A Few More guys…

You may be wondering what’s been going on recently in the so-called “Quest for love.” Well, all I can tell you is things aren’t really any different than they have been for the past 20 years. Sounds depressing I know. But I can tell you this; I am better defining what it is I’m looking for. It just seems that I’m seeing a whole lot of what I’m NOT looking for! I cancelled my membership on the dating site I was in, and seem to be better off for it. I could go back one day. I get an occasional text from the mystery guy I told you about, but he obviously doesn’t fit into my notion, and new found direction of what I think of as “Christian Maturity.” I do have to deal with the fact that my mind wanders off into thinking of him quite frequently, wishing that he were different, and were looking for a real relationship and not just a fling. But I’ve decided that if he texts me one of his frivolous sexually charged texts again, I will simply not respond. I have not erased his number from my cell phone for the simple reason that I want to know when he sends me a text, not to mention the fact that my heart skips a beat just from the fact that he has spent a moment thinking of me, and has not yet forgotten about me altogether.

The day after I cancelled my account, I followed through with my intention to meet Rick at Starbucks. This would be the last vestige of my connections made from the dating site. He and I had been texting occasionally, but I did not yet feel anything at all for him. Unfortunately meeting him in person didn’t change that at all. When he walked up to me at Starbucks, the first thing he said is, “Are you nervous?” in a slightly aggressive manner. As you could guess, this immediately ruined any chance he would have of impressing me for the rest of the hour while we talked, this and the fact that he just smiled too much.  In short, there was nothing there, but I was nice to him. When he suggested going somewhere else, I referred to a movie I had stopped in the middle of on Netflix, and how much I looked forward to returning to my movie. I did find out one thing about myself though, I’m a pretty good talker. This seems to be a skill I have perfected from my 7 years as a customer service rep for a cell phone company. I haven’t been sure whether I was happy to have met Rick or not. Was this a waste of time, or was it something good for me to do, so I will be a little more comfortable the next time I decide to meet a guy for coffee?

That same afternoon I went to the gym. I don’t often meet guys there, but I may see someone interesting and wonder if they are taken. A guy may seem to be looking at me, but rarely will he say anything for some reason, which I believe has more to do with the region I live in, than whether or not the guy really has any interest in me. However, I’ve noticed that since joining the dating site, and getting more comfortable talking to, and looking at guys, I’m a little freer with feeling my interests at the gym, and more inclined to look at guys, and be open should one of them happen to talk to me.  Only one guy has talked to me so far. His name is Anthony. He is often at the gym and apparently is addicted to exercise. He often cartoonishly jumps around as if to be demonstrating some sophisticated karate moves. It is difficult not to laugh. I have seen him looking at me while I was on the elliptical trainer as if to gauge whether or not I was impressed while I simply smiled, straining to hold back laughter. Perhaps to amuse myself I engaged in conversation with him one day as he predictably asked me out to eat. I didn’t feel up to it at the time, and said we could do this later, and I offered to add him onto my Facebook, which I did. He contacted me a little too much, but soon backed off.

On the same day I met Rick, I decided if I saw Anthony, I would go ahead and take him up on his offer, after all I was really broke, and I had decided he was harmless. So I saw him as he was nearing the end of his workout that day, and told him we could go out to lunch if he’d like. This sounded good to him but he had been there all morning and I had just gotten there,  so I said I would make it a 20 minute work-out if he could hold on. As we headed out of the gym together, I learned that he does not have a car. So I agreed to drive, but it turned out he also did not have money, so I suggested Subway. By the time we were in the car headed to lunch, suggested we do this another day, and it appeared he also did not have a job. When I drove him home, it turned out he lived with his mom in an apartment. I guess I would have felt funny about accepting a lunch date from a guy in his financial situation anyway. I gave him my number and offered to carpool with him, thinking this would have the effect of getting me to the gym more. But I eventually had to ask him to not text me so much, and let him know, through text, that I was only interested in being friends. Why this would not be obvious to a guy in his situation, I don’t know.

