A Bundle of Nerves Named Lee

While she is experiencing life on the other side of the world from me, lostnChina recently wrote a great post entitled “The Sarcastic Woman’s Guide to Online Dating: The Whole Enchilada,” which I believe touches on some real issues those of us who have dared to look on the Internet for companionship have to face. She has also dated a man who is completely obsessed with Amway – which is something else we have in common. Yes, I will discuss my Amway guy in a future post – don’t you worry. Anyway, lostnChina sums everything up fairly early by saying, “Most online profiles come across as too-good-to-be-true and exaggerations abound.” She’s right about the profiles. I would like to add that e-mails and text messages that follow can have the same effect.

I was spending the night at my brother’s house after a festive Rosh Hashanah celebration and had my laptop out to look at online profiles. Honestly, is there a better way to close out a holy and blessed evening than perusing J-Date? We began instant messaging right away, and when we took those messages over to AOL, I knew our exchange was getting intense. Well, not really, I think we were both bored out of our minds and found that spending more than a few minutes on J-Date was embarrassing. In any case, we spent a few hours chatting that sacred night. One can say that our romance blossomed at the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Or not…let’s not get dramatic.

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In his photos, Lee had really dark hair and eyes, looked to be in decent shape and wore dark framed glasses. Lee was the first (and only, now that I think about it) divorced guy I chatted with online extensively. It sounded like he had gotten married when he was very young to a girl who was from another country. As they both grew up, and she became acclimated to life in the US, they grew apart and their marriage ended. That detail is neither here nor there, but I was curious after meeting him how he was ever a married man, and I figure you might be as well by the time you finish reading this.

Once we used similar phrases to describe what we do for a living, we both realized that we worked in the same industry and as it turned out, knew many of the same people. Lee had a really dry sense of humor and we enjoyed making each other laugh through our quirky one-liners and stories of past experience. We e-mailed and texted back and forth for a few weeks to continue our intricate comedy show. He told the most entertaining stories and was as charming as can be. I loved the way he “spoke” during this time. It was both self-deprecating and sexy, since he had the confidence to say anything. And then it became time to meet in person.

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I shakily approached the guy who looked pretty much like Lee’s photos and was standing outside the bar-restaurant we decided on for our first date. I gave him a big smile and told him it was great to finally meet him in person. He looked up from his phone long enough to make eye contact with me for about 2 seconds and mumbled a greeting, looking either like he thought I wasn’t the person he’d been texting for weeks, or he was absolutely terrified. It seemed to be the latter, since he did open the door for me to the restaurant and I lead the way to our table.

Once we sat down, we actually started communicating as though we had, in fact, been in touch for a while. However, he was really nervous. I asked him more than once if I had something on my face or in my teeth because he was now staring at me very intensely. Some stutters also came out of his mouth, but I was glad we were speaking. I ordered a vodka tonic from the waitress, and Lee did the same. And then his was gone within 5 minutes. He ordered another one, and then that one disappeared in pretty much the same fashion. After that happened I jokingly said, “Thirsty?” and he put his head down, and said he was nervous. I tried to explain that there is no need to be shy or anxious and that I met up with him because he seemed like great guy and we got along well thusfar. To give him a bit more confidence, I told him that I was glad he actually looked like his profile pictures. That didn’t help him much, and he told me that I was even more beautiful than mine. Aww, yes, that was nice to hear, but the compliments, and nervousness did not end throughout the entire date. After my second drink, I ordered an appetizer, which Lee said he was too shaky to eat but ordered another drink. We talked about some work things, and other general topics, but it didn’t seem like he was really listening to anything and just kept staring at me in that weird, creeper way. I was wearing work clothes – pants and a button-down shirt – and you would have thought I had on a negligee. I felt dirty.

The date lasted a bit less than two hours and Lee had ordered and drank a total of five cocktails. We parted with him still being shy, and me feeling like a supermodel. I had no idea what the hell had just happened, but he definitely was not the person I thought I had been e-mailing and texting with all the intimate details of my life with earlier. I have zero issues with anyone having as many drinks as they would like, but the lack of personality and creepy anxiety combined with the superfluous cocktail guzzling just confused me.

