Posts Tagged ‘internet dating’

This is a story from a dear friend of mine. We were recently emailing each other back and forth. She had just signed-up for some dating sites and was nervous, and rightly so. She knew of my experiences in this field, so I’ve been coaching her along as best as I can.

This is her email to me. I knew it had been a bad date but she decided to tell me her story via email. I’m glad she did because she gave me permission to post it. I didn’t start laughing until finished reading it because…my jaw was dropped too far down my face to make a sound.

My friend is a wonderful, smart, gracious woman who has found herself  in the situation of wanting to date again and not knowing how to go about it. When you read this, keep in mind how nice and sweet my friend is. She hates to hurt anyone’s feelings, as most of us do. When we go silent on a date, you’re done for. I advised her to just not respond back to this man and let it die the death it needs too. She lives in the UK and anyone would be proud to know her, such as I am.

Men – take note. You have a very rare opportunity to be privy to a real conversation between two women discussing something that we would never let you know about – MEN.

Here are her words:

“My ex has IBS” and other things maybe not wise to say on a first date.

Well I did it. After years of being on my own I joined an internet dating site (or 3). I’m lonely and need someone to have a drink with who I may possibly end up snogging the face off of. Hey it may be even more, at the end of the evening. With any luck.

Ok so after a month or so on the site(s) I finally got a bite (in a manner of speaking). Amongst all those with names like “nicebum” “Icanmakeuhapy” “lookin4me?” “wannaplzu” and “cum&getme” and those who can’t string a sentence together I found Mike. Mike  seemed fine. We chatted for a couple of weeks or so. Most days. OK, every day. We had a lot in common and the conversations were good. His picture was a little odd in that it wasn’t that easy to get a fix on his looks. I found him on Facebook (though didn’t add) and again he had an out of focus shot which as far as I could see looked extremely different. However the conversation was good for the most part although he had a tendency to talk about himself a lot. Or when he did it was difficult to get him to stop.

A date was arranged. “Ok let me do this,” I thought:

 “How bad could it really be?”

First warnings:

1)     Couldn’t text me because he was out of credit….ok I can cope with that, he emailed me just before I left to say:

2)     He had eaten dinner and:

3)     What he would be wearing and:

4)     The fact that he hadn’t shaved because he was out of shaving gel.

 
I stood outside the prearranged meet spot and looked hopefully around for a man in jeans and a blue jumper. One who was “carrying just a little extra weight” and ruggedly stubbly. A few possibilities walked on by.

Appearing in front of me was one squattish very rounded individual who looked either like he had been out in the rain or had not washed his hair for a decade, I couldn’t decide which. On balance I would say the latter. The idea of the rugged look was obliterated by the “cant be bothered to shave and another few days and I would look like a yeti” look. I looked around nervously…did I know anyone in the vicinity? I would never ever live this down if I saw anyone familiar. But hey….how bad could it really be?


Then he spoke…”whatcha awwwroight”. Oh my freeking heck! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Please I can’t do this,” I thought. This is not the kind of conversation we had online; this must be an imposter. I can’t see this person having the same cultural interests as me….maybe he read my profile and did some online research on subjects before contacting me.

But sadly it seems I am a nice person and thought I would at least go through with the film that we were going to see. A comedy, although by the looks of it all the laughs (albeit mortified ones) would not be on the screen this evening. He reached in for the obligatory “hello” kiss on the cheek thing and I ensured that it didn’t hit its target.

Looking about the shops and cafes around us were closed. There was the pub or McDonald’s. He of course had already eaten, I hadn’t mistakenly believing that as we were meeting an hour and a half or so before the film, if indeed we did go to the film, we may just be able to pick something up. No he didn’t want to go to the pub as it was full of young people. And too loud. And he didn’t drink.

We went to get the tickets in advance. Ok, “we” is an exaggeration. Cue him standing by. No sign of him offering to pay. Not an issue with me, although he is the one working of course ( I don’t at the moment). However I still don’t know how he engineered me putting my card in to pay for the tickets. He didn’t even offer to be paying me back for his at this point. I was somewhat bemused and we made our way to McDonald’s.

There were cafes within a few minutes walk that were open, however it seems a coffee in one of those nice places was the height of sophistication.. “Oim awways takin me son in McDonald’s.” I bought myself a cup of tea and some fries. He bought himself a coffee. We found the last table in the place. And now it was conversation time. How bad could it be?


Ok well I can’t remember a lot of the conversation. And that is probably a good thing. Let us just say that every question he asked me (which I think probably amounted to two or three at this point) was met with me saying about two words and them him butting in and taking over. I think I may have said a total of about 40 words in the hour and a bit we were sat there. There were lots of discussions (albeit one-sided) about food.

