About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

(With Plenty of Experience Now) I Only Date My Own Species

I may sometimes come across as both articulate and loquacious which is sometimes interpreted to mean "outgoing, sturdy, not thin-skinned". Nothing could be farther from my actuality. I'm highly sensitive and somewhat easily hurt. But I take risks by showing myself and telling truths about me - the person - in almost every relationship I undertake. Why would I take a chance making myself vulnerable to people I don't know well? That's how I relate with other human beings. I'm not so comfortable with casual relationships or fleeting friendships. Relating only on the surface doesn't work for me. I'm curious about others and am willing to show myself, within reason. It is always my hope the other person will eventually show me at least something real about themselves. By nature and by training, that is how I interact with other humans. Does this point out how difficult it is for me to deal with the dating bullshitter, the closed-down and the tight-lipped? Oh, and one last thing: I am pretty scrupulous about not being unnecessarily harsh with others, even when they have sometimes set themselves up for such treatment. Even when . . .

He was literate and he read books on purpose for entertainment. He worked in a field similar to mine, so we understood one another's workday stories. He sought outdoor activities and claimed to be physically fit, liked some of the movies that were my favorites and had a sense of humor. We were age appropriate and had exchanged photos, finding one another attractive, or at least worth continuing to talk with. Until he found out my name. You see, he'd just been hurt by a Leslie and didn't feel he could engage with another so soon. Or that's what he said and I have no supporting information whatsoever to confirm that as truth or untruth. I was gracious. "OK, well, I certainly understand that. Thanks for chatting." I am not 100% certain I do understand that, as a common name never was a deterrent to me, but I felt no need to be nasty to a man who had been pleasant throughout.

Conversely . . . Before I learned to pull the plug at the first, not the seventh, warning sign, I let conversations continue past the date they should have ended. And this man was one waving red flags from the first e-mail. HE WAS ONE OF THOSE "ALL IN CAPS" FELLAS. I didn't know there were any such communicators left, but I now can attest there are. It annoyed me, but I didn't immediately say "Stop it." He said he kept 5 dogs and I felt further disinterested. Not hostile. Just not enthusiastic. "I CAN GET YOU INTO A 3-YEAR-OLD CAR THAT LOOKS BRAND NEW," he virtually screamed. "Oh, well, thanks. Mine is less than a year old and perfectly suited to me." I decided to try the path of least resistance, simply distancing myself by e-mailing less frequently and then not at all. It was my impression that online conversations faded quickly if one party slowed or stopped for 24 hours. He was slow to understand and, in fact, turned up the heat in direct proportion to my cooling. "WELL, AT LEAST LET'S EXCHANGE PICTURES." He attached his to that message. He looked exactly like Stepfather. I cringed, actually recoiled from my computer monitor, but said nothing. This did not satisfy him. "WELL, I KNOW I'M GOOD LOOKING, SO WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD FROM YOU?" I remained quiet and (foolishly) passive. He turned up his aggression, bombarding me with e-mails assaulting both my character and appearance, though he really knew nothing about either of those. I finally had to unload. "You look just exactly like my stepfather. It creeps me out." Never heard from him again.

I cannot say how many times I have been challenged with "Is that really your picture?" "Yes, it is me, taken 10 days ago." "It's not your daughter or your girlfriend or sister?" "Uh, no. It is me." "Ten days ago, you said?" WTF? "Yes, 10 days ago." I gather it is common for both women and men to send pictures that are 10 years old, 100 pounds lighter, or simply not their own photograph while still in the just-talking phase. I never understood that. If I send a misleading image of myself in order to snare a man into meeting me somewhere, will I not be exposed as a fraud the moment I walk into the place? Apparently it is not unusual. OK, so noted. I don't believe I ever met a man who had sent me someone else's photo, but I met several who selected pictures of themselves no longer very recognizable when compared to the reality.