Aside from the humor of these events, it seems that my efforts have been beyond fruitless. So today I feel resigned, but pleasantly so, for the time being. In this moment I am convinced that I need to find a good church, decide where I will be living for the next five years or so (likely not the Jersey Shore), and let God bring the guy in at the right time and place, etc. as many of the preachers I watch on TV have suggested. I guess I can resolve to be amused by the fact that all my efforts have done little to bring about that relationship which I desire to have. Perhaps there is something to be said for simply the practice of talking to and getting to know guys, and working through any issues I have which may arise from this. On that note, I have not forgotten my promise to you to begin to show you some of my old journal entries. I have simply not taken the time yet to sift through the old journals, but I will. This I have more time for now that I have stepped aside from the dating site. The next section of my blog I will dedicate to sharing these entries and/or poems with you.

A Mysterious (but not serious) Crush

At this moment I’ve decided I’m gonna kind of put the guy thing on hold. In the meantime, I am looking through my journals for passages on a previous crush, as I promised you. But for now, I have just downloaded some awesome free religious/spiritual books onto my kindle, and utterly convinced this is a better use of my time than scanning new profiles on the dating site. Besides, I spent the day yesterday fixated on a crush I have developed for someone whom I’ve decided I don’t even want to tell you about. The reason is, I know you will only think how foolish I am. And I know it is foolish, but as they say, “the heart wants what the heart wants.” I guess I am waiting for the situation to phase itself out somehow. In the meantime, I will tell you about it. After all, this journaling, blog sort of thing is therapeutic for me.

So yesterday, “he” texted me for the first time. All he said was “hi.” This made me “high” all day considering that, although I wasn’t sure, I thought maybe it was “him.” I have been writing about him in my paper journal, and may copy an entry for you. I later sent him a text asking if it was him by name. He responded “yes.” And my high continued. Although I had been thinking of him all day, I didn’t text him back, because I didn’t want to seem over anxious.

At the same time, in order to try and get my life back in line, in a spiritual place, where I am perhaps not even considering dating a guy who is all but religious, I saw a “sign” literally on the side of the road yesterday advertising a Methodist church. I looked it up online and found that they had an 11am service, which I will plan on attending this weekend, hoping that it can be the church I feel good about going to. Also they have AA meetings, this can’t hurt either. To be honest with you, my loneliness, or aloneness rather, has caused me to drink frequently under the impression that it really doesn’t matter to anyone whether I get drunk or not.  Perhaps my new desire to read some fantastic Christian books on my Kindle, will also help me to gain wisdom, or at least a better standing with the God I purport to follow.

It has crossed my mind to possibly even quit the online dating thing all together. This is a possibility, though I’ve felt it my duty to somehow help God out in this process, by getting myself out to where a guy could be found, or could more easily find me. I am starting to think there is a different direction for me to take. But I will continue to include you in this journey. For there has never been a lack of romantic activity in my life, or at least in my mind, of some sort.  As you can probably tell by this time, a mother or father figure in the church would be a great thing and very helpful for me. But a big part of the problem I see with singles in the church is that few people recognize a 44 year old woman (or man) could be someone still needing some kind of “parenting.” This is a topic I may talk about later.

As an interesting anecdote, the guy from the drum circle Shawn, has been emailing me from the dating site, so much in fact, that I finally had to block him. The story in his words is that he was embarrassed the day he met me because he was actually on a date and didn’t know what to say. Mind you, he didn’t give me this information for at least a month afterward. So my interpretation was that he just broke up with her and now was on the prowl again. But I wasn’t buying any of this. I didn’t respond to any of his notes. He apologized, begged me to go out with him, invited me to another drum circle, etc. After about 10 of these messages, I finally just blocked him. Sometimes I can be fooled rather easily, but not this time. I now have a total of 41 guys on my blocked list.

Out-growing Steve

I haven’t written in a while, but it’s not because nothing has been going on. I spent a couple of days in my “Steve” trance. And now I’m wondering whether to try and add his wife as a Facebook friend. Chances are he has lied to her about me. I’m sure that she is jealous of me. I think it is fair to say Steve has issues. He would be quick to say I have issues. This I would not deny. Steve is an emotional mastermind at connecting to my issues.

