The Stray Chipmunk has evolved to a different part of the animal kingdom. I'm sorry to disappoint if you were expecting maybe a tiger in the bedroom, but the critter I had in mind was a rabbit. As in, a Bunny-Boiler. (see also: Clingon) She recently related to our mutual friend that she had met a guy online and sent him eight (8!) emails in a row. (Note to self: Mutual-friend is not being a good friend by withholding this information.) Unbeknownst to me, after I had The Talk with her, she also went back to our mutual friend to ask, "So what do you think he means by that?"
Let me assure you, my friends, that I was unambiguous.
Had I known that she didn't get the message, I definitely would not have default-dated her a couple of Fridays ago. We were supposed to meet up with some of her friends which, I remind you, is the only reason she hasn't been deleted from my phone. But shockingly</sarcasm> that never happened. Instead, she was pawing at me all night and when I dropped her off, kinda early I might add, she tried (I'll spare you the details) to get me to come up to her apartment. I politely declined and went home. That evening she sent me a text message stating that she knew just what I needed and that I should call her to find out. (Thus triggering the rant that preceded this entry.) As if I didn't know where that was headed, I did not call her. I didn't have to, because I knew she would call me, which she did the following night.
An excruciatingly long conversation followed, as she explained to me that what I really needed was a 'bad girl.' She was not dissuaded by me asking her to introduce me to one, instead explaining that perhaps I had already met one and didn't know it. I tried to make my point subtly, reasoning that if I had already met one, I wouldn't need one. Of course logic would not work with this girl, so I ended the call as quickly as I could. A few minutes later, you guessed it, I got a text from her, informing me that I had underestimated her. According to her, she can be quite wild in the bedroom and that I probably couldn't keep up with her. Now, I like a dare as much as the next guy, but I am not falling for that one. (Unless, of course, you double-dog dare me to stick my tongue to it.) I stuck to my principles, reminding her that I was not interested and did not want her to try to change my mind. After that, she blamed it all on me for "starting it."
Update to the update: I'm never going to get to click publish on this story because it just keeps going and going. Get this- Crazy Chipmunk and I had other, semi-rational, telephone conversations in the past. She told me about a guy she was going to go out with who is the brother of the step-mother of a guy she was engaged to many years ago. That's right, she was dating her former-nearly-step-uncle-in-law. Only, she didn't want to, she was just being polite because she's still friends with the former-nearly-step-mother-in-law. Or whatever. Naturally, I told her that if she didn't want to, not to. She confided to me that she thought he was gay, being 49 years old and never having been married. But she couldn't get out of that first date because it was too late to back out. What surprised me is that she agreed to a second date. She said he was very nice and polite, but spent the whole first date name-dropping and trying just a bit too hard to impress her. Not to mention that she still thought he was gay.
According to mutual-friend, she is now calling him her "boyfriend." Not a friend who is a boy, but a steady-relationship boyfriend. W.T.F.
It's kind of funny, I suppose, that I found myself recently among a bunch of my guy friends as the one with the most dating experience. I'm by no means experienced, but I was the only one to have been married, and the only one currently even trying to date members of the opposite sex. Among the discussions were those specific to online dating, creating a profile, and setting search parameters. I understand their confusion, and the desire to think that it's as easy as custom-ordering a pizza: I want this size, with these toppings. It would be tempting to think that, after meeting someone, you could ask the obvious question- What's a great guy/girl like you doing single?
But that's what dating is. The whole ritual is asking that question, without using those words of course, and trying to determine the answer. It's like playing Taboo where the clue is the above question. Unfortunately, there are a number of other questions that you also cannot ask outright. What anti-depressants are you on? How is your therapy coming? The object of Dating Taboo is to get the other person to shout out their dysfunction first.
As I previously mentioned, I did actually meet a few people via an online dating site. In addition to initiating contact, I was surprised to find a couple of women who introduced themselves first. I like to call one of those women NobodyExpectsTheSpanishInquisition.
She wasn't exactly what I thought I was looking for, but I'll be the first one to admit that I don't know it all. She has a kid, which I'm wary-of due to the complications that invariably go along with that. But wary-of does not mean to-be-avoided, so we managed to synchronize our schedules long enough to have a drink on a very nice Saturday afternoon in her part of town, about 30 miles north of the city. (For those keeping score at home, that's 2 strikes.) I had a nice enough time, despite the BARRAGE of questions coming at me. It wasn't so much of a conversation as it was an interrogation. At the time, I thought I'd rather be water-boarded, but in hindsight it wasn't that bad, and I do understand her need to thoroughly vet any guy who might come into contact with her daughter.
