Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good Advice

Honestly, I think I don't deserve to have a real boyfriend. I tried SO hard, I really did, to follow what the Advisory Board told me to do with Q last night: just relax, have fun, go for the kissing and the sex, and shut my brain down, not necessarily in that order. And it was a total bust. I'm beginning to buy that the problem is that there's Something Wrong With Me.

First, I didn't hear from Q until Friday morning, when he emailed that he had to cancel the movie but could meet me for a drink at 9 pm, since he's busy the whole weekend. The reason was plausible: he had to babysit for his grandchild while his son and daughter-in-law were working. I emailed that was fine, and we met for the drink on a lovely night. I had really wanted to break out of the sit-and-talk-while we eat/drink mode of meeting, followed by walking me to my apartment, where I would have to decide whether to invite him up or not, but there it was...again. The second time a plan that would have had us do something different was changed.

The troubles began, as Art Spiegelmann said in his cartoon book Maus, when I saw him as he walked down the street. It flashed on me that while he's not unattractive for a man his age(near 70), he's not exactly attractive (to me) either. Then came the drinks (2 for him, one for me) and conversation (again) for an hour and a half. It was very similar to -- actually at some points an exact repetition of -- the last two times we met, and it bored me a bit. Not unpleasant, really, but not the fun I was supposed to be having either. He's a bit deaf and the place was ridiculously loud for 9 pm, so there was a lot of "What?". Plus I don't think I've mentioned yet that he has a habit of making an odd whistling sound between his teeth while he talks. I found that annoying from the beginning, but hey, it's a tiny thing, right? Yet to my dismay, it annoyed me more than ever. Get over it, I told myself. Relax. Empty your brain. Drink. Enjoy yourself.

Worse than any of the above, he just doesn't seem to have a shred of humor, and in fact spent the evening unsmiling, and facing a quarter turn away from me. Was it hostile or rude of me to ask him, at one point, whether something was wrong because he didn't seem to smile much? Because the member of my Advisory Board I told this to gasped, "You mean you SAID that?" So I'm gathering that was a no-no. And in fact he seemed defensive, and said a bit testily he was in a good mood, actually. Oh.

Yes, reader, he walked me home. And I had already decided that I would kiss him if he was aggressive about it but I just couldn't, couldn't invite him up for more. But I was hoping he wouldn't try to kiss me. And he didn't -- we hugged as if we were casual friends and he left. This followed an hour and a half of looking at my cleavage with a stare so hard it could have opened the Red Sea. He has certainly seemed physically attracted. So the only explanation I can think of is that he was displeased with my remark or got the message that I wasn't responding the way I ought to. Talk about convoluted and absurd feelings.

Q may be done, I don't know. Though I would be relieved, I also feel that it's all my fault, and if I don't enjoy being with him I deserve to be alone all my life and never go to Italy with anyone, and that if Q is in fact not done and pursues me, I should humbly give it more tries and chances, and force myself to deal with his larval tongue. Because he is such a nice guy and good family man and so well-educated and emotionally mature and stuff. He should be a bargain for a neurotic episodically-lonely Older Woman like me.

How I wish a big scroll would descend from heaven and tell me what the right thing is to do here. Because I'm feeling somewhere between idiot and fool.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random fish float by

I'm not sure if Q hasn't been calling me because I mentioned my Phone Hangup (not that I hang up the phone, but that forced conversation on the phone to strangers annoys me) or because he's just not that into me, as the best-selling book title goes. Since I asked Q out on a date the other day, and he agreed to go to a movie with me tomorrow (Friday), there's been no communication, even by email. Is it kosher to ask him about this when we meet, or will it sound needy? Without the benefit of my Board of Advisors, who at this point are probably more bored than board, I'm going to guess the latter. I should try for once not to go to the bad place, which is where I ask for reassurance that someone is interested. Because that always winds up making me look -- not to mention feel -- needy. I DID learn something from The Philosopher after all.

Meanwhile, two other fish swam into my now very shallow waters. The first, R, a lawyer from my home state of Brooklyn, is a loving grandfather, but gave me pause when he said by email that I'm probably smarter than he is. We talked on the phone, and sure enough, IQ aside (and irrelevant), he was lovely but much too reminiscent of my hometown, a part of Brooklyn that I don't remember fondly. I don't think he felt much about it either, as he hasn't contacted me, letting me off the hook, so to speak.

