Another week and multiple instances of dating disasters, both aborted and actualized.
Chris and I met last Thursday. Within only a few moments — even before I’d gotten a beer — he’d told me that he had no interest in ever falling in love again. He repeatedly used the phrase, “She wasn’t what I wanted her to be.” And by the time I finished my second beer I’d also heard about his problems with his family, his therapy history and how many women he was seeing. To be fair, he spilled his dating beans after I’d admitted that I wasn’t feeling any chemistry. What followed was a refreshingly honest conversation, during which he told me that I was exactly what he’d imagined I’d be: different, open and interesting. Though that made it slightly more than a complete failure, I managed to salvage the evening by attending a gallery opening, where I saw familiar faces and fabulous art.
This past Tuesday I met Ray. He got off to a good start by telling me I look better in person. But it was downhill from there. While I finished off three beers, he spoke non-stop, barely taking a breath and gesticulating wildly. However, he never made eye contact. Ever. It was totally disconcerting. I felt like I was watching a monologue from the audience rather than sharing an evening. When he suggested we get something to eat, I declined, again being the one to break the news that I didn’t think it was worth extending our time together.
I had late lunch plans on Tuesday with a guy I’d been emailing for a month; he cancelled at 11:45. He suggested the next day but I had to work so he tried Friday instead and then immediately redacted, “realizing” he may be out of town. I had dinner plants tonight; that guy cancelled around noon, saying his daughter was sick. In full disclosure, I had tentative plans Tuesday night with a guy I enjoyed a few weeks ago and backed out because I just wasn’t feeling up to it. It was all so exhausting. Fortunately we were texting and he took it well, saying that he was feeling equally out of sorts.
Yesterday I was emailing with a guy who’s 43. He wanted to meet and I told him he could come by and visit me at work, though it’s a bar and he doesn’t drink. He said he could drink soda so I gave him the address. He showed up at 6:30, as he’d said he would, and stood over an arm’s length away from the bar, phone in hand, no doubt comparing the real me to my profile pix. I could tell he was the guy; I would’ve recognized him even if he looked completely different. “Hi,” I said. “I’d shake your hand but you have a phone in it.” He appeared bewildered. “I’m Nelson,” he said shakily. “Yes, I gathered that,” I replied. “I’m Abby.” I’d talking to friends at two ends of the bar, as well as waiting on about a dozen customers. “Can I get you something?” I inquired. He asked for a Coke, which I served up, before checking on everyone else. When I went back to chat him up some more, he was gone, the glass of Coke untouched, and there was a $5 bill on the bar. What the hell?
I sent him an email: So, uh, wow…what the hell was THAT? Did you expect to be the only person in the bar? Was I supposed to be there only to serve you? I was working. You didn’t even stay to drink your Coke. Why did you even bother stopping by?
And his response? I wanted to meet you..I’m sorry..I’m shy..Your very pretty…I would love to do something if when you have some free time Now what do I do? I wasn’t really even interested in the first place and anyone who’s this shy is not gonna work in my life. There’s no way to say anything without sounding like a total bitch. Which I guess I am…
So yeah. Another week. And this isn’t even any of the “online only, not quite making plans” stage stuff. I often ask myself why I bother… At least I’ve become more skilled at sizing up the situation and extracting myself from it, without wasting any more of my time (and beer money) — or theirs.