As I stroked my lustrous supermodel hair at my desk the next morning, I received an e-mail from Lee explaining that he had a great time. The only sign that I got that ‘electronic Lee’ was the same person as ‘date Lee’ was that he apologized at the end of his e-mail for being so nervous.

Then he asked me out again. And I had to refuse. That might sound really harsh, but you have to understand that when someone is nervous, to the point that they are borderline sinister, that doesn’t sit well with me. Confidence, and a clear speaking voice, are key.

If you feel bad for Lee, don’t. Facebook suggested that I become friends with him a year or so later, and his main photo included him smiling with a female, who I assumed was his latest love interest. Maybe she went shot for shot with him on their first date, made the first move and beat the anxiety out of him. Or maybe he read this:

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And even after the Facebook suggestion, I made a huge social media faux pas and hit the wrong key on my LinkedIn profile. I ended up sending a bulk message to every person that the site thought I might know and invited them to be a connection. Lee was one of them. Being such an open and boisterous technological personality, he actually responded to my erroneous message, explaining in a lengthy manner that while my name and company sounded familiar to him, he had no recollection of ever meeting me. Tempted to remind him of his evening of creepdom, I started drafting a reply, recounting our courtship, and eventually decided against it.

Lesson learned. Always talk to your possible love interest on the phone before you meet in person. There is a lot you can learn from a person’s tone of voice that any amount of text and two dimensional photos cannot exude.

Oh, and don’t send bulk e-mails to strangers. You might end up reaching out to a blind date from the past.

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A Very Special Guest Post: “Why Don’t You Like Me?!”

I can’t think of anyone better to pen the first guest post on my blog than the male who has tortured me the most in my life – my older brother. Now a married man of almost a decade, he reminisces about one of his wild and crazy nights out as a single club-goer, long ago in the tale below…

My best friend, who shall remain nameless, has been a Ladies Man from time immemorial. Since we were 12 years old chicks have always dug him. Twenty-five years on and it gets a little old sometimes, being a mere mortal standing in the shadow of flirty, oozing, greasy Sicilian greatness.

Over the course of this time standing in the shadow of a Sicilian Adonis, I have also had the awkward honor of flying wingman for said Sicilian Adonis. One hundred percent of the time he has always been flirting with the better looking gal, and I have always had to make due with whatever Lady Luck threw my way. One particular Flight of the Wingman stands out in my mind as being particularly horrible (or hilarious, if you’re not me).

The Sicilian Adonis and I were in our early 20s and partying at Webster Hall in New York. I always loved going there in the 1990s because it was a mega-sized club with multiple rooms, great music and minimal pretense. I always felt almost cool there. This particular night I felt really cool because the place was not crowded at all…we could actually move around from room to room without getting jostled.

We made it into a huge ballroom that included thumping industrial and dance music…The Sicilian Adonis’ prime feeding ground. He knew what he was doing…women that he was interested in were never found in the heavy metal or rock rooms. The chicks there were pretty scary most of the time. In the dance hall rooms were most of the goers, the hot ones who were ready. That is what attracted the Sicilian Adonis.

A few drinks in, we took up our usual observation position on the outside of the dance floor. Chicks a-flutter, everywhere…the man just had to take his pick. A few less-drunk women had already noticed him. We slowly waded into the sweaty female crowd and started to slowly get used to the music. Slightly buzzed, my inhibition fell away and I began to dance. The Sicilian Adonis did as well.

We had done this so many times in groups large and small that we rarely had to speak to each other. Body language and facial expressions were enough to report status. This operation was particularly easy as the odds were in our favor overwhelmingly…there were barely any other men around. After only a few minutes we each were dancing with women and not with ourselves anymore. The Sicilian Adonis had found a tall, tan girl with black hair and a respectable rump-shaking ability. Her frumpy friend, who found me, was dancing a bit too energetically and getting close enough that her sweat stained my own shirt. I accepted my reality and rolled with it.

Within ten minutes the Adonis had struck and was sucking face on the dance floor. How did he do this? Every time. I was now locked into the situation and my disheveled gal pal also looked ready to suck some face. She went in for the kill and I quickly juked to the right and shouted into her ear “Wanna get a drink?” She nodded eagerly and we went to the bar…I had successfully dodged a bullet there.

The bar was not particularly crowded and we were able to get drinks quickly. The music was less thumpin’ and we were able to strike up a conversation. I started with the highly original, “So what do you do?”