Ultimately, what put the nail in the coffin for me was her inability to schedule her personal time in advance. I don't fault her, personally, for being a single-parent without perfect babysitting resources. Under different circumstances it might have turned out better. But her "found time" style of dating was too much like a booty call without the booty. The last such call I got from her was at 10pm on a Friday night, indicating that she was taking her parents to the airport in the morning (at least 30 minutes away) and did I want to come meet her for breakfast at 7:30am? Uhh, no thanks.
I wrote this entry a few days ago, but didn't post it immediately because I wanted to think about it a bit first. Then something happened and I got really angry. I'm still angry about the situation, but I've calmed down. I just wish people would stop telling me what I need. These people aren't my family, friends who know me very well, or even other bloggers who've read this blog for years and know my deepest, darkest secrets. I've just gotten a lot of unsolicited advice lately. Even though they don't know about the existence of this blog, I'm going to direct this to them: You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. You don't know me, and you don't have Clue 1 what I need. You've confused what you want with what you think I need. The next time you catch yourself saying, "You need to..." I want you to stop. Change that sentence to, "I want for you to..." That's almost like asking me what I want. It's almost listening to me when I'm speaking. It's close enough for me right now and the best I can expect from you. It looks so easy on TV, doesn't it? You just log into a website, answer a few questions, and beautiful people come streaming down the intarwebs at you faster than you ever imagined. They all love you right away and can't wait to begin a lifelong, trusting relationship with you. And even if you don't fork over your credit card details, it's okay to look.
Well it ain't that easy, I tells ya. Especially if you're like me, an average guy with average looks (like hell, you say!), who suffers from seasonal depression and social anxiety. The social anxiety is relatively new, but if you've ever met me in person, count yourself among the lucky. (Ed. note: Clearly the ego is not affected) I'm not an agoraphobe because I enjoy going out, either alone or with known associates. It's interacting with less-well-known people that makes me extremely uncomfortable. I've been to a couple of blog/internet group meets and it's always the same: I have this uncontrollable urge NOT to go, starting in my gut and making me nauseated. Feeling gassy is not the best way to start a date, let me tell you. But I tell myself to suck it up, be a man, and go through with it, which I usually do and I usually manage to have a good time. Whether or not my companions have a good time is hardly in question. I cannot imagine that they do not.
In September and October of last year, I threw caution to the wind and was a paying member of a dating site. I had created a profile on this site YEARS ago, with the intent of just looking, but I felt like I needed to do something proactive. I rewrote my profile and refined my search parameters, but was still nervous about taking the next step. I took a leap, entered my credit card number, and began sending emails to strangers. I got very few responses, however. Of the roughly dozen emails I sent to prospective young ladies, I got two responses. (I'll tell you about those later.) Online matchmaking is a bit of a numbers game, and one can't always wait for one connection to fail before making another potential connection. For one thing, you're paying for this service, regardless of how much or how little you use it. On the bright side, I was also receiving unsolicited emails initiated by other women. To tell the truth, the majority of them weren't people that I felt fit my criteria for being a good match. But just as I wanted a personal response for the emails I sent, I felt I owed personal responses for those sent to me. Two of the emails sent to me were from women worth considering, so I struck up conversations and eventually met them. (I'll tell you about those later, as well.)
I guess I'm giving away the endings to those stories to say that it's a new year and I've just re-activated my profile. I rewrote my "ad" again, making it much shorter and more concentrated on me, and I've already made for myself a couple of introductions. I'll have to get back to you, but I'll let you know how it goes.
(I promised stories of dates and dating, so let me start with the most recent victim first.)
I should first explain how The Stray Chipmunk got her nickname. She started out as just The Chipmunk, because her face gets kind of scrunchy (not disfigured or anything) which purses her lips a bit showing her front teeth and makes me think of a chipmunk. Cute enough, I suppose. I later had to add stray to that because, like a dog or a cat, once I paid a little attention to her, she wouldn't go away.
I first met her a few months ago when I was having lunch with a friend of mine. She works in the HR department at his company and he brought her along. He really likes her and, being married, thinks I need to hook up. It's not that I disliked her right away, but I was not attracted. I don't know about you, but I usually know very quickly whether or not I'm attracted to someone. Call it my hunter instinct. Maybe she was overwhelmed by the rapport that I have with my buddy- exchanging movie lines, heavy sarcasm and playful insults- but she seemed like a fish out of water. I caught her looking crossways at him when he dropped a not-altogether-inappropriate f-bomb. In public, mixed-company, I rarely curse like a sailor, but there's no question that I'm not a prude. The look she gave him, however, further solidified my not interested opinion.