He called me the other night. We always seem to find our way back to each other. There is such a strong emotional connection. I have been in contact with him off and on for the past 5 years. I have been a slave to his fantasy,  that he could somehow leave his family and be with me. I have not been inclined to discredit this notion because the thing I want the most right now is a guy who is totally “into” me.  I consistently try to talk myself back to reality. I am lately trying to become more “mature,” as I perceive a 44 year old Christian single lady ought to be, especially if she wants to be worthy of the duties associated with being a good man’s wife. Steve invites me into a delicious world of immaturity. Let me give you some more background:

We had met each other at a very young age. He and I were each sent away to a boarding school of sorts, due to causing trouble in our homes, and at school. I was only 10, and he was 11. At this young age he had a ridiculously strong crush on me. I never took him seriously. It wasn’t that I was too young to be interested in guys. Perhaps it was that he came on too strong. I have often marveled that the lack of connection which was so obvious to me at the young age of 10, now evaded me as a sometimes desperate-seeming single adult, so much in longing for this same sort of attention, which I obviously did not feel a need for when I was much younger, and somehow when it comes to men, a little smarter.

Steve contacted me when I was 39, 5 years ago. He found me on MySpace. As he tells it, a friend had gotten him on MySpace and without a moment’s hesitation he put my name in the search bar, and there I was. He then wrote me a note, saying that I probably didn’t remember him, etc. etc. When I received the note, I was surprised that he remembered me. The reality is he had never forgotten me and had been thinking of me ever since. Immediately after leaving the boarding school where we resided, he tried to contact me all during the teen years, and was never able to for some reason. In his early 20s he ended up marrying the woman who is still his wife. According to him they have struggled. But I wonder what is and isn’t true. When he calls me, often in the middle of nowhere, and during a time when I feel alone, and so pleased to hear that there is a person on the earth who always thinks of me as a means of refuge in his life, I am happy to hear from him. I cling on his words, and his fantasy which seems to imply we will one day be together. Things are not going well with his wife, he says even though on her Facebook page are lovely pictures of them together, with their wonderful friends, children, etc.  He is in the marriage just for the kids. Her page is not hard to access, and I see a very different story from the one he implies. And so I have come to believe that I am like a fantasy for him, maybe an escape from the responsibilities of adulthood.

The last time he called me I was stung by him for a few days, just as I had been 5 years ago. But now we are not speaking. I tried to communicate to him through a Facebook message that it was hard for someone to pay attention to you, then ignore you in the days to follow. He didn’t take this well, and ended up unfriending me. In short he is acting like a child. But as I told you, I am struggling to become more mature. I cannot control him, of course. But as I go through this difficult relationship world I realize a few things; Steve is not now and never has been right for me. He cannot ever give me what I need. And staying in contact with him is not how I would define maturity. Besides, it is obvious a lot of guys like me. Some friends have even admitted to having a crush on me, so I really don’t have to settle. Steve is in no way something I need as a “last resort.” When I think of these things, my self esteem is a little better.  I guess this kind of guy would only be able to play on a lady’s low self esteem in the first place. So, for right now I’m good. After all, I have found another guy on my dating site (no longer new to me), who seems like he might be fun. And he has asked to speak to me by phone. I threw caution to the wind and gave him my phone number, while I don’t even know his name yet. Maybe this was partly from wanting to get Steve out of my system. Though I may send him one more note. I always wanted to tell him he gave the best hugs. Would it even make a difference? I only met him 2 times in person. And he hugged me as we departed. I can’t remember a hug ever feeling so good. The last time I saw him, only a couple years ago, I could not get him out of my mind. I longed for him beyond reason. I think I will go back into my journal and find the entry for that day. You may be interested in reading it…

Karaoke in Staten Island

I feel a little down today. The hope I have had lately about eventually finding someone isn’t there. I am planning on going out tonight to do karaoke, at an event through my new online dating site. It will be in Staten Island, and to me anything about New York is exciting. But I even contemplated not going, and just staying home to watch movies. The more complete my profile is, pertaining to what it is I’m really looking for in a guy, the fewer guys seem to contact me. Occasionally some guy will send me a note which is an exact verbatim word for word copy of the one he sent me a week ago. I always call them on it. I say, “It looks like you have a template that you send out to every woman.” Something in my nature does not allow me to hold back in these cases. I always try to be nice as a rule. But in this case it is more important for me to let them know most women aren’t so stupid, and certainly not me.