Then S emailed me, handsome and tall in his photo, conveniently close by in locale, and retired from a semi-interesting job. Something was familiar about his face, so I inquired if we'd met before. Yes, we had, he figured about eight years ago. "Did I reject you, or did you reject me?" I wanted to ask, but it didn't seem polite. I think I agreed to lunch today just out of curiosity.

Sure enough, before we even made it through the restaurant door, I knew. Yes, as handsome and tall as the photo, smart and sweet, but something hard to place that just felt wrong. He has never been married or (I think) in a serious relationship, and I can see why. There is an awkwardness and disconnection that feels deeply rooted to me, and though I feel bad, it also makes it impossible to think of spending more time with him than the hour we were together at lunch. It was a pleasant hour, but I would have been just as happy to read The New York Times.

Actually I had more fun on the bus ride to Philly last weekend, where a gorgeous young woman named Yasmin sat next to me and asked me to talk to her because bus rides make her anxious. She turned out to be a teacher at a charter school in Los Angeles, and her dedication, passionate denunciations of California politics and school system, and all-around liveliness and intellectual curiosity made the tedious bus ride go like lightning, and left me wishing I could be a hot young bisexual instead of a doddering 60-something looking for a staid relationship with men like Q or R or S.

S was sweet, though, and it made me a bit sad that he obviously liked me. He claimed that I have a lovely speaking voice, which is news to me and probably to my students as well.

My subscription to Match expires today, and they actually seem to have processed the cancellation this time, so now it's down to Q alone. And if that's all me, I suppose. But, as they say in AA, one day (or date) at a time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Dinner with Q

I promised I'd fill you in on last Friday with Q, the all-important second date. I'd told Q that I didn't want to have another dinner-and-conversation...Let's go to a performance of something, anything, rather than one of those awkward, what-shall-we-say-now dinners. He agreed, and proposed that we put off choosing where we'd go until the Friday Weekend section of The NY Times came out. But when Friday came I was completely fried from a long week of heat and caring for children (as opposed to the previous week, when I was fried from a long week of heat and working on my book). Plus in practice it didn't seem so easy to find a performance to go to at the last minute. So I suggested by email that we chuck that idea and go for a walk along the river. But then he was completely exhausted from playing tennis in the extreme heat, so in the end...we met for dinner, quite late. Sigh.

He's a good conversationalist...not (yet) amusing, but mature and informed. Topics: politics and places we have been to in Europe or would like to go. Good enough, in other words. Did the trick. Afterward he walked me to my building, and I could see The Kiss was coming when he slipped his hand around my waist and pulled in. The Kiss came and went. I said I couldn't invite him up right then because...I just couldn't. Finally I muttered something about being around next weekend and he left. Is the man physically attracted to me? Yes, he is, which is nice. But we already knew that, because he'd made it very clear: remember "and you're distinctly sexually attractive" after the very first date? Which I thought was a bit too explicit of him? He's ready to go, all guns cocked, so to speak.

That's fine. The problem isn't Q, but me and my kiss hang-up. This is not peculiar to Q: it's true that his tongue felt something like a baby slug gently sliding its way into my mouth, but I'm pretty sure that's not very different from the feelings I've had after kissing most men for the first time -- and that includes those I have lived to kiss later on. (Though Q was very tentative, many other first kissers really go for it, so it's less like a slug and more like a baby otter taking a dive in the pool.) Maybe the Kiss Hangup is a symbol in my dreaded unconscious for my ambivalence (fear, doubt, resentment/longing, hope, desire) about being physically intimate with a man I don't actually love. Yet this used to bother me not at all some time ago, so it isn't as easy to frame so simply: fear of intimacy! fear of commitment! Uh huh..and no. Who doesn't have those when it comes to someone you're not sure you really like?

My advisory board tells me in no uncertain terms that I've got to stop this nonsense immediately: get over it. Now. Think of it as fun, or better yet, don't think of it at all. Why are you dwelling on commitment when you barely know this person? Just enjoy that slug in your mouth!

What the hell AM I afraid of, after all? I've had a couple of un-freaking-believably painful rejections and abandonments, so you'd think it would be fear of that, but I'm quite sure that's not it. Unfortunately, I'm all too likely to dive in nose-first (like the otter) where I'm strongly attracted, emotionally speaking, whether or not the signs are there that this romantic feeling is mutual. Instead, I believe it has something to do with a morbid fear of getting stuck with expectations that I don't want to fulfill. After the kiss comes going upstairs, and then comes bed. Pretty soon it's a routine...dinner (again), then we go to your place or mine. I had a 6 week relationship like that about 8 or so years ago; he'd call with nothing to say (or at least worth hearing) and murmur that he "just wanted to hear the sound of my voice." But I would have been fine not hearing the sound of his voice. That's exactly what I mean by stuck. He was flabbergasted when I broke it off, had not suspected that I was bored out of my mind.

