Do I Text Him, or not?

After being divorced for several years, I finally took the plunge and entered the world of online dating. Although I didn’t necessarily need my kids’ advice to avoid ‘free’ dating services, I followed it.

So far, it’s been an interesting experience.

My first ‘real’ date after over 30 years was nothing short of a disaster. Thank goodness it took place in the light of day and at a place that didn’t serve alcohol! The man was handsy, in a cafe over lunch and tea of all things! He was also rude, profane and thinks he’s ‘amazing’ at everything he does, just ask him…

He may be 12 years older than me, but clearly, he hasn’t figured out how to be a grown-up, with respect for others. Aside from his stream of derogatory comments, the most egregious and offending act during ‘date,’ was when he reached across the table and poked me in the stomach – for real.

This was after I had quite literally shrunk my body into as a compact space as it possibly could be during one of the longest 90 minutes of my life. Attempting to remove any part of my body within touching range, I squeezed my elbows between the armrests and tucked my feet under the seat. I even went as far as to hold my cup of iced tea over my stomach, a decision that turned out to be somewhat ill-fated.

It was hot and humid, especially so for Liverpool, NY.  Unfortunately, a drop of water slipped off of the cup and onto my dress. The fabric and color of the dress made the water drop visible until it dried.

I’m guessing you can already figure out where this went, or maybe not. This man, who proclaimed himself to be a gentleman in his profile – and oh, by the way, initially sent me a very nice message, reached across the table and stuck the tip of his finger into the spot where the water drop had left its temporary mark.

Who does that?! I can’t help but wonder if he has a ghost-writer who sends messages that mask his personality as a way to fool women into meeting him.

Date number two was more successful on the surface, but not in reality. Long story short, we had two in-person dates – which honestly were enjoyable. I had some hope that the encounter might at least lead to a friendship. However, I learned that we have very different values when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ and people of color. Let’s just say there wasn’t a third date, and his number is no longer stored as a contact.

Tee up bachelor number three.

He’s a pilot and has more than a somewhat erratic schedule. We met two Saturday’s ago and shared an enjoyable conversation over a cup of iced tea followed by a brisk walk along the lakeshore. We met at the same place as the unfortunate encounter with bachelor number one. Thankfully, this time, there was no inappropriate touching or boisterous self-promoting, just the awkwardness that comes along with a first date. In fact, it was quite pleasant.

Fast forward to the following week, he said he’d reach out to me on Sunday, I didn’t hear from him until Monday. Not a big deal, he had a good reason. We exchanged a couple of messages, and in the end, I thought we had made arrangements to meet for dinner the following Friday evening.

The only problem was, we had agreed on a place to meet but not a time. Friday afternoon, I checked my phone repeatedly for a reply to my text from the day before and confirmation of the time. Every time I checked my message still appeared to be unread and was definitely unanswered.

Being unsure about dating protocol as a woman of a certain age, and after two awful experiences, I checked in with a handful of friends. “Do I text him, or not?” There was a 50/50 split between two sentiments, “Give him the benefit of the doubt and text him back” and “The guy must be rude, don’t waste your time.”

I was 100% leaning toward writing the whole thing off when my phone buzzed. At 5:45 pm, the screen lit up with a confirmation of the time and an apology.

“I’m so sorry! I just realized that we hadn’t actually confirmed a time. Can you meet at 6?” Without much of a pause, and a bit to my surprise, I replied: “Can we make it 6:30? I just got home from work and am a good 25 minutes away from the restaurant.”

We exchanged a few more logistics-related messages, including the fact that the restaurant does not have a parking lot and parallel parking was going to be both necessary and a problem You see, I don’t, well can’t, parallel park to save my soul. I would rather walk a mile from a spot that’s easy to maneuver my car into than attempt to back into a spot between two other vehicles.

I shared my dilemma, and he volunteered to park my car for me and to teach me how to parallel park. I readily accepted his first offer, we’ll see about the second.

He held an outdoor table for us from 5:45 until I arrived a little past the newly agreed upon time. Turns out, he was already at the restaurant when he realized that we hadn’t actually set a time to meet. I have to admit this made me smile.

Half-way through dinner, the sky started to show signs of opening up. It began as a slow drip, and by the time we dashed inside and snagged the one remaining table, the rain was pounding the pavement.