Then there are the guys who try to manipulate me with flattery. Ok, let’s get into it; guys who have no shirt on in their pics (usually not a turn on), guys who take a picture with themselves and the last fish they caught (really?), guys who have pics up with themselves and an attractive woman or 2, guys who have 8 shots with the exact same expression in every shot (scary) and guys who look blurry, weird, scary, spooky, strange, demented, frickin old! Or like the one I just saw today, who obviously still lives in his mom’s house; her lovely 3 piece living room set prominently displayed in the background in the webcam pic he took of himself, his lovely plasma screen TV which he probably watches all day (when not on the computer picking up women) prominently set on top.

Well, my point was I am discouraged, but I decided I will still go to this thing tonight. After all I love to sing. And when I do karaoke, I get the sense of fitting in with everyone else, because then it’s not like I’m a stranger. In fact, I feel I have something in common with everyone there who is doing karaoke, or even just watching others like myself sing. You have to know I am not planning on meeting anyone. I just never do. I don’t mean for it to be that way. I don’t plan it that way. It’s just that I am me. And it seems there is no one like me. At any rate, especially in this area of the world (the Jersey Shore), no one seems to share my faith. I began writing about my new friend Dante, and will share the writing with you in the next blog. He may have stopped writing to me, and everything seemed to be going fine until I talked to him (through email message on the site) about how my faith is in the Bible. Apparently he believed in God, but not in the Bible as God’s authoritative word. What can I do? I believe it is. I never expect anyone to follow it perfectly, as I myself am a far cry from doing so. But such belief is a “non-negotiable” in a relationship with me.  And so, when I do find myself beginning to be interested in a guy who has nice pictures, says fun and interesting things on his profile, and with whom I genuinely seem to be connecting, before I get him on the phone, or agree to meet in person, I ask about his faith. Like it or not, it will always be the determining factor.

Anyway, I am sitting on my bed right now, after several changes of outfit; I am dressed and ready to go. I decided I am going to have fun (to bring myself out of this slump). I am going to go get $50 in cash, a large sum of which will be spent to get over the “Outer bridge” connecting New Jersey with Staten Island, and some will be for drinks and maybe dinner or something light. And when I come home, whether I have a good time or not, I will tell you about it. Ok so tonight I am doing this not only for me, but for you. Here it goes…

It is now the following day, I don’t have anything too outstanding to report. My most prominent memory is driving away as the DJ for the karaoke that evening sang “New York State of Mind,” out on the deck in the beautiful Staten Island North Beach-side air. Before I had even arrived that evening, things started out rough as I missed my exit and got on the Verazano Bridge by accident. I followed my GPS as it directed me around a small area of Brooklyn. I enjoyed it in a way, envisioning I could be living in and getting to know that area quite well in a year or so. I even spotted a couple places where I could do my rollerblading stunts. I was sure that when I crossed back over the large bridge they would give me a break, but they didn’t. This little excursion cost me $13.00. One kind lady did however give me a number I could call to dispute it. But when I called the number they insisted that I would not get my money back, although apparently due to recent construction, this was an error other motorists commonly made as well.

Determined not to let my night be ruined I arrived at the designated place. It was really fancy and I was glad I had purchased the attractive little $5.99 necklace from Rite Aid before starting my journey. Apart from sitting outdoors in a cozy little living room-esque type area, while the breeze swept off the ocean cooler and cooler as the evening progressed, the night was pretty uneventful. The strangers were very nice to me and complimented my singing. There was a screen where everyone could see the words to the songs as they were sung. As a writer, I always very much enjoy seeing the lyrics to songs which are standards from the 50s and back, because of course there is always a reason they have stood the test of time, and thus are being sung by folks in their 50s and 60s at such karaoke nights. These songs from an artistic standpoint are very well written and touching songs.

