Dr Strangedate, Part 6: Five Months Of Dating Brought Me Here?

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,
Gang aft a-gley,
And leave us nought but grief and pain,
For promised joy.” ~Robert Burns

Five months. Five long months. The experiment with OKCupid and online dating was drawing to a close. To be honest, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I had endured every kind of date imaginable and coming to the end, I didn’t foresee anything changing.

For a few days, I just ignored my account. I stepped away from the computer and gave myself a breather. If I’m honest, there was a strong possibility that the five month experiment would have ended right there. This was it. I was done.

Then, I got an email from Karen.

Karen was a graduate from Rhode Island School of Design. If there is one thing in life that I regret more than anything, it was not going to RISD. I was accepted back in 1990 but, even though it was my dream school, I couldn’t go. They offered me absolutely nothing in the form of financial aid. My dream of being a world class artist with a degree from one of the most prestigious art schools in America died when I got that acceptance letter detailing how much I would owe. And being 18 and broke from a family that was broke, my heart broke to have to turn away and go to my second choice.

So, for obvious reasons, she piqued my curiosity with that tidbit of knowledge. She went to and graduated from my dream school. Architecture and textiles were her major interests. As we talked through email, she linked me to her online portfolio and I was blown away by her work. Karen was a small unassuming woman with short black hair, hour glass figure and a huge laugh that seemed to fill the air when we spoke. And did I mention she had an Etsy page? Her family was originally from Argentina and she had a fascination with alpaca wool. Using her home textile, she made extraordinary scarves, hats, gloves. I was overwhelmed. Here was someone living my dream, creating a life out of her creativity. I was hooked.

We decided to meet in Boston and spend a day at the Museum of Fine Arts. One of her favorite artists, Chihuly, was being featured as the special exhibit at the MFA. I figured this was my moment. I studied art and art history and used to volunteer at the MFA. As most of my friends who have been to an art museum with me know, I suddenly become an art professor when I walk through the doors. A blazer with corduroy elbow patches appears out of nowhere and suddenly I find myself lecturing like I was back in college. This was my environment. And not to mention we would be in Boston. My adopted city, my old stomping grounds.

A day in Boston is like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty damn good.

We had an amazing day.

It was beyond perfect.


At the museum, she showed me Chihuly and his amazing blown glass sculptures and I gave her a tour of the museum. We talked art, laughed, talked more art and kept on laughing. It was a whirlwind day at the museum. From there, we headed into Harvard Square and grabbed dinner at Fire & Ice. The laughter continued as we wandered around my favorite haunts. Window shopping, music hunting, people watching, we ended the evening at an old diner in Davis Square. Holding hands across a formica table, sipping tea, the laughter never stopped. We took the T back to Alewife Station where we had both parked and made out like two hormonally challenged teenagers outside of her car. I was a perfect end to a perfect day. We said our goodbyes with promises to see each other again soon.

When I went home that night, I was so happy. I had been through this weird hell of online dating and finally, at the end, I meet someone who totally changed my mind. I had been ready to give up and swearing off of the whole online thing forever….and here I was looking forward to a second date with Karen. I was a little giddy..

The second date was just as spectacular.

She had me pick her up at her house. She introduced me to her cat. The cat adored me. Good start to the evening. As we were leaving, she suddenly stopped me and had to run back into her house. She had forgotten her medicine. She was so adorable running back from her house waving a baggy over her head. Up close, it was a baggy full of prescription bottles and loose pills. When I asked about it, she brushed me off and said they were her supplements. I thought nothing of it. We headed off to have dinner at an amazing Tuscan restaurant followed by window shopping. I swear, this date was the closest I think I’ve ever come to actually living a Rom-Com. It was perfect. Amazing dinner, fun conversation, beautiful date, shenanigans and the evening ended with us in the front seat of my car, fumbling around like horny teenagers.

Karen lived outside Boston and both of our dates had been down in that area. For our third date (which, by the way, THIRD!!! none of my dates had gone this far) she decided to come up here to NH. She showed up at my house with a bag full of quinoa muffins she had made the night before. It was a beautiful sunny day and we went for a ride up the Maine coast. This was when I noticed the baggy again.

