My Foray into the World of Internet Dating – The First Date

So Mr. Out of Town is keen to meet me and I am anxious.  I am worried about a lot of things as this is the first time I have had a blind date (not totally as I have seen his photo) since I was 17.  That was a disaster.  I won’t go into details, but I can assure you it was terrible.  I prefer to avoid negative situations if possible.

I am really a very shy person.  I can hear you all laughing now.  I know that I may exude oodles of confidence, but it is something that I work at.  Fake it till you make it as they say.  It does pay off, but it isn’t easy.  Hard on the outside, soft as a marshmallow on the inside.

I eventually put my anxiety aside and became pro-active.  I am American, from New Jersey, and I used to live in New York City.  I also have large men in my family that know how to handle themselves.  It rubs off.  I do know how to look after myself.

On the day of the date, I told my friends on Facebook that I had my first internet date and if I didn’t check in to call in the posse.  One of my friends works for the police.  We had chatted the evening before about a backup plan.  I told him I was covered.  I had also scheduled dinner with a girlfriend and she knew what to do if I cancelled.  I wasn’t cancelling for anything.  She was helping me with my CV and a job application.

I got a text from my date to tell me he was going to be late because of the traffic, as it was rush hour.  That wasn’t a problem and I was pleased that he texted me before he was late. I took that as a good sign. I arrived at our rendezvous a little bit early and was able to see him drive in.  I took note of the car he was driving and where he parked.  One can never be too careful.

First impressions are extremely important and it is possible to determine within the first 5-15 minutes if two people are going to be attracted to each other or will get along.  Well, at least it has always been that way for me.  This time was no exception and I was pleased to note that he was better looking than his photos and seemed to be a little shy himself.  Although I can be somewhat shallow, even if the package is nicely wrapped, I still need to know if there is any substance to the person.

We went for a coffee and chatted for about half an hour, gathering information from each other.  I was surprisingly at ease in his company, and when he suggested we go for a walk I was happy to do so.  After all, it was a beautiful day and he did drive for more than an hour to meet me.  Trust me, if I had any doubts or heard alarm bells ringing, I would have made my excuses and left, long drive or not.

I showed him a part of my world.  He was surprised that I could have the countryside right on my doorstep.  He seemed to enjoy it and I was happy about that.  I love where I live.

I was surprised how easily conversation seemed to flow.  I was with an Englishman that seemed open and conversant.  How did that happen?  He didn’t even make one cheesy or sexual remark.  He was a real gentleman.  He did comment that I looked better in person than in my photo and I had to confess that I thought the same about him.  When he suggested that he change his photo I told him that I thought it was better to look more attractive in person than in the photos, otherwise it would lead to disappointment.

We had some lunch and then it was time for Mr. Out of Town to head home.  On the way back to the car park he hinted that he would like to be invited back.  I ignored that and let him hint a couple of more times.  I couldn’t help toying with him before I asked him point blank if he wanted to be invited back to my neck of the woods.  He said ‘yes, if that was alright’.  It was.

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My Foray into the World of Internet Dating

A few years ago, one of my work colleagues suggested that I try internet dating.  She saw an article in the paper about a dating site where you get one of your friends to ‘refer’ you and say nice things about you on the site.  Not having anything to lose, I gave it a shot and let her say nice things about me.  I am not sure that saying I didn’t suffer fools was ultimately a good idea.

I used my real age and put up a photo.  I looked to see what was on offer in the men department.  Hmmm.  There is something about me you need to know.  I generally do not find Englishmen attractive, either in looks or personality.  Call me shallow, but how the package is presented does matter to me.  So what the heck was I really doing on this dating site?  Living in hope, that’s what, because that was my only option.  I am an American living in London, as I was constantly reminded.  London is full of Englishmen.  Don’t remind me.

So there I was looking at men around my age.  They all seemed to be looking for 30-somethings.  No surprises there.  I was shocked by how old these men looked.  They were my age and looked 10-15 years older.  Eek!  Now I know I’m no Spring chicken, but I don’t look my age, so I’ve been told.  If all these men looked so mature, it isn’t surprising why women my age are opting for younger men.

There were only two men that seemed remotely interesting to me.  I wrote to the first one and we chatted online a few times.  Then he told me he met someone near where he lived but he was still happy to chat with me.  You have to hand it to his sense of honesty.  I told him that I didn’t think it was appropriate. Next!

The second man seemed normal until I got more information.  I had to nip that one in the bud though.  It turned out that when it was his turn to look after the teenage kids, he would stay at what used to be the marital home and do his ex’s gardening and maintenance while she was staying with her boyfriend.  That was one lucky ex.  I don’t think he was quite over her.  Rebound man is not for me.  I quit the site soon after vowing never to go back to internet dating.

Since my last partner, I have only dated one Englishman and that was for six weeks – two weeks extra too many.  After sampling a gamut of women since we parted, The Last Englishman has recently proposed to his latest girlfriend and they are going to get married.  Good luck to her.

The other day, I was sent a link to some articles that were published in The Spectator in 2002 by Leah McLaren and appropriately titled, ‘The Tragic Ineptitude of the English Male’.  This article sums up my experiences and feelings exactly.  I wish I had written it.

