Monday, July 31, 2006

Alternative dating sites, part two

A few days ago I talked about the things that should or could be asked on an alternative site. I've been thinking more about that today.

I think, for all the interests (hiking, camping, dancing) and the turn-ons (skinny dipping, particularly), one should be required to state the last time that activity was engaged in. For example, I put that I exercise 3-4 times a week. Truthfully, that is my goal. The last week in which I exercised (30 minutes of activity is my definition) 3-4 times was three weeks ago. But it's my objective. I'm lucky to work in a location where it's a 10-minute walk from my favorite spot in the parking lot to my office, so there's 20 minutes of walking a day, by default. And I frequently walk on my lunch break, so there's another 30 minutes of walking, if I'm diligent.

<Question of the day>
Why do I have a favorite parking spot, you ask. So I won't forget where I parked the car!

Moving on, we've talked about hiking. I love hiking. I did Gila Cliff Dwellings in May. I did a little bit of Madera Canyon in January and the Whitewater Catwalk in December. Prior to that, I can't even remember the last time — probably walking around the family property in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my 90-something mother three years ago. (Trust me, that's strenuous hiking. That woman is in darned good shape for 93.)

How about skinny dipping? Gentlemen, when's the last time you skinny-dipped? I have been skinny dipping once - with my friend Gay Taylor, God rest her soul, in her pool in Maitland. We were 11 or 12, I think. It was racy stuff!

<Disclaimer of the day>
A few days ago I railed at all the men who claim skinny dipping is a turn-on for them. Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. When I got home from work on Friday night, I spent 15 minutes skimming the bugs off the surface of the pool, just in case the opportunity would present itself. It didn't, but specific people have been put on notice.

And photos. How about requiring that you post the date each of your photos was taken. I put a new one up today and it's better than most of my photos. But it was taken by my almost-5yo grandson. He'd shoot one, then run off to play with his Super Marbleworks until I'd beg him to come over and try one more time. Actually, he's more professional than several people I know, including one ex-husband. (Oh, memories of the trip to Germany to visit Tyler during his exchange year just flooded over me.)

Sorry - got sidetracked there. People have dreams. People have dreams of not only who they want to be with, but also of who they really are. Trying to find the delicate balance between who we are and who we believe or see ourselves to be is one of the great challenges of this online dating exercise, as well as most of life.

Finally, how about a new free-text category of the things I've done in my life that I wish I could have a do-over for. Or maybe that's not such a good idea. I'd have a really hard time picking only one.

But maybe, just maybe, you'd learn a lot about whether the person you're interested in is capable of learning from his mistakes.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Million Little Pieces and Trustworthiness

Yesterday I Googled "match.com blog" to see if this blog would surface. It didn't, but along the way I learned an interesting fact.

Y'know how Mr. Match wonders about the women who either don't respond to his winks/e-mails, or initiate communication with him and then drop the ball when he replies? What if they're not really Match.com members looking to meet someone? What if they're shills employed by Match to further Match's bottom line by enticing discomfited members to retain their memberships? For more on this topic, read about the lawsuit.

How does this relate, for me, to A Million Little Pieces? I read the book, along with over three million other people, and loved it, couldn't put it down. When the news came out about the inaccuracies in the book, it made me question everything — every "fact" — I read. But, as I've stated before, I'm very trusting. I forgive easily. Had I not read about these lawsuits, it would never have occurred to me that every person online is less than exactly as he or she states.

I like my little fantasy world. I like looking at the profiles and wondering, again, if he could be Mr. Right. I don't like taking my blinders off and wondering if he even exists.
The Speed of Heat, part two
The Center of the Universe

Had a brief exchange yesterday with my friend, the kayaker, regarding yesterday's post. As a result of that exchange, I have to admit that maybe I don't speak for all womankind regarding wanting to be the center of a man's attention. Or maybe we all do want to be the center of someone's attention, we just want it to be on our timetable.

As Mr. Match and I were discussing this blog a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that by reading it he might better understand how a woman's mind works regarding all this dating Scheiße. He quickly replied that there is not a man alive who understands how a woman's mind works.

So my caveat is this: the opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and do not express the opinions of all womankind.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Speed of Heat

When I met Mr. Match over a glass of wine a month ago, a lightning bolt struck the table between us. I wasn't watching for it, I absolutely didn't expect it. It came out of the blue and showered sparks all over us.

One of the first things he asked me, as we settled into our chairs and began that first-date ritual, was what I wanted. I told him quite frankly that I had been seeing someone for four months and that this man was now in the Pacific Northwest for the summer and I didn't want to spend my summer alone. (And if you've been reading these posts from the beginning, you know that's now a non-issue.) I was facing a holiday weekend and wanted someone to go places and do things with. Before the date was over, I was feeling singed by the sparks! Before the evening was over, I had leaned over and kissed him. On the first date! Because he was just that darling! I couldn't help myself!!

I've grown quite fond of Mr. Match over the past month, and I think we could be quite good together for the "long haul". But it has only been a month. My life has been 673 months long; Mr. Match's has been 753. One month is nothing in that span of time. We've shared stories and dreams and many laughs, and I find myself searching for my crystal ball to see if I can relax and know that, at the least, we're going to continue seeing where this can go.

I don't think I'm pushing him to make a decision, to commit. He asks for my patience and I believe I'm giving it. I express to him my fears when they jump out to haunt me, but I'm not asking him to change his behavior in any way; I'm merely asking him to appreciate that I have fears.

I don't think I'm moving too fast. But it does remind me of the line spoken by Joe Fox's manager, Dave Chappelle's character, in "You've Got Mail" when they're talking about moving forward with relationships: "I always take a relationship to the next level. If that works out, I take it to the next level after that, until I finally reach that level when it becomes absolutely necessary for me to leave."

Yesterday I was thinking about speed in relationships. Doesn't everyone know quickly — or at least believe quickly — that a relationship is going to work? And then I started pondering the proposals I've received in my life.

The first one - well, that doesn't count. I was 18 and stupid. The next one was husband #1. We knew each other for a month, went out for a week, and then he said, "I believe God would have me marry you." Well, who was I to argue with God? I didn't really like him, but my mother had told me I'd never get a man because I was so obstinate. And in the South in the 60s, a woman's primary goal was to get married and have children, so I'd better grab this one because, God [and my mother] knows, this proposal was a fluke. (And to my sons, who were the issue of that marriage, if they're reading this: I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world!) The next two were more normal periods of time from acquaintance to love to marriage. Then there was John. His "Will you marry me" came as we were getting dressed to go to the country club for the wedding. Two months earlier we had been applying for the mortgage for our new home and the processor asked how we wanted to take title. John replied "Tenancy by the entireties." I looked at him, astonished, and said, "You know that means we have to be married." He grinned shyly and replied, "Yeah." (Recounting that story always brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.) Continuing: proposal #6, from EEFFH, came the first night he laid eyes on me, after six weeks of e-mails and phone calls. Oh, actually there has been a proposal #7, also on the first night the man laid eyes on me. But I learned my lesson with #6 and never took #7 seriously!

