So, I joined an internet dating website. Yeah, it’s come to that. And at first, man, what a rush! About 60 guys viewed my profile the first day!
But then the only ones that contacted me were calling themselves “TurboTube4U” or “SexMachine1964”. Or they were located in Timbuktu with improbable male model photographs straight out of Shutterstock.com. I’ll pass.
And then there were a few who I politely declined because you know, you can kind of tell… and one replied, “You’re obviously flat chested and not into real men.” Another said I had generalized anxiety disorder that interfered with normal socialization because I wouldn’t hop into bed with him based on one on-line conversation.
Hooo. Dodged a few bullets with those two.
Needless to say, by now, I was kind of over the whole internet dating thing.
Then I got contacted by a guy who was kind, attractive, and actually knew how to spell, and we chatted for about a week for hours on end. We had a lot in common. Our politics, our interests, our goals, even our crazy work schedules seemed to line up. We began to finish each other’s sentences. He seemed to know what I was thinking. One night we were talking about our religious philosophies, and right in the middle of that he changed the subject and said, “You know, you shouldn’t be self-conscious about your body. You are totally my type.”
Oh my God. I was in love. I mean, if the man had asked me to sign over the pink slip on my car at that moment, I probably would have. (But then, no one would want my car.) For the next few days I was walking around humming The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music.
So finally, we agreed to meet at a public park. No pressure. Just walk around the lake and talk. And it was a fantastic date. We talked for hours. We shared the skeletons in each other’s closets, and we still liked each other. We laughed. And the chemistry, oh, yeah, that was there.
I remember thinking, “Omigod, I might actually get laid before Christmas! Yay!!!!!”
So things were going well. I began to think that maybe my search was over and I could get off that horrible website.
Then, I went to see his condo. And it was gorgeous. He had remodeled it himself and decorated it himself, and it had a spectacular view. It was amazing.
And then he went into the bathroom. And that’s when everything changed. Because when he came back out, he noticed that the coffee table had been moved. He spent several minutes trying to make sure that the legs went back into the pre-established dents in the carpet.
And while he did that, I looked at the place with fresh eyes. It was spotless. All the window blinds were at the exact same level. All the towels were folded identically. Everything was arranged by size. Probably alphabetized, too.
I said, “I don’t think you’d like my house.” And it’s true. It’s not like I have moldy ham sandwiches under the bed or anything, but there are one or two dust bunnies under there. And I’m not a hoarder, but there’s clutter. And I have dogs, so I’ve long since given up on making the bed.
We looked at each other, and you could see the romantic bubble bursting behind both of our eyes. I knew I wouldn’t ever be able to function under all his self-imposed rules and impossible expectations, and he would never be able to comfortably climb into my bed without wrapping himself in plastic from head to toe. Somehow, this particular topic hadn’t come up during our halcyon days.
But oddly enough, I wasn’t sad. I know my mind takes these romantic flights of fancy and they rarely survive the cold light of day. I let him break it to me gently. And I responded, “I completely understand and agree. But I also wanted to tell you I’m glad you came into my life. I think you’re great, and fun to be around, and I hope we can still be friends.
See, I’ve never been one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and here was this truly wonderful guy that I enjoyed being around, and both our profiles say we were both also looking for friends. He always said he wanted to get out more. I had images of bringing him to my storytelling group, even being his wing man to help him find that special someone. Doing the occasional lunch. Trading pithy banter via text.
So I also said to him, “If you still want to take that drawbridge tour, I’d be happy to see you.”
He thanked me for “being so mature about it.” He said, “maybe some other time.” And I haven’t heard from him since.
The romance bubble burst, as they often do. But what made me sad, what brought a few tears to my eyes, is that after all the things we did have in common he still didn’t find me friend-worthy. So I went from thinking that I could be falling in love to actually feeling sorry for the guy, because I have to say I’m an amazing friend to have.
I can see his condo from my drawbridge. I see the glow of his television. I see him on the dating website, searching… searching… and it just makes me sad, you know? Because real connections are hard to come by in this world, and they shouldn’t be discarded just because they didn’t take the form you originally hoped for.
Gifts are gifts. They come in all shapes and sizes. And I hope I never stop feeling that way, because I really like that about myself.