The one thing that did stand out to me this evening was a certain good looking guy. He and his friend were standing near a ledge right next to the bar. I saw that they were very attractive and also looked like very nice guys, not only appealing, but also welcoming. I said “Hi” and asked whether they were with the online dating site. I hadn’t been able to find anyone all evening who was from the group, and I was sure they would say they were. They didn’t seem to even know of it. The one guy of the 2 (I would have been interested in either one!) started talking to me and seemed to actively attempt to keep the conversation going. He was so attractive. I felt like I had struck gold. But I was acutely aware that I had gained a few pounds recently. I did not feel attractive enough for such a guy’s attention. I was surprised that he seemed to respond to me. I nonchalantly mentioned Facebook, which is the way I always make an attempt to stay in touch with someone. He – they, didn’t have Facebook, claiming he was older (as if I weren’t). He asked about the online group, and I suggested he look at my profile. He laughed and declined, as if to simply be turning down the site. I said, “Well, I don’t have a business card or anything…” I was obviously not in the practice of picking up guys at the bar. But I don’t think this was something he did often himself. With all my attempts failed, I said it was nice to meet them. He shook my hand and introduced himself and his friend. His name was Seth. I won’t forget it because I thought it was such a beautiful name. But I did not intend to degrade myself by coming on to a couple of good looking guys, so I respectfully said maybe I would see them later and went back to my seat.

I sang my next karaoke song as if these guys were listening. I hoped Seth would like me more. But I did not hear from him again that evening. I looked over in his direction and wondered if he was also looking at me. I wondered if they were both married, or if I had mistaken his signals. Eventually I looked over to find they had both left. During the drive home, I thought of him. I wondered if I might see him again. I recalled his demeanor and became convinced in retrospect that he really did seem interested in connecting with me. He had stepped out ahead of his friend and made an effort to ask about where I lived, and said he had friends out that way. He had lived in Brooklyn for 20 years and loved it. I told him I was probably moving there. But I had learned it was the guy’s job to connect, to pursue. And he just didn’t. All evening, even while they were both within view, I turned melancholy. They were both warm, and mature, not flirtatious, even like angels. I noticed that I desired this comfort. His friend had looked straight into my eyes when I spoke to him. He seemed stronger than me. Again there was that sense of need, and all evening a lingering question of how I would ever get that need met! The God I had always trusted in it seemed, had failed me. He never met this need. I knew I could not ever be “unequally yoked” with a man lacking my same faith. But how does such a passionate lady as myself ignore such feelings when they arise? Or what do I do to appropriately act on them?

Such questions are not always adequately answered in Christendom. Such a lady as myself travels on through life, trying to keep hope alive, trying to do everything right, and knowing there are much tougher storms which others endure, heavier crosses as they say, and I should continue to be grateful for the one I’ve got. In fact, I am grateful to get such a response from a couple of good looking guys, maybe angels for the moment whom I’ll not see again. And I am more inclined than ever to step up my work out routine, and perhaps return to the same location with a little more confidence.

Pizza and Beer and a New Friend

The other night I had my first official date from the online dating site. I don’t like to think of it in terms of a date, but in Joe’s eyes it was. He kept referring to it as such. And while my ears burned to hear it, I realized that I now needed to get used to the idea that I am dating. I never actually have. I always looked at the thing in terms of hanging out with a friend. I let Joe know that this was my perspective. And he seemed perfectly happy to be my new friend.

I had the best time. First of all, I put off our first meeting for a few weeks due to my being busy, and also a little apprehensive at the idea of meeting a guy this way. His idea was for me to meet him at one of his favorite clubs in Long Branch for Happy Hour. I decided that after a long weekend of work, come Monday, it would be really nice to have such a break to look forward to. I have never been good about letting guys buy me dinner or a drink, or whatever. But this evening I had the most wonderful time just letting him take the reins, make the decisions and just going along with it. This was, as I let him know, sort of trial thing for me. I was just getting my feet wet I told him. He seemed to also relax at the idea of us just getting to know each other as friends. He was so incredibly personable. I recognized that he had ADD, and let him know this was something he and I had in common, once he confessed to it.

