This weekend I had what initially seemed might be a productive streak on the cyberdating front. Just as I started to become convinced that I had some horrible deformaty that had been cleverly hidden from me for the past 46 years, I started getting winks (on Match.com) and Icebreakers (on eHarmony). Suddenly...I was popular.
Yes there was the guy from California who said "I make good match for you", and there was the guy from Pennsylvania whose profile picture revealed his significantly pelted chest as he lay seductively on his bed. Have I mentioned I live in Ohio??
But there was also Andy and James.
Andy's profile tells me that he works at a large wholesale nursery and lanscaping company. I ask him if it's XYZ company, as they are the largest around and he tells me yes, he's been there for five years and in the plant business in one capacity or another for 25 years. Ok, sounds like a stand-up guy. He asks me if I would like to meet him for lunch and we arrange to meet in front of a movie theater at a popular local shopping area at 1pm.
When I arrive I'm happy to see that he looks pretty much like his picture and does not flee when I approach him. We exchange hello's and walk to a nearby restaurant. I pause at the door and I think it takes him a beat to realize I expect him to open it for me, so when we pass through the vestibule I open the second door myself. However he does step forward and greet the hostess, asking for a table for two.
We sit down, are presented with our menus and our drink orders are taken. I ask "So what do you do at XYZ?"...he replies. "Well acctually they laid me off about a week ago"
So.....when I asked YESTERDAY "Do you work at XYZ" and he replied "Yes, I've been there for five years"...that was a lie.
But I don't get up and leave, though every fiber of my being is telling me to do exactly that. I am polite and I am compassionate and I am trying really REALLY hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. I ask if he thinks he will be called back soon and he says no, he doesn't think he will be called back ever. So, he says, "I'm trying to look at it as a little vacation"
I am unable to look at it in this light.
The rest of the lunch is a bit hazy. Lots of talk about sports (him talking, me listening...I know NOTHING about sports). He informs me that his mother and his brother live with him, but then goes into a convoluted story that leads me to believe that the house may only be in his name so that if his mother should fall ill and have to go on medicaid the nursing home would not be able to take the house. Yes, this is a common practice. And a smart one. And one that I sort of wish my mother had thought to do. But, to be clear, the dude lives with his mom.
After we ate and made small talk we engaged in an hour-long game of 'check chicken'. If you're not familiar (count yourself among the lucky) this is a fun little dance during which both participants try to see how long the other person will sit there and try to make conversation without paying the bill. I had no cash on me. He asked ME out so I didn't expect to pay. By about a half hour into the game I would have gladly flipped $15 on the table and called it a day if I had it, but I wasn't about to whip out my credit card and offer to pay for both of us.
I went to the bathroom, hoping the waitress would approach him while I was gone and ask if he was ready to take care of the check (SHE was OBVIOUSLY ready for SOMEONE to take care of it)...but when I came back, there it sat, unpaid. Mocking me.
We made more conversation. The waitress asked if I wanted another (THIRD) diet coke and I said "No thanks, I'm all set"....a hint that I'm ready to go...a hint that went untaken.
But the two diet cokes did their thing and I had to go to the ladies room once again. This time, thankfully, when I returned the check was gone. Whew.
She brought his card and the slip back, he signed, I thanked him for lunch and said I had to go pick up my son (a lie, but come on I wanted OUT OF THERE).
We walked outside and I said "Ok well I'm parked this way". He offered to walk me to my car. I said "Oh no that's really not necessary". He said "Ok well let me know if you want to go out again"...I said "Mmhmm thanks again for lunch, bye". And he actually said 'Can I get a hug?". Could he not SEE that I was ready to SPRINT away from him? Clearly I need to work on my body language.
So I gave him a hug, then I wandered around Officed Max for a while so he would leave and not see me get in my car and possibly follow me home.
Fortunately he has not contacted me since.
So I came home and found a message on my eHarmony page from James. We have been engaging in what eHarmony calles "Guided Conversation" which is a multi-step process starting with choosing one of a list of canned "Ice Breakers", then choosing five from a list of multiple choice questions, then sending your "Must Haves and Can't Stands", followed by choosing three open-ended questions (the essay portion of the exam) and ending in email. We had made it to the email stage and so far our values seemed to be in line. He is recently divorced after 13 years of marriage. He has two kids.
In his email he says he noticed on my profile that I mentioned I work out, and he asks what I do for exercise. I explain to him that I've been doing Chalean Extreme and will soon start Les Mills Pump, that I work part time as a Beachbody coach, and I send him my website url.
He tells me he will check it out and he informs me that he lives with his mom. He adds "Go ahead and laugh, I can take it"
I ask why he lives with his mom. Again, trying to give the benefit of the doubt. He tells me that he only makes $600 a week and most of it goes for child support (yet he can afford eHarmony???) and his mom has early stage "althimers" so they help each other out.
I said "I commend you for taking care of your kids and your mom but I have been through too much with men who are struggling financially, as you seem to be, to get involved with one again. I wish you all the best. ". His response "I checked out your webiste. What you're pushing is a lie"
So here I am, back to the drawing board. I wonder if it would be considered nosey to ask for check stubs and rent or mortgage receipts prior to the first communication.