Then she started calling and texting with some regularity, and when she asked me out few weeks ago, I accepted. I began to regret it right away since, although she asked me to a party at her friend's house, it was my task to plan everything and coordinate transportation, clothing, gifts, etc. She never really framed it like a date, and my buddy had planted the idea that she wanted to introduce me to some of her girlfriends. (Seed corn, my friend calls her. You never eat the seed corn.) I heard, through the grapevine, that she was at her company's Christmas party back in December, looking very good. So I figure I can afford to be seen with a not-unattractive wing-chick. Later, we went out drinking and bar-hopping and, while it wasn't what I would consider romantic per se, it was clearly a date. Unfortunately, she talked and talked without listening, without noticing that I didn't really want to talk about her work. She also talked about our mutual friend a lot, particularly how another girlfriend of hers thinks that they (she and my married friend) would make a cute couple. I know I've been out of the dating scene for a while, but have things changed so much that it's ok to talk about other people like that?
Since then, I got a dozen text messages telling me what a great time she had, asking if I had a great time, and how she really wants to see me again. (Ok, I get that, I really do. I'm a great guy.) But don't tell me stories of some desperate guy who keeps calling you and won't give you any space, then turn around and act desperate for someone else. Well, maybe desperate is a little harsh, but I did get texted AFTER she went out with that desperate guy. That's practically a booty call. Our schedules finally aligned and I had lunch with her this week. She let me pay, which made it that much easier to have The Talk with her. You know The Talk. The I'm-just-not-feeling-the-romantic-chemistry-between-us-but-I-genuinely-want-to-be-friends talk. She giggled nervously and said that she agreed with me, but it really sounded like she hoped for more.
Maybe this all comes across as mean, but that's not my intent. And maybe I'm being too picky. There just isn't any chemistry with this one, so I'll throw her back and cast my line again.
From October to December I spent $6 grand on residing 3 sides of my home. (The fourth side was redone in vinyl siding before I moved in 5 years ago, looks fine, and I never see that side of my home because it's actually in my neighbor's patio.)
Since then, I have bought 3 pair of new shoes (these and two of these) and had a fourth pair re-soled.
I bought a new hdtv/monitor and an external harddrive to backup the new computer I bought back in August but still haven't fully set up.
You can't open a new chapter without closing the old one. When I wrote that sentence, all of 15 seconds ago, something clicked and I had to pause. I really only meant to write it as a cliché opener to describe how I spent New Year's Eve, but I realize now that I have to make good on it.
My traditional New Year's Eve has been to have dinner at the same restaurant at which my wife and I used to have NYE dinner. It's a cute little pub in the midtown area that serves British food (bangers & mash, shepherd's pie, fish & chips, etc.) so there's no reason to go there more than once a year. Being a creature of habit, I continued the tradition even after the divorce, except of course for the year that I was inappropriately groping my then-girlfriend in public. (2006- good times, good times)
I tried to go there last night, but having had a large lunch, I wasn't hungry until kind of late. I got there just before 9pm and was told they were closed. This was crushing, since it occurred to me that if this place was closing, just about everything else would be closed too. I burned-rubber across town to a Mex-Mex favorite of mine (not to be confused with Tex-Mex) and was similarly turned-away. The situation was growing desperate, since the Cuban place I then drove by was not only closed, but completely dark as well. One last chance before I settled for IHOP (how come I never feel like hopping when I leave there?), I drove over to a Spanish place that still had the lights on.
"Is it too late to get a table?" I asked of the gentleman who got up from one of the tables to greet me at the door. "No, no señor. Come in. Where would you like to sit? Is it just you?"
I don't know that I can adequately describe this place. It's in a strip-mall center that is at least 40 years old, off of the main street, and has never been renovated on the outside. If I said it was a dive, you'd think it was a dump on the inside, which it isn't. There's modern art on the walls and it's well-lit and clean. Whether it is or not, it just makes me think of what a very hard-working immigrant family would turn into a very successful word-of-mouth business. But bear in mind, the Spanish do not rush through their meals. I knew I'd be sitting alone for a while. I ordered tapas variedad, cordero jardín, y un vaso de vino roja - that is, an appetizer of sausage, serrano ham, and manchego cheese, a braised lamb shank with vegetables, and a glass of red wine.
It was, of course (claro) fantastic. I especially enjoyed the waiter who spoke only Spanish to me after I ordered in Spanish. I didn't understand a quarter of the shit he said to me, but he ended nearly every visit to my table with es todo bien?(is everything ok?) so all I had to do was pick that out, then smile and answer in the affirmative (sí, sí. bien.) with a patient, knowing nod. I left them a generous tip and wished them un feliz año on the way out, comfortable with the thought of having found a new tradition entirely my own.