Getting to know someone without a physical presence is complicated. It’s funny how – in this age of technology – there’s been a resurgence of the time-honoured tradition of letter writing. Yup. Pen pals are back.
I didn’t go into the online dating scene thinking it would challenge my writing chops, but in fact it has. So far I’ve had (am having, I think) two relationships based purely on the written word.
Bachelor #1, Right Stuff Guy, is a sports-oriented but courteous and gentle type. We’ve been texting off and on since Week 1. His interests include snorkeling and cliff diving. He’s a respiratory therapist with two daughters, whom he obviously adores. He works in a sleep lab, which sounds really interesting. He’s 50.
Bachelor #2, Ottawa Tall, is a tall (6’3″) pun-loving guy, with whom I’ve been enjoying a vigorous exchange in email since last Friday. He’s interested in stand-up comedy and films. He’s proudly 1/8th Iroquois on his Great Grandmother’s side (which possibly accounts for his great hair). He works at the Mint. He’s got a daughter and two sons (all tweens and teens) that he hasn’t told me anything about yet (possibly due to some scruples on his part, so no judgement here). He’s 42.
Both these men I’ve seen only in the pictures they’ve posted online. I’ve never heard either’s voice. I’ve never been in the same room with either of them (as far as I know – lol). I don’t know for sure that Right Stuff Guy isn’t actually a smoker, or whether Ottawa Tall maybe has a roving eye (Oooh, Butterfly, so unfair of you!). I don’t know how either of them actually smells. And, in the odd way this internet age of dating works, I would say either of them could be a future love interest. Without ever having met them.
Or maybe neither of them is. You never know. I could be being filtered out as we speak. It’s a very fluid situation.
A couple of weeks back I was all excited about this guy named Loven. Loven was an amateur comedian (read “stand-up with a day job “ here, or “guy who shows up at open mike nights and gives it a whirl “ , if you like). He had a banner going across the top of his profile, announcing the dates of the next two Open Mikes he’d be at. I messaged him.
“Where’s Club XXXX? I might come out.”
He quickly messaged back. Address of club, but in a friendly way. Because of how the dating site works I can see he’s been checking my profile before replying. I message again.
“Okay. That’s on a Sunday. I’ll be there.” Or some such.
Loven replies again: “How will I know you?”
Well, that IS promising. I was totally thinking to just come out and support an amateur performer who has the guts to put himself out there like that, in his online dating profile of all places. After checking out my profile, however, he’s upping the ante. He’s interested.
Now I’d been thinking if his act makes me think he’s too much of a weirdo or I don’t like the cut of his jib I can cut out no problem before he even has time to see me. But now I’m flattered. His pictures show a very good looking man of 50. Not tall, but exceedingly attractive. I message back.
“I’ll wear a bright coloured top. Coral coloured.” What started as a friendly interest is quickly shaping up to be a potential date.
All this went down that first Tuesday, my day of being a Top Spot girl. After the exchange, I felt buoyant, elated even. Online dating was easy. The week progressed. Loven viewed my profile several more times, but didn’t contact me again. I’m thinking maybe – later in the week – I’ll message again, just to confirm we’re on for a drink or whatever, after his show.
Loven messages me Sunday at 3 pm. Just as I’m going into my coffee date with Stan. His message read as follows:
Hi BF Just wanted to mention that I recently met someone and I want to see where it goes. Feel free to come and enjoy the show if you wish but I won’t be able to socialize. Thanks.
Now this message raises more questions than it answers. Loven’s either waited 6 days (from Tuesday to Sunday) to tell me that, or he’s met this “someone” (or, possibly, just decided about her) only today. He could have at least let me come enjoy the show without making it weird. What could a quick “Hello”, or even a handshake, have hurt? I wasn’t exactly planning to jump on him.
By now I’m pulled over in the parking lot of a mall, discussing the pros and cons of still going out, just for fun, with my best friend Janet. Outside the car a snow storm is swirling around me.
“Honestly, it’s probably not worth the trouble in this weather,” she is saying, “but, if you still want to go, I’ll go with you.”