So I guess they weren't all that fast. And I don't think I'm in all that much of a hurry now. I just want to know I'm the focal point so I can relax.

And isn't that what any woman wants — to know she's the center of someone's attention, for that moment in time.

Mr. Match keeps telling me not to worry, to relax. And, really, I am the center of his attention for much if not most of the time — just not when he's out on match.com cruisin' (not crewsin') chicks. ;-)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Syndromes and Disorders

Surely you've noticed the abundance of syndromes and disorders that have been defined in the past, oh, say ten years. Characteristics and patterns that we termed kooky or wierd or just plain nutz thirty years ago are now reduced to an acronym and accompanied by a regimen of high-priced designer pharmaceuticals and a sympathetic shake of the head.

So how do we treat Candy Store Syndrome in grown men? Is this a syndrome that, if ignored, will disappear just as quietly and quickly as it set on? Do we need to coddle these men, give them the opportunity to sample as many pieces of candy as they possibly can until they get so sick (or bored) that they never want to look at candy again? But if they don't want any more candy, will they still want this excellent, first-rate, grade AAA delicacy that's sitting quietly by, waiting for the syndrome to pass?

My close friends know I've got a serious case of Little Adoptee Disorder. That means I'm always scared of being given away again. The only medication for this disorder is years and years of therapy, accompanied by a generous dose of Tender Loving Care.

When Mr. Right says to me that he is scared of making the wrong choice, of choosing the delicacy (me) before he's sampled every variety in the candy store, I understand. At that moment I understand. He's been in one relationship or another all his adult life, and finally, blissfully — at least I think it's blissfully — he's a bachelor. A swinging bachelor with an elegant bachelor pad, a martini shaker, and hot and cold running women. Or so he dreams.

But in my quiet moments, when I haven't seen him for a day or so, I forget to understand. I log on to Match and I see him logged on, and wonder how many women have winked at desireable him today. I start thinking about all those women out there [in my imagination] with prettier hair or longer legs or slimmer bodies. Or less baggage. And it hurts. It physically hurts, with a current of electricity running from my right shoulder down to my wrist and making me feel, yet again, not good enough, not acceptable. And as is my pattern for the past, oh, forty-five years, those feelings make me want to run away and hide.

Does there ever come a time when we don't have to compete any more, when we can just be ourselves and enjoy the companionship of one man who finds us good enough and acceptable and a joy to be with?

All I want is one man — the right one man to last the rest of my life. I don't want to be a piece of candy in a bin. I want to be dessert and entree, joy and sustenance, that lasts the rest of his life, whoever he is. I have a hard time being patient, waiting for him to appear, because another day has passed and I want to get on with Life.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Adjectives

Yesterday I reconnected by e-mail with a dear friend from the IBM Rockville days, 20+ years ago. This guy was my coffee, lunch, and crossword puzzle buddy while we were on the same programming team. We had lost touch when we moved on to other jobs, and through the magic of Google I found him again.

When I was composing another e-mail to him in my head this morning, I thought to say, "I'm seeing a really nice guy." But why would I need to qualify "guy" with "really nice". Would I date someone I thought was a scoundrel? Would I tell a friend, "I'm dating a scoundrel"? And don't I always thinks guys are nice, in fact really nice, if I get past date #2 with them?

Really, I think my friends think I'm a neat person, and I think they all want me to be happy. They all know I don't like being single and that I'm lonely, and they all wish they had some nice straight guy for me (yeah, and I had to insert "straight" 'cause I'm a musician and most of the guys I know are not straight). (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Maybe that's the problem — I'm hanging out with the wrong crowd.

So what does it take for a really nice guy to turn into a scoundrel? And why does it happen at about three months into the relationship? (Note to Mr. Match — you've got two more months to finish sifting through all those fish in the net!) Sometimes I realize it before the three month point, but I keep thinking the scoundrel characteristics I'm seeing will go away and the really nice guy will be back. Such an optimist, such an innocent! (Yeah, and I stayed with EEFFH for four years, way past the point when we all knew for certain that he was a First Class Scoundrel.)

I imagine this is where you want an example of a really nice guy turning into a scoundrel. The lawyer turned real estate investor will do nicely here. He lived about three miles from my office; my house was fifteen miles in the opposite direction. If he wanted to spend the evening with me, I'd pick him up after work and take him home with me. (We didn't spend time at his apartment because it was a D*I*V*E.) The next morning I would drop him back at his place on my way to work. Let's be clear - this added mileage and time to my commute, and made me arrive at the office closer to 9:00 than 7:00. After a couple of weeks of this routine, I said to him, "You know, you could drive yourself out at times." To which he replied, "I don't want to put the miles on my car." Ouch! I sang him a couple of choruses of "You're just not that into me" and shoved him out the door.

By the way, from the time he got shoved out the door until my next date was one year. One Year! 1/54th of my life!

So maybe the reason I want to tell my friends I'm seeing a really nice guy is: a) I can't believe I'm seeing a guy!, and b) isn't it wonderful, not only is he a guy and not only is he straight, but he's nice. Really nice.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Truth-telling, part three

Age — now there's a touchy subject. The first thing you notice on Match is a person's photo. Then you look at the age and notice a disconnect between the appearance in the photo and the stated age. If you move on to meet the person, you might learn that the photo dates from five or ten years ago. (Did you see "Must Love Dogs"? The sister writes the profile and posts a high school graduation photo. The guy says, "She's going to really be something when she grows up.") After I had posted several photos, Mr. Match pointed out the one he thought was most flattering and said I should make that my primary photo. But the photo he prefers is almost three years old, and the primary photo is [now] three weeks old.

I told you about the guy who revealed on our first date that he was really 10 years older than stated. Photos and profiles are approved by the Match administrators prior to being viewable, but the administrators don't verify facts.

Mr. Match had a brilliant suggestion. When one registers on Match, the registrant should have to submit a copy of his or her valid driver's license. (I've actually seen several guys who scanned the photo on their driver's licenses and used those as the primary photo! Ah, but they didn't scan the birthdate.)

The other suggestion Mr. Match had was that a woman had to submit a photo of the back of her hands. The older we get, the more riven our hands are with blood vessels and those darned age spots. I think he may be on to something.

To demonstrate my theory, I looked for old photos of my hands. The first photo, my law school graduation, dates from May of 1991. I was a few weeks short of 41. Look at those smooth, unblemished hands. For that matter, look at the wrinkle-free face! I took the second photo just now, with Rudi being very patient for the demonstration. Did I make my case?







And while we're on hands, why don't men's hands show wear the way women's do? I look at Mr. Match's hands, which are a handful of years older than mine, and they look much younger than mine. When I was seeing justafarmboy, I noticed what spectacular hands he had. He had spent 30 years making mud pies almost every day, and his hands looked fabulous, unblemished, young. Okay, they're two years younger than mine, but still! Is it all that dishwashing and cleaning and scrubbing that normally falls to the woman? Is it the fact that we lose our hormones in our 50s whereas men retain their hormones? Or is it so they can capture all those young chicks? Whatever the answer, it just ain't fair!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Further on truth-telling

And then there's the issue of height.