My dating encounters since The Last Englishman have been few and far between.  The upside is they were brief, passionate, and not with Englishmen. I have met many men through dancing, but none of them have really been suitable, even to make a date for coffee.  I didn’t meet appropriate men through work.  My resources for meeting men were limited, which is why I have resumed my search on the dating sites.

I registered with three different sites.  It took me the whole of one day to register with them all.  There were so many questions to answer.  When I told my friends what I was doing they would tell me, ‘I know four people who got married from dating sites’, or lines along that effect.  They were very supportive.

While signing up to these sites I had been thinking, I don’t want to get married.  I don’t want to have any more children.  I don’t want to live with anyone.  I am happy with the status quo.  If it is meant to happen, it will at the right time.  Why do I need to go looking for someone?  They should be looking for me.  What am I doing here?  My mind was racing with arguments and rationalisations.    I have no problems.  I come and go as I please and am not accountable to anyone.  I don’t have any dramas in my life.  No relationship, no dramas, let’s keep it that way.  Why change things?

People need people.  It is as simple as that.  There is something within us that seeks another to share.  We all have a story to tell.  If we could find one person that could hear it without judgement, then we would be free to move beyond our story and we would be known and understood.  We all want someone to know who we are and to accept us, the good and the bad.  How many couples truly know the person they are with?  They may know a lot of things about the other, but do they really know the other person.  Knowing, understanding and acceptance is what allows us to truly love another human being.   Am I really going to find that on an internet dating site?  I am doubtful, but I have so far exhausted my options and I am not getting any younger. I would love to have someone know me before my time is up.

I am having déjà-vu.  These new sites are no different from the first one I went on except that I am a few years older. The men still look old or scary.  I am looking for men in a 15 mile radius between the ages of 45 and 55.  It is not looking good.

I get a lot of ‘winks’ with no comments.  I have to say that I generally delete ‘winks’ with no comments.  In all my profiles, it says that I love great conversation.  What makes them think I will respond to just a ‘wink’, especially without a comment or a photo.  ‘You can see my photo if we chat on MSN’.  Creepy!  Ask me a question.  Take an interest.  Some of them have looked at my profile more than five times in a matter of a couple of hours and they still only send me a ‘wink’.  What is with that?  One guy sent me a list of jokes.

My youngest admirer so far has been 23 years old.  In his profile he says, ‘What can I say about myself?  Not a lot really.’  No kidding, the kid’s just come out of nappies!  I am old enough to be his mother.   I have had the range of 20-somethings writing to me.  They have got to be joking, surely!  Do these youngsters really think that women of a certain age are desperate?  Am I supposed to be flattered?  My oldest admirer was 73 years old.  The guy looked as if he was ready to drop dead.  Maybe he was hoping for a last hurrah on his way out.

After a few weeks of this I was ready to call it a day.  What was I doing?  Do I really want a relationship after all?   Maybe it isn’t my time yet.  I am not interested in Englishmen.  I know, I live in England and it is full of Englishmen.  It will just be another challenge.  I need a job, not a boyfriend.  Let’s quit while I am ahead.  I am not lonely, just alone.  I have a good life, great family, hobbies.  I am ok and Mr. Wonderful can come looking for me.  I have had enough of this.

Then I get a message from someone out of my area.  I can’t remember what it said, but it was reasonably intelligent that much I do recall.  I responded.  He responded.  He is English, but he has nice eyes from what I can see in his photos.  He hasn’t said anything stupid or sexual in his messages.  He has interesting hobbies and we share some common interests.  My only problem with him is that he lives over an hour away from me.  That is not convenient.  I am a Gemini.  I like things to be convenient.  I have never lived more than two blocks away from public transportation!  I tell him he is not in my area.  He says that is too bad as he thinks I am interesting.  Can we still chat?  Is he sincere or is that a chat-up line?  My son says he is grooming me.  Children always think the worst.

He says he is happy to come to my area to meet me.  He is keen.  We arrange a place and date to meet.  I feel anxious.  This is the first time I have ever met anyone from the internet.  What have I done?  Do I really need to do this?  I am happy on my own.  He seems like a nice guy, but people can say anything on the internet.  I won’t really know until I meet him.  What if he doesn’t like me?  What if I don’t like him?  What if he is psychotic?  What if, what if….?  What if…we actually like each other?

A Little Bit of Love

love-1

This is the Angel card I got this morning!  Every morning, once I’ve rolled out of bed, I close my eyes and dip my hand into the bowl of Angel cards and pick one out.  It tends to set me up for the day and gives me something to look forward to.

Today, I got Love and it also happens to be Valentine’s Day!

I have been reading Paulo Coelho’s book, The Zahir – it is about love.

I received an e-mail from Internet Man – ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ – short and sweet.  Not love – early days, but lovely sentiment none the less.

I made lunch for my son.  I love him and he is working today.

My son wished me Happy Valentine’s Day, helped me with a few things and thanked me for making lunch.  Must be love.

I received a text from my daughter – ‘Happy VD and all of that.’

I called back my daughter to tell her I loved her.  ‘I love you too Mummy!’

I am going to a Valentine’s Tango this evening.  Most of the people there will be single.  We will listen to love songs and dance.  We will not be alone.

I may not have received any cards or flowers, but I got Love.