Mr. History Teacher

Two months into my online dating adventures, I may have actually found someone worth exclusively dating.  You may remember several weeks ago before my “Mike” situation went south fast (see: From red hot to ice cold), I was casually chatting with a few other guys, one of them happened to be a man named “Mark.”

“Mark” teaches history at a local high school.  He grew up in Chicago and seems like a genuine guy.  While talking with him several weeks ago, I decide to pursue things with “Mike” and see how it goes.  I text “Mark” or “Mr. History Teacher” and tell him about this other guy and how I wanted to see how things would progress with him.  It was nothing against “Mr. History Teacher.”  It was honestly all about timing.  And I was completely up-front and straightforward about the whole ordeal.  I’m too old to play games and I’d rather be honest because that is exactly how I would want someone to treat me.

Several bad Tinder dates later, “Mark” is still on my mind.  I think back on the conversations we had a few weeks ago…they were great.  He seemed intelligent, driven, and his eHarmony profile picture was cute.  He’s an eHarmony guy.  No Tinder this time.

I decide to take a chance and see if he is still interested.  Its been at least a month.  I figured there was no harm in reaching out to him.  What was the worst that could happen?  He would reject me or be seeing someone?  At least I tried.  And I would kick myself for not trying so I sent him a message via eHarmony.  It read:

“Hey! So I know its been a little while, but I wanted to reach out to you and see how things were going. It didn’t work out with the guy I was ‘seeing where things would go.’ He ended up being a complete jerk actually so that was fun. Anyway, I really enjoyed talking to you and was wondering if maybe you would be interested in chatting again or even getting together for coffee or drinks or something? I don’t want you to think you were a second choice…it was honestly just about timing. From our conversations a few weeks ago, you sound like a really great and genuine guy so if you’re still interested, let me know 🙂 if not, I totally understand. Hope you’re having a great week!”

I felt weird sending a text message.  eHarmony mail felt safer.  I sent that message on a Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning, I was off on assignment for work.  I had a crazy day ahead of me.

Wednesday afternoon while on location, my phone dings.  Its “Mark.”  I’m surprised but I’m also excited to read it.  It says:

“Hey!  I hope its ok that I reached out via text instead of online.  I’m sorry to hear things didn’t work out.  I’m glad to hear from you though.  I would definitely be interested in chatting or grabbing a drink or coffee with you soon!”

He’s STILL interested!  Okay…this could be good!  We text back and forth on Wednesday but I’m working on a story and he is in school.  I tell him that I’m off on Thursday and Friday and he asks me to dinner on whichever day works better for me.  We decide on Friday.  We have a date.  And I’m excited!

We still talk on Thursday and Friday before our dinner, too.  He’s taking me to an Irish restaurant.  We decide to meet there.

I pull up to the restaurant and meet him outside.  He looks like his photos online!  Yay!  He’s about 6’0 with beautiful blue eyes.  His hair is brown but buzzed very short.  He’s tone but not huge.  I like it.  I’m attracted to him physically.  We sit down and order food and drinks.  Our great conversations from a few weeks ago continue right through dinner.  We talk about our families and where we grew up.  Its nice that he’s a transplant to this area, too.  He’s been living here for almost a year so he knows what its like to be the new kid in town.

I explain the whole “Mike” story to him.  I like him and feel like there is a connection so I felt like I owed him a complete explanation.  He appreciated it.  And he understood.  3 hours later, its now about 10PM and I have to work the next morning.  He walks me to my car.  I thank him for dinner and reach up to give him a hug.  We end up cheek to cheek.  I softly tell him I had a great time and that we should get together again.  He wants to see me again, too.  He asks me to let him know when I get home.  Chivalry isn’t completely dead, ladies.  There is still hope!

I drive home with a smile on my face.  I’m so happy that he was exactly how I pictured when we started talking online and texting.  I text him as soon as I get home to let him know I made it safely and then drift off to sleep…happily.

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New guy, same Italian food

Italian food.  We get it guys…its your attempt to be romantic.  Can we start being more original now?

Guy #2 asks me out to dinner.  Let’s call him “Dave.”  So Dave seems very nice.  He’s funny over email and texts and he’s very interested in what I do for a living.

I have to push our date back a half hour because of maintenance workers fixing an array of issues that have suddenly gone wrong in my apartment and he’s flexible with the time.  Bonus points.

I arrive at the restaurant and meet him outside.  He was more attractive in his photos.  It was a little bit of a let-down.  He hugs me hello and introduces himself.  I do the same.  We walk into the restaurant and are seated immediately.

He orders a beer and I order a glass of red wine (Yes!  I feel like I can drink a little on this date).  He’s comfortable and doesn’t seem nervous.  I like that.  Confidence is sexy, guys.

The conversation is really good.  He works for a software company – in sales.  He can hold a conversation better than guy #1 – although I’m trying hard not to compare.  He tells me about his job, his family, where he grew up.  He asks me a lot of questions but doesn’t make it feel like I’m being interviewed by Barbara Walters.

The eye contact was good and I am keeping his attention.  I’m enjoying myself.