I'm 5'8". Okay, maybe 5'7-7/8". But I'm relatively tall. I've always been sensitive about being tall although I've come to enjoy it in the past few years. But I'm sensitive enough that I don't enjoy being with a man who is, say, 5'9" or less. I like to wear heels and I don't like to look down, altitudinally speaking, on a man. So my profile says I'm looking for men from 5'10" to 6'6".

It's a fact of life that we lose height as we age. All my medical friends could explain it better, but it's something about the bones compacting or losing mass or something. (Really, my daddy was a doctor; my mother a nurse. I should know these things! I was taught to say clavicle instead of collarbone, and when we were going to a ball game, Daddy would ask, "do you need to micturate?" Hey, look what reading this blog does for your vocabulary!)

Back to height. I've had first dates with a handful of men who say they're 5'10" or 5'11" or greater. I arrive for these dates wearing shoes with heels no greater than 1" in height. So now I'm 5'9" (okay, 5'8-7/8") and I'm looking these guys in the eyes or looking down on them.

Fellas! Before you craft your profile, go see how tall you are. Just because you were 6'0" when you had a physical exam at age 44 doesn't mean you're still 6'0".

Cynic that I am, if you deceive me about your height, I'm going to wonder what else you're deceiving me about.

<It is to laugh: the spellchecker on Blogger doesn't know the word "blog"!>

Truth-telling

Today I accused Mr. Match of lying on his Match.com profile. For body type, he checked "A few extra pounds." Trust me, I know guys with "a few extra pounds", and he ain't one of 'em.

Okay, so maybe he wasn't lying. Maybe he's the only person on Match, male or female, who's really telling the truth. The "body type" field is one of those with a pull-down list from which you may choose one option. The options are: No Answer, Slender, Athletic and toned, About average, A few extra pounds, Big and beautiful, Full-figured, Curvy, Stocky, Heavyset, Other. Other? With all those options, what on earth is Other? I'd certainly pick No Answer before I'd pick Other!

I said I'm About average, because I look at the obesity epidemic in the U.S. today and I'm on the low side of About average. On another site a while back, I said I had a body mass index of <25, since 25 is "overweight". Yeah, some piece of Javascript can make me feel better about my weight! Okay, my BMI is 24.3, but that's below 25! And I only fudged on my height by 1/8 inch.

And while we're talking about truths, there's the interest field on your profile. Those include a number of check boxes, so you can enter multiple interests, such as book club, coffee, camping, cooking, dining out . . . . Mr. Match says the women he notices seem to all be interested in camping. He thinks it's a little bogus, all these single women hauling their pop-up campers down to the campground and spending the weekend alone in the woods. Hey, Darlin', you missed the point. They want you hauling the pop-up and grilling the salmon and slaying the bears or shooing the javelinas.

I've checked Hiking as one of my interests. That doesn't mean I do a lot of it. It's one-hundred-and-ten-frigging-degrees. The overnight low was eighty-nine. I'm not hiking now. And I have only gone hiking twice since I moved here 6-1/2 years ago. But I love to hike. Take me back to ol' Virginny, and I'll hike your feet off. It's still an interest.

I never check Dancing, and I never wink at or respond to anyone who lists dancing as an interest. I'm a musician. I can move my booty, I just can't move it when the dance form doesn't have a downbeat that's anywhere near the downbeat of the music. (Took swing dance lessons once about three lifetimes ago. Failed miserably. And there wasn't even a final exam!)

Oh, Mr. Match did tell the truth about piercings. He said he has a pierced ear. It was that or be called "chicken" by his fellow pilots when they were on a "can we drive management crazy" kick. But to his eternal credit, he has not yet, in almost a month, worn anything in it. I figure one of these days he's gonna show up for one of our dates with some big sparkly, dangling thing hanging from it, just to get my goat.

So I'll close the truth-telling segment with a short story. There was the guy I met on Match two years ago. We met for dinner and 3/4 of the way through dinner he admitted to having subtracted ten years from his age on his profile. TEN! Silly, gullible me - I figured it was just a finger-check when he was completing his profile and he couldn't figure out how to go back and fix it. Well, we dated for a couple of months and he also could never figure out how to take his profile down even though he was dating me exclusively. (I think.) So that finger-check theory works, right? I broke up with him after I realized he liked the grape waaaaay more than I was comfortable with for someone who was going to be in my life. Oh yeah, there was the other thing — He was separated and told me he was getting a divorce. Then we went to homecoming at the UofA and hung out in the ATO tent, and he told these old buddies, "Yeah, I've got a wife and kids back in California." Ummmm, what does that make me? [If you answered "foolish", you win the prize.]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Strong men, strong women

Let's talk about men and their need to be the rescuer, the savior, the knight on the white charger.

Do all men need to have a "little woman", a woman who relies on him, who is not a survivor on her own? Am I still alone merely because I'm a survivor? Is the ever-increasing population of single women over age 50 a measure of the hardship we have endured? Am I loathe to settle for a man who cannot hold his own with me? I do know about myself that I would rather be alone than with someone for whom I hold minimal respect.

I am needy at times. Or more than that, I like to have someone to bounce ideas off, to help me make decisions. Mr. Match helped me buy new faucets yesterday. He's quite handy around the house and he looks at things like faucets and broken air conditioners from a different perspective than I. I value his input and his opinion. I'm not sure that's an indication of neediness on my part. I choose to believe that shows I'm smart enough to realize I don't know everything!

The therapist who helped me through my 30s labeled me counterdependent rather than codependent. She said I tended to refuse to rely on anyone, knowing that at least I wouldn't let myself down.

Do men over 50 seek women under 45 because those women look up to them as older, stronger, wiser, rather than as peers on an equal footing?

This whole line of thought came out of Mr. Match's continuing interactions with younger ex-fiancé who commutes to work in another city and has no friends in Tucson. He is kind to her. I fear he is being manipulated and can't see it for the good feelings he gets from being such a good guy. But then that's just my opinion, and it's strongly influenced by my having lived through a similar — if not identical — situation with my Good Husband (before he was my husband) 15 years ago (and having lost that man I loved so dearly to someone who didn't want him - just didn't want me to have him).

I do know that I don't respect a man I can push around, so Mr. Match is on his own with this one. I will be a sounding board. I will be patient, as he asks. I will not offer advice and I absolutely will not tell him he needs to nip anything in the bud. Why?: A) Because it's none of my business, and B) because I would be the only loser if I were to do so.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How do you see yourself?

Take a look sometime at the photos Match members post and you wonder what message they're trying to convey through their photos.

justafarmboy and I spoke of this once. He had about 16 photos on his profile. Several were pottery-related; one was him sitting with the elderly mother of a dear friend; two were with his motorcycle; two were from a visit to Italy with his daughter several years ago; one was of his new "office" - the Big Yellow Lemon; and one was just a casual up-close photo so you could see his face clearly. He said he was trying to convey that there were many aspects to his life and he could get along with all sorts of people.

I'm astonished to see how many men have photos of their motorcycles or fancy cars or classic vehicles. But maybe that's who they are — how they see themselves. On profiles past I had posted a photo of myself with my two beloved grands. I wanted to establish clearly that these two children are very, very important to my life and any man who thought he'd like to get involved with me had to understand that a long term relationship with me would include a long term relationship with les bebes. Then some j.a. wrote me that guys weren't looking for a grandma and I wasn't looking for a babysitter so I should remove those photos if I wanted any action on my profile. Oh, read my finger. On the current profile, I had only a couple of photos posted for a long time, and then recently included a lovely one of les bebes, their parents and me that I used for my Christmas card last year. Then added one of the three of us laughing our heads off, as that photo brings me joy each time I view it.

Maybe that's why people post photos of their pets. If you are interested in me, you'd better like cats/dogs/fish/whatever.

Several Match friends and I have discussed the women whose profiles specify they're only looking for men whose income is in excess of $100,000. Almost to a woman, the focus of their photos is their décolleté. Hmmm, are they selling it?

Mr. Match told me of one woman who posted many photos of her expensive Foothills home, implying any man interested in her had better be interested in supporting her and her lavish lifestyle.

<Soapbox on>
Trust me, people, I've had the man with money. It ain't all it's cracked up to be. I'd rather have a man with only a comfortable bank balance who treated me with respect, kindness, tenderness and love, than a selfish, lazy, disrespectful slob who was worth $50M.
<Soapbox off>

Thank God the Match censors have to approve photos before they're viewable. Can you imagine what would be out there if they didn't?!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

More reasons why

Mr. Match and I continue to discuss reciprocity of winks. He feels if he winks at someone, she should wink back. I was crewsin' around Match today, looking at the history of winks and e-mails on my account. It occurred to me that if one is winked at frequently (as is Mr. Match), it would be difficult to keep track of what profiles you had viewed, whom you had returned a wink to, whom you had e-mailed.

Match is set up so that the mailbox has separate folders for notes sent and notes received. The notes are not interleaved by sender/recipient (maybe only Gmail subscribers understand what a fabulous concept Google's programmers have implemented) so it's not easy to see what someone said to you and how you responded.

Likewise, winks received and winks sent are two separate folders, so if you're an active winker/winkee, it's hard to keep them all straight.

So, Mr. Match, if you're reading, I think you must be zeroing in on the same over-50 ladies (with the exception of me, the non-winked-at) as the rest of the over-50 male Match population, and these ladies are overwhelmed. Or their post-menopausal brains are on burn-out.

Even though they think you're spectacular (which you are), they can't keep you straight from all the other spectacular men who are winking at them. (And if you think I believe that - that I believe there is a plethora of spectacular men out there - then you owe me a hot fudge sundae!)
- - -
And I'll finish this post with a funny anecdote totally unrelated to the current discussion.

I moved six weeks ago into a charming house in midtown Tucson. I have loved this house since the first time I set foot inside last summer, and am just thrilled to be settling into my little nest. I bought the house from dear friends, Jacki and Eileen. They had bought from a lesbian couple, so the house has a history . . . . One of my new neighbors, a wife and mother, came over yesterday morning to introduce herself when she saw me outside watering. We spoke for a few minutes, then she asked, "and what's your partner's name?"

I laughed and replied, "Oh no, I'm single. But I have a new gentleman in my life and you'll see his car around. And my 5- and 3-year-old grandchildren are here a lot." She recovered quickly and said I didn't look old enough to have grandchildren. Good save!

Hmmm, are same-sex couples not allowed to have straight friends? Or is it in the plumbing of this old house — once it has housed same-sex relationships, that's all that's allowed?

It is to laugh.

More things one sees on the way . . .

Okay, kiddies, since you were so good for the last story, I'm gonna tell you another story. This is story is a sad mixture of humor and melancholy.

To quote Dave Barry, "and I am not making this up."

Once upon a time, about twenty years ago when I had fewer wrinkles and gray hairs, there was a man in my life we'll call Fred. We were on a project team together at Incredibly Big Manufacturer-of-computers company. We were friends and colleagues and then he started pursuing me romantically and I went along and we had several months of a good time together and stayed in touch sporadically through the years.

He always kept track of my birthday because it is eleven days before his (but many years after). A year ago we spoke on my birthday, and he started hinting that I should come east to visit him. After about ten days of multiple phone conversations each day, I made my travel plans. The week before my vacation, he would call me several times a day, but always at the wrong phone number. He'd call at home when I was at the office or on my cell during times when it was turned off. And if I tried to call him, my calls went unanswered. As the travel date drew closer, I grew more apprehensive. And yet I needed the vacation, so ignored my feelings.

When I arrived in Norfolk, I retrieved my baggage, then walked out to the curb where he was waiting. He watched me walking down the sidewalk toward him, but didn't realize it was me until I was standing in front of him speaking his name. He stowed my bags and we took off toward Virginia Beach. We drove on the interstate and I saw signs for the Virginia Beach exit. Two lanes were designated for the right exit toward the beach, and we were riding in the leftmost of those two right lanes. When we arrived at the exit, the two lanes peeled off, but Fred kept driving straight. After a minute, he realized he was driving on the shoulder of the road. He maneuvered the car back onto the righthand lane and started wondering aloud where the VB exit had gone. I suggested we take an upcoming exit, turn around, and go back to the VB exit. But, guy that he is, we kept going, circumnavigating the Hampton Roads area for 45 minutes until we came upon the VB exit again.

Fred had always taken very good care of himself and I knew that he walked no less than two miles each day. So the next morning, when he grabbed his car keys and asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him, I had visions of a lovely walk along the beach or, at least, the boardwalk. After five years of walking in the desert, Atlantic Ocean sand between my toes sounded pretty good. When we parked and got out of the car, he steered me toward Atlantic Avenue. I was a little disappointed, but figured when we got to the top of the walk, we'd come back along the shore. We started up Atlantic Avenue, but it was not a power walk, more of a saunter. Fred's head was always down, eyes scanning the pavement. At each side street, he'd say "I'll be right back" and walk a block out, cross over, and walk the block back. After a while I realized what he was doing; he was looking for lost coins! Every parking meter, every soda machine, every newspaper vending machine was checked for coins. Every coin was retrieved; every interesting-looking pen or pencil was retrieved. Toward the end of the walk, I was able to maneuver him out onto the beach for a couple of blocks and run down to dip my toes in the water. But the walk was all about the treasures he found. When we got back to his house, he dropped the coins into his coin jug and showed me the three large containers of pens and pencils on his kitchen counter, proudly pulling out his favorite pen find to show me.

After showering and dressing for the day, he settled down with a cup of coffee and the newspaper and I sat opposite him with a beading project in my lap. We conversed for a while, and then I noticed he was rather quiet. I looked across at him and saw he was sound asleep on the couch, 10:45 in the morning.

As the day wore on, the phone rang a few times and he never seemed to notice. If I called out, "Fred, the phone", he'd look at it, pick it up, press the "off" button, and say "Hello? Hello?", then press the "on" button and say, "Hello? Hello?", by which time the connection had been terminated. Finally I understood why he had not answered my calls — he couldn't hear them!