“I work at CNN, I’m an intern there.” That actually interested me so we started talking about her work and what she wanted to do with her life. Bad move. She thought that our conversation was not part of my wingman responsibilities…maybe that I was even interested. How unprofessional! Who knows though, she could have been playing wingman as well. Do chicks do that?

Anyway after about ten minutes of talking she grabbed me by the sweaty shirt with her meaty paws and dragged me back out onto the dance floor like a sack of dirty laundry. This girl was strong…and that might lead to issues.

We danced for over an hour and as the room got more crowded my own sweat started to mingle with the sweat she was spewing all over me. The Adonis was enjoying himself thoroughly, making out and laughing and generally being himself. If he could live his whole life making out with tan chicks and sweating 24 hours a day, he would. Who wouldn’t really, I guess…

After a solid hour of not making any moves as part of my duties, I could see that the CNN frumpster was getting frustrated (frumpstrated?) and really wanted to get the party started. She went in for a kiss again and I again asked her if she wanted a drink. This time it was much more awkward and quite obvious that I was avoiding having my face sucked by her.

We got to the bar and after getting jostled and pushed as I was supposed to, finally got a few more drinks. The time was drawing near…either I was going to have to do my duty as wingman and go all in, sucking face and whatnot, or I was going to have to disappear. Rude? Yes. But these were the cold facts.

“Why don’t you like me?!” cried the CNN frumpster into my ear. I think the music actually stopped in the dance hall too. I had never been asked this before. People in general, never mind girls, could not care less if I like them or not. I was temporarily shocked, and I pretended to not hear her, just to get a few more seconds to try and formulate a response or just flee through the crowd. Legs frozen in fear, I had no choice and had to respond.

“What?” I asked, putting on my best naïve face, which is an exact replica of the face I ordinarily have on.

“WHY DON’T YOU LIKE ME!?” she shouted again, her eyes getting all glassy.

“What makes you say that? I really like you!” I lied.

“Kiss me!” she shouted, spitting some of her drink onto my sweaty shirt. A little club soda would get that out.

“I have a girlfriend!” I lied again.

“I don’t care!” she fired back.

She was a pro. The only way I could keep from getting drawn further in to this quagmire was to get back out on the dance floor and find the Sicilian Adonis. I shouted “Let’s go dance!” ignoring her question and she actually followed me back out on the dance floor. “Born Slippy” by Underworld was playing, a favorite song of myself and the Sicilian Adonis, and of the CNN frumpster too apparently, as she began gyrating and flinging sweat and drink everywhere. This was spiraling out of control, and I could not find the Adonis anywhere. He must have been getting busy in one of the dark corners of the hall.

The whole dance floor was dancing in unison as my heart pounded. How far would I have to take this? Would I actually have to get physical with this girl one way or another? I prayed to Jesus.

Before it got too ugly, the 11 minute song finally ended and I whipped out the bathroom excuse. I found the Adonis in there by the urinals, either peeing or admiring his genitals…it was always hard to tell which.

“Oh man this chick is awesome!” he shouted. I just leered at him as I peed.

“Don’t worry, just a few minutes more,” he said.

“You want me to go back out there? Are you fucking crazy?”

“Come on I had a bad break-up, I need this,” said the Adonis.

“Fucking guy,” I muttered.

I zipped up and we returned to the dark dance hall. Both girls were waiting. CNN frumpster said “I didn’t think you were coming back.”

“I couldn’t do that to you,” I lied, and left out the part “because my friend just had a bad break-up and needs your friend’s tongue in his face.”

The music was much more subdued now so all four of us could hold a conversation. The girls asked what we did and I immediately answered that we were trapeze artists. That answer typically scared away most chicks for its sheer dorkitude. But these two started hysterically laughing and it seemed like they thought I was serious.

“Get the fuck out of here!” the tall tan one shouted. “You mean for the circus? How do you get into that?”
I was stunned, as was the Adonis. Was this ever going to end?

“You are so cute!” shouted the CNN frumpster. Crap…this was terrible. As we continued to discuss working for Ringling Brothers and the Big Apple circuses, the music picked up again. We all stumbled on to the dance floor, which had grown much more crowded. Growing exhausted and soaking wet with my own sweat, sweat from the CNN frumpster and drinks from everyone around me, I gave the Sicilian Adonis the nod. This was a five minute warning to wrap up his business and it was a firm timeline, no fucking around.