Our food is delicious.  I ordered chicken parm.  Not the sexiest thing to eat on a date but I enjoyed it.

We continue our conversation long after we are both finished eating.  Its almost 10 p.m.  We have been sitting in this restaurant now for 3 hours.

Time FLEW.  It was nice to converse with someone and it not feeling like I had to work for it.  He’s interesting.  I can look past the whole him being cuter online thing…maybe.  Can I?  Hmmm…

I don’t consider myself a superficial person but I do need to be physically attracted to someone to consider pursuing anything further.  There is definitely a little bit of a connection but I’m still not sure.  There were no tingles or butterflies.  There was fun conversation and a few laughs, though.  Yet again, I find myself torn.

We part ways for the evening.  I hug him and thank him for dinner.  He asks me to text him when I get home so he knows I made it alright – very nice.  Bonus points for being considerate.

There is a second date in the works soon.  We’ll see what happens…

First kiss, no connection, final goodbye

I’ll skip right to the juicy details of this story…

“Joe” and I go out again.  This time we walk around a park, go to dinner at a local place then head out for a couple of drinks.  He’s more talkative and he’s loosened up a little compared to our first couple of encounters.  I have 2 beers.  My limit when out with someone I don’t know.

I had a great time.  He was fun and we were laughing and the conversation was flowing a lot more.  I’m unsure if there’s a romantic connection here.  He seems like a great guy.  He has his life at least somewhat together and seems like a gentleman.  Not bad for a first attempt at online dating.

Its the end of the night.  He walks me to my car.  The inevitable first kiss happens.  I was up for it.  I had a fun night so let’s see if there’s something there…

Nope.  Nothing.  Nada.  No sparks, no fireworks, no butterflies.  I may as well have been kissing a piece of paper.

Now, I am officially torn.  I had a fantastic time but there was no deeper connection.  Did I expect to feel one after 3 dates?  Not necessarily but I did expect to feel SOMETHING.

We texted back and forth for a couple of days.  I had a crazy work schedule and other plans so my texts to him were limited.  He finally sends me a message asking if I wanted to get dinner.  I had taken some time and actually thought about where my head was with this whole situation.  I’m honest…here goes nothing…

“Listen, I want to be totally honest here.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you and I had a lot of fun the times we went out but I’m not sure if I’m feeling any kind of deeper connection and the last thing I want to do is lead you on or hurt your feelings so I wanted to tell you now before things go any further.  If you want to still get together but without the expectations that anything more is going to come out of this, I would love that but completely understand if you don’t want to do that either.  I just wanted to tell you and do the right thing.”

I’m genuinely a nice person.  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but if a connection’s not there, its not there.  And there’s no way to force one.  I don’t want to waste my time or his time.  I thought I was doing the right thing and I would definitely understand if he wanted nothing to do with me after receiving that message.  I tried to soften the blow the best I could.  I thought I did an okay job….he thought otherwise:

“You did the wrong thing by not getting to know me further.  I feel like I didn’t even get to know you besides all of the superficial stuff.  You seemed so wholesome.  I felt like I needed to sensor myself around you.”

“Well, I was 100% honest with you from the beginning.  We talked about this.  I pride myself on honestly.  If you felt like you needed to sensor yourself, that’s on you.”

The conversation continues.  I try to end it.  He asks what he did wrong. I explain that it was nothing that he did or didn’t do…there’s just no deeper feelings there for me but I had a good time with him so if he wanted to be friends…I’d be up for trying…

“I don’t want to drop this line on you because I know its probably the last thing you want to hear, but if you ever want to get together as friends without any expectations that it will ever be more than that, I would love to do that.”

“The only problem is that I’m not gay.”

“I’m not sure what one has to do with the other.”

“I’m too horny to do the plutonic thing.  How’s that for honesty?”

Ummmm….excuse me but WHAT?!  Forget trying to be friends.  Now, I think he’s a disgusting creep.  He sends me this sob story about how he’s had a string of bad luck with women and I had all of the qualities he wanted so of course I was too good to be true.

Was I in the wrong here?  If the situation were reversed, I would MUCH rather know sooner instead of later if the person on the other end felt a deeper/romantic connection.  Is that just me?  Am I in the minority of women that feel that way?

He keeps texting me saying I never really got a chance to know him.  I haven’t responded.  I know enough…

Italian food & awkward conversation

So Guy #1…”Joe” asks me to dinner.  He picks an Italian chain restaurant.  Side note: Why is Italian the go-to for guys?  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs, but I just moved here.  Take me somewhere local and authentic.

Its technically date #2 (if you count our short “meet & greet”) and I put way too much effort into what I’m wearing.  Skinny jeans, wedges, a shirt that shows *just enough* cleavage so he’s curious but not sitting there staring with his mouth open and tongue hanging out of his mouth like a cartoon character…

What men need to understand is that women put serious thought and consideration into every accessory and article of clothing we wear on a date.  We don’t just wake up looking fabulous.  We wake up most days feeling gross and disheveled and thankful that we are the only ones who have to deal with ourselves looking like we were just run over by an 18-wheeler.  We do our hair, cake on our makeup – making sure to highlight our best features, and make sure that our shoes match our purse – which doesn’t clash with our outfit.