I explained I was allergic to fish. He looked at me with concern. I thought  “Oh he is actually listening. Then he said “What would happen if you kissed someone who had eaten fish?  It’s just I had fish and chips for tea”.

“Don’t worry, I am in no danger,” I nearly said. But I am too polite. “What happens if you eat it? Do you go all blotchy? I ask because, well….my ex has Irritable Bowel Syndrome she gets really bad diarrhea when she gets it too.”

I looked down at my fries….. I then was treated to a detailed description of how his son is being turned against him and won’t come and stay over anymore and all the intricacies of his issues with his ex’s new husband, the schools, parking tickets, lack of money, work problems. But mainly his ex’s diarrhea and issues that he has with just about the whole world.

I felt sick.

Finally and painfully, it was time to make our way back to the cinema. I wanted some sweets. I got a very small amount as “Oi’ll get this” was tempered with him telling me how I should have gotten it in the supermarket earlier that day as it was so expensive at the cinema.

It’s a bag of sweets mate…not caviar.

He then proceeded to ask for a “Cheeky monkey” ice cream milk shake costing 3 times as much. It’s called “Chunky Monkey.” He couldn’t  even get that right. Heck, even the little things were getting very, very annoying. I went to the ladies and texted my friends and updated my Facebook with a”Rescue me please!” message to my friends from my iPhone. I was in there a while but knew I just had to go and sit with this man for the next couple of hours. I was already stressing that other people coming into the complex would be met with a video screen of the different cinema audiences and may be able to pick me out.

The adverts before the film were “funny”….they were however not “funny” enough in my opinion to warrant a loud running commentary or laughter that sounded like a cross between a hyena and well…another load of hyenas really. Mortifying. Totally mortifying.

I toyed with the idea of going to the ladies room again and not coming back. But I am, it seems, too polite. And I wanted to see the film. I had paid enough for the damn tickets. I surreptitiously kept looking at my phone (updating Facebook texting friends) and giving one word answers to anything he said (not much and the single word responses seemed to be sufficient for his purposes). He didn’t seem to care.

The film started. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that each on-screen joke and even just a piece of slightly amusing dialogue was met with a huge roar of laughter and the odd snort. OK a lot of snorts. I wanted to go home.

Part way through I heard snoring. Someone was asleep. I looked around and saw it wasn’t anyone asleep, it was his breathing. And his elbow was trying to touch mine. I really wanted to go home but I didn’t want to leave the cinema because I would then have to deal with that having to talk to him/awkward end of the evening thing. “Please let me stay here and make the film go on forever…”

And so the titles went up and I got up. We left and I fished in my bag for my car parking ticket. There was silence. Then there was  a desperate attempt at a conversation from him. I played lip service and inwardly cursed my decision to wear a skirt and stockings because I was cold. I thought about how I will get out of this without any further embarrassment. If I kept ignoring him, I thought, surely he would get the hint. This couldn’t have been a fun evening for him either. I was totally the worst date ever or had tried to make myself that.

He came with me to my car. He stood there and put his hand in his pocket. And counted out the exact change he needed to pay me back for his ticket (minus the sweets). Then he said he had a fantastic time. I said nothing. I had however ignored him since the diarrhea discussion and done all in my power to make him never want to speak to me again. However the polite side of me appeared again and I apologized for my being caught up on my phone but said my child was ill and the sitter was contacting me for instructions. I don’t know why I didn’t just say “you aren’t my type.” I should have just put him out of his misery.

“Are we still on to meet up Wednesday?” he asked, completely oblivious to the sheen of boredom appearing over my eyes.  Could I say it? No I still couldn’t. I fudged it and said I was worried about my child and didn’t know.

“If you delete me from contacts I will know you aren’t interested in meeting again” he said giving me the opening I needed. I still couldn’t do it. What am I some kind of idiot? I said the film had been good and it was nice to meet him. He reached in for a peck on the cheek (or maybe more) and I moved my head so he missed. Again.

I shut the door and stayed in the car texting friends and updating Facebook until I was sure he had left the car park. I was worried he may follow me. OK not really but I can’t take any chances.

He can’t text me for the moment..  Thank God.  He has no credit. He has left me an email (to my anonymous account so he doesn’t have my name) and a message on the site saying he had a fab time.

I am trying to formulate a put down. I am trying not to hurt his feelings. Hell knows why. I am too polite. How hard can it be to say “Do you know what? No, not ever, No. No No, to someone you never have to see again….

Just how hard can it be?

These are my words because apparently they need to be said:

1) Please shower and clean-up before you go out on a date.