I don’t want my best friend to do that, all the way from her end of town, in heavy snow. With a sigh of resignation I turn my wheels for home. She’s probably right. He’s not worth it.
It leaves me wondering about Loven, though. He’d viewed my profile on Sunday again. Probably just before messaging me. I imagine him looking at my photos, trying to decide if I’d be worth cheating on his new girlfriend for. Ew.
Or possibly he’d been caught, still cruising the dating site, by this new lady friend. Maybe she’d stood over him, forcing him to message me and cancel our meeting. Perhaps he’s being bullied about, and by some woman he’s barely met. That’s not making him more appealing. I’m picturing a pretty spineless guy either way.
Anyhow, he was the one who had turned the whole thing into a “first meet”. I was just out for laughs and chicken wings. Supporting a fellow small time performer.
This week I’m wondering if the whole “NOT being a total sport and going out to see Loven anyhow ” thing has created some bad karma. My two Bachelors ask me out on dates, then they both cancel. Yes, both Right Stuff and Ottawa Tall have done this to me now. So, although I’ve been asked out 3, maybe 4 (should I count Loven?) times already, I’ve only been on one actual date. With Stan.
Okay, 5 date asks. One-Eared Andy asked me to take ballroom dancing with him. Lol.
Right Stuff initially mentioned Spa Nordic. While I chat to RS, I’m juggling another text convo with Janet. “He’s about to ask me to Spa Nordic!” I squeal in text.
“Not really a first date kind of place. In bathing suit? Lots of secluded areas for pools and parking,” my level-headed best friend messages me back. “Third date maybe?”
Next day I text with Right Stuff and we agree to do our first meet at Centrepointe, planning to go for a skate together, then grab a panini. It sounds wonderful. After we book it I realize I’m supposed to be having some work done at the house that day. I don’t cancel the date, though. Not even the next day, when I wake up wheezing.
RS cancels the date. His message is short. “Sorry BF, Bun Bun [his youngest daughter] is sick and her mom is working tomorrow. We will have to make it another time.”
I don’t hear from him for a few days, then “Sorry for being incommunicado. I got what Bun Bun had. Yuck. Not feeling very datish. Its almost done. Bun is back at school.”
Another long intermission (days). I send two short texts (both basically say ‘hope you’re feeling better’). I see him on the dating website during the week. He’s viewing my profile once more. This Friday we have a short conversation in text, but – by then – I have been juggling my own children’s ailments for the past 3 days and am feeling tired and sicky myself.
RS seems to be very touched by my care for my children. He sounds impressed on Friday that I am spending some time alone with Booba after the school called me at 1 PM to come get him. Boo’s not really ill – his tummy ache has more to do with bullying than bacteria – but he still needs some Mommy time. I like that RS likes me for that (even though I’ve been revisiting his profile pictures as well and he’s not that great looking. I also have some reservations as he is not forthcoming in the profile about whether he smokes or not…). Still, the fact that he is a really caring dad (which has come across clearly in our chats) is a very attractive quality.
Since Friday I have not heard from him.
On Thursday evening I receive an unexpected message, courtesy Site 2 (site which I previously dissed on this very blog). “Ottawa Tall is interested” the first message reads. Then “Ottawa Tall has sent you a message.”
A week or so ago, before I caved and joined Site 2, there was a day when Site 2 said I could send a number of messages for free. I picked some promising-looking guys (surprisingly there were a few) and sent fairly simple messages that said, more or less, that I was interested in talking with them a little more but unfortunately not interested in paying for a membership on the site. I’d left my email address (the website blocked it out, but sent the messages). The next day I’d forgotten all about this. Ottawa Tall was the best of this bunch – and now he’s messaging me back!
Well tonight is free and since I don’t have a paid subscription either I wanted to take this opportunity to reply.
At the end of this message he carefully spelled out his email address in such a way (all in words at Butterfly was dopey dot com) as to survive being redacted by the Site’s computer. I’m not entirely sure what to say, but I take a stab at it and email him back.