I was very excited as the dance floor continued to grow more and more packed. After five minutes, I finally was able to get lost in a crowd of strangers and extricate myself, a sticky, soggy mess. I breathed the air of sweet freedom and met the Sicilian Adonis outside the building.

“Man, that girl was cool. Got her number,” he said contently.

“That was a lot of work, she actually asked me why I didn’t like her,” I told him. “HA!” he laughed, then rubbed my head as he usually did after mild successes. “You did good.”

We went further downtown and the Sicilian Adonis bought me a gyro at one of our favorite post-dance restaurants. Looking back, I suppose that was a little less than a fair exchange for six hours of hard work. But the alternative was far worse.

Yes, it could have been worse. As each of my stories demonstrates, it is almost always worse. Ah, the single life!  Now I want a gyro…


Summer Venting

Warning: Angry female complaining coming up.

During the last two weeks of online dating adventures, I have had some very frustrating experiences.

There was GolfProSal who looks to be approximately 500 pounds and a lot younger than my dating age range. He has a pet that he poses with in all of his profile pictures. He claims she’s a dog but she looks like an extra hairy ferret. His e-mail:

Hi. I’m Sal. How are you? Whats your name? You are so beautiful. To describe myself in a few sentences is tough but I would say: I am a very sweet guy and a perfect gentleman. I am honest and loyal. Just as important as that is I am such a funny person and great with conversation as well. If you are at the point in your life where you are looking for something long term and looking for a guy that treats a woman like a lady then maybe we should chat and see if we are compatible. I am on this site hoping to find love again but this time for good; but if I only made a great friend in the process that would be nice too. I try to be laid back and don’t put pressure on things. I let the cards fall where they may. Hope to here from you soon. Ciao Bella. Sal

Oh, Sal. You seem kind. Take up something besides golf and change up the canned e-mails.

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Luvsthemthick is about 20 years older than my dating age range, and between his screen name and his message, I can tell he definitely knows how to sweet-talk a lady:

Hi names angel. Awsome pic hun. Would love to chat let me know.

(Swoon).

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It’s not like I don’t reach out to those who interest me. I winked at FunnyLawyer, who I thought was promising. He wrote back and we entered into a wise-cracking, flirty e-mail exchange. For one day. See, what happened was that he wrote back to me within a few hours, then waited about 2 days to respond the second time, and even claimed he typically is “a lot quicker” with his responses. The next two times he wrote back to me, I was in shock that he even remembered to e-mail me back because he waited 5 days, and then 7 days to send me a few sentences. I know that’s not very eye-opening or humorous, but if you feel as though you have a decent repertoire with someone and a week goes by without communication, most people would assume that either the other person is dead or they are no longer interested. No – just really difficult for FunnyLawyer to get to that e-mail. It’s not cute to act like it takes you a week to write less than a paragraph. Done talking to me? Then don’t e-mail at all!

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If that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, well you are right. However, a few weeks prior, I wasted a little bit of my life on someone whose texting habits were even worse than that. For example, he asked what I was doing for the weekend on a Tuesday evening, and I answered a few minutes later. He then thoughtfully responded on Wednesday night (24 hours later), “that’s cool.” And that was it. Very fulfilling.
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LobsterHunter sent me this detailed message:

Hey there what a smile lets talk call me LEONARD @ 212 123 4567

* Cuban2121 wrote to me yesterday, telling me in his introduction that he recently got thrown off another online dating site and that he wasn’t looking for “prudes.” He also mentions in his profile that he has “naughty pictures.”

There have been others, but the aforementioned are the ones that stick out in my mind. As I copy and paste some of these messages from the sites, a hottie noticed I was online and sent me a comprehensive introduction:

Hi.

Oy.

Selfishly, I just want to get this negative activity off of my chest. I truly wish I was able to meet potential suitors the “normal way” as so many acquaintances advise me to. I also appreciate the “don’t give up with online dating – my best friend’s sister’s housekeeper met her second husband that way!” and the “you need to go out and do activities!” remarks. They’re keeping me afloat. Clearly.

Yep, I just became “that girl.”