I asked him once if I could check my e-mail, and he turned his computer on for me and his Outlook opened. When I tried to open Internet Explorer to view my web mail, I was asked for a password. I asked him to enter the password, and he said he didn't know it. A neighbor had set up the computer for him and he didn't remember where the neighbor had put the password. This man who had a long and successful career with IBM was using his very powerful computer for e-mail and solitaire!

The next afternoon we went to the grocery store to pick up supplies and wine. As we stood in front of the wine display, Fred looked left and right, up and down. I asked what he was looking for, expecting him to answer "merlot" or "pinot grigio". Finally he pointed at a bottle of Corbett Canyon chardonnay and said, "like that, but not that one." I asked, "Red or white?", to which he responded, "No, blue." When he finally found what he was looking for, I realized this man who bragged over the years about his knowledge of wines was referring to the color of the label!

You know the saying, "everything old is new again"? Well, the moral of this story is that everything old is older than it was the last time you saw it.

Oh, in case you're wondering how the story ended, here's the "rest of the story":

I was supposed to stay five days with him, then go off to Western North Carolina to visit my mother for four days, coming back to spend one more day with him before flying back to Tucson. By the afternoon of the second day, I was text-messaging girlfriends up and down the East Coast, trying to figure a way to escape this vacation-from-hell. Using my mother's health as a ruse, I explained to him that I needed to get over to my mother's and would have to leave earlier than planned. My bead buddy Schermo came to rescue me and I spent a day with her in Virginia Beach, seeing her lampworking studio and meeting her daughters. Then she took me to get a rental car, and I headed for a two-day impromptu beading retreat with my singing and travel friend Risa in Northern Virginia. When driving back from my mother's to catch a flight out of Norfolk back to Tucson, I found a hotel near the airport and never called him again. I don't think he ever really realized I had not stayed as long as promised.

(Oh, and he had said he'd pay for my flight expenses, but I didn't have the heart to ask him for the money. I was out $500 for the vacation-from-hell.)

A month or so later he started e-mailing me again, suggesting he come to Tucson for a visit. I finally said to him, "Fred, we've both changed and moved on with our lives. I don't think that would work."

Life is funny — and sometimes sad.

Friday, July 21, 2006

An alternative dating site

I object to the fact that we who are of a certain age have to engage in marketing ourselves to get a date. It should be easier. We shouldn't have to try so hard, to compete so vociferously to gain someone's attention.

One of the common attributes across online dating sites is the "here's what's outstanding about me" set of questions. Movies I like/music I like/activities I like/my best feature. The only place where you can say what you really don't like is Match's "turn-offs".

So what I'm proposing is an alternative dating site where you say what your worst feature is. Of course, very few people agree with you about your shortcomings — we are always hypercritical about ourselves. My conversation on this subject over dinner with Rob and Sue this evening illustrated that point. We were talking about our worst physical features and personality traits. I said my worst physical feature was my hair and Sue immediately said "no". Rob said he didn't like his nose, but I didn't see that at all. And I said my worst personality trait was that I say what's on my mind and sometimes people find offense in that. But someone might counter that statement by saying that I was just truth-telling. I guess this self-examination is the inverse of beauty being in the eye of the beholder: shortcomings are in the eye of those who possess those traits.

My friend, the kayaker, states very clearly in his profile what he won't do:
What I do NOT do is watch or talk about movies or programs with senseless, and/or graphic violence.
That's important to him, important enough to lay it out there and put all winkers on notice.

Mr. Match and I were talking last night about truth-in-advertising on Match. He suggests that to be able to register and post a profile on a dating site, the potential registrants should have to show up at some office somewhere, government-issued photo ID in hand, and prove their height, weight and age. I believe they should have to show every legal document that has ever been filed: marriage, divorce, and criminal record. Are we taking the magic out of the whole equation? I tell you, there's no magic in having your heart broken.

Maybe we should also require that each person posting a profile have been through x years of therapy. We should be able to view the baggage claim checks for all that old stuff, to prove it's been dealt with.

And I'll finish with a comment on Match's turn-ons and turn-offs. I never respond to a man who has skinny dipping listed as one of his turn-ons. Guys, you've stated in your profile that you're looking for a woman between 50 and death. We're post-menopausal. It takes a lot of engineering to "move 'em up and head 'em out". Very few of us are hot for skinny-dipping. If we're nekkid, we want to be prone, either face up or face down, where gravity is our friend!

It ain't easy out here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The things one sees on the way to a lasting relationship
Probably part one of many

The inspiration for this tale was Mr. Match's reaction when I was astonished to see how neat and tidy and civilized he keeps his apartment. I told him he was unusual and he didn't believe me.

Okay, kiddies, gather up your blankies and let's cuddle up on the couch. I'm gonna tell you a story. Some of you might think it's a horror story, so beware.

There was the guy in D.C. who lived with his aging mother, caring for her in exchange for room and board. There was dust and clutter everywhere, and multiple litter boxes for the multiple cats. The living room held probably ten stacks, each around four feet high, of old magazines — some ten or more years old. His bedroom contained boxes of his possessions that he had moved there ten years earlier when he divorced and moved out of the home he and his wife shared. I presumed the clutter was his mother's and predated him in the house. We dated for about six months, and then for the following five years he still e-mailed and IM'd me, declaring his love for me. So when I was back to the East Coast, I stopped by to visit him in the home he bought near the Potomac following his mother's death. Guess what? Clutter and dust, dust and clutter. Everywhere. Some things never change.

And the retired lawyer who stated in his Match.com profile that he earned $75,000-$100,000 per year. He had moved to Tucson following his separation to buy old homes, renovate and flip them. He knew construction. He could walk into a fixer-upper and see very quickly what it would take to flip the house. His bedroom contained a box spring and mattress lying on the floor; his furniture was from the various second-hand furniture stores along Grant Road; his bathroom faucet didn't work — after using the toilet, he would walk to the kitchen to wash his hands. (I guess I should have been grateful that at least he washed his hands!)

Then there was the guy in El Paso who still had the litter box behind the kitchen table, even though the cat had died a year earlier. And paint peeling from the bathroom walls. And the toilet paper holder with only one side in place. And cobwebs hanging from the cathedral ceiling. And dust and clutter everywhere.

Oh, and let's not forget Evil-Ex-Fiancé-From-Hell. When I moved out, there were five boxes of belongings he had brought from Sweden with him and couldn't be bothered to unpack. The house stayed clean because we had a cleaning woman two days a week and me seven days a week to pick up after him. He was an amateur radio operator who had every issue of CQ ever published, a Internet guru who had every issue of Journal of the ACM and SigComm Proceedings and IEEE Spectrum. He never met a piece of paper he didn't need to keep. Oh, remember my statement above about the guy washing his hands. Well, EEFFH didn't visit a dentist once during the four years we were together. Yuck! Double Yuck!

What's my point, exactly? The male animal, left to his own devices, will adjust his lifestyle such that he can expend the minimum amount of energy necessary to stay fed and clothed. There are exceptions to that maxim. And there are women who live that way also. But I would suggest that maybe 70-80% of males live this way, compared to maybe 20-30% of females. It's not normal, people. We're not meant to live with that amount of dust and clutter.

