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”.

George,
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,
Renata

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.

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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…

The Only Thing I Read in the Local Paper (A Bit of a Rant)

The Portsmouth Herald is a friggin joke.

There, I said it and I’m not taking it back. Pardon me while I go on a rant here.

I don’t care how many ‘awards’ they win, their news coverage is atrocious. I like a good hard news lead in. Thats what captures my attention. A good solid headline to grab hold and make you want to buy it. I’m a big believer in the all but forgotten integrity of the printed word, the news reporters out there investigating real news, solid stories that grip your imagination and inform you not only on the big headline, but the minutiae of the story. I used to read the paper every day…but never the local paper.

The Portsmouth Herald has been a joke for years now. I can’t count how many times it has let me down. No lie and I’m definitely not making this up, their idea of news has verged on tabloid / Access Hollywood style. Lots of flash that quickly runs out of gas. Who cares if some consenting adults are having sex parties at their private residence? Did you really need to do an investigative report on them and name them on the cover of your newspaper? What kind of Puritan shaming was that? And on a day when we had major flooding in this state, your choice for a headline was a cat stuck in a tree?? Really? That was the hot button topic of the news room? And anytime anyone local does anything, you seem to think it’s front page news! On a day when the US reported the hugest job loss report in ages, your cover story was a human interest bio on a mentally challenged man who was finally getting his first job?

Sidenote: I have nothing against the mentally challenged individual, he’s actually a really great kid and everyone who lives here knows the guy, and yes, as a community, I’m sure we are all proud of his accomplishments. That aside, how is that a front page story when SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more is going on in the world??? HOW???????

So on princicpal, I refuse to spend a dime on their paper. But what I will do is check out their web page. For such a total wreck of a newspaper, their website is quite well designed and thought out. The emphasis again is less on hard news and more on human interest, dining, local music, theater, arts and opinions and that I can handle because when I’m on the web, I can surf past the BS, find the stories and articles I want and not feel like I got ripped off for 75 cents.

One of my favorite articles caught my attention a few years ago and I have been a fan ever since. Single On The Seacoast is Heather Mackenzies view on the dating scene here in the lovely state of NH. Her opinions are witty and her attitude is quite jaded and thats probably why I love her writing. She always finds a way to sumarize everything thats wrong with dating, self image and attitudes and put a hopeful spin on it. I like that. Finding a small shimmering bit of hope at the bottom of the dating well. She gives me a little hope that maybe it’s not all as bad as I think. Maybe there is a way out of this dating hell I’ve been in for so long.

So despite all my protestations, despite my rant about the lack of “hard news” in the Portsmouth Herald and in spite of myself, I’m  going to a news website for the one thing I hate about the actual newspaper: FLUFF. Human interest, editorial, columnist FLUFF. And I love it. I go back each week for her latest article…..

Guess I’m getting soft in my old age…. 🙂

Here’s a link to her latest article:

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20090129-ENTERTAIN-901290321

Annoyed

Ok, why is my whole site in italics and bold print???? What the hell is going on? And every time I try to contact support, I get a message that they are closed….. help!!!!!!!!

Doom or You THINK I would have noticed sooner….

Something was wrong. I’m not sure when I became aware of it, but yesterday, I felt out of sorts.

On my way to work, I drove right past the dealership and didn’t realize until I was all the way into downtown Portsmouth that I should have been at work. Quickly turning around, I accidentally ran a red light (no, I wasn’t distracted by a red head, that’s another blog) and narrowly avoided running into a UPS truck, parked out in the middle of the road instead of off to the side as they should be.

I had decided to wear my trenchcoat to work since it was light and the weather was absolutely beautiful outside. At almost 70 degrees, this was a gift of early spring weather. The windows were open and White Zombie’s “More Human Than Human” was thumping on the stereo. I felt good about myself, relaxed, almost optimistic. Several people I passed by honked their horns and waved. I didn’t recognize these people, but I smiled and waved anyway. So rare that someone is just waving to say hi or honking hello, usually the waving is of a middle finger and the honking means “FUCK OFF!”

I got to work and sat for a minute, letting the final beats of White Zombie finish up. I opened the door and saw what all the waving was about: the bottom half of my coat had been shut in the door. My nice black trenchcoat was caked with mud and soaking wet. Frustrated, I hung the coat up in my office and called the drycleaner to get a price on a cleaning.

The next few hours, nothing went right. From printing the wrong forms to being tossed 15 projects all at once and being told they all needed to be done “Now-ish”, nothing seemed to be going right. I take all the pictures of out inventory for the various websites we report to and yesterday, it was truck photo day. I lined up a bunch of trucks and managed to get through 5 of them before disaster struck.

As I attempted to leap into the last truck, my right foot slipped on the running board sending me careening backwards into the door which, like a springloaded trap, swung out and rebounded , smacking me in the back of the head. Falling to the ground in defeat, I just sat there laughing as a concerned coworker came running up to see if I was alright. That’s when it started to rain.

Back safely in my office, more minor mishaps were plaguing me. On several occasions, I forgot how to spell my own name and twice I assigned a title to the wrong person. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe my mood. I walked across the street to get a salad from McDonalds. After waiting in line behind the one person who was apparently unaware of what was on the menu at any McDonalds (I can only assume that she had crawled out of a bunker somewhere where her only contact with the outside world was a ham radio with no access to news or any entertainment of any kind for the past 60 years) I got up and ordered my Santa Fe salad thingy and made it back to my office. I ate a few bites from the top before digging deeper into the salad and discovering wilted, rotting lettuce at the bottom.

I ran back and got a new salad and even got a promise from the manager that the next one was free. As I walked out the front door of the McDonalds, I found the one, solitary piece of unmelted snow on the sidewalk. I felt my feet go out from under me. As I sprawled across the parking lot, I watched my salad, now free of its bag, launch into the air like some bizarre UFO and hit a parked car, spilling it’s contents all over the back window. The manager came running out to help me up. My clothes were now slightly soaked from the steady rain that had been falling. After retrieving my third salad, I went back to my office and prayed for 8pm to roll around. I just wanted to go home, nothing else, nothing fancy, no more surprises, just please, let me go home.

Eight o’clock came around and I darted to my car. Finally, I could end this day. But first, I had to stop off at Wal-Mart to get some necessities. Kitty litter was needed as well as bottled water and air freshener. As I walked up and down the long aisles, aimlessly searching for air freshener, the unthinkable happened: I got lost. No, seriously…I was lost. I had no idea which way was the exit and actually stood confused for about 20 minutes, trying to find my way out. It all went wrong when I wandered into the sporting good section looking for some new hiking gear. No sooner than I had spied the multi-tool that I wanted to buy than I made a wrong turn and found myself staring at the gun section. I didn’t think this was legal anymore, but there they were: bebe guns and various other rifles all on display in a glass case with nobody around to keep an eye on the potentially lethal merchandise. Boxes of ammo of all kinds from bebes to buck shot sat in small boxes behind the glass counter top. Next to the display were bows of all sizes and arrows of varying degrees of lethality.

In my mind, I pictured some deranged idiot wandering into the store unarmed and finding this little cubby hole of weaponry in the back corner of the store, arming themselves and proceeding to wreck lethal havoc on the other shoppers going about their normal shopping. Slightly unnerved by this lack of security, I turned around and….where the hell was I? Why can’t I see the exit?

I turned up one aisle thinking it was the right way. It looked promising, there were the dvds and there were the toys….then, I was stuck in the car department…what the hell? I backtracked again and found myself at that same counter. Had I wandered into a time warp? Determined to get out, I decided to cut diagonally across the store and despite some minor diversions (Hanes plain t shirts on sale!) I made it out.

Getting home was rather easy. No almost missed traffic accidents, no deer wandering into the road, no hailstorms. Collapsing into bed when I finally got home, one thought came across my mind: how in the hell did this day become so fucked up and confusing? A conflagration of factors had come together to just completely mess with me but what had started it all? What event had set in motion this perfect storm of oddities and accidents?

I kicked off my sneakers, stretching out my toes and feet, feeling the coolness of the air for the first time all day. I stood up and unbuckled my belt while I looked for my ‘house pants’ and I de-trousered myself, I looked down and there was the reason. There was the explanation. I knew something had to start the day off wrong and there was the proof. The one thing had set in motion the minor tragedies of my day:

I had put my underwear on backwards.

Dealing with Overseas Customer Service or Please, come up with more original names!

When I was a kid, I collected comic books. In the storage room of my house, carefully inserted in plastic sleeves and in numerical and alphabetical order, I have boxes and boxes of comics. If it was published between 1975 and 1995, I probably have it or had it at one time in those boxes, carefully preserved and accrueing value. At times, I have sold some of these comics, mainly to make room but more for the need of money at one time or another. The summer before I went to school in England, I spent almost every sunday at my own table at a flea market, selling off duplicate copies of some of my more treasured pieces in my collection. I made $1000 just from those! I was a a happy guy! So, along with this collection, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and characters of the Marvel and DC universes.

So today, one of the first things I had to do at work was call GM for an in-service date for a 2007 Grand Prix that I was stocking into our system. I call these companies every day to get in-service dates so we can know if we do any work to the vehicles, we can claim it under the factory warranty. During the week, I know that if I call during business hours, I will almost always get an American call center, but on the weekends, I know it’s a crap shoot. One of the common practices of the foreign call centers is the “Anglosized Name Change”. We have all encountered this. Someone with an obviously thick Indian accent saying “Thank you for calling chevrolet, dees ees ‘Bob Smeeth’, How may I assist you?”. I will never understand this practice, I know it’s to put the caller at ease, that they are talking to someone who will understand and be able to address their concerns, but come on? why the fake name? Just tell it like it is and move on. We are all in on this particular joke.

Anyway, so here is the conversation I just had:

“Hello, This is Reed Richards, How may I assist you?”

“I’m sorry, what was your name again??”

“Reed Richards.”

“From the Fantastic Four??”

-silence-

“How are Sue, Johnny and Ben doing today?”

“I’m sorry sir, this is Chevrolet is there something I can help you with?”

This is when I realized that my geekiness had just made me an asshole. Here is this poor guy, just trying to do his job and I’m calling out for naming himself after a superhero. I suddenly felt like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, eagerly correcting and scolding those around me who were clueless to the history of my past comic book obsession. Resigned to my prickishness, I allowed him to walk me through his entire script rather than explain that I have called a million times and all I want is the in-service date.

Yes, we buy lots of these at auction.

No, really? an open re-call? I’ll get right on that.

No, thank YOU for getting me that in-service date.

Humbled, I hung up the phone and started doing some real work, hoping I don’t offend anyone else today…….

Strangeness from the search archive…

“my little sister is growing big boobs”

 I know I have mentioned boobs in the past. I’m a big fan, a cheerleader for the power of boobs in all their incarnations. But how the hell did THAT search term come up with my blog?? I looked way back to the beginning of this blog, stories of my trip to Monhegan Island, Boston, my good friends in the band Sirsy and even my more recent posts about my sisters death and my strange food encounters and silliness from the past few months….how in the hell does that search term relate to my blog?? I’m almost offended.

The flip side to this is: why is that searcher so interested in their sisters boobs? Is there some sort of implied incest situation happening here? Which again, brings me to my own blog: do I mention incest anywhere??? I think NOT! I almost wish I could contact the searcher and suggest that perhaps they need some counseling….