Yes, I Have A Date. Stop Laughing.

I am going on a date tonight. Yes, you heard that right. Me, Ms. Perenially Single, Miss Stay-at-home and play-it-safe. I have not been on a date since Miley Cyrus’ then-childless mother first twerked Billy Ray. Further, the number of dates I have been on in my whole life you could count on one hand while still flipping someone the bird. My 23-year-old daughter has never seen her mother get ready for a date. And I’m pretty sure my 18-year-old son thinks I am a closeted lesbian. So yes, this date is a pretty big deal. But the real story here isn’t the date. The real story is all that led up to it…

I met him online, in a happy cyber-coincidence. I wasn’t thrilled with the results from this dating site that I was on, so I was up late one night trying to figure out how to delete my profile so I could be done with it for good. You see, (in a story for another day) I had already figured out some important things about my love life. I had pretty much decided that online dating might not be for me, as I am too thin-skinned and honest to survive in a fantasy place where lying is the name of the game. People lie to you, you lie to them, and worst, you lie to yourself. My empathetic heart didn’t see prospects; instead I saw loneliness all around me, and I was already wallowing in too much of my own. And in a sudden epiphany that took 3 years, I realized that I was using the web to keep people at a distance. I could SAY I was trying, without REALLY trying. (That’s the part where I lied to myself.) I knew that the only way I was ever going to pull love into my life was to get OUT into the world and meet people. Lots of people. Somehow, someway, I had to learn how to cast a net and enjoy the spoils. I KNEW this; I didn’t say I was looking forward to it.

But then…HE said hello. I have no idea why the planets aligned the way they did that night, or why my guardian angel decided to come back to work after a lifetime hiatus, but somehow he and I found each other, two needles in a haystack. He said hello, and somehow, from a simple hello, I felt like this man knew exactly how I felt, and that he would understand my tired despair. I don’t know how I knew, but I was right. And thinking that I was talking to a fellow despairee, I chatted with him easily and quickly, with no intent to impress. I was just happy to have found an interesting, educated, articulate and funny man to talk to for a few hours, so I just acted like myself. I mean, I was me. Every word I spoke was genuine, about me and my life and my beliefs – even the huge online deal-breaker: my actual appearance! He really enjoyed me, and the easy way we spoke to each other. It was as if we had known us forever. I have felt good connections before, but this one blew all the others away…and he made sure I knew the feeling was mutual. We chatted til the wee hours. He asked me out to dinner, and in a completely uncharacteristic move, I said yes. He asked if he could call me in the morning. I said yes. And he did, right on time. A man who kept his word. I was, on the basis of that alone, smitten.

The next two weeks were a blur of chatting, texting, phone calls…swapping life stories and getting to know one another in a deeper way than I had ever experienced. He was perfect for me – a strong, intelligent alpha male with old-fashioned relationship beliefs. (Like Bigfoot, I had heard this existed, but had never seen one myself.) He valued monogamy and honesty, living by the principle of gratitude, and getting the most out of life. He was successful, well-traveled, outgoing, sweet, sexy, incredibly good-looking, with big hands and a voice that made my toes curl. But I think what made my head spin the most was the way he spoke of treating a woman like a woman – someone to love, treasure, cherish and spoil. I admit, part of me thought he was too good to be true, but there was a voice that kept welling up inside of me that shouted louder than any negativity, “AND JUST WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU DONT DESERVE AN INCREDIBLE LOVE? WHY AREN’T YOU ALLOWED A GOOD MAN? WHY, EXACTLY, ARE YOU SO CERTAIN THAT PRINCES AND FAIRY TALES ARE FOR EVERYONE ELSE BUT YOU?? DID IT EVER OCCUR TO YOU THAT MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, THIS MAN – THIS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME MAN – WAS SENT TO YOU AS AN APOLOGY FOR THE YEARS OF SUFFERING AND LONELINESS??” (Yes, even my imaginary voices are long-winded and loud.)

But there it was. The truth – that I did not believe I deserved it. The fundamental reason I was still alone. Now, this was not my first dance with this realization. It’s just the first time that it STUCK. Sometimes you have to hear a message a thousand times before you really hear it. Like Helen Keller at the well, Anne Sullivan’s crowning moment, I finally understood with perfect clarity that the only thing holding me back was me.

So…I let go. I let myself believe that this love could be mine. I let myself believe that I would have a man who loved me fully. Every time he spoke of us in a confident future tense, I let myself believe. Every time he checked in, I took it as proof that I finally had a man who wouldn’t check out. I believed this was really, finally happening. I believed with such force that I felt embarrassed for all the years past, when I did not believe , and was ashamed of how often I gave up hope. I should have known something incredible was waiting for me.

About a week and a half ago, he proved himself to be a total romantic when he said he wanted to take me traveling with him, around the world, to interesting and beautiful places he had been, and now wanted to show me. I don’t mind saying I nearly wept tears of gratitude. I was overjoyed just to have found a man who embodied all the qualities I longed for…that he told me we could walk on a beach in the Dominican Republic at midnight with a bottle of wine…well, that was just gravy. (But not like chicken gravy, oh no. It was like slow-cooked beef gravy. And the aroma was killing me!! I couldn’t wait to taste!) When we said goodbye that day, he firmed up our dinner plans for the following week, and I was once again grateful for a man who kept his word. With each passing day I was growing more convinced that this was the one I had been waiting for my whole life. He happily told me (as he’d done before) that we would talk the next day. (That was one of the things I liked so much about him – he didn’t leave a conversation without a plan for our next one, even if it was only a few hours later.)