We grabbed coffee for the ride and as we drove north, I noticed her emptying a powder into her coffee and taking a small handfull of pills and downing them like candy. A little amused, I asked her about this again. There was a pause. Immediately. my brain thinks up the worst case scenario… months of bad dates had trained me to wait for when the other shoe drops. I braced myself for some horrible story that she was a recovering heroin addict/drug mule/meth dealer/etc. In my mind, I was panicking. How could this be happening again? How could we have such a great time together and all of a sudden this happens? I felt a little trickle of sweat bead down the back of my neck as I awaited the inevitable, horrible revelation.

“Do you believe in crystals and energy?”she asked.

I raised an eyebrow. “Sorry?”

She then explained her belief in new age energy, the power of crystals and how the supplements and powders she took daily were reccomended to her by a spiritual healer. This “medicine” kept her healthy, happy and centered on a daily basis. I smiled. I had been wrong to worry. She was playing her crazy card and it turned out it wasn’t really that crazy after all. If that was the worst she could do, then we can get along just fine. I would never begrudge someone their beliefs. If it makes you happy and it speaks to you then it’s alright by me. I took her hand and she squeezed mine tight. It was going to be a good day.

Karen had never been along the Maine coast before, so we did the touristy thing and went to the Nubble and checked out the lighthouse and rocky coastline. We lunched at the Maine Diner and that evening, we stopped at the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth for coffee and a snack before she went home. Throughout the day, I noticed that Karen was always running off to the bathroom at more and more frequent intervals. At first, I wrote this off as too much coffee and man, we had a lot of coffee that day. But when we finally got to the Friendly Toast, she spent more time in the bathroom than at the table, she barely touched our sweet potato fries we ordered and the laughing and conversation, which had been nonstop up until then, suddenly ground to a halt. I knew something was wrong, but I tried to take it in stride, packed up the fries to go and we got into my car.

There was a long awkward silence as we turned out onto Route One, heading back to my house.

“There’s something I have to tell you,” I heard her say, almost in a whisper.

I waited, here it comes, the revelation that she’s really a CIA operative and all that time she was in the bathroom, she was getting orders to kill someone, probably me. Or maybe that she was really married and her husband had been calling her while she was in the bathroom and he was waiting at my house to kill us both.

“I’m getting a cold.”

Confused, I looked over at her and that’s when I noticed she was crying.

“Do you want to get some cold medicine?”

She started sobbing. “You don’t understand! All those supplements and pills I take help ward off illness and keep my spirit in balance. The fact that I’m getting sick means that my body is fighting the supplements. My body is trying to tell me something. Because I’m getting a cold, and I haven’t had one before meeting you, that’s my body’s way of telling me that we are not a good match.”

I felt my chin smack into my chest.

She started crying more, big sorrowful tears, pouring down her face. “And you are such a nice guy and amazing kisser and I loved every minute we spent together and was looking forward to seeing more of you.”

She looked over at me. “But my body knows better than I do.”

Stunned into silence, I did the only thing I could do: hit the gas and floored it all the way to my house. Turns out I was wrong earlier. She had played her crazy card, yes, but what I didn’t realize was she had a whole deck of them up her sleeve.

We arrived at my house and, doing my best to be a gentleman, I invited her in to use the bathroom before her long drive home. I made tea, we had some forgettable idle chitchat, hugged and she was gone.

I can’t say enough about how dissapointed I was at that moment, sitting alone, re-reading our emails to each other before deleting them. How could I have been so wrong about someone? I came away from my three dates with Karen more confused than I had ever been before. How could everything be so perfect but so completely wrong all at the same time? How could I have so much in common with someone and yet, nothing?

The experiment was over and I felt like I had failed all around. Despite trying my best, being myself and keeping an open mind, I never found what I was looking for. And although the experiment ended there, the adventures of Dr. Strangedate continued…..


Hello, My Name is George and I’m a bad blogger….

It’s been a long time. I’ve missed you. I’ve thought a lot about you over the last couple of years. It’s good to see you’re still here, right where I left you. I can’t apologize… I can’t rationalize… I can’t even explain what made me turn away from you… But, I’m here now… I want to continue telling my stories.
It hasn’t been an easy couple of years,. Too much to go into right now.
I want to spend more time with you.
Get to know you again.
If you’ll have me…
I have one confession though: I have been writing… I know what you are thinking and you’re wrong, I haven’t been seeing another blog. The writing I have done is in notebooks, word documents and pictures I’ve taken. I just didn’t feel comfortable sharing them with you. Not that I didn’t trust you, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t feel comfortable putting all of my thoughts back out there for everyone to see, so I wrote in secret.
I think I’m done hiding now. I want to share this with you again. All my silly thoughts, my stories (the funny and the sad). I want all of it out there again.
So please, forgive me for disappearing, I didn’t mean to abandon you…
I’m here now and there is much to tell…
If you will have me…

Dr Strangedate, Part 5: The Rejection Letter

As the winter dragged on and each date became more and more depressing, I started to lose faith with the whole OKCupid experience. I know that people say that you have to “kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”, (well, princess in my case) but this was just nuts. Date after date of no connection, nothing in common. It’s then I realized a sad truth.

For all my dates, I was their frog.

I kept trying. I stayed true to my mission statement and said yes to everyone. I didn’t shy away from any date. But I was getting a little jaded, a little more cynical. Then I met a women who would change my mind completely. Well, for a little while anyway.

Renata was a single mom from MA. She was funny, quirky, very librarian girl looking with the chunky glasses, funky hairdo and a devilish smile. We talked for hours on messenger about all things geeky. I found myself really enjoying our chats. She suggested a date. At first, we were going to meet for dinner but the lack of a babysitter meant a change of plans to having wine at her place and watching a movie. Whoa, this woman knew me too well. Wine and a movie, cuddled up with a gorgeous woman? Hell yeah!

That night, there was freezing rain. The roads were a disaster and making it to her house was a bit of a challenge. But I finally made it and she greeted me at the door with an enthusiastic hug. We went into this sort of converted mud room which had been decked out like a man cave: huge tv, sound system and couches.

We sat on the couch and I quickly realized this wasn’t a date. She just saw me as a buddy. My first clue was when we sat on the couch and she sat as far away as was physically possible without careening off the end. Yeah, I was used to this feeling. No chemistry in person. Sighing, I accepted my fate, popped open the wine and she put on some awful movie about a Roman legion in England. It was terrible and we mocked it like we were on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was fun, we laughed.

Then she did something really bizarre. Out of the blue, she played the “Oh, I’m so tired” card. Really? I’ve been on the recieving end of this tactic before when someone wanted out of a date. “Oh, I’m so tired. I just hit the wall. Can barely keep my eyes open” etc, etc. I thought it had already been well established that this wasn’t a date and we were just hanging, but aparently, even my mere presence was unwanted. I decided to cut my losses and go home. Having been rejected so many times, I wasn’t surprised just a little confused. Why bother with the whole “I’m so tired” nonsense? I thanked her for having me over and as I went to leave, she gave me another big hug.

“Honey, please be careful on the roads, it’s so icy.”

Honey? Now I was more confused. Did I miss something? Did this night go better than I had interpreted it to be? Maybe she really was tired. Testing the waters, I suggested that we get together again.

“Sure, how about this Sunday? I’m free all day and the folks can take the kid for the day!”

Wow, ok, I really had misread everything! We hugged again and I gave her a smooch on the cheek. She pulled back and gave me a stern look.

“No, no kissing on the first date.” She smiled. I really had gotten everything wrong.

“Now, make sure you text me when you get home so I know you made it. Bye sweetie!”

Sweetie?? And the whole icy ride home, she would text me with messages like “Be safe sweetie” and “can’t wait to see you again, honey”. I was in shock. How could I misread a situation so badly? Maybe because after all the bad dates, maybe I couldn’t tell that we had connected. Maybe I missed it entirely and allowed my cynicism to cloud my judgement.

I finally pulled into my driveway. Like a good boy, I did what I was told and messaged her I had made it safely back to North Hampton.

“Good night, sweetheart.” was her reply.

I came into my bedroom and clicked on my computer as I always do before going to bed, checking Facebook or perhaps going through some blogs before finally falling asleep. I noticed I had new mail. I clicked on my yahoo and there was a letter from Renata. Excited, I clicked on it. It was only later that I noticed the headline read “Sorry”.

Thank you for a nice evening last night.  It was great to finally meet you.  I have to tell you, I didn’t feel the same connection that I think you did.  I’m so sorry.  You are an amazing man: sweet, adorable, smart, funny, and creative.  I wish you the best of luck in your search, but I don’t think Sunday is a good idea.
Again, I’m so sorry,

So am I the only one who said “What the fuck?” when you read that? It was like a rejection letter for some job I didn’t know I was applying for.  I had already accepted that we had no connection. I had come to terms with the lack of chemistry. And Sunday? Sunday was her idea to begin with. What the hell was going on in her head? She initiated the whole second date idea. I let this stew for a day and then wrote back a concise, albeit a little bitchy, retort.

Wow, I have been thinking about this all day and I have to say I’m really disapointed. I thought at the very least, I had made a new friend. So what if there was no attraction, you can never have enough friends. Would love to have kept that friendship alive here. But friend’s don’t send out dismissive emails to each other. I would have expected a phone call, so we could at least salvage the friendship. I really enjoyed chatting with you and enjoyed your sense of humor. Even though it wasn’t a “date” last night, I was looking forward to getting to know a new friend. I’m deeply saddened that you didn’t take the opportunity to call and talk to me. I find dismissive little emails very childish. Adults talk to each other. Friends discuss things with each other. I’m truly sorry that you had no intention of even being a friend. I’m sorry I wasted your time this past week or so.

Yeah, maybe I was a little over the top in my response. I let 4 months of bad dates, disapointments and dashed hopes catch up to me. I wanted to really lash out but I think I showed a certain amount of restraint by not just calling her a c*** and leaving it at that. I almost wish I hadn’t opened that email when I got home. For a few hours, I could have believed that maybe this whole dating thing was worth it. It was going to work out.

I would have been fine believing that, even for a little while.

Dr Strangedate, Part 4: The Groupie and One Drink Disasters.

After the general disaster of my first OKCupid date, I decided to be a little more cautious. I wasn’t going to fall into the same traps I found myself in on that first experience. I would get to know the prospective date before agreeing to meet. At the very least, a week of phone calls and emails would be my rule.

Sifting through their site is a challenge. You can never search very close to home, they only allow you to search at a minimum of 25 miles. So instead of all local singles, I would end up with a handful of people in my area and the rest would all be from the North Shore and Boston area. This was a little frustrating at times, but I figured at the very least the site was helping me expand my horizons. Foolishly, I was still under the impression OKCupid had my best interests at heart. Oh, I was so naive.

I quickly broke my own rules by agreeing to meet for drinks with someone after only one email. A pattern emerged rather quickly with the “meet for drinks” dates. Starting with a casual response to my ad and quickly suggesting we go for a drink, somewhere in the middle and neutral. And since most of my matches showed up from the North Shore and Boston, even meeting in the middle was a bit of a hike. But all of these meet and drink dates ended the same: going our seperate ways, both dissatisfied with the experience. I was always early, waiting at the bar. I could always recognize the date from their entrance: standing in thedoorway, scanning the room with an expectant smile. Then, they saw me….and one of two things happened: an outright look of “ewwwww” or that pained, forced smile, the kind you reserve for your Uncle when he tells a raunchy and inapropriate joke at a funeral.

A couple went so far as to make eye contact with me but quickly look away and rush out the door. One even texted me after dashing out the door, explaining that she couldn’t make it to the restaurant due to her inability to get a babysitter. I messaged back “Do you live in the parking lot?” She never got back to me. One woman I met for dinner in Newburyport, which is actually rather close to me. We had great conversation, a few drinks and even some dinner. I thought we were having a lovely time. At the end of the meal, she gave me a big hug and when I suggested getting together again, she started laughing loudly. “No thanks, I think I’ll pass!” There was a distinct tone of “ewwww” in her voice.

During all these disastrous little dates, I had met a woman on the site that I thought I had connected with. Her name was Emily and she grew up with the same crowd I hung out with: punk rocker kids hanging in Harvard Square. Yeah, I used to be one of those punks, black mohawk, combat boots and trenchcoat, the whole halloween costume, just lounging around Harvard Square. I have always lamented the fact that I lost touch with all the great people I used to know back then, not to mention all the bands I counted as friends. And it turned out, Emily knew all the same people! She was like a lost connection to my forgotten past. I was dying to meet her but I decided to wait. We talked, emailed and texted for almost two weeks.

Her favorite restaurant just happened to be my all-time favorite place in Boston. The Border Cafe on Church St. was just beyond my favorite movie theater to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which you can read about in an older post about my adventures in the square https://glassowater.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/im-a-rocky-horror-fan-or-lets-do-the-time-warp-again/ ). I had been dining there since the day they first opened their doors. Anytime I find myself in Harvard Square, you can usually find me there at some point. It all seemed so perfect. We were so alike. What could possibly go wrong?

I planned the day according to my previously established rules. Instead of meeting her outside the city, we decided to meet at the restaurant. This gave me a plausible excuse to disapear if I had to. We had spent 2 weeks chatting, so it was well established we had much in common. Our activity together was dinner at our mutual favorite restaurant of all time followed by Newbury Comics and other such window shopping activities, with a trip to Faneuil Hall planned for the latter part of the day if time allowed. I had planned the perfect OKCupid date. Right? Escapes routes, mutual interests, lots in common, what could go wrong?

I waited in the bar at the Border Cafe, watching the door. It was a cold and blustery February day in the city. Emily knew how to make an entrance: the door blew open and she swept into the room, a flurry of flying scarfs, her long coat billowing in the breeze. She took off her woolen hat to reveal platinum blonde hair streaked with purple. Scanning the room, she found me immediately and smiled. Not a forced smile, but a genuine giddy smile. And holy crap, she was so much cuter than her pictures suggested: big smile, beautiful eyes framed by librarian girl glasses. I was won over in seconds. She came running up to the bar and gave me a hug and smooched me on the cheek.

Wow, this was starting out well…..

We sat down for dinner. I immediately start talking about music. I figured this was a good place to start since we both loved music so much. I start mentioning all the bands I used to know, the people I hung out, the guys at TAANG! Records who used to have their office in the square, bringing up all the little connections I knew we had. She smiled and laughed as I talked about the old times. Finally, I asked how she met everyone from these bands, people I called friends back in the days of the old punk scene. Her response? “Oh So-and-So? I fucked him.” She then proceeded to recount, in rather colorful and descriptive language, all of her sexual conquests. “I sucked his dick, fucked that one, had a three way with them”… I quickly realized something: she wasn’t a friend of any of these people, she was a professional GROUPIE!!  Her list didn’t end with my friends, oh no. She started to recount, in graphic detail, every band she has gone back stage and serviced over the years. I was a little horrified. Is this really dinner conversation? Telling your date that you screwed, sucked and cornholed your way through all their friends? What would the future hold for such a coupling? Every time she said she was going to a concert, do you sit home with a portable STD testing kit so you can swab her and run some tests as soon as she gets home?

Once The Groupie got a foothold in the conversation, she never stopped talking. The rest of dinner sounded like this:

“Me me  me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me…. you? Me me me me me me, etc”

I could not get a word in edgewise. I felt battered into hanging out with her because there was never breathing room for me to object or to implement my escape plan. At one point, we were standing on a platform waiting for a train and as it approached, I seriously considered just leaping in front of it just to make her shut the fuck up! Finally, outside Faneuil Hall, I got a moment to myself, texted a friend to call me. We faked an emergency and said our goodbyes. She kissed me on the cheek, saying it was nice to meet me. I dashed off for the Goverment Center T station, but first I made a quick stop at CVS. Alcohol swabs were on sale that day…

Today, I am 40…

I often thought that hitting 40 would be so much more of a big deal. I was expecting a little fanfare, balloons and cake and hey, maybe even a parade! (I can dream right)

But in reality, I greet this day with a smile, the well wishes of my loved ones and friends and the expectation of a great night out tonite with amazing people and good music. No big deal. No pressure. No soul searching melancholy on the meaning of my existence as I reach middle age. No, just acceptance, a smile and looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I’m happy and but not content and that makes this birthday so much better than all the rest. New opportunities, new friendships, new loves (or maybe even an old one), I’m looking forward to what is to come. Forward, with no regrets.

Dr. StrangeDate Part Three: Attack of the Dates From Hell! Act 1 – The First Date

When I started this adventure with online dating, I went in with hopes high. I expected to have fun and put aside any of my previous impressions, doubts or fears. I went into the experience with an open heart and an open mind. I truly believed that opening up myself completely to the experience would allow me to meet people I would normally never meet in my little life. To accomplish this, I adhered to one simple rule: say yes to everyone. Anyone who caught my attention, yes. Anyone who wrote me back, yes. Anyone who suggested a date, yes, yes, yes! I wasn’t going to deny myself any opportunity that may present itself. As it turns out, when it comes to online dating, perhaps a bit more selectivity was in order. Perhaps a bit more caution on my part could have saved me a lot of time and trouble. This was definitely not one of my smarter moves in life.

From the very first date, I had worries about my approach to this online dating world. After posting my profile, the first person to respond was a woman calling herself CoffeeGirl. Is it bad that I remember her handle and not her actual name? After only a few email interactions, she suddenly asked me to come spend the day with her in Boston. And by sudden, I mean after only two emails. “Let’s get together this sunday!” I have to admit, I kinda liked her style. She was approaching this dating thing in much the same way as me: dive in head first and get the ball rolling. No pussyfooting around with emails getting to know one another. Screw that! Let’s just go out and see what happens. I said yes to the date and we met up in South Boston after a big snow storm.

I had a bad feeling from early on that sunday. I called her asking for directions. “What the fuck? You don’t have a gps?” Sadly, I only had a phone with text capability. I had yet to graduate to the smart phone. “Oh, by the way….I shoveled out a spot for you to park in, so you better appreciate it!” I don’t know if you have ever been to South Boston, but there seems to be this big to-do about shoveled out parking spots. Aparantly, there is a neighborhood watch system to make sure nobody steals anyone’s shoveled out parking spots. And woe to the person who does. From my vague understanding of it all, I guess somehow, Whitey Bulger finds out and puts a hit out on your ass. Something like that.

I finally find my way to her house and that oh-so-coveted parking spot. She met me at the curb. I’m not one to judge someone on looks, so I usually try to look beyond that initial first impression. Not to mention that these modern websites almost require you to post a picture of yourself. What they should do is require you to take a picture right when you post your profile because, I’m sorry, she looked nothing like her picture. Straggly long straight hair, kinda blown back from her forehead, a weird puglike nose I hadn’t really noticed in her profile pics and an oddly shaped body that, at first, gave the impression that there were various large root vegetables fighting for space under her clothes. Her voice was gravelly and nasal all at the same time, an effect that I had hoped was just a bad phone connection before but now, hearing her speak in all her unfiltered glory, I realized that’s really how she sounds. “Hi George!!”

From her house, we caught the T (Boston’s Transit system) into Boston and literally wandered aimlessly. No plan, no goals, just wandered in the cold and snow. The only true goals we had were find lunch and then find dinner later on. She was perfectly happy to wander the city, as was I except for one thing: I was rapidly running out of conversation. Turns out, Coffeegirl wasn’t much for arts, music, politics and all the stuff I love. She loved sports. Sports and nothing but sports. Nothing turns me off faster than someone who is one dimensional and CG was quickly proving to have a one track mind. And as I ran out of conversation, I realized to my horror that I was trapped in the city with her. Even if I had made a run for it, for the life of me, I could not remember which T stop was hers. I was stuck. After grabbing some excellent sushi, the one high light of the day, she insisted we go to one of the bars near TD Garden to watch the Bruins and play pool.

Me…in a sports bar.

This woman really knew nothing about me. Nor did she care. Nor did she know what city she was in because it turns out, she was not a fan of the black and gold, no, no. She was a huge fan of the Flyers, the team the Bruins were set to square off with that evening. That’s right. I know you are probably way ahead of me but yes, she wanted to go to a Boston sports bar in the heart of the city and scream and cheer for the opposing team. As you can imagine, this went over spectacularly well with the locals in the bar. Not only did she scream at the tv, badmouth the Bruins loudly and basically make an obnoxious ass out of herself, but she cursed out many patrons of the bar. She even went so far as to call an entire pool table of people a bunch of Bruins loving pussies. When I noticed the the locals starting to circle us like wolves around a wounded deer, I suggested we head to another bar and thankfully she agreed but not before some parting insults to the Bruins fans in the room. I basically had to shove her out the door before the the crowd started lighting torches and took chase after us.

After watching the final minutes of the game in a bar many blocks away, I suggested we hop on the T and head back. She agreed. I felt this great sense of relief as the train pulled into our final stop. Turns out, if I had decided to run and hop on the T, all I had to do was wait for the final stop on that line and I was there. Oh hindsight….

We made it back to her house and as my car warmed up, we sat on the couch. The silence was deafening. I was scouring my brain, trying to find something to say, some way to end the night that didn’t give the impression that I had a miserable day. And really, a day in Boston, even with odd company, is still a good day in my opinion. We had seen a good chunk of the city, Boston Common, had some world-class sushi and window shopped on Newbury street. So despite the fact that we would never have anything beyond this date, it had really been a good day. And just as I was about to say all that, she kissed me. A big sloppy, bit drooly, kiss. Not much surprises me but I have to admit, that kiss was a huge surprise. Not just because I wasn’t expecting it, and really, let’s face facts here, I had no attraction to this woman at all. No, I was surprised because she was so bad at it. I would have thought that she would have one thing she would be good at, her special talent that she thought could save the day or the date, as the case may be. Sadly, no. I didn’t pull away or avoid the kiss, that’s just rude, darnit. But wow, what gave her the impression that this date had been a success? And who taught her that kissing with your teeth was a thing? What the hell? I’ve been known to bite a lip now and then, but she went for the full on bite like she was chomping into a good ear of corn. And ladies, pay attention to this little tip: it’s not attractive at all to make loud slurping noises during what should be a simple kiss and then drooling so much that I worried about back wash getting on my shirt. Just saying.

We said our good nights, promised to stay in touch (yeah, right) and I headed home. On the drive, alone with my music, I reflected on the day. There was certainly quite a bit to process but I boiled it down to this: Those 8 hours of my life taught me a few valuable lessons. First, get to know the person better before agreeing to a date with them. Second, have a plan, an activity, something neutral and fun you can both agree on and enjoy. And third, perhaps the most important lesson, ALWAYS have an escape plan. You never know when things may turn sour and you need to make a hasty exit. There is no shame in retreat, especially when your date is annoying the hell out of you or possibly endangering your life.

There were many dates after this first date, each with their own lessons, but this first one set the bar for my experience with online dating and sadly, what followed set that bar lower and lower. More to come in the next installment.

Dr Strangedate, Part 2: The Making of a Profile

Online dating presents a rather complex problem: how do you sell yourself?

In life, we sell ourselves everyday, whether it be with job applications or any number of daily activities where we have to sell our ideas to someone, selling yourself is a pervasive part of normal human interaction. Like me, you will like my ideas/product/widget/etc.  Having a persuasive personality that exudes self confidence, with a little self deprecating humor combined with an appropriate amount of modesty, honesty and pepper with a lot of energy usually equals a winning formula. Whether it wins the day is entirely up to your own individual persistence and perseverence. I come to this definition through 14 years of working in car sales where making someone like you is about 80% of the job. So, I have the formula but how do you translate something you do in practice into a convincing introductory paragraph on a dating site? It’s like working a scientific problem in reverse: here is your result, proven time and again through empirical evidence. Now, work it backwards to the written page and see if you can reproduce those same results in theory.

First, I had to come up with a handle for the website. I always use glassowater for everything I log in to. It’s been my nickname online for everything I do since 1997. If you see glassowater listed on a website, there is a very good chance it’s my goofy ass. But when I went to log in, that was taken. Glassowater, my handle, was not available. So I started trying all sorts of names, hoping to score with something. And I just kept striking out over and over again. After several minutes of frustrating rejections (oooh, I smell foreshadowing there) I finally typed in “ireallydontcare2”, which seemed appropriate at the time because all I wanted to do was write my profile and get this ball rolling. This name would come back to haunt me.

Having finally settled on a handle, I got to work building my profile.

To be honest, I had no idea what to write about myself. I didn’t even have a clear set of goals or objectives when I made my profile. I just started writing. And writing. And writing some more. And soon, my worst fear about writing my profile came true: I accidentally wrote a short novel about myself that was sure to help some poor soul with their insomnia problem. The central problem I have with writing a profile is the inherent narcissism of it all. “Here I am! I love myself, I’m wonderful and you should love me too!” Yuck, so not me. Or even worse “Oh look at me! Please? Look at me! I’m loveable right? I’ll do anything if you just adore me.” Yeah, not me either.

So I sat down again and edited. And edited. And edited some more. Here is what ended up as my introductory paragraph for my OKCupid profile:

” Hmm, not sure where to begin… So, yeah, HI! Thanks for stopping by! I will probably amend this as time goes by, but I’m pretty simple to figure out. I’m a big goof who is looking for more friends to spend my time with. Very laid back and a little silly.
I’m happy to add here that I have started on a path to better health. I now run/walk almost every day and I’m at the gym at least 5 times a week. I have a goal of total wellness for this year. For me that means coming to terms with my life, my mind, my body and my relationships and finding peace and satisfaction in all I do. I will never have a six pack, I will be happy with the mini-keg. I’m not exactly where I want to be in life, but I’m working on getting there. I find happiness in the small things, the little moments: that first moment of pure joy when my friends hit the stage and start playing, sitting in awe at the MFA in front of my favorite Gauguin, dinner with friends where the conversation becomes a long note of neverending laughter. I would love to meet someone who laughs easily, smiles readily and challenges me daily… I’m seeking my best friend, someone who shares my outlook on life, is comfortable with themselves and their life and most of all, someone who truly wants to make a connection, make a friend or something more…”

Not bad right? Not too pretentious, not too overbearing. A dash of humor, a smidgeon of silliness and just a pinch of nervous babbling. Not a bad introduction to the sale of me, right?

The rest of the profile offers you some creative questions to write about as a way to further expound upon what you are seeking and what you expect.

What I’m Doing with my life:

“At 39, still trying to work this one out. I have learned that the best laid plans may not be what life intends for you. I’m going with the flow for now and enjoying where life takes me.
I’m also working on my art, trying to paint again and doing photography wherever I can. I write a little blog which is more for me than anyone else, but it’s a new form of expression that I have been struggling with for awhile now.” ~Oh, of course I had to plug the blog a little.

I’m really good at:

Cooking, making people laugh, being a wealth of useless knowledge, tickling porcupines, taming jackalopes and swimming with great whites.” ~ Ok, so some of the info isn’t all that useless….

The first things people usually notice about me:

Like everyone else, I really have no idea how to answer this question…. could be my laugh, my smile, my green eyes or my sweet ass…” ~ My friends can totally attest to the sweetness of my backside.

This next one, I have to admit, I got a little long winded in my answer…..

Favorite books, movies, shows, music and food:

I know that this is usualyl a long list of “Things That Define Me” But, to be honest, I don’t see these things as defining characteristics, these are things I enjoy and love to share with others.

Books: David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, history, fiction
I really don’t want to bore you with a long list of authors here. At one time, I was reading a book a week and have a huge collection of books… come over sometime, feel free to browse…

Movies: I have a wide variety of interests when it comes to movies but my all time favorite is Harold and Maude…. I will say that lately, been gravitating more towards arthouse flicks with limited releases but I do have a soft spot for comic book movies and the comedies of Judd Apatow… And everything in between…

Music: Holy crap, where to begin? Music is a huge part of my life! Love going out and supporting bands, especially local music. I grew up with punk and new wave and in the 90’s I was a college radio dj which really broadened my musical horizons. Since then, been a fanatic of all types of music, even a little country and bluegrass now and then. Music is huge part of my day to day life and I absolutely love going to great lengths to experience new music and new bands.

Food: I’m a big man with a big love of good food. Nothing I love more than getting in the kitchen and putting together a huge meal for friends or family. The way to my heart is a spicy mix of latin, tex-mex, mexican, thai, indian, carribean and italian food. But I love experimenting and going outside my comfort zone and finding new and exciting restauranats and flavors. I ran restaurants for years, so dining out is something I truly enjoy for the experience and the sheer love of good food.” ~ Only now do I realize that I never talked about my favorite shows.

Six things I could never do without:

good food
good wine
my camera
my art supplies” ~ I don’t know how I forgot to list chocolate, but I digress.

I spend a lot of time thinking about:

this very statement….” ~ So sue me, I’m a smart ass.

On a typical Friday night I am:

Friday is my day off, so I usually spend the day cleaning house, on the beach, doing some photography, driving aimlessly and friday nights, I’m hopefully out with friends, seeing a band, lounging at someone’s house, playing poker, maybe cooking for friends…” ~ Kind of a pointless question really, but I guess it helps define what you find fun.

One final essay remained in my profile…..

You should message me if:

– You are looking for a friend first and foremost :)
– If you love the notion of hopping in the car, picking a destination and just roadtripping for the day.
– You would love to hang out with someone who will happily cook you dinner and hopefully keep you laughing.
– You can laugh at yourself and the world around you
– You have red hair…yeah, I’ll admit it, that is a weakness of mine… :) (EDIT: No, this is not a prerequisite.)

Please DON’T message me if you are a serial dater… I am all set with that nonsense….

Little did I know that despite the disclaimer about serial daters, that’s all I attracted for some reason. “One and done” as a friend of mine put it.

So there you have it, my first attempt at selling myself and all I have to offer. And if I’m honest, I don’t think I did a bad job. Little rough around the edges, but that’s me. The coming months after posting this profile would be an endurance test of patience and my ability to handle the incredibly absurd. Craziness was soon to follow…..

To be continued…..