Well, one or two other fishies have swum in with the tide, though I've abandoned the Match site altogether and the subscription is over in a few days. I may or may not talk to these new ones. And Q has not called me since the Friday dinner/kiss, so I may not get the chance to see if the kissing improves.

The beat goes on. For now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Dreaded Second Date

Second dates are peculiar animals, very low on my list of fun things to cuddle up to. You like the man well enough to see him again, and presumably he feels the same: well and good. You'd think it would be like getting to the second level of the video game (a simile I'd better drop before I make a fool of myself, since I don't play video games): hooray, onward and upward! Instead, second dates are usually downers. If people are even a tiny bit interesting, you have built-in conversation for the first date, that is, the basic facts --- birthplace, schooling, marriage(s), child(ren), divorce/widowhood/trials-of-being-single, etc. You scout each other's political opinions (cautiously) and help each other frame a proto-story about your life history. Conversation rarely flags.

The second time around, you're in the no-man's-zone between the life story and an actual relationship. In a friendship or a romantic relation, you are always checking in with ongoing developments and (hopefully) problems -- I say problems because relationships work on the meat and drink of complaining and problem-solving and unexpected turns and twists. But if you're not hooked in to the plot, the new developments don't mean much, and you don't yet care. So second dates tend to have dreaded silences into which you must throw your metaphorical body at high energy. They're tiring and often tiresome. Also, there's the question of the kiss.

No one really kisses at the first date. There may be a flash-hug, or the kind of quick peck you'd give your great-aunt, but it would be rude to stick your tongue in someone's mouth when you can barely remember their name. By the second date, this is now up for grabs, and so awkwardness ensues. Will he or won't he go there? Do you or don't you want to? It can be difficult to tell, not only all through the date, but even five seconds before it might happen. Some would consider this part of the excitement of courtship. I consider it a pain in the ass. I like to know if I want to kiss someone.

All this is by way of leading up to my second meeting with Q, an event that was scheduled a week ago, and occurred last night. How did it go? I think I will take advantage of the storyteller's trick and leave you wondering till the next post. This is partly because I have a mean streak, and partly because I have to catch a bus out of town to visit my children for the weekend. There will be no blogging at my kid's house, you can be sure, so...tune into the same station, though not at the same time, and you shall see.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Q Pops the Question

No, not THAT question, which I don't care about anyway; rather, Q and I have agreed that we like each other, and he asked if he could see me again for a second date. Unlike The Philosopher, he does not need further thought about this, which is attractive.

We are "doing something" on Friday evening. No, we're not doing THAT -- I just proposed that instead of the usual eat-and-talk, we might go to see someone performing something..You'll hear about this, for sure.

Monday, July 19, 2010


When I last wrote here, I vowed to phone P, a somewhat younger man from Riverdale who had contacted me. I knew almost nothing about him, but called him anyway, in a sort of last-ditch spirit, a ditch-the-Match spirit. Or maybe it was because the last time a man six whole years younger contacted me was so long ago I felt ungrateful not to follow up. P was pleasant, a smooth-voiced guy who makes his living being upbeat and "positive"; turns out he is a Leader and Trainer for corporations, basically a cheerleader instilling motivation in workers or executives, not sure which. So we had a pleasant, upbeat and positive motivational conversation (which, you won't be shocked to hear, I tired of before he did). For instance, I confessed that I was weary of the dating scene, because of its highs (hopes) and lows (reality). Not at all, he said: the thing to do is take it as wonderful experience, neither very important nor unimportant. Or something like that. He also said we should all smile and laugh more. I'm sure he'd be good for overly-intense me (though I already smile and laugh plenty). But I just can't see it happening. So bye-bye P.