I never heard from him again.

It’s been almost two weeks. At first, I thought he was just busy, and since we hadn’t met in person yet (though we did have solid plans), he was just giving this thing a little space. I was cool with that. I sent him two texts, just to let him know I was thinking of him, and I was so happy to feel this comfortable with someone that I could reach out without fear of being rejected. But as the week wore on….no word. Then it was well into the next week. I resisted calling; the fear of rejection was back, like an unwanted visitor. I have always been the girl who could take a hint, disappearing at the first sign of indifference from a guy. (As if that was somehow going to make it hurt less. Oh…the lies we tell ourselves!!) I was getting more hurt every day, wondering what I did or said to scare him away; it wouldn’t be the first time I screwed it up. But no matter how I analyzed it and picked it apart, I could not find a single thing that I had done wrong. This guy just changed his mind abruptly, and vanished without explanation or goodbye.

I tried to do the only thing I knew how to do – blame myself. I tried to figure out where I was lacking, and why he didn’t want me. In a sobbing fit of anger, I cried out loud, “What does this man want that I don’t HAVE?? I am smart, funny, compassionate, kind, loyal, a good singer and a great writer – in fact I have many talents and my own pursuits, I am open to trying new things, I’m classy and sophisticated (enough) but also the first to laugh at a dirty joke, if I’m not the one telling it…Where does this guy think he’s going to find someone better than ME???!!”

I heard it as soon as I said it. The answer to the question WAS the question. I had been feeling awful, not so much because I felt rejected, but because I was in disbelief that he didn’t want me. I am a catch! It’s actually incredible that someone like me is even on the market! What the hell was wrong with this guy that he couldn’t see that? It was a big moment for me. It has been a long road to becoming a woman who recognizes the value in herself. I’m sure there’s more for me to learn, and more growing that I have to do…but this is the first time I said it…and really meant it.

So maybe this guy is a big fat liar, an internet psycho who gets off on building the hopes of lonely women and then disappearing. Or maybe everything he said was a lie. Or maybe it was all true…except for the part about him cherishing and protecting a woman, and being kind and considerate; clearly that was not true. And if any of that is the case, then I am so lucky to have found out now, instead of at Thanksgiving, getting stood up at the airport with my sad little suitcase packed happily with beach clothes. Or worse…to find out after I had given him my heart.

I suppose it’s possible that he is in a hospital somewhere, trying desperately to wake from his coma so he can get back to the amazing woman he met online…but I think I have better odds of being hit by a falling cow while clutching a winning Powerball ticket. (The coma scenario is, by the way, the swan song of every woman who has ever been stood up.) No, I think it’s most likely that he’s just chasing a different tail, and I will never hear from him again. He certainly never called to break our date for tonight. I could make pathetic excuses for his behavior to soften the sting of rejection, but the bottom line is, if a guy isn’t calling you, he’s just not thinking about you. And I deserve to be with someone who IS thinking about me. Always.

In fact, I was just saying this to myself the other day when my text alert went off; it was a guy who had asked me out a few times, but I kept putting him off because I was so enamored with Mr. Exciting that I didn’t think I would want to date anyone else, let alone a “nice”, easygoing guy. And yet…Mr. Nice was thinking about me. And made sure I knew it. Only a stupid girl would spit in the face of destiny and ignore the lesson she had just learned. So I answered him. And we’re going out tonight. And he compromised to work around MY schedule, and he’s driving a crazy distance…because he thinks I’m worth it.

Because he thinks I’m worth it.

So, wherever you are, mystery douchebag, I want you to know that the only reason I am not distributing your profile with a Sleazeball Warning attached is because you inadvertently did me a favor. You showed me what I want. You created a situation where I had no choice but to learn something powerful that would move me along to something better. I don’t feel like thanking you as much as I feel like throwing a pumpkin at your head, but I’ll thank you anyway. I hope you find someone as shallow and heartless as you turned out to be, and I hope there’s a tsunami on your next trip to the Dominican Republic. Blowin’ you a kiss, baby.

And that’s the whole story….that’s why I am about to go and shine myself up and step out into the world. It’s time. Nervous? Sure. But this time is different. I know what I have to offer, and the process of finding the right candidate has finally begun. It may take awhile. I plan to enjoy myself. After all, it’s just a date.


One Response to “Yes, I Have A Date. Stop Laughing.”

  1. Wade Howell October 1, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    awwww, you broke my heart!!!! forget trying to wake up from his coma, i hope he’s dead as a doornail….dead in a ditch….hell, i hope someone dropped a house on that jackass! enjoy your date with the real man, remember, you’re beautiful and you’re a lovely lovely human being….and any one of the billions of fish in the sea would be lucky to have you call him your tuna!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: