My guy friend and I have parted ways. As I now sit home many Saturday nights, I ponder whether I want to date someone new. I imagine a little cloud-like speech balloon that’s often seen in cartoons containing the text of thoughts inside my brain as I conduct an active dialogue with myself and a potential fictitious Internet date.
ME: Do I want to date someone new? Hmmm, maybe, then again, I’m not sure. Okay. Yes. YES, I think more enthusiastically. I’m tired of sitting home alone on weekends. Like reheated pizza, anyone might be good enough at this point.
I sit in front of my screen. (Scratch my head.) Turn it on and wait for the possibilities.
ME: How do I do this?
I log on and fill out the requisite questions honestly. Hum, it’s not so bad. I open the first website. Up pops photos of so many men. “I feel like a kid in a candy store,” my co-author Barbara said the first time she tried this. I’m not sure the idiom works for me. I am a candy snob—no cheap candy or drug store chocolates for me.
Here’s a sample of those who appear on my screen:
Brawneyboy (I’ve never been into football player types or is it code for big pot belly?)
Motorman (I can only guess what that that means—what's he so revved up about?)
Comeflywithme (I think on this one I’ll fly solo, especially after Barbara's fiasco experience with a guy who had his own plane and license.)
Soggyankles (now that’s appealing. Will I have to hold him up?)
2Young2feelold (Dream on with your balding gray hair and mouthful of blindingly-white porcelain implants)
Since I’m an Internet dating neophyte, I know I could use some extra practice. I play around for a bit. Break down and call Barbara, If Internet dating were a game of chess, she’d be the grandmaster. I used to jokingly call her "cyberslut" after she went on 350 plus dates before she was fixed up with "Fixup" four years ago. She gives me some clever moves.
Here goes. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Ping. It’s Big Hands.
ME: Hello Big Hands, I type. (Donald Trump would be so jealous). He looks okay and his profile is appealing. He has hair, teeth, blue eyes, seems trim. I hope this is really him. I can’t see his hands or inside his brain or his height or balance sheet. Barbara reminds me guys lie about height and net worth; women about weight and age.
HE: I’m so glad you responded. Tell me more about you.
I do. I ask about him, too, since I've heard that guys love to talk about themselves.
HE: A writer. How interesting. Want to meet?
ME: Not ready yet. I need to get to know you better.
We continue to email for days, weeks, months. It’s a pleasant exchange.
I agree finally to get together.
ME: I need a bit more time. Stalling delays ruining the possibility and pretending he will be as great as he sorta seems.
A few days go by. I agree to meet him.
HE: I tried to email you. No response. What are you doing right now?
HE: That is wonderful. I can imagine your fingers typing away on the computer keys.
ME: (Boy, is this guy into hands.)
HE: Working on anything special?
ME: It’s nothing special.
HE: Is our plan to meet still in place?
ME: What did we plan? Refresh my memory. As I age, my mind has become like a sieve.
HE: Are we still meeting for wine tomorrow night at 7 pm?
ME: OK. Yes of course.
HE: You will go through with it, won’t you?
ME: Yes of course if you do too.
HE: Ok. I’ll see you in 23 hours. Just look for my Big Hands. Ha. Ha.
ME: I look forward to it, I say. (Not really at all.)
HE: Me, too.
ME: I’m pale. My little hands are shaking now like a pair of maracas. What am I going to do and say? I practice my side of the conversation. I interview for a living. I worry our first conversation will sound like an interview with me barely coming up for breath as I fire away. What if I find him totally unappealing? Do I say, this isn’t working for me--and how quickly? And what if he has anger management problems? Do I wear my sneakers so I can get away quickly?
ME: I hear a ping. Another Internet date pops up. It’s from some guy called JONBOY, I choose not to reply. He has beady eyes and says he likes to lick his fingers when eating chicken wings. What a turnoff. Aren’t there napkins for that?
ME: I think I deserve better than reheated pizza. I might wait to be fixed up or just go through more Saturday nights alone to figure out what I really want to do. Timing is everything and the timing isn't just right.