2) If you don’t have money and/or are unemployed, most of us don’t care. We really don’t. We just want to have a nice evening out. Tell us that and a good woman will figure out a nice place to meet and just have a cup of coffee.

3) NEVER EVER talk about your ex-anything! If she asks (which she shouldn’t do on the first few dates) just smile sweetly and say “I have nothing but nice things to say about her” and change the subject.

4) We know within seconds of meeting you what we think and what we want.  Don’t argue with me on this point. I’m a woman and I know.

5) When a woman goes quiet on a date, you’ve blown it. Try getting her to talk and then SHUT THE HELL UP and don’t say anything.

6) Say NOTHING about your attraction to her. We get it. We really do.

7) If you can reach her mind, you can later reach her soul. Maybe.

These are just a few things that come to mind when I read my friend’s email. I don’t want her to give up and I don’t want her to feel that she had done anything wrong. She hasn’t. This just wasn’t the guy for her and that’s why we date.  Hopefully she will soon be laughing about this because that’s all you can do sometimes. Have an adventure, pat yourself on the back for stepping up to the plate and laugh about how funny life can be. And then go do it again.

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I “met” someone online a few years ago and it was one of the worst dating experiences in my life. It was so bad, I never told anyone about it. This person’s name was Adam and he knew Patty who knew Marcia who knew Samantha who knew me. I don’t know any of these people except Samantha, who still hasn’t heard the end of my wrath for putting Adam in contact with me.

I was turning 50 and was looking forward to it. I truly mean this; I actually like getting older. Adam was given my email address, with my permission, and that is how we met. I figured since it had been awhile since I had dated, meeting someone new would be a great birthday present to myself.

 Even though I enjoyed getting older, there were a few surprises about it I hadn’t expected such as my metabolism shutting down completely and finding 20 extra pounds were added to my hips, butt, stomach and thighs overnight. Some fat fairy came, waved a wand while I was sleeping and I woke-up, unable to fit into my jeans. It took a year to lose that weight because in addition to waving a wand to make me gain weight, the little bitch fairy also decided it would be fun to have my metabolism start to work in reverse.

So I began my workouts and walking and watching calories and nothing changes. Not one damn thing changes for over 6 weeks. Then one day, I saw the scale (all scales are evil) actually move a billionth of an inch to the left! Oh Dear God! One year later I am back to my fighting weight.

I had not dated in a few years because I hate it. I hate it so much I can’t describe it. I hate the awkwardness of it, I hate the fact that I am actually hoping someone likes me and that drives me crazy because I never care if someone likes me. If they don’t, it bothers me for about 1 minute and then I’m fine.

I hate getting ready for a date and finding myself feeling like I am 13 years old again and no one wants to be 13 again. I hate finding out that the person I am spending all evening with isn’t someone I want to spend all evening with. I suck at small talk and I hate spending hours trying to behave myself, not snort when I laugh, not be able to eat my food really fast (which is the way I eat) and worrying if something is stuck in my teeth. I never worry about these things when I am at home. I like being alone. I like spending time with myself and my pets, watching a good movie and talking on the phone. I like sitting in bed all morning, reading and drinking coffee and not having to close the bathroom door, ever.

But Samantha tells me about this guy and based on 3 other women’s opinions, I agree and give out my email address.

A few days later, his email arrives and I read it. His name is Adam and I see his picture attached to his email. Shit! I realize. I have to send a picture back and don’t have any. Maybe he won’t ask.

So the mating ritual starts. He tells me all about himself and I can see his face, but then he tells me he is 5’3” tall. What? I think. I am 5’ 7”! And I love wearing high heels and I’m not changing my ways this late in the game.

I pride myself on accepting people “just as they are” and I can hear the thoughts in my head about how short he is. I remind myself not to judge people but he’s so short! I tell myself that it’s all about “the person inside” but he’s so short! I tell myself that it’s good to get out once in a while and meet people but he’s so frickin’short!

Why didn’t anyone tell me he was so short? Probably because they are better people than me and can see past how short he is!

I decide to be a good person and not let this bother me. I mean, lots of men have dated and married taller women, right? Besides, we are just talking about maybe meeting one day and nothing more, right?

We begin a lengthy email and phone relationship over the next few weeks. He lives in Kansas and seems to be a very nice man. He begins calling me almost every night and this starts to bother me. I start to get a sense of obligation to him as if I have to be home or available every time he calls. It’s not that I mind talking to him; it’s that I mind him just assuming I am always around.

So I start not answering the phone every time he calls. Not to be mean, just to get out of this habit I have become to him. He starts leaving messages and sending more emails. I respond once in a while and this prompts him to decide to come out and meet me. This I did not expect, but I guess this is how this whole email dating goes.

