Jace

In the online dating community, especially in Seattle, there is a bit of a preconceived notion about the demographic of the majority of the men that are out looking for ladies. White male, late-20’s/early 30’s, working in a tech-related field, perhaps not a lot of experience dating and a fairly decent income to go with that geeky career. He might also have a house or condominium with three or more bedrooms only one of which is furnished and used. I am making rash generalizations but probably 90% of the men that I have met online have at least 75% of those characteristics. That is obviously probably due in large part to what kind of guy I like and go for – geeks rule! – but I have talked to a few girls that don’t go for that type and have had a hard time finding men that fall outside those parameters. That works – more guys for me! – but even I sometimes reach my nerd-boy limit. Jace unfortunately pushed me over that edge.

Jace sent me a short, nice, funny email and he seemed like a cool guy. He was a little younger than me but only by a couple of years. He was tall, blond, had grown up locally and worked as a video game designer for the largest Seattle computer company. Interesting.  I decided to take a wild guess and ask Jace if he worked with any women and, shockingly enough, he didn’t. Nothing is gained by living by stereotypes so I just let that go. Jace and I exchanged about 50 more emails and, looking back at them, I think the sheer number convinced me that I needed to meet him for a drink. I had invested a lot of typing! The emails were like instant messages – very brief, not exactly scintillating and definitely not anything to start off a good conversation. “What is the best sushi in Bellevue?” or “I love the NBA and watching volleyball on TV!” just aren’t going to tell me much about the man that is Jace. Now that I have become a bit of an online dating veteran I would never have sent those kinds of emails for over a week without insisting on an in-the-flesh rendezvous but, at that time, I was green. So, finally a meeting was hatched.

I suggested, finally, meeting Jace for a drink. We went back and forth about our favorite bars, how the traffic was going to treat us both, what time worked, was there going to be Easter holiday traffic (???) before I just told him to give me three options and I would choose. For the love of mankind – it shouldn’t be so hard, right? Right. I chose one of Jace’s suggestions, a bar, when he told me, “I hope they have good Diet Coke because I don’t drink! Never have and never will!” Whaaaaaaat? I almost called it off right there. I enjoy a good cocktail and drinking as much as the next girl, if not more, but I wouldn’t say it is a dealbreaker for dating a guy. Close, because I enjoy it so much, but not necessarily a definite no go. But for him to go on and on and on about selecting a meeting place and not say something? I would have totally gone with a restaurant so we could both eat and it wouldn’t be a big deal and I wouldn’t feel like a jerk. It looked like I was going to do enough drinking for us both. Not a problem, Jace, not a problem.

I arrived and Jace was already sitting at the bar, Diet Coke with lime at the ready. He was cute enough but he looked like he had rolled out of bed just in time to head out to meet me. He was wearing a flannel shirt, dirty wrinkled jeans and old tennis shoes and his hair was pointing all over the place. I looked above his head to see if he had a cloud of dust hanging out there a la Linus from ‘Peanuts’ but it was dim in the bar so it was hard to tell. I got a drink, he got a soda refill and I tried to make conversation. We didn’t have a lot in common and he was just young, really young. He was only two years younger than me but it could have been fifteen. I asked about his job and I got the (not very) abbreviated history of the video gaming industry. I played Nintendo when I was a kid but that was about all I could contribute and he didn’t look impressed by my limited ‘Super Mario Brothers’ experience. I asked him what he did for fun, other than work, and he gave me the lowdown on the ‘Rock Band’ league that he and 20 guys from work had started. Jace apparently played a bitchin’ video guitar. That sounded kind of fun and endearingly wacky but, really, did he know any girls? Softball! He said he was on a team. It might be co-ed, right? No luck. His rotation consisted solely of guys from work. Well, he did get props for being very active but Jace seemed more and more like a boy than a man. Another indication he wasn’t quite mature? Not once, during over an hour of conversation and two drinks (sweet lord – could I have three???) did Jace ask me a question. Not one. If I would have stopped lobbing him conversational softballs the talk would have screeched to a grinding halt. He wasn’t mean or a jerk but I didn’t really feel any desire to sit there longer or talk to him further.

I think I had the feeling that I would maybe not want to hang out with Jace for hours and hours so I had told him before we met that I had to pick up a friend at the airport. A night that I had to do that would not be my first choice for an initial meeting but my sixth sense had told me I would probably want a good reason to get the hell out of that bar. Jace was not a bad guy but I was running out of things to ask him and it was clearly, very clearly, not in the cards for us to have a dating future. Jace walked me out to my car, but as we walked through the parking lot, he got a big grin on his face and said, “You have ten minutes which means you have to come see my new ride!” He walked me over to his new Saturn SKY convertible and walked around it, stroking the curves. Creepy, just a little creepy. But I had five more minutes so I had to get inside and listen to the new sound system he installed! So, this is how I would die – in a Saturn.

I looked around and there were enough people in the parking lot for me to feel safe so I climbed inside. Jace then proceeded to try and make me permanently deaf by turning up his stereo as loud as it could go. I literally clamped my hands over my ears and shrieked so he mercifully turned it down. Once the pain subsided it took all I had not to laugh. Customers were walking by our bumping ride and looking at each other but Jace just closed his eyes and drummed away on his steering wheel. The song finally ended and, wow, I HAD to get to the airport. Jace walked me to my car, gave me a hug and off we went. I would have been surprised if he even remembered my name so I was a little shocked to get an email the next day asking to meet up again. I wrote him back and told him, sorry, but I just had not felt the connection. “Cool! No worries!”, in true Jace fashion, was all he wrote back. Cheers.