After not hearing back from O, the sweet guy from Brooklyn I saw last week who sensed at the end of our date that I wasn't going to be his next girlfriend, I decided to write to him and put things clearly. (I'm all for clarity, unless it's intended to hurt someone.) I explained that I liked him better than anyone so far, but not romantically, for lack of a better word. So could we keep in touch, email and maybe see each other as friends? Up to him. He wrote back that he'd had a crush on me before he saw me, and in person I was even better than he hoped. Sweet, just as he had been before I rejected him. You gotta love a guy like that (the man I dated longest on Match, a number of years ago, grew angry and mean when I ended things after five or six weeks of utter boredom, so I appreciate O's decency). Being friends may not work under these circumstances, but I'd like to give it a try. It's a pity I can't give O what he wants, but I just can't...I don't know if you've ever tried to make yourself feel something you should, but it seems beyond me.

Here's the surprise: after a long day in the library on Saturday, six hours to be exact, I was contacted by someone new: this would be Q, who is a writer and a retired editor of a journal, a few years older than I am, and quite decent-looking. He proposed dinner that night. Now this usually is a terrible idea: how many dinners have I suffered through with complete strangers about whom I know next to nothing? But because he lives in my neighborhood, and I was exhausted, and he proposed a Japanese restaurant which brought to mind a glass of ice-cold sake, I impulsively said yes.

And unexpectedly, I enjoyed the dinner (especially the sake) and I enjoyed him. He's smart, Harvard educated, gentle, a good conversationalist, and helps care for his one grandchild, who is disabled. My brain was too fried to worry about impressing him or whether he was someone I could like, so I just drank and relaxed. The next morning he sent an email saying he found me "fun, bright, interesting, and distinctly appealing sexually. Not a bad quartet on a summer evening." The reference to sexual appeal seemed a bit forward considering we've met once (what DOES this man have on his mind, I wonder?), but there's no question that the interest is more mutual than I've experienced in the past. Yet I don't feel at all neurotic about it: if I never saw him again, I'd be peachy. Even upbeat, positive, and motivated. Smile.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Dinner with O

One thing I've taken away from this summer dating project is a real sense of how much fantasy we project onto others with very little actual information. Especially in the absence of experience, desire fills the gaps of a picture, so it's hard to shake, even when you know better. I suppose that's why I cringe when an actress like Gwyneth Paltrow plays a character like Emma, or almost any fiction is embodied on the screen, with its (fake) real-life details. Don't mess with my vision of this story!

The above meditation comes from My Dinner with O, no relation to The Story of O, last night. I felt in the days leading up to this, even with emails exchanged over details about where and when, that I had little invested in it, pretty much knew it wouldn't be something to get worked up about, and so was protected from the overly reactive disappointment I felt with The Philosopher. There was Picture Shock, it's true, at least for me -- as for him, he thinks I'm lovely, just terrific. That's really sweet, and I so wish I felt the same about him (or me). Of course he also described his last girlfriend, who left him last year for another guy, as gorgeous, so that tells you something. It's possible that I could work up more enthusiasm with time if something else were there to motivate me, though.

Was there? I actually liked him and enjoyed the dinner. He's not a conversation-monopolizer, he has good politics (Red Diaper baby, interesting), and I admire that he's a self-educated working class guy, one who reads and thinks about the world. He worked for many years as a parole officer, not a job he much enjoyed, after early marriage and babies forced him to drop out of the first year of law school. At one point I asked him to tell me about the most dangerous moment he'd had on the job: I love when people tell me stories, if they're good ones. It was a harrowing tale about chasing a parolee who stole his gun and shot at him twice from down the street. He's not a macho-man, though, but a sweet guy who adores his grandchildren. It was clear that his heart was broken by the long-term girlfriend above who last year reconnected with a male high school friend on Facebook, broke up with him suddenly, and was engaged to the friend within a few months. I can imagine how that felt. He's trying hard to replace her now.

After dinner he looked sad; I asked what he was thinking. He said, "I'm thinking I really like you, but I don't think you feel that way." I told him I would see him again if he liked, and we'll see how it goes. But I feel I'm in the position of The Philosopher I so resented -- I'm being persuaded to go out with him by his enthusiasm, not mine. I don't envision wanting to kiss him, and that's the acid test of attraction for me (kisses come easily to some, but for me, they're more intimate than sex. I only want to kiss children and men I can love).

We'll see what happens. I feel kind of guilty and bad that I was disappointed after meeting such a nice guy who actually likes me.