He tells me he wants to come out for a weekend and we could meet and spend time together. I agree because, well the truth of the matter is, I am bored. We agree on a weekend and he makes his travel arrangements.

“There is something I should tell you about myself” he says one night. I feel myself get tense because it does not sound good.

“Yeah? What is that?” I ask. I know at this point he is about to tell me something horrible, like he is a Nazi or a convicted felon. I hold my breath and wait.

“I have this problem with my nose.”

Huh? I think. What the hell does that mean?

“I see. What do you mean? You have a nose, right? I saw your picture and I distinctly remember seeing a nose.”

He chuckles. “Yes, I have a nose. You are really funny!”

I feel my eyes rolls up. “Thanks” I say.

“Anyway, years ago when I was little, I broke it. Ever since then, smells really bother me. It’s like my nose is overdrive and I can’t tolerate most smells, like perfume and cigarettes.”

Cigarettes? I think as I look at the lit one I am holding in my left hand.

“I’m really glad you don’t smoke.”

This is the exact point where I hit the crossroad. It’s the crossroad I dread. It’s the crossroad where I have to decide to truly be myself and talk honestly or where I decide to try to be the person this guy is looking for.

It’s the crossroad where everything I have believed I throw out the window because here I am sitting in my tiny living room, 50 and alone with no prospects or where I tell myself that my situation doesn’t bother me and I love my life just the way it is. It’s where I make the decision about whom I really am and what I want or do I take door #2 and try to “get with the program” and find someone to be with.

“Hey, you still there?” he asks.

“Yes, sorry, the cat just did something funny.” Cough. “I’m sorry, what were you saying?”

“You have cats? That’s too bad because I’m really allergic to them.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take them out tonight and shoot them.”

Long pause. Then he laughs and tells me again how much he enjoys my sense of humor.

“Yes, so you have said before” I say as I quickly stub out my cigarette.

I suddenly feel as if my Dad has just caught me smoking and I’m 16 again. I forgot for a moment that I am on the phone and he can’t see me. Just my dog and cats, which are staring at me reproachfully. They are the only ones that can do that and get away with it.

He then proceeds to tell me all about the problems he has with being so sensitive to smells. He doesn’t use anything that is scented and goes to great lengths to stay away from anything with any type of scent, such as perfumes, deodorants, shampoos and conditioners, all cleaning products, lotions and he says he can’t even tolerate the smell of make-up on women.

  Make-up? Oh dear, I think.

“Wow” I say, “that must be really tough on you.”

“Yes, it does make things more difficult for me.”

So, this was my warning shot. This was the red flag. This was knowing that there would be no way in hell I could stand to be around this man. As nice as he is, I would never in a million years, give up my make-up, heels and beauty routine for anyone. I’m in my 50’s!

I proceed the chain smoke throughout the rest of the conversation, being very careful not to have the phone near my mouth while I inhale and exhale.

He then tells me when he can come out to California and I light up another cigarette and tell him that works for me.

 I hang-up and throw myself down on the couch, rub my eye and heave a deep sigh. I am so screwed now.

For a few weeks before he arrives, I air out my apartment, scrub the walls, wash the curtains and wash every piece of clothing that I own. I keep the windows down in my car to air it out and the day before he arrives, I have it detailed.

  I meet him at the airport on a Saturday morning. When I see him, he is even shorter than he said. He said he was 5’3”, but he is closer to 5’2”. He waves and he also looks 15 years older than his picture.

 He is hauling his suitcase and I am tempted to carry it for him, but I resist. I go to shake his hand as he leans over to hug me and I poke him in the eye. He says he is fine and we walk to my car. I am wearing tennis shoes and still looking down on him. I feel horrible for what I am thinking and the more I try not to think that way, the more I do.

 We get in the car and I ask him where he is staying. He gives me a blank look and says he hadn’t thought about it. I realize that he planned on staying with me! No way is that going to happen, but I let it pass and say “Well, there are plenty of hotels and motels around here. Let’s go find you one.”

We spend the next 4 hours driving up and down El Camino Real so he can go and smell the rooms before he decides to register. He finally finds one and only after I told him I was tired, hungry and unwilling to spend another moment going to hotels and smelling their rooms.

I did not know at the time that this would be the high point of his visit.

We go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but he had me wait in line for him so he could go stand in the parking lot because someone who was also waiting for a table was wearing perfume.

He took 45 minutes to order his dinner and kept the waitress standing there the entire time as he asked very detailed questions about each item on the menu. Every time she would answer his question, he would nod his head and then take another minute to ask the next question. She would look at me, pleading for me to do something, but all I could do was shrug my shoulders.