Mr. Match, rest assured, you are truly unique.

And to my e-mail buddy who plays with telescopes, cameras, kayaks and a new electric bass (you know who you are): kudos to you for being outstanding in your gender. My one inspection revealed your house to be lovely, beautifully decorated, and clutter-free.

So the moral of the story, kiddies, is this: if you find a man who knows how to pick up after himself, you'd better hang onto him. They are few and far between.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

They changed all the rules - part 2

And then there's the issue of money!

Do you remember your first car date? I think mine was to the Winter Park Drive-In, probably preceded by a fried egg sandwich and a chocolate milkshake at the Steak 'n' Shake. Hmmm, it might have been Bobby Wade. (Bobby, where did we tell my parents we were going? We sure weren't allowed to go to movies!) But I digress. The thing was, I didn't have to take any money along. Maybe I took a brush and a lipstick, but that's all. I didn't need to carry a purse to hold all the credit cards and cash and cell phone and pen and business cards and . . . . I just took my [at that time rather gawky] self.

Bobby had to have the car keys to his aunt's car and his watch (to make sure he got me home on time) and, most importantly, MONEY. Guys paid. Guys paid for everything. Girls never thought about where the money was coming from or the inequity of the guys paying for everything. My daddy never said to me, as I was walking out the door with Bobby or Jim or David, "Do you need any money?" He knew, we all knew, the guys would pay.

<Rant on>
I remember about twelve years ago when Tyler was in college and he had a girlfriend who was, to my way of thinking, a deadbeat. He, fortunately, had a full scholarship to college, but I still had to furnish his spending money at various times when he was between gigs. (Yeah, music runs in the family.) And this girlfriend, the barrista, couldn't seem to find or hold a job, and Tyler, being my son, was generous with her and trying to meet her needs. I was holding down a full- and two part-time jobs to support myself, provide his needs, and continue paying on my law school loans. And every time I saw something else she had "needed" that Tyler had provided, I grew more resentful. The pockets of Tyler's jeans were actually an extension of my pockets, and I didn't appreciate her hands digging down into my not-so-deep pockets! I was holding down three jobs, for crying out loud. Why couldn't she hold down one?!
<Rant off>

For the past 25 years, since my first divorce, I have been obsessed with completely taking care of my own needs, of not relying or depending on anyone. In all my divorces, I have walked out with basically what I had walked in with. There were no protracted legal battles over possessions or alimony or support. In fact, I paid child support to my first husband when we divorced, even though I was making a mere $10,000 at the time. Y'know, if I included in my online profiles the fact of how easy all my exes go off, I'd probably have far more winks. Fellas, I didn't get wealthy or even comfortable off the backs of ex-husbands.

But this also makes me very leery of moving into another marriage if there's the slightest shadow of a possibility of future divorce on the horizon. I've started over too many times in my life; I fear I'm too old to start over again. No matter how financially comfortable I get, what degree of success I achieve, there's always that ever-present fear of becoming a bag lady.

So back to the rules about money. How do you decide who pays? Do you opt for full salary disclosure on date #x and then try to apportion the costs equally? Do you determine that whoever chooses the restaurant, pays, and whoever cooks, shops? Do you alternate paying, but then if the guy earns twice what I do and he always gets the nights at McDonald's and I always get the nights at McMahon's — well, that doesn't work either. Do you try to be a little less obsessive about it? (Hey, there's a novel concept!)

Mr. Match and I went to a barbeque and fireworks at a local resort on July 3rd. I tried to broach this topic with him as we were standing in line for our dinner. Of course my intention was to say, "I'll get this, 'cause you got last night." But when I placed my order and then turned to him, he said to the cashier, "No, these are separate." I was shocked. I don't even know why I was shocked, but there it was. There was the sense that I should have just kept my mouth shut and let things work themselves out. That maybe I had offended him.

We haven't discussed it since. I try to occasionally ask, "Can I take you out to dinner?" Or I try to make sure I buy groceries and cook on a regular basis to shoulder a part of the burden. (And those of you reading this who know me well know that I pride myself on not cooking, that I laughingly brag about collecting husbands who cook rather than cooking myself. "Only 24 hours in the day and I'd rather spend them slaving over a hot sewing machine than a hot stove.")

I don't know the answer. I don't know the best way to handle it. I just know somebody changed all the rules and it's a whole new world out there!

(And a thank you to Tyler for tonight. He and Jaci invited me to join the babies and them for dinner at a local restaurant because tonight's storm had blown out their power. When the bill came, he graciously said, "He with the fewest mortgages wins." That would not be me, who made three mortgage payments last week!)

They changed all the rules

Somewhere between when I started dating as a teenager and now, somebody in the universe changed all the dating rules. Dating is hard enough when you know what's expected of you, but to try to navigate the waters of Getting To Know You while trying to figure out how to operate the boat; well, it's doubly difficult.

<Boring Historical Data - feel free to skip this paragraph>
I married when I was 21 and divorced when I was 31; met husband #2 less than a year later and remarried when I was 33, divorcing at 38. Met John six weeks later, moved in with him after knowing him about 3-4 months, and spent two wonderful years with him until he felt someone else needed him more than I. Met Emotionally-Unavailable-But-Crazy-About-Me Emil a couple of months later and "went steady" with him for about a year. (Maybe I'll devote a future post to coining new phrases for all those stages-of-dating labels from high school.) Met husband #3 about four months later and remarried when I was 42-1/2, divorcing when I was 45. (Do you see the pattern: 10/5/2.5/. . . ?) The very day John heard #3 and I had separated, he started calling daily and multiple times each day and didn't stop for six months until I was under his roof again. We married when I was 46 and he died when I was 48. I met Evil-Ex-Fiancé-From-Hell just over a year later and spent four traumatic years with him. It took me two years to recover from the unexpected blessing-in-disguise of his dumping me with no notice, and just in the past six months have I felt like I was human again. (And here I salute my son Tyler and DIL Jaci for lavishing so much loving care on me for those two years to help me recover.)
<End of Boring Historical Data>

So the point of all that is to say that I feel like I've been married forever. (When sharing stories with new acquaintances, I always laughingly say I was married for 20 years, it just took me four tries to get them all in.) And when being partnered with a significant other is the only way you know how to live, it's hard to meet someone, feel instant rapport and a chemical explosion, and then figure out how to "date" when the "I know how to do this" part of your brain wants to move directly into a monogamous, committed relationship.

Mr. Match and I have seen each other 16 out of the 20 days we've known each other (but who's counting?). If we were in high school or college, that would be the equivalent of having known each other about three or four months. But we're adults, and we already had busy lives before meeting each other, and now we have to figure out how to balance all our other activities while feeding the desire to spend time with and get to know this new person.

There's something about this relationship, this time, that lets me feel comfortable and secure. (Yes, he has been allowed/forgiven his "all the fish in the net" comment.) The togetherness vs. apartness feels good. I was sick yesterday afternoon/evening, and Mr. Match wisely suggested we skip getting together last night. And that felt fine. It feels like — with this thoughtful, self-secure, mature man — I might have a partner in decoding the new rules and determining how to build a strong relationship.