Someone else wrote me last night, coincidentally, just when I thought it was safe to open my email. I don't remember a thing about him except that he's six years younger than I am (extremely unusual) and lives in Riverdale. But since he went to this rare trouble, I said I'd call him. One more can't hurt.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The News

Today I had my meeting/date with M, the tall Brooklyn ex-producer of cable news shows. I liked him and the conversation was the most enjoyable one I've had since starting this. But that was probably because I was very curious about and interested in his former profession. I've always loved backstage stories, so I plied him with questions. It was really fascinating to listen to his assessments of shows I sometimes watch, the news analysis shows on MSNBC. I asked him to take me through his typical day as a producer, and he gave me the run-down so I could see exactly what he did (story meeting at 10 am, etc.). I suppose in a way this date was like the one with the guy who used to run a comedy club, but to his credit, M was a more interactive conversationalist.

What he was not was personal; aside from a few facts he volunteered and some factual questions for me about where I live and the ages of my children, he seemed disinclined to offer anything about himself other than his professional information and political opinions. But he may be the sort of guy who doesn't go in for a lot of self-disclosure until he's more comfortable (on the other hand, he might not be a self-discloser at all). I don't doubt there's a lot more there: he joined a seminary when he was young in hopes of being a priest, and I think is still a believer. He is also trying to write a memoir based on his seminary experiences.

When the check came he wanted to pay for me, and seemed taken aback that I insisted on paying for myself (as I almost always do, unless the fellow seems filthy rich and really wants to pay)(which I must say rarely happens; the very few who want to pay are almost never well-off, and the rich ones almost never want to pay). He pretty much wouldn't let me, so we compromised -- I threw some money in the pot, and we were both okay with that.

He's nice, but here's the funny thing: I have less desire to date right at this moment than at any time I can remember. I can't say for sure what's happened, but I'm not lonely, or needy, or pining for the usual stuff that goes with having a relationship -- even help with opening jars or reaching objects on high shelves. My focus is laser-sharp right now (on writing and children, mostly), and I don't want to make room in my life for the plans and times and meals and dressing to please and...yes, especially...the talks on the phone. (Although I love talking to people I love -- it's just getting to that stage that I dread.) So I really must stop this dating scene.

However, I have one more big fish coming up: on Friday I'm meeting O, the retired parole officer who is an easy conversationalist and really likes me (sight unseen). We'll see if he can turn me around. It would take a lot, frankly. But we survived the Phone Test, so I'm curious if we make it through Picture Shock and Meeting Shock. Talk to you then.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Short Scientist

First, O is not really 80 - whew. He was kidding, apparently, which isn't always easy to detect by email. I'm meeting him next week, and sort of looking forward to it for once, even though on paper he is wrong, wrong, wrong: retired parole officer (class and educational difference), his location in Brooklyn (too close to my childhood home, an area I despise). But he seems to appreciate me so much, proving I'm basically a compliment whore. I mentioned that I have a three week old grandchild, and his reply was, "Oh, a three week old? You are so hot!" (He meant because he loves children). I mentioned that I probably don't look like my picture; he responded: "If you're half as pretty as you are in the picture, you're out of my league." How can you not like a guy like this? But before I get carried away, my guess is that he tends by nature to gush and idealize. We'll see if there's Meeting Shock.

Today had coffee with N, the Short Scientist who has large blue eyes but an extremely pointy face and a set of the juggiest ears I've ever seen. It was one of those "dates" that make me want to slap myself for arranging it. An hour and ten minutes out of my life! Think what I could do in that time: exercise, write to my brother, cook a meal. And because it interrupted the day, I basically lost the afternoon block of work time.

However, there was an interesting side to the meeting. It wasn't a conversation, because it was almost entirely one-sided (his), but what a character this fellow is! He is no longer interested in his past profession of physics because he has an avocation that absorbs all his time (and conversation): he has discovered the key to reading the Torah, which he has been studying for the last 13 years (in ancient Hebrew, which he reads fluently). Has he published his results? No, because "only two or three people in the entire world could possibly understand" and he is, again in his words, "the only one in the history of the world who has ever approached the Bible this way." Yes, he explained what he does with numerous abstruse examples, but it mostly seemed to be tracking every single reference to a name or word or incident and then "connecting" them, by twisting himself into knots, with his own interpretation of their similar meaning. When I asked how this helped to understand these stories, he dismissed my question with a wave before I finished asking: this is the work of a lifetime; already he has five thousand pages of exegesis and will have to get to the ultimate meaning at a future point -- though he assured me that ultimately, he will have uncovered that the meaning of the Torah is exactly the opposite of what everyone thinks it is.