Closely related: age, height and weight claims. "How old did you say you are?" I've told the man several times and it is in my profile. Why am I asked about this continually? Ah, because people pad or whittle these things by many years, inches or pounds. Almost always, I am told. I didn't understand that one, either. What if I flip open my wallet to pay the tip or the bill for coffee and expose my drivers license? What if I'm not good enough in math to adjust my entire life experience to an era 10 years later than my own? What if I just find it easier to tell my real age for simplicity and let him make an assessment of height and weight by looking at me and deciding whether the full package is worth pursuing or not?

The man was educated and brilliant (seemingly) in his field. I know when he went to lunch with a woman, his office called, paged and sent text messages constantly, he was so sorely missed. We engaged in e-mail, text and telephone conversations for quite some time before meeting for a bagel and coffee. We had to, you see, because he was going to have to get something out in the open before showing himself. Though I was not bragging to friends or dreaming about him, I thought this was an OK man. I was interested, not rabid. We discussed the headlines, politics, trade unionism and the ubiquitous "what brought you to Las Vegas?" I remain convinced each of us was truthful about previous marriages. After a month or so, he broke the news: "I am younger than you are." Hmm .  . what constitutes "younger"? I think I'm pretty moderate about that, feeling maybe a 5 year difference in either direction is rarely an issue and more than that should be discussed. I looked at his profile again. Yes, it was true. He didn't reveal his age there, as I had mine. I'd been juggling so many men, I had failed to check my assumptions. "OK, so how old are you?" I asked, pretty bravely. Yow. Significantly younger.

"OK, back to 5 squares negative of Square One: what are you doing? My profile divulges my age. What did you not get from your mother that you want from me?" We talked for another month or 6 weeks. He wasn't looking for money - he made more than I did, owned a nice home, had investments. This was not verified by me. I am repeating what he told me. He claimed no fantasies of parading me on the Strip in granny garb while he sported diapers. He made a strong case for simply being attracted to an older woman both because of appearance and common interests. To support this, he cited some musical favorites that actually fell between my own youth and his, but OK. He wasn't quoting current Top 40. We finally met several times for a meal and I learned some things about myself. I wasn't mortified to be seen "dating" him, though he was clearly quite a bit younger. I was really excellent about taking my turn at buying lunch or coffee. He did not take advantage of that. I began to relax and said I'd consider it when he asked me for a more serious date (as in after dark to a comedy club). He called before I could give my final answer. He was in a panic. He'd been called away to LA on business and he had a huge dilemma. Could I help him out? "Well, what's up? Do you need a ride to the airport?" No. No. His ex-wife, a drug- and gambling-addict who was camped out on his couch because he couldn't bring himself to throw her in the streets (this is not unusual in Las Vegas, either) was in the throes of her addictions and could not be relied upon to take care of Matthew in his absence. Though I'd never heard of Matthew, he was age 7 and his father had full custody. Would I be willing to take care of Matthew for "a few days"? I am sure the sound of my foot being pulled from the sucking mudhole was audible. I never learned whether Matthew was taken to LA and got to visit Disneyland, as I never heard from his father again. Some people look to their (figurative) mothers as problem solvers, caretakers. I probably disappointed, as I delivered a message filled with fiery "you might have mentioned" words.

Oh, I'm on a roll now and rather regret holding back for so long! Yes, I do realize there could be some old dudes out there who may think, speak or write about the goofiest woman they ever encountered and picture my face in so doing. That's OK! My point is not to take anything away from anyone. My point is that human beings are damned complicated, heavily layered things driven by stuff we may not even contemplate. When someone such as I, already feeling a bit challenged by these fascinating animals, is faced with stuff she does not immediately know how to handle . . things can get funny or sparky or mean or frightening. And I haven't even spoken yet of He Who Told Me What Was Wrong With Me (to whom I was never grateful), nor He Who Was Actually Kind of Scary in His Intensity, nor even He Who Would Have Been the One Worth Keeping for Awhile. Talk soon ~ I've got a date. Nah!