Soon we are emailing up a storm. Each of his emails tells me a little more about him and gives me a tantalizing taste of his voice and character, while asking all kinds of wonderful leading questions to keep the conversation going. Even though I feel tired and sick and the kids are whiny (especially Lou Lou), I’m really enjoying the exchange. 4 emails go back and forth on Thursday (I press send on my last at 1:35 am. No wonder I feel tired on Friday!). 6 on Friday. 6 more on Saturday. In the second exchange we agree to meet for coffee at 11 am on Sunday. In the meantime, we keep talking anyhow.
He asks me what I like to laugh at, since I mentioned I laugh a lot. In my long winded reply I mention that I sometimes laugh at “the way my kids see the world. It’s weird and refreshing.” When he emails back he says “See the world in a weird and refreshing way? Like pumpkin flavoured kool-aid?” I LOVE this. The more we talk the more fun it gets.
I like him. Or maybe it’s how he makes me feel. He’s easy to talk to, smart and funny. We like a lot of the same shows, comedians, and films (Galaxy Quest! I can’t believe it!). I like that, even though he has kids, he’s a bit closer to my own age (a couple years younger than me actually). It feels like it has real potential. He works at the same employer as the husband of a good friend. I’m looking forward to telling him about this connection, after we’ve been seeing each other for a while of course. I wonder if he will mind that I don’t dye my hair. I’ve been slowly letting it fade to silver the past 3 years. Suddenly I don’t want to look or feel so old. I wonder if I have time to get it coloured before Sunday.
I’m falling in like.
Saturday evening comes and I take a bath and go to bed clean for a change. I use some leave-in conditioner in my hair and don’t forget my moisturizer. Sunday morning I am up and getting ready with the clothes I’d carefully planned when – at 9 am – my cellphone suddenly starts to ring. It’s an 819 (Quebec side) number I don’t recognize.
“Hello, Butterfly speaking,” I say. I try to sound cool, but I’m wondering if it’s Tall. Although the caller is definitely a tall man, he’s not the one I’d first had in mind.
Pierre-Paul needs a page turner for a piano trio today. Mendelssohn and Debussy. It’s very, very last minute. Can I be there for a concert at 11 o’clock?
I say Can I call you back? and let him go. This is kind of a mess, but maybe it’s a sign or something. Maybe I should just come right out and say “I trust you. I like you. Want to come to a concert today and meet my friends?”
Just as I’m about to call him I notice a new email message. I dial his number anyway, but hang up after 5 rings. Then I check the email message and feel like crying.
Hey Butterfly,After giving it some thought I think we should chat online a bit further before we meet in person.Your earlier response gave me pause. The impression I got was that you might think that I was coming across as creepy or a player of some sort (keeping a rating system, filing you under categories…) and that is definitely not what my motives are.I think it would be good if we got to know one another a bit more before we actually meet, as to avoid any anxiety about motives and intent.I hope this is ok with you
The email is time stamped 1:49 am. It looks like he was up late, possibly agonizing over how to put this.
Me and my big mouth. I tease too much. I wish I hadn’t even noticed him giving the emails those subject names now (“Corresponding with Butterfly”, “Butterfly responds” and – my favourite – “Butterfly awaits”). I pushed it too far. I wish I’d never mentioned it.
I go turn pages for the lovely pianist, even though I forget my reading glasses in Ottawa. I reflect that – if it weren’t for preparing for the called-off date with Ottawa Tall – I probably wouldn’t have been fresh as a daisy and wearing my Simon Chang “date-night jeans”, all primed and ready to go for an 11 am gig. After the show I have lunch with my friends. Then I return home. Tall has sent another “conversation continuing” message, but it’s an incredibly short one. I wonder if it’s half-hearted. I email back anyhow, feeling sheepish and pathetic.
I was planning to call this post “A Tall Refreshing Glass of Pumpkin-Flavoured Kool-Aid”, but – sadly – things once again did not turn out the way I planned. I’ll keep you posted, though.