Somebody please slap Cramer's button that plays four measures of the "Hallelujah Chorus".

Monday, July 17, 2006

What do they think we are?

At the same time I put my profile on Match a month ago, I also reactivated a profile on Yahoo Personals. It's much more "normal" than my Match Haiku profile. The headline is "Can't Dance, Don't Ask Me" and the intro continues, "But I do many other things well" and goes on to talk about music, computers, and art interests.

I have had zero-nil-nothing-no action on that profile in the month it's been live.

Oooooh, until yesterday. I received an icebreaker yesterday (Yahoo's equivalent to Match's winks). The man (okay, boy) who sent it is a 37yo Tucsonan, whose profile reads:


First, I would offer that this "man" doesn't understand what most women are looking for on online dating sites. Second, I would offer that this "man" doesn't even understand women! I do not personally know a woman who wants a no-strings-attached encounter; it's not in our nature. And, even if I were looking for a no-strings-attached encounter, online is NOT the venue I would choose.

Oh, yeah, the guy's Yahoo screenname is "wellendowed". Whatever.

P.S. I mentioned this interaction with Mr. Match at dinner last night (BTW, Mr. Match can cook! Really cook! No holds barred!), and he said he felt he needed to apologize for his gender in general.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Men of Courage

Mr. Match and I went to a local bar last night to hear a band play. The oh-so-talented drummer is a colleague of his from work. Several of Mr. Match's colleagues were present at this very fun evening.

Now let me set this up for you: Mr. Match and I have been dating for only 17 days (although it feels like much longer in a very good sort of way), and he was willing to introduce me to these people he works with every day. Do you even know how unusual that is? Trust me — she who has been around the block a few times can avowedly tell you that's unusual. I assert that it takes great courage to introduce the new-girl-in-your-life to the people in your work-life, no matter how old the relationship is.

And he held my hand in front of these people. And he leaned over and whispered (okay, yelled - the music was loud) in my ear that I looked fabulous.

How many synonyms for Keeper are there?

P.S. If you ever get an opportunity to hear the band East2West, grab it!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Online Dating Etiquette

Mr. Match and I have been discussing the etiquette of winks and e-mails for members of online dating sites. He gets lots of winks. I get few winks. In fact, I got a mercy wink from a friend the other night!

Okay, let's go to a sidebar here:

<sidebar on>
If you've never been on an online dating site, let me explain a little of the format for you. There are several ways to search: One can push a button that says "Mutual Matches" and find people who have checked on their profile similar attributes to what you have checked. A second button is labeled "Reverse Matches" and finds the men who have said they desire in a woman the attributes you've checked. Or you can search for men between the ages of x and y within z miles of a specific zip code or city. The software then scores these matches — you're 80% compatible, you're 67% compatible, you might as well forget it. Okay, so I made that last one up. When these matches come up, you see the photo of the person, if he has posted a photo, and you see the first 135 characters of his introductory statement.

Maybe the reason I get so few winks is my intro starts with my Haiku verse (see below). Unless a man is a literary wonk (or really entranced by my photo), he's not gonna click on my intro to read the balance of the bio. (Ooooh, Mr. Match is lookin' better and better here, isn't he?! He clicked, read, and winked!) Mr. Match's intro, on the other hand, begins "I'm a retired [brain surgeon / astronaut / Supreme Court justice] . . .", his chosen career indicating money and status and desireability. (C'mon, I'm not going to reveal to you what he really said and let you snag this keeper away from me!) I maintain that if he started his intro with "I'm a nice guy who has led an interesting life and will treat you like a lady" (which, BTW, is 100% true), he would get very few winks. On the other hand, he is very handsome and his photos show that and he could start his intro "I'm a dufus" and still get winks because of his photos. (See earlier post below regarding the winks that are based solely on the image portrayed in the photos.)
<sidebar off>

Back to the discussion of etiquette:

When someone winks at you, you receive an e-mail indicating that fact. You then have three options, you can wink back, you can e-mail back, you can generate a stock response that says "no thanks". Oh, the fourth option: you can ignore the wink. If you are a dues-paying member of the online site, you can e-mail other members, regardless of their dues-paying status. But people who have not paid the membership fee cannot e-mail, they can only wink. And e-mail addresses are not visible — it's an anonymity server — so I cannot just e-mail the person offsite.

So if I wink at someone, that indicates I'm interested. If he either winks back or e-mails me in response to my wink, one would think I would respond to his response. Mr. Match's experience is he winks or e-mails the winkers whom he finds interesting, and then hears nothing back from them. He asks me to explain this phenomenon and I don't have an answer. I'm too polite. If someone winks or e-mails, I respond, even if it's to say "no, thank you." I suggested the person had not paid the membership fees, which would explain a non-response if the person had winked, not e-mailed. But that doesn't explain an exchange of e-mails with no response. I said maybe she found someone else in the interim, to which he replied, "but it was only an hour from her wink to my e-mail!"

So I don't know the answer. Maybe there are too few Southern gentlemen/ladies out there, especially out here in the desert. Or maybe he's so cultured and educated and suave that the recipient of his e-mail was just knocked out by his missive and couldn't find the words to respond. (Hey, maybe the fates are guarding my interest in this keeper!)

Or maybe, just maybe, our Match.com cohorts are just people whose mamas never taught them to be polite.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Further, on ellipses:

Lynne Truss, in Eats, Shoots & Leaves, states the proper uses of the ellipsis to be specific and few:

  1. To indicate words missing . . . from a quoted passage

  2. To trail off in an intriguing manner . . .
Gentlemen, I am not intrigued.

(And before you peg me as an anal-retentive witch, please note that both these posts were written with a smirk and occasional grin.)

Okay, let's talk about ellipses

Guys, an ellipsis has a purpose. It is not to be used because you can't figure out the appropriate punctuation mark for a sentence.

Let me give you examples of some of the profiles on Match:

  1. STILL LOOKING, FOR YOU... I BEEN TOLD I GET BETTER WITH TIME.. DROP ME A LINE AND WE CAN TALK. DON'T BE SHY LIKE ME.. JUST DO IT...
  2. ... Moving to the beat of that ... different drummer ... often finds me on those roads less travelled, making my way through life the best way I know how ! ...
  3. I'm in search of my female counterpart...A compadre...my soulmate...
  4. I'm a doll...witty, good looking, entertaining... and, obviously, I must be conceited!

I copied these verbatim. I did not edit them to prove my point. There are more, so many more, but I'll stop here. And I double-checked as I pulled these quotes; these men have all gone to college, maybe not graduated, but at least attended college for some period of time.

Okay, I know the "people in glass houses" axiom. And I know I can get sloppy or cutesy at times. But guys, you're trying to make a good impression here. Get with the program! (And you know #1 gets extra demerits for SHOUTING.)

(Oh my gosh, I just Googled ellipsis, and Wikipedia tells me:

An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence. Ellipses are sometimes used in this manner for internet chat, email, and forum posts.

What on earth have we done to the English language with our "internet chat, email, and forum posts.")

