With each of these dates in the recent past, I had begun to lose more and more of my faith in humanity. Where do I begin. . .
So nearing the end of the thirty dates I thought I was doing a better job qualifying my Knights. I found myself spending more time emailing, texting, and talking to these Knights on the phone to try to avoid your garden variety disaster date. I thought that this new tact would help and do a better job of weeding out those that might otherwise just add fodder for the blog, rather than being a great date.
This particular gentleman reached out to me via my online dating site. His letter was not remarkable in subject matter: It was a pretty standard introduction. He was new to this online dating thing, he had run into my profile, liked what he read, and hoped I might see enough commonality to want to write him back.
As I always do, I checked out his dating profile page. He was in his mid-40s, never married, no children, and listed himself as "looking for a relationship". He was over six foot, with blond hair and blue eyes and a baseball player physique. He had a number of pictures of himself at sporting events, at the beach and even singing in what was either karaoke or with a band. His profile said he had a masters, worked in finance and loved sports, the outdoors and was a history buff.
Perfect. He seemed like Mr. All American. Maybe the universe was finally smiling on me.
I sent him back a message thanking him for the note. To get the ping-pong going I asked him about his sports team preferences, how he was faring with the crazy weather we had been having, and inquired what his outdoor pursuits were. Because of this blog, I had become a professional ice breaker.
He emailed back his responses, and he was clearly a South Jersey guy. He loved the Philly teams, his family time at the Jersey shore, and time outdoors kayaking in Princeton. He shared that he was ready for Spring; even though winter had just recently started.
We emailed back and forth without a phone call for weeks. He was my Friday night email buddy. On Friday nights I would end my evening, come home and email him to see how he was doing. Faithfully, he wrote back each evening. One would think that a phone call would have been easier, but there is a certain mystery to just having a pen pal. I now, (due to this blog) love to see how others write. I am no great grammatical whiz or cunning linguist, but I appreciate the written word.
Thru our emails back and forth he shared how skeptical he was, and even embarrassed that he was on an online dating site. He was a traditionalist who believed that men and women should meet in bars and on-line in the food store, and saw this online dating "thing" as a desperate necessity to try to integrate dating into his otherwise busy world. He volunteered time to charities, played in a number of sports leagues and adored his family and friends, who took up a large percentage of his time. He relished the fact that I was willing to email him, and get to know him, unlike a number of the other women he met on the dating site.
He was an old soul who loved Oldies music, quiet nights at home and a good softball game. He seemed to me like someone who I could really be compatible with. We both loved sports, outdoor activities, movies, charity work and travel. He seemed to be a stand-up guy with a good head on his shoulders, and this was a rarity these days.
We decided after some texting back and forth and a couple of phone calls that we would meet for drinks somewhere halfway between his home in South Jersey, and mine up North. We picked a date and time but left the location up in the air till we got closer to the date.
The day before we were slated to get together we still had to decide on a place. He had sent along a message asking if I had ever been to Sona 13.
I mentioned that I had been, and assumed that we were meeting there since this was the first time a question about location had been raised.
To confirm that this was indeed the place I then sent, "7pm still OK?"
He sent back "Let's make it 7:30 just to be safe."
Great. This location was closer than where we had originally talked about meeting in Bridgewater. I had been to Sona 13 innumerable times and was elated that we were meeting so much closer to my home.
The following day I got ready to go on our date. It had just snowed so I needed to wear something that would look normal with snow boots. I threw on a pair of cords, a long sleeved cotton tee shirt and snow boots. I was ready to begin my leisurely drive to Morristown. I decided that I would text him that I was leaving so that he knew I was going to show. He had mentioned he was concerned that I might not show up.
I sent on a text that said,"See you at Sona 13 soon!"
I immediately received an incoming text from him.
Ummm. What did 'what?' mean? I thought we were meeting there tonight? Hmmmmmm.
"Why are you going to Sona 13?" he replied.
"Because I thought that you mentioned that was where you wanted to go. You asked if I knew where it was," I replied.
"No, no, no," he replied. "We're meeting in Bridgewater! I only asked if you knew where Sona was because it was near you."
Um. Ok. I was totally confused. Who makes plans like this?? Instead of getting discouraged, or upset, I just asked where he wanted to meet. He sent back that he was cool with the Green Knoll or Char, both of which were in Bridgewater.
I guess I was headed to Bridgewater after all. Since I was driving and didn't want to text, I pulled over to try to call him to see if we could figure out where the heck we were going.
This was not the "hello" of a grown man- it sounded like a woman's voice.
What was going on?
|"Hellloooo. . . "|
"Ha ha ha. It's me!" I could now hear that it was my Knight on the other end. He was laughing hysterically. I guess that he thought that impersonating an old lady was hysterical. I thought that this was sort of odd. . .
"So where do you want to meet," he asked.
"Well I know where Char is, so let's just head there." I was making the executive decision here. If we were going to go somewhere, we were going somewhere I knew I could get to easily.
"Um, well, OK. That's sort of nice," he said.
"Well I'm a nice girl, so it's a good fit then," I replied.
"Well, can we make it 8pm then?" he inquired.
"Um. OK," I responded. I had already passed Morristown on 287 and was going to arrive way ahead of 8pm at our new destination. Not really much I could do other than find something to do in Bridgewater to kill time.
"I'll see you at Char at 8pm," I said. I was about to hang up and he said, "Wait, wait!! One more thing. . . Um, if anyone asks, we know each other. You know. Like this isn't a first date. I don't want anyone knowing that we met online."
Now this seemed even more odd to me.
"I assure you," I responded, "the bartender won't question us, and no one else cares."
"Well, OK, but I just don't want anyone to know that we met on an online dating site," he commented.
"No worries," I said. "See you in a bit."
I hung up and pulled into a gas station. I figured I would get some gas, stop at the bank and do a few little errands to kill time now that I was so ahead of schedule. I also figured I would do a "sanity check" as I like to call them, with my bestie. I rang her and explained to her the bizarre course of events that had transpired. The strange woman's voice, the mix up with the location, the "it's a nice place" comment, etc.
Her response, and I quote was "I really think you need to be done with this online dating thing. It's really not working out for you." I had to agree. It really wasn't. And here I was, slated for what looked like it was going to be another doozy of a night.
I told her I was going to stick out the date because I was nearly at the destination. I said I would call at some point during the date to let her know how it was going, and if I needed an "emergency phone call" from her. She agreed that she would keep her phone near her, and wished me well.
I arrived at Char just before 8pm. I made my way in and sat down next to the service bar. There was a man my age sitting to my left and I put my handbag on the empty seat to my right. I ordered a glass of Chenin Blanc and a water, and awaited my fate. While I was waiting for my Knight to arrive, the man sitting next to me asked me what branzino was. I told him it was a fish and giggled that he was satisfied that I not only knew the answer, but he trusted my answer. We had a laugh, talked about some of the food they served, and eating no carbs (which was something he was apparently doing). I giggled and pointed at his beer, asking where it fit in to his plan, and he laughed as well. He said the food was easy to give up. Good beer, not so much. Just as we were beginning to really hit it off, I felt someone standing next to me. I turned to see who it was and it was . . .