He brought his own bottled water and had to wipe the entire chair and table with a handkerchief before he would sit down. I didn’t know what to say and in hindsight, there wasn’t anything to say.

I did the best I could to keep the conversation going, but it was useless. We had great conversations on the phone, but when actually faced with meeting him and spending time with him, I had nothing to say. I could never remember meeting such a prissy and feminine man before in my life and any initial attraction was gone. In fact, I found him very annoying and unfriendly. He appeared to be attracted to me and this increased my annoyance and displeasure, but I decided to make the best out of a bad situation and tried to be as polite and friendly as possible. But I was so disappointed that this wasn’t turning out as well as I had hoped.

I know that when you are single, you make the best of it and it is often a relief to be out of a bad marriage or relationship, but there is always a part of you that wishes for the real thing. We tell ourselves that we like being single (and very often I do) but in the back of your mind, there is always hope and that’s why we date. We date because we haven’t completely given up and curiosity will get the best of us when there is a possibility.

So I sat there, disappointed and a bit sad, but not hopeless. Just felt like I was wasting my time.

With dinner over, we walk back to my car and he takes my hand. My first thought was to pull it away, but I didn’t. I just smiled and kept walking. As we drive to his hotel, he asks me to come in. I am dying for a cigarette and don’t want to spend another moment with him, so I tell him I am exhausted. Just then I realize that he is here for the weekend to visit with me and I am stuck with him. There is no way to get out of this, so I tell him I need some sleep and I’ll see him in the morning. He leans over to kiss me and I turn my face so he ends up kissing my cheek.

 I get home and immediately go across the street to the store and buy a pack of cigarettes and smoke several outside my apartment. I am dreading tomorrow as we are spending the day in San Francisco.

 He calls me later that night to say goodnight.

 “I had a really nice time tonight and I’m glad I came out to see you” he says.

 “Yeah, me too. I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning at 9:00. How does that sound?”

 “Sounds great. I miss you already” he says and as soon as I hear that, I light up another cigarette and pray for a hurricane so that I don’t have to see him tomorrow.

 I pick him up the next morning and he tries to kiss me again.

 “Would you please just stop trying to do that?” I ask. I can’t believe how some people just can’t take a hint.

 “Gosh, I guess you got up on the wrong side of the bed today” he says and walks over to my car. I decide that if I am going to kill him, this would not be the right place. Too many witnesses and I’m not sure he’s worth going to jail for.

 We take off and hit the freeway. He kept giving me detailed instructions on what lane to drive in because the car in front of us had too many fumes coming out. About the fifth time he did that, I held up my right hand and made a fist.

 “You see this fist? If you tell me one more time how to drive, what to do or anything else, this fist is coming across and hitting you on your nose.”

 “I just love your sense of humor! Hey, move out of this lane, will ya? That truck is really making me sick.”

 We go to Fisherman’s Wharf but can’t stay there because of the smell. He didn’t like Pier 39 because there were too many people wearing after shave or cologne. He didn’t want to eat at any place I picked because it smelled. We ended up getting hot dogs and eating on a park bench and only because I insisted and was starving.

I realize this is one of the worse days of my life but it is almost over. A couple more hours and he is back at his hotel and I’ll never have to see him again. I am thinking this just as a young girl walks by with a cropped top and showing off her perfectly flat stomach. He watches her walk by and then turns to me.

“I have a question for you. How long would it take you to get your stomach to look like that?”

Without missing a beat, I say “About as long as it would take you to grow 6 inches” and I get up, grab my purse and start walking away. He jumps up and starts to follow me.

I turn around and stop. “I don’t think so. You are on your own. Have a nice flight back” and start walking again. He keeps running after me, apologizing and begging me to stop and talk to him. I was deaf to anything he had to say.

I get to my car, unlock the driver side, and get in. He is banging on the passenger side, asking me to please open the door and let him in.

 “I can’t. My stomach is too fat to lean over and unlock the door” I say as I drive away.

 Within a minute, he is calling my cell phone. I ignore it all the way home. I am fighting back tears and bouts of rage. If ever I could be violent, it was now, so I figured the best thing is to just get away from him and write it off as a bad day.

 I finally turn my phone off because he won’t stop calling. I can see he is leaving messages, but I don’t care. I never want to hear from him again, I never want to hear his voice and I don’t want to know him.

 I finally listen to his messages 3 days later and heard all his crying. He left over 5 messages while in San Francisco, 1 from the taxi home from San Francisco, 2 from his hotel room and 1 from the plane.

I am assuming he made it home

But ask me if I care.