Okay, I'll get off my high horse. Just don't expect me to tell you I've fallen for some man whose Match profile included 73 random ellipses.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Winking Good Time

A couple of days ago I mentioned that Mr. Match (who, BTW, reminds me of Mr. Big in looks, words, and general demeanor -- okay the good parts of Mr. Big; I've seen no bad parts in Mr. Match so far) had told me about all the winks he's getting and how he feels the need to explore them all before settling down. This morning I awoke to e-mails from best male friend 1,800 miles to the north and dearest high school male friend, 1,800 miles to the east. Last night there was an e-mail from a Match interest 2,600 miles to the northeast.

It occurs to me that maybe Mr. Match's thoughts of sampling ain't all bad. I have no intention of running off 1,800 or more miles in any direction, but at my advancing age (geez, how did this happen?!), I am enjoying the attention, the varied nature and conversations of these various relationships, the self-examination I practice when corresponding with these men. Just as Mr. Right doesn't want to get "trapped" in a r'ship where he has to account for all actions and words (he doesn't know me well enough yet if he thinks that's how I operate), I don't want to be in a position where I have to or need to stop any of these treasured communications with old friends.

Just as I feel Mr. Match shouldn't be threatened by these communications, maybe I shouldn't be threatened by his sifting through "all the fish in the net". He did say to me that actions speak louder than words, and he spends most every evening in my company, so there you go.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Modes of Communication

Let's be real clear here. Just because your relationship began online and your first communication was either a wink/icebreaker or an e-mail, that doesn't mean it's okay to terminate the relationship via e-mail. That ain't right. There's no way to adequately measure how disrespectful that is to me, after four-plus months of being involved with me. Even a self-proclaimed "justafarmboy" should know better.

I know all the verses of "It's His Loss" by heart, and I'm sick of singing the song.

It is to laugh!

As further substantiation of what I wrote yesterday, I received an e-mail through Match from a 42yo man in Santa Monica. The note contained no evidence that this boy had been awake through high school English classes—written all in lower case, grammar and sentence formatting were missing, and much was written as if he were text messaging - u instead of you, r instead of are, 2 instead of two. Gentleperson that I am, I wrote a brief but kind message back saying I wasn't interested in starting a long distance relationship. He wrote back:
hello baby i do love ur profile and i would love to know what it takes to to come closer to u or be ur friend any way

At that point I went and looked at his profile again, and noticed that he stated he was looking for men. MEN! Do I look like a man?!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

In the Eye of the Beholder

I have been told that men are visual beings, that they respond to what they see, not what they know. Does that explain why a man will see a photo of a lovely woman, but not read the attached profile, not respect her wishes regarding height, weight, smoking, and so on? Is he just so intent to have that vision of loveliness attached to him in any way possible that he totally disregards the balance of her profile? In my opinion, that is either sheer and utter self-centeredness or ignorance or both.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Parallel Monogamy

Are all men just immature little boys? Do they all think they are in a candy store where women are concerned, and that women have no more feelings than the peppermint or butterscotch between which they are choosing?

If a man begins developing a significant relationship with me, spends time almost every day for a week-and-a-half with me, calls me morning and night, he shouldn't then think I'm going to welcome with abandon his statement that he received winks from five women online and wants to go check them out. How is that supposed to make me feel?!

If that man thinks our relationship has promise—no, great promise—then he should be willing to focus on that for a certain period of time, x weeks or x months, to see if it will fly or crash. Then if that doesn't work, go back and check out all those other women. Trust me, they'll still be there.

All that said, I do have to reaffirm my belief that everything in the universe works out the way it should. I'm working hard to learn more about myself and take care of myself, so maybe this 10 days in heaven with Mr. Match was all about learning what I will no longer tolerate (up with which I will not put). I'm not his mother, to pat him on the head and say, "Okay, Sweetheart, go play with all your new friends and I'll be waiting here at home for you when you get tired." Enough with the codependency!

If Mr. Match is, indeed, Mr. Right, then my taking a stand and taking care of myself should merely increase his respect for me.

One can only hope. It sure seemed promising.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Haicues

Evidently NM doesn't want to correspond if there's no chance of a date. I base that presumption on the lack of Haiku communication from him since my last verse to him. Anyway, he hadn't posted a photo; it is said of men who don't include photos in their profiles that they're probably married or in a "committed" (yeah, right) relationship and don't want their significant others to realize they're out cruisin' chicks.

One must wonder about a man (or woman) who chooses to pursue an extracurricular relationship instead of fixing the relationship at hand. Yeah, okay, I've been there and done that, but - past age 50 - I would expect people to have learned and do better.

I guess of the two analogies, the "grass is greener" must win out over the "bird in the hand" every time.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Haikute

I recently posted my profile on Match.com (yet again) to try to find a man to do things/go places with this summer. Tired of the same ol' same ol' of "about me" in profiles, I decided to deviate from the norm in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. My favorite newspaper is The Washington Post, and I especially enjoy Style Invitational and Autobiography as Haiku in the Sunday Style section. Having learned a little about Haiku from my son T.J., I gave my profile the subject line Life as Haiku, and started out like this:

Couples ev'rywhere
Life is short; why walk alone?
Share the joy and pain.

Friendship first, then love
might be around the corner.
Shall we try once more?

Within a couple of days, I received an email from a Nameless Man with the subject line I almost missed the first Haiku in here. His response:

Tucson's Best Lady...
Hidden On A Match Com "Site"...
How To Find Her Heart ?

For Many Are Here,
But Their Big Drawbacks I Fear
LUCK !! Throw Down A Start !

I was thrilled to have a Haiku response, so turned around:

Good men: hard to find.
Smart men are even scarcer.
Who wants to be bored?

I sought to stand out
within the crowds of sameness.
Success could be mine!

Later T.J. told me I goofed. As my Haiku partner rhymed the last lines of each verse, I should have replied in kind.

A couple of days later, Nameless Man responded:

Tucson's Best Lady
Brimming with style and good charm
Dare we stare at HER ?

Solution to that :
Set a piano on stage.....
Pay HOMAGE: (That's fine!)

My full response:

Hmmm, piano as three syllables. I've always considered it two, but I'll give you three. I should run over to m-w.com and see what their take on the subject is.

When Adam Guettel was writing the music for The Light in the Piazza, he sang one of his proposed lyrics for someone who spoke Italian. "The light in the pee-ah-zah". The listener replied, "That's fine, Adam, but it's PYA-zah."So now I'll take artistic license with what I just said, and use it both as two syllables and three.- - -

Men propose to me
When I play the piano.
Wanting to possess?

Of me it is said
I make love to the piano;
It's what I do best.

In a separate e-mail, I told NM that I was hiding my profile as I had met someone and wanted to focus on that potentional relationship for a while.

He responded:

Tucson's Best Lady....
Has Been Snagged By A New Foe ! ! !!
Grrr, Grrr, Grrr, Boooooo, HISSSSSSSSSSS !!!

And I countered:


Okay, you've got to admit that was not your best effort!

Chemistry! Magic!
Who could predict quick access
to my lonely heart?

Stay tuned . . .