Raining (and Evaporating) Men

I’m back out there for dating round two. In case you missed it, here’s the recap of round one. I took a little time to clear my head, my heart, my emotions, my everything. I got back into my old routines and habits, the solo activities that I love doing and that are important to me, and I picked up some new ones. And then I started browsing around the dating sites again in quite a different mindset, much more my normal, independent self. I haven’t found anyone to write home about yet, only to write about here briefly and then forget, but I believe that’s as it should be.

The Energy-Efficient Homes Consultant: I caught this one in the wild (that is, not online). I have never been so 50/50 about a person after a first date. Literally for every point that attracted me to him, there was a counterpoint of equal weight that repelled me. I couldn’t figure him out. We went out on a Sunday and I agreed to go on a second date with him the following weekend, but over the course of the week, I changed my mind. I kept going over the good and the bad, and it ultimately came down to one nebulous bad point – a gut feeling. There wasn’t anything I can point to that he said or did, but I had a feeling that something was off. I have to listen to my gut. If there’s one thing I learned from the terrible relationship I recently left, it’s listen to that feeling and do what my brain tells me I need to, no matter how much I might be attracted to someone. Had I learned that lesson well when I was 32, I never would have gone out with my ex-partner past date number three and would have saved myself years of frustration. So, from now on I’m listening, and I cancelled the second date with this guy.

The Communications Account Manager: BORING.

The Specialty Fitness Store Owner: Whoa, Nelly, breathe! This man had way too much energy for me. “Gym rat” might be an appropriate term, which perhaps I should have expected given his occupation, but you never know. He was attractive, polite, attentive, and a good conversationalist, but he didn’t seem to have any intellectual interests. Not the kind of guy I could sit at home and read books with on the occasional Friday evening. Not even once, I’m guessing.

The Sales Engineer: Oh, his eyes. His eyes drew me in and we talked for almost an hour on our first date before we remembered we should order some dinner. And date two – oh my! But then not long after, there was nothing there. And that was mutual. For him, I’m not sure why. For me, it was that he moved way too quickly. After only two dates he was taking photos of us together and talking about trips he wanted to take together and how much affection he felt for me. And he was sending emoji hearts. After two dates! Just, no. Also, he was “working on himself” in terms of diet and physique (wow, remind me of my ex much?), which is great and I’m happy for him and hope he succeeds, but I don’t need a man project right now. I recently got out of the role of long-long-suffering supporter/cheerleader/advocate. If I’m going to date someone, he has to have his shit together. But the biggest problem was that he was way too into social media, posting on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram several times a day each (wow, remind me of my ex much?) and his house was full of the latest and greatest technology (wow, remind me of my ex much?). He owned an Alexa. I can’t even. I’m sure my Little House on the Prairie horrified him.

The UI/UX Designer: Definitely attractive and I think we would have gotten along well, but he was terribly introverted. Trying to draw him out into conversation was a lot of work. It reminded me of when I was teaching ESL overseas. I’d ask my students a question, they’d give a three word answer, and then I’d have to ask another and another and another to fill the time. OK, I’m exaggerating, this wasn’t quite that bad, but pretty close. Awkward, to be sure. If I were looking for a serious relationship, I think I would have kept seeing him because I do think there could have been something there. But right now, I don’t have the time, energy, or willpower for anything more (or is it less?) than an easy connection.

The Biochemistry Researcher: Quite the opposite problem with this one than I had with the previous one. He didn’t stop talking about his work for an hour! I honestly don’t think he noticed that I barely said three sentences in all that time. Maybe part of it was nerves but maybe not. Maybe he just has that domineering personality, and I’ve been there, done that, not going back. When he did stop talking about his research for a little bit and gave us a chance to have a real conversation, it was good. I might have liked him if there had been more of that. But ultimately there was one large, unforgivable issue. He blatantly scoped out my body quite a few times, like when took my coat off and when I stood up to put it back on. He was not subtle at all about staring at my chest and ass. Creepy. That’s a big no-no, guys. Keep your eyes up and be respectful. If I want you to explore my body, you’ll know.

The Retail Store Manager: He was so good. Too good. A good American boy. Hardworking, motivated, optimistic, genuine, polite, smart, friendly, interested in the world, teddy-bear adorable. All the things. The type of guy every girl should want to be with. I tried. I liked him, as a person. There’s nothing wrong with him at all. But his total lack of snark or artifice or sense of superiority against the rest of the world was, well, I guess a little off-putting. I’m a terrible person.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In looking back at this list, I suppose I have been on a lot of dates lately. But I’m having a hard time justifying giving any single person more than two to three hours of my time. Post-significant breakup, emotions are in turmoil. In a short span, you can go through panic, relief, self-doubt, self-assurance, attention-seeking, anger, gratitude, elation, depression, excitement, melancholy, contentment, bitterness, gregariousness, reclusiveness, and, the current “oh my god being single is fucking awesome” feeling. I like dating and meeting new people, but I’m having a hard time justifying taking away time from all the things I’m doing to spend it with some random guy instead. He’s really got to wow me on the first date for me to be willing to continue. I’m so busy with creative writing, French classes, studying for the PMP certification, taking the dog on a new hiking trail every weekend, getting tattoo work done, gardening, working out (I joined Orange Theory and a second running club so I can be the damn finest 38 year old on the Adriatic Sea this summer), trying new things with the girl squad, traveling for work, traveling for pleasure, and hosting house parties (like the post-Bolder Boulder Bash I have planned for tomorrow). Who has time for men?

Well, maybe I have a little time. There is one person I omitted from the list – The 3D & Graphic Designer. This mustachioed gentleman and I had a bewitching first date last weekend, the kind that begins with the made-for-cinema moment when you walk into the cafe and he’s sitting there waiting and you lock eyes and both instantly think “Oh, yes!” and that one thing you have planned for the date extends into another thing and another thing because neither of you want it to end and you spend hours talking about the most obscure subjects because your rapport propels you instantly beyond small talk. That’s worth all my time. But we’ve only had two dates so far and, well, see The Sales Engineer entry above. Despite the instant mutual attraction, we obviously don’t know that much about each other. So, while he and I are in clear agreement that there will be more to this story, what direction it will take is anyone’s guess.

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