It was a ‘get to know you’ sort of dinner, enjoyable and much less awkward that our first date. The food was great, but the best part of the evening was the live music afterward.

Since he knew where my car was parked and because it was still raining, bachelor number three volunteered to fetch umbrellas from his car and mine before we walked to Funk ‘n Waffles, which believe it or not, is a trendy nightlife spot in downtown Syracuse. If the waffles are half as good as the music was, it’s a now on my list of favorite places!

The “Adam Ezra Group” was the featured, and only act. They only played for two hours, but it was worth the price of admission and then some. The quartet blended voice and instruments together in both lively and melancholy original folk songs. Their performance ranged from fast-paced fiddle playing by a woman whose beauty is ethereal to slow ballads sung acapella, in perfect four-part harmony.

My date and I sat side by side in alternating states of comfortable silence, enjoying the music, and periods of animated conversation in hushed voices so we wouldn’t interfere with anyone else’s enjoyment. He even asked me to dance, an invitation which I quickly accepted. It’s been ages since I’ve danced. Turns out, I haven’t forgotten how to move my feet in rhythm to the music.

The show ended with a band and listener sing-along. We joined the band members and the rest of the attendees on the small but adequate dance floor in front of the stage. Together we all sang along to “Let it Be.” I’m not sure how harmonious it actually was, in musical terms, but it was a beautiful moment in time and harmonious from the perspective of feeling connected with other people and part of a community.

To text or not to text, that was the question. In retrospect, I think I should have reached out. But I didn’t, and I’m glad he did – no matter what the outcome is, this night was an experience and created a memory I will treasure.

How to Lose a Guy in Seven Days

Last Saturday morning my cell phone rang, then the house phone rang, the cell phone rang again and then Christian’s phone rang, it was Katie. I wasn’t home at the time but I knew this to be the case because I had two missed calls on my cell phone which meant there had to be one missed call on the land line and there was big news in her world if the fourth call was to Christian.

She will call four times or as many times as it takes until she actually reaches a live person to deliver the news to rather than leave a voicemail. Katie is not a believer in voicemail, she will stand by her position that information is best delivered through direct conversation or a text message and that a ‘missed call’ on your cell phone is enough to say “I called, call me back when you have a chance.” Case in point, we’ve exchanged seventy-nine text messages in the past eight days.

“I talked to Katie. She has a date today,” Christian said.

“What! She has a date and she didn’t tell me?” I replied.

“Mom, did you check your missed calls?” he responded wryly.

I called her immediately to get the scoop. Her date was for lunch with a boy from one of her classes, his name and the fact that they met in class was about all I got out of her. I waited all afternoon and into the evening to hear how the date had gone. I speculated that it had either gone really well or really poorly when I still hadn’t heard from her and it was eleven pm. I have to admit it was about all I could do to respect her privacy and wait for her to call me.

I walked around with my cell phone on Sunday waiting anxiously.

“Hi Mommy,” she said.

“Well, how’d it go?” I asked.

“It was fun…he already asked me out on two more dates…”

“But….” I prodded.

“He didn’t pay for lunch,” she responded.

We talked about it and I suggested that maybe it was because he was a poor college student or that perhaps he was nervous and didn’t know the proper protocol.

“Ummm, the lunch was fifteen dollars and he picked up the ticket and said ‘Wanna go halvies?” was her reply.

On Wednesday she called to inform me that she was already thinking of ways to “let him down easy.” Apparently in addition to calling far more often than necessary after a first date, for which he didn’t pick up the tab, he also made the fatal error of leaving more than one voicemail just to say he was having a good day.

By Saturday morning the die had been cast and the only decision left to be made was whether it would end with an awkward conversation before or after the ‘date’ to the basketball game that evening. It turns out that it was too late to cancel the date; he had already purchased the tickets.

I couldn’t wait to hear the details so I called her as early as I thought I could get away with on a Sunday morning. She was at work so I got the recap via text.

“The bball game last night was so awkward, but I think he got the picture. Haha. Whoops…o well.”

Later, after hashing over the events of the evening and the likelihood of the remaining need for that ‘awkward conversation’ we agreed (with much laughter) that the key ingredient to losing a guy in seven days was ownership of a winter coat that is big enough to take up the space of a tightly packed army duffle bag and the placement of said coat squarely on the bench between you and your date.

I’m not sure what she’ll do come summertime.