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Published in: Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Sven

One of the bigger lessons I have had to learn while internet dating, and I am not sure I have completely gotten it down, is that there is a big difference between coincidence and karmic destiny. Sometimes it seems that the universe was trying to prove that a guy was the perfect match for me but, in the end, fate wasn’t really trying to tell me anything at all. Sven and I seemed to have a cosmic connection but, as disappointing as it was, really we just had a few things in common. And he gave such good presents…Damn it all.

Sven first emailed me because he recognized a picture on my profile taken in Kauai as somewhere that he had been. I looked him up and checked out his photos and immediately got kind of excited. He had a photo of a hibiscus that was, down to the color, the exact same as one that I had taken, framed and was currently sitting on my bedside table. Ok, that was kind of weird. I wrote Sven back an introductory email and, among other things, mentioned our similar love of flowering plants. He wrote right back to tell me that he had taken that at a hotel in Kauai and gave me the name of the place.  It sounded familiar because I had stayed at that very accommodation several times and, what do you know, it was where I had snapped my picture! Now I was really getting excited. What were the chances of that happening? The only obvious answer was that Sven and I were meant to be together! Of course!

Once I stopped jumping up and down about that message from the dating heavens, I proceeded to learn a few more things about Sven. Not only had he grown up in the town I was currently living but he had lived only 100 yards away. He still lived so close that I had maybe passed him at the grocery store. Actually, I was sure that had happened since we were meant to be together. Sven eventually saw my last name and we learned that our grandfathers had both come over from neighboring countries – his from Norway, mine from Sweden. Well, our children would have fair skin and we would probably end up living in Ballard, a Norwegian Seattle neighborhood, but, fine, that was fine. Sven was divorced and a single dad which, albeit kind of big things, were the only differences I could find between us. Meet. We had to meet. Sven felt the same way so we attempted to find a time to introduce ourselves.

The very first opportunity Sven and I had to meet up for a drink was, unfortunately, that next weekend which was my birthday. Next to Christmas and Valentine’s Day, birthdays are the worst for creating some kind of weird dating expectation. I had never even met Sven so I didn’t want to feel like he had to take me to some swank dinner or get me presents or even a card, for that matter. I was meeting my parents for an early dinner the night before my birthday so Sven and I agreed to meet up for a cocktail after we were done. Perfect. He couldn’t buy me dinner since I would have already eaten. We were both off of the weirdness hook.

I walked into the bar at 10:00 p.m. and there was Sven and, sitting in my chair, was a birthday gift. I didn’t know whether to hug him, shake his hand, open the gift – it was a little awkward – but it was SO nice. We sat down and ordered a drink and, very low-pressure, I opened the gift and the card. I was very impressed. He had gotten a very neutral card, written a friendly message inside and the gift bag contained chocolates and some lotion. Sven had played it even better than I could have imagined. It was incredibly thoughtful to get me a present and card but he hadn’t written or bought anything that made me feel weird. That was an incredibly thin tightrope he walked and I was touched that he had managed to not fall off.

Once the introductions and gift-giving were taken care of, Sven and I were left with nothing to do but talk and sip cocktails. It kind of hit me at that point that I really didn’t know much about Sven at all. Our emails had been pretty brief and you can really only say so much about hibiscus plants and Kauai. We were able to make conversation but all I can really say about it was that it was fine and, likewise, Sven was fine. He was cute but not exciting-cute and he was funny but not sarcastic/witty-funny. I was kind of getting the feeling, too, that he felt the same way about me and I didn’t blame him. It was turning out that Sven and I had almost nothing in common.

Sven walked me to my car, gave me a hug and asked if I would be interested in having dinner with him sometime. I swear I could tell from the way that he asked that he wasn’t exactly sure that was what he wanted to do but he was thinking it could be kind of an ok idea. I said sure and he said he would get in touch with me that next week and we could work something out. I honestly did not want to see him again – there was nothing wrong with him but there was nothing really outstanding, either – but I thought of that Kauai photo and our close living proximity and decided to go for it. Take that, fate! I see how you work!

The next week, Sven and I met at a local Italian restaurant and, I feel comfortable speaking for him, had a very boring and unremarkable dinner. Whatever spark is necessary to turn friends into more-than-friends was definitely not present in that restaurant. Our second meeting was causing that to become very clear. It was so disappointing! We had seemed so destined! The cosmos were so obviously trying to align us! But, sadly, that was not the case. Sven and I finished our dinner, headed separately to our respective cars and that was the last I heard from him. I did see him and his daughter at the local farmer’s market three months later and almost laughed out loud. He and I were both carrying one bag of kettle corn and one bag with exactly three apples. It did cross my mind that this was another sign, right? It had to be! But then I remembered those drinks and that uncomfortable dinner and just kept walking. Sometimes a hibiscus is just a hibiscus.

 

 

 

Pierre R. Delafleur

Mal. Misc. 3 – 5144A-10D

Everett Dist. – 07-29-10

Published in: Uncategorized on October 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm  Comments (3)