We cram as much as we can into a tiny little clutch bag because GOD FORBID we bring a “real purse” on a date.  Men judge a woman’s emotional baggage on the size of her purse – or so I’ve heard.  The smaller the purse, the smaller the baggage.  And let me be the first to tell you…it is DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE to squeeze our “necessities” into a tiny clutch bag.  Wallet?  Forget it.  Driver’s license, credit debit card, a few bucks cash, cell phone, MAYBE a tube of lipgloss if we’re lucky.  We manage to somehow maneuver it into this tiny, toddler-sized bag and secretly hope that we NEVER have to open it that night out of fear that there is NO WAY IN HELL we are getting everything perfectly positioned in that bag again.

One final check in the mirror.  I’d do me.  Wait – WTF am I saying?  Date #2?  Down, girl.  I’m still not even sure if I like this guy yet.  Plus, in the words of Patti Stanger (aka Millionaire Matchmaker), “no sex before monogamy.”  Good rule.  I’ll abide.

I meet him outside the restaurant.  He looks nice.  Button down shirt, jeans, boat shoes/loafers.  I’m not feeling the chemistry yet, but it has been a long time since I’ve been on a date.  We’ll see.  He does not compliment what I’m wearing.  Red flag?  I’m not expecting him to fawn over my appearance but damn…I just spent more than an hour getting ready.  At least tell me I look nice.  Just a simple “Hey, you look nice” would seriously suffice.

The conversation isn’t as forced this time, but its me doing most of the talking.  He’s a good listener.  He remembers small details about our conversation the first time we met.  He’s a little stiff and nervous…and still a little awkward, but there’s an endearing quality about it.  He seems genuine and authentic.  We’re drinking water.  Part of me wished I was diving into a bottle of Pinot Noir or Chianti and that he was drinking something to loosen up a little.

Overall, I give the date a 6 out of 10.  We ended the night with a hug goodbye and he asked if he could see me again, not before telling me that my shoes made me tall.  Thanks?

I thanked him for dinner and said we could maybe work something out depending on my work schedule.

I drive home and unwind with an oversized glass of red wine.

He texts me and said he had a nice time.  I thanked him for dinner again.  We start chatting over texts a bit.  It somehow escalates to this:

“Joe” – I’m a little sensitive.  Mostly in a good way though.  But I get my feelings hurt sometimes.  Be gentle.

I now am thinking 3 things:

  1. He clearly has a vagina
  2. I would love to respond back with something witty and dirty but he may not get it
  3. I am pretty much a dude that wears a dress

WHO SAYS THAT?! Be gentle?!  I mean…women want a sensitive guy but we never want you to admit it to us after one date!  We want a manly man on the outside that actually has real feelings on the inside.  Be gentle?  Whaaaaaat?!

I’m tired so I end our text conversation but not before I click open eHarmony again and start the “guided communication” process again with a guy who would eventually become guy #2…

First eHarmony “date”…

Guy #1.  Let’s call him Joe to keep with the whole anonymity thing.  Joe and I exchange numbers through eHarmony mail and begin to text.  I’m very cautious about giving out my number but God bless the block feature on the iPhone.

Joe seems like a nice guy so we agree to take advantage of a nice afternoon and go for a walk.  I bring my dog for added protection (not really…the stupid thing is afraid of her own shadow and would drown someone in wet kisses before attacking them).  We meet at a park with lots of trails and a huge lake.

Thoughts while driving through the woods to get to agreed upon location:

  1. Dear God I hope he’s not a serial killer
  2. This would be the perfect place to hide a body
  3. I wonder how loud I can scream
  4. Am I crazy for doing this?
  5. I hope he’s hot

Legit thoughts.

I arrive first.  Take my dog out of the car and we hang around in the parking lot.  No sign of him.  He calls.  I answer.

“Hello?”

“Hey, its Joe.  I’m trying to find where you are but I don’t see you.  Which entrance did you go in?”

“The one that Siri told me to…closest to the main road.”

I’m new to the area.  I have no idea where the F I am going.  He’s from here.  Why is he asking me how to get there?

“Okay I think I went in the wrong way.  I’ll be there soon.”

Great first impression.  So now, I’m waiting…and waiting…and waiting.  Finally, he arrives.  He steps out of his car.  He’s cute.  Not HOT but he’s cute.  About 6’0, blonde, athletic build.  I could possibly get into it.

He apologizes for keeping me waiting.  I joke about how I just moved here and got there before him.  We start walking towards the lake.

The conversation is good but feels forced.  I work in television.  I talk for a living.  I don’t get nervous.  I don’t want to work for conversation.  I want the man I with who I am conversing to supply more than just a few words into our dialogue.

It gets better with time.  He seems to open up more.  I learn that he owns his own business with a friend and has been building it for the last 6 years.  Its becoming more successful and he’s working hard.

Our “date” is more of a meet and greet.  Its short.  We get to know each other a little.  We part ways and agree to continue our conversation on an actual date…I leave it up to him to decide…