Tom Petty concert. I declined the offer, very graciously, saying that I had other plans, and Ed sent me the oh-so-charming email above. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that an attorney would lay out his case in a very factual way but where was all of the razzle dazzle, the smooth-talking? Nowhere that Ed could find. I sent him a very short, unfriendly reply saying that I was not interested and I hoped he had luck in his future endeavors. That brute actually emailed me several months later. I was still on Match so he stated that I had obviously a) not found anyone and b) would give him another chance if I was at all smart. After that disaster of a date, Ed, I a) was absolutely still looking and b) a very wise, wise girl.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 at 4:03 am  Leave a Comment