A Dater's Life

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Once upon a time

I had a date.

We met.

We talked.

I drank a beer.

He drank soda water.

We shook hands. We left.

(And they all lived happily ever after. Alone, of course.)

The end.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dodged A(nother) Bullet

I was feeling pretty on-the-fence about Mr. ATM. Last week we did have a fun -- and long -- somewhat-drunken IM/phone call session, and I definitely know we were connecting, but it was feeling like too-much, too-soon. He was sending me IMs/e-mails pretty-much daily, and it was feeling overwhelming. Plus, the whole e-mail exchange with Mr. Nice has stirred up a lot of emotions in me, emotions I don't want to dump onto someone else. (Hello?! Who wants to be Mr. Rebound?)

Yesterday, Mr. ATM IMed me twice, and then e-mailed me. I decided to be upfront and honest and wrote back:

So this weekend, I got a couple of e-mails from the man I was in a relationship with recently. We're not getting back together or anything like that -- far from it -- but the whole exchange made me realize that I'm far from ready for dating right now. I thought it best to let you know because you seem like a genuinely good guy.
It didn't seem necessary to say anything beyond that. It was essentially truthful, though I had omitted anything negative I was feeling about Mr. ATM as there's no point in being unkind to a stranger who has never been unkind to me! He responds, expressing his disappointment, that he thought we both saw a green light to go forward, and he can't understand why I'm still logging in to the dating site if I'm not up for dating. He said that he's starting to feel a bit jaded about the on-line dating thing.

I felt bad, so I write back to reiterate my apologies and to tell him that I think he's a good guy and that I don't see him as the cynical type. I clarified a few things about on-line dating from my experiences, that pretty much a person doesn't exist until after you've met him/her (otherwise you're just setting yourself up for disappointment) and that the e-mail/phone stage really should be viewed as similar to meeting someone at a bar.

But wait. There's more.

I didn't realize that his e-mail was a "scroll down" e-mail. One that went on for more than 500 words. He started pleading with me to give him a chance, that he's willing to take things slowly, that we need to be there to help each other heal, that he's not my ex-boyfriend, that he knows I'm a smart woman with a big heart who has so much to give. He's different from other guys. Please give him a chance. (Etc. etc. etc. I don't think I need to type in all 500+ words to get the point across. There was something about watering that plant. I didn't know he was into gardening.)

Can bunny boilers be men?

Can you break up with someone you've never even met?

I had already composed my final response before I got to the scroll down, so I sent it and just ignored his desperate plea.

But wait. There's more.

His next response (this one only 350 words, too bad) is a full-on psychoanalytic attack of my character and my relationship history. He says he needs to get in the last word to "balance the power between us." It's so full of assumptions about me, my relationship with Mr. Nice (which ended with sadness but mutual respect and dignity), and my perceptions of men (you only have to know me for about five minutes to know that I'm not one to categorize "all men" as any particular way). Apparently, I'm no "spring chicken" and need to step up and be "brave," that I'm not going to be able to get away with this behavior for much longer.

Oh, and that he's blocking me from his IM. So there. Nah nah.

I just responded to say that it's fine if he needs to reach such conclusions about someone he barely knows, that we had ONE phone call (ONE) which doesn't a relationship make, and that he knows nothing about my relationship with Mr. Nice or about me.

I was polite, because that's my way (little does he know the most common OLD response is simply to ignore the other person; how would he react to that?!) But here's the suggested response of a friend of mine:

thank you for making it clear to me that I was right in not wanting to meet you. You're right about one thing: I didn't cancel our date JUST because I'm not quite over my last relationship. I canceled it because I got a bad feeling about someone who couldn't figure out a way to go on a date without insisting it cost him nothing. Now I see that not only are you a cheap bastard, but you're a pompous ass who can't handle rejection. How I choose to use ___ is none of your business; in fact, nothing in my life is any of your business at this point. I'd wish you good luck in your search, but I'm more inclined to wish luck to the next woman to talk to you for a few hours and believe, mistakenly, that you are worthy of her effort.

All of this because I told him I'm not ready to date him two weeks after my last relationship. Enter Mr. Glenn Close. Bunny boiler, indeed.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Why Bother?

I'm forcing myself back into the dating world. It's a way to help avoid sitting around obsessing over Mr. Nice. I'm not looking for anything real, and I'm being very upfront about this with the men I'm chatting with.

Tomorrow I have my first alleged date with some guy I met on-line. We had a fun talk on the phone the other night and decided to meet up this weekend. I just got a voice mail from him. It goes like this:
We'll have to do something for free because I lost my ATM card in the machine on Friday and I have no cash.
Okay, I'm not the kind of gal who expects a guy to pay on the first date. I'm happy to go dutch in fact. But this is beyond tacky. First off, what free thing is there to do on a Sunday evening with someone you've never met before? (Besides come back to my place for sex?) Secondly, can you not just call a friend and say, "Yo, buddy. I have a first date with this hot chick Sunday evening and I lost my ATM card. Can I borrow twenty bucks?" That should be enough to cover a Pabst Blue Ribbon at some dive bar and bus fare home. (Yeah, that's right. I said home. Not back to my place for sex.)

This is the kind of thing that happened to me when I was in college. When the guys were 19 and asked to borrow seventy nine cents to buy a burrito at Taco Bell.

Seriously, sitting on my butt on the sofa and watching my butt expand is looking more and more appealing.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ten Days Later

I've been e-mailing with Mr. Nice. We aren't getting back together, but it has brought some clarity to the situation. Ultimately, this is a case of him not being ready to be in a relationship. There is nothing about me or us that was problematic. He has no problems with me. He tried to make it work; he wanted to make it work. But something was pushing him to end things, something inside, something intangible, something he needs to work on away from me.

I told him that I think it's best if we cut communication for awhile, that we're talking in circles and neither of us has any real answers. I said that if the thing "wrong" with our relationship is that he isn't ready, I'm not about to beg, nag, or plead him to stay with me. I know that I cannot force him to be ready for something he's not ready for.

I told him that this would be much easier if I could hate him. The one thing I've never questioned is his kindness and his sincerity. It just sucks that something so promising has to end because one person isn't emotionally available.

In the meantime, I'll force myself to move forward, to not cling to that glimmer of hope that someday my Mr. Nice will be back for me, ready to make things work.

As we all know, things like that only work in the movies.

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