  1. I do enjoy reading your stories about this!

  2. NEXT TIME YOU RUN INTO ONE OF THOSE "ALL IN CAPS" FELLAS, JUST REPLY: "Hey, who do you think you are, Sam Kinison?"

    If Sam Kinison is before their time, it could also scare off the way-too-young guys.

  3. I'm glad i'm not dating imagine having to tell some one at some point in the relationship that I wear depends "just in case" and pee through a straw. It's funny though what a spouse is willing to put up with. I'm not even particularly nice to her. She definitely should just dump me.

  4. @ CramCake ~ If only I'd enjoyed some portion of the experiences! You know the one word that comes to mind? "Exhausting". It was that.

  5. @ Kirk ~ My friend, where were you when I needed to apply that logic? That really is exceptional advice! ;~}

  6. @ Tag ~ As I keep writing these things, you'll hear about things way worse than that which were said to me on a first outing. There are some things that simply don't need to be shared early or ever. She definitely should not dump you. You're a keeper.

  7. I thought only shopping lists and ransom notes came in caps?!

    You live and learn.....

  8. @ Rachel ~ Sometimes when I think I'm a little clever, I remind myself I am not Rachel Fenton. You are GOOD!

    I'll tell you what did NOT come in caps: Him into my presence. And the caps were the least of it.

  9. @ Jennt ~ You MAY have just trumped Rachel with just one word ~ "gosh". Boy howdy! :~{

  10. Not only didn't "Him" come into your presence, it doesn't even come into the New Testament. Unless it's at the beginning of a sentence, "him", "he", and "his" as synonyms for Jesus are not capitalized.

  11. @ Kirk ~ Resting my case, my dear friend! And I'd make the argument, "Nor 'god' ". But then, I am "difficult". Love you, Kirk. Really.

  12. COMMENT FROM DOOZYANNER (cut and pasted as she is having Blogger issues:

    Oh, Leslie! Online dating! Been there, done that, not doing it any more. I could be the second wife to a wealthy Indian if I had played my cards right. Or snuggled up to a judge whose clothing was covered in cat hair. (He did mention that if it was cool he'd be wearing a cat-hair vest. I thought he was joking.) Or drive several hours to see a grieving widower who still (after 8 years) has an entire webpage devoted to his dear deceased wife. (He was too busy to drive half way--I opted out of driving the whole way, which surprised him.) The last one...a very nice man right here in town...has adopted his 3 year old granddaughter (very noble and good)...but I had a WTF moment on our first "date" when I found myself with a small child on my knee while he made spaghetti...attired in his sweats. A bit too comfy-domestic right off the bat. And...he was shorter than me. I didn't think it would matter. It does. Ha! Desperately seeking....no wait...I'm not desperate!

  13. @ Doozyanner ~ The ultimate recognition of "I'm not desperate (or even needy)" is a beautiful thing. I'm a weirdo, so I always feel embarrassed after some male-female debacle, even when I'm not the oddball. Misplaced mortification, maybe like "I'm blushing just to be a bit player in this mess".

    So, let's see: widowers and divorced men who can't let go. I finally landed on this: "Go to the cemetery (or get remarried to her) if she was that wonderful. I can't be her. I don't even want to be her."

    Pet (cat, in particular) lover myself, even I know there is a limit to animal love and mess. 'scuse me while I brush the Bogey from my slacks.

    Adoption is a wonderful thing. Sweat clothes serve a wonderful purpose. But that is too intimate a scene for a first outing, in my opinion. I mean, almost the more expected lunge at intimacy would be preferable. At least we know how to dodge that one without looking unkind or without soul.

    Too short? Hmmmm . . I don't think that's one of my deals. Ex was only 5' 4" and that was OK for me. I've dated 6' 4" and that's not so OK. It's just awkward. Shorter than me? Not likely to happen unless I take up with "boys" again.