For example, everyone thinks that God is against homosexuality --- because it says so. But the ancient Hebrew uses an emphatic form in the sentence, translated as "surely homosexual behavior is disgusting to God." The surely is an exaggeration meant to imply a minimization, according to him: "It's like in Shakespeare, where the lady protests too much. No one understands this but me," he said proudly. So it turns out that God is fine with gayness. I would be proud of God if I found this at all convincing: what an ironist!

I could go on, but then you'd basically be sitting through this date, as I had to, and I'm too kind to make you do that. When I called for the check -- as soon as I thought it was not too rude to get away -- and we stood to go, there was the full eye-sweep of my body. He apparently liked what he saw, because he grinned for the first time (until then he was far too absorbed in explaining his theory to smile or even notice me) and said expectantly, "Well?"

Well? Lovely man, though: I really wish I could find a suitable partner for him. Has he tried J-Date?

Monday is M, the Tall Brooklynite who used to be a producer of cable news but is now writing his memoir. Stay tuned. All is not lost: he lives in Brooklyn Heights, where I've always wanted an excuse to hang out.

I feel my scope is narrowing rapidly, though. I don't think I can bear many more meetings like the one today, though I now know a few more stories from the Bible than I did before (did you know that God specifically forbids contact with both male and female prostitutes? Who knew? Or that it's displeasing to God if you exchange your dog for a kosher cow to sacrifice to Him? That's not because He wants you to keep your dog but because dogs are not sacred like the kosher cow, so it's an insult to buy the cow with the dog, if you followed this). Also, I had a lovely rum punch, which I don't often get to do. So all was not in vain after all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eighty? Really?

I was exhausted, hot, and very cranky when I called M, tall guy from Brooklyn last night. In fact I was grumbling (silently) so much you'd think I was taking out the trash rather than calling the potential love of my life. However, M wasn't home, so I left a message saying I'd call again tonight.

Then I mustered my last ounce of energy and sanity and called O, the other Brooklyn guy whose profile sounded quirky and sweet. He was on the phone but said to call back in 15 minutes. I knew instantly he was on the phone with a date, and he later volunteered that he was, which he probably shouldn't do. The nice part was that the conversation was like him, quirky and sweet. He said he loved my picture.

Me: I've been told twice that I don't look at all like my picture, so be prepared for Picture Shock.
Him: I also loved your profile. I really like you much better than anyone, and that includes the one I was just talking to.
Me: Well, that sets me up for Meeting Shock.

He laughed. Today I got two emails from him. He doesn't want to be a stalker, but he "just wanted to say that I was enchanted by you, the humor and lightness in your conversation, and your voice itself." How nice IS that? Disconcerting: He added that I made him feel half his age, and since his age is eighty, that means he felt 40. Now, was he kidding (his listed age is 68) or did he lie about his age in the profile? Hmmm. Hard to tell by email.

Also mildly disconcerting: I asked what profession he retired from. He was a parole officer for many years. Me and a parole officer? There's an odd, not-good-on-paper combination. In spite of both of us liking Death Cab for Cutie, there may not be a whole lot in common, as they say. Plus he lives way out in the horrible hinterlands of Brooklyn, not far from where I grew up, which I consider toxic nuclear waste area. It seems unlikely at best. But I agreed to see him next week. And I'm having coffee with Short Scientist, N, tomorrow. And calling tall M tonight. So many men, so little time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Will See a Stranger

Ah, the gods are "havin' a laugh", as Ricky Gervais' character says. After much mix-up having to do with my phone not working (thank you, Time-Warner), so that M, the tall guy from Brooklyn, couldn't get hold of me, plus his omission of one digit from his phone number so I couldn't call him, we settled this at last and I am due to call M tonight.

And then I spoke to a very short retired scientist, N, who wants to meet me this Friday. His main priority seems to be a woman who is, in his word, "intelligent." His username includes the word "brainy," and his profile says he is "intellectually oriented." Is there a theme here? I have a strong feeling he's encountered some dummies along the dating way. I may qualify for the more intelligent variety, but I can't say the phone conversation rang my bell. (On the other hand, when do they ever?) Be patient, says my friend DK, I go, the new patient me.

But amazingly, someone else has popped up -- O, who also lives in Brooklyn (near where I grew up, which could be a huge indicator of poor taste). I contacted O because his interests and preferences are similar to mine -- so much so that I offered to marry him on the spot. Fortunately he's not a big fan of marriage and neither am I. I think I agreed to call him tonight too. I'm getting them mixed up, which I guess is one of the hazards of dating while over sixty.

Dating Lesson One: when you're cool, that's when it gets hot. Lesson Two: fish swim in schools rather than singly, so when you hit a dry spot (so to speak), a little group of them could swim by five minutes later. Just sit and wait. Coolly.

Monday, July 5, 2010

LIfe's Little Laughs

Armed with sincere intentions, I went to call M, the interesting tall guy from Brooklyn who works in cable news. Then I discovered that the number he provided for me to call is missing a digit. (Is that like shaking a hand that's missing a finger? Not really. Sorry, I'm writing hastily, on my way to dinner with daughter, son-in-law, 3 year old and newborn, who is now 3 weeks old, healthy and ready to eat in restaurants.)

Foiled again! Naturally I sent off an email telling him what's missing, and haven't yet heard back. But I am so, so, way cool about all this....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thing With Feathers Lands Again

Does Hope have the last laugh? An unexpected response from someone landed in my mailbox this morning. This is one of the Match profiles (not yet an actual person) who most interested me, though he lives in Brooklyn, which is barely forgivable. I intend to call him and not mention how much I hate these little chats.

Actually I'm going to try and apply all the life lessons I've been given by helpful friends and commentators: de-intensify, not be so vulnerable, but also not so cynical. Uh-huh. Not one of these commentators has actually dated online or dated as an older woman, but that doesn't mean they're wrong. Worth a try, since what I was doing was not exactly stunningly successful.

I'm cool. Promise to let you know.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Life's Little Lessons

I've been told that I'm approaching this project all wrong. We already know I'm too picky, but I'm also too intense. Rome wasn't built in a month's subscription. You can't expect speed or perfection. Instead of Broadening the Scope, narrow it. Vet the comers more carefully before you meet them, even if that means more of the dreaded phone calls. Do your searching more casually and light-heartedly, not caring if men like The Philosopher like you or not. Just take a few minutes out from your busy day to check out what's on offer, then go about your business of having a life alone.

Okay, I'm convinced. But no sooner did I decide to continue this project (and this blog) than I discovered that Match not only didn't give me the discount, they cut me off. More corporate high-jinks, but this time it was caused by inefficiency rather than venality. Note to companies: efficiency is better in business than in romance.

One phone call to Match (after twenty minutes trying to locate the number on the website) later, I am now re-upped properly, avec discount, or at least so they assure me. "We just want you to be happy!" sang the nice young woman on the phone. I'm not making this up. She was so sincere, I wanted to cry. From corporate happiness.

Alas, a new search turned up the same old fellows, including the famous psychology professor whose work I'd been referring to in class for ages, and whom I dated exactly twice before he cut me off by never returning my call or email, no explanation. Nice. Never heard from him again, and there he still is on the site. He was no fun anyway. No one else new. So I can't say that this will go anywhere, 30% discount or not.

If it doesn't, what have we learned? For one thing, you CAN judge a book by its cover. Except when you can't. And it's damned hard to tell which is which.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Now Pronounce You a Failure at Dating

I'm embarrassed to say that the last fishie who swam near my hook, Funny Hat Man, is not working out well. The embarrassment comes from my failure to call him, as I told him I would, three nights in a row. Some of that time I was unexpectedly busy (last night on the phone with the cable company all evening), but mostly it was my deviant subconscious.

I have an unfortunate subconscious which has gotten me into trouble many times. There have been words that pop out that I mean but should not say, behavior that is driven by emotions I'm not entirely aware of, memories that are suppressed for reasons of Darwinian survival. The utter repression of my intention of calling Funny Hat Man may fall under that latter category. It's clear to me now that I just don't want to do it.

I did call him, however,at almost 10 pm last night. This was after the last attempt to find out why the cable guy never showed up, though I had arranged the whole day so I'd be home between 5 and 8 pm. My phone call to Funny Hat went right to voicemail. His voice on the machine, plus my joy at not having to talk to him, were both ridiculous. This just isn't good. Dating isn't supposed to be this much fun.

And no sooner did I take the deal to re-up with for another month at 30% off than I lost all desire to slog on with this. Sorry, blog, and blog readers, if anyone out there is reading. I don't know if I'll be posting again, though I intend to check the offerings on Match frequently, since I've already paid for it. My sainted parents would never forgive me if they knew I'd bought something and never used it. So you may or may not hear from me again. You never know.