He suggested many different drinks that all looked delicious, but for some reason all I wanted was a draft beer, which I soon had sitting right in front of me. We talked about anything that came to mind, and seemed to have no lack of topics to discuss. I recognized that I actually wasn’t so bad at keeping the conversation a float, probably due to many years as a customer care rep for a cell phone company. I noticed an interesting thing on the menu, miniature corn dog appetizers. Once I pointed them out, he insisted that we start out with that. They were served with a sweet mustard, and were absolutely delicious. He mentioned the salads, but ever since Joe had suggested pizza in the last online message he sent me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And so we went with a delicious pizza which was topped with goat cheese. With my being resolute on just enjoying the evening, everything turned out so nice. I never approached the date as something which could turn into a relationship, and Joe seemed content also to just enjoy the evening for what it was.

We soon escaped out the back door where his bicycle was parked. He said “Hi” to a number of friends. He had grown up in the area and knew quite a few people. I envisioned him being proud of his “date.” In my experience guys tend to kind of be “show-offs,” but this has never bothered me. We walked to 7-11 to get something for my headache and Joe asked if I would like to walk by the water afterward. We were right near Ocean avenue, and the beach was right across the street. I felt very comfortable with Joe and I told him this, so when he suggested we walk to the Oceanside, I was very welcoming of the idea. With Joe’s ADD personality, I also felt very inclined to be myself. I felt I could say nothing wrong. His style of conversation was stream of consciousness, so I let this out in myself as well. At one point in the evening I let him know he reminded me of my dad, and he was flattered. He got a smile from me more than once. As we walked by the water, on this lovely evening near dusk, he told me about his previous marriage. His wife had cheated on him. I got the impression that he was such a sweet guy, and that this possibly was not at all his fault. I said, “I’m sorry,” and thought to myself “There really are nice guys out there.” In truth, if it hadn’t been for my insistence on finding someone with a strong Christian faith I may have been interested in him. On the other hand, he didn’t seem to talk to me much about myself. And this is something which I have always let slide with guys I’ve gotten to know, much to my own detriment.

Joe seemed surprised when I was willing to exchange numbers with him. But I totally trusted him. He had suggested quite a few different things we could do, even the next day. However, while more than willing to be his friend, I did not want to lead him on. He soon had to go to pick up his son. But it was good timing. Why should the date go on for too long? We walked back to my car and discussed hanging out again. He knew he was the first of many guy friends from the dating site whom I would like to meet. As for him, I wanted very much to encourage him, so I told him everything positive which I saw, how he had such a great personality, and seemed able to enjoy the moment without making things into something they weren’t. I told him how much I appreciated his being able to postpone our first meeting without getting upset at all, and how this spoke volumes about his character. Most of all, he simply needed to put up new pictures as the one he had up didn’t accurately portray what an awesome and personable guy he was. I’ve even thought about meeting him and taking the pics for him myself. After all, why should I not be willing to help out such a nice guy?

In retrospect, Monday evening was the best thing I could do for myself. Joe was generous, which is a trait I decided I will always look for during such dates. I am a generous person also and would not even want a guy as a friend who was not. And so, being able to enjoy a nice evening of drinks and dinner was such a pleasure. I never felt I owed him anything. This exercise for me opened the door to other such meetings which could be said to be more like fun interviews. After meeting him I felt first of all that I could look forward to hanging out with him as a friend, someone who knows the beachside community pretty well. And also, I could certainly look forward to my future dates, to having fun conversations, and delicious food, while of course being just as careful to screen these guys, and exercise caution as to where and how we decided to meet.

Asbury Park (the Drumming Circle)

Walking toward the beach last Tuesday evening after parking my car on an old crumbly road, I could feel the clean late summer night air on my skin. It felt wonderful. I had been to the Asbury Park boardwalk before but each time I experience it anew as the emerging project that it is, toward what end though, it’s always hard to be sure. My analytical mind automatically set forth to try and figure out this puzzle which was apparent to me, as I asked myself, whether the vibe was real, or completely disingenuous. Or was I rather, just being cynical, a mode I should break from on this occasion, to give Asbury Park, and Shawn, a chance? I guess I assumed that if something didn’t “feel right” to me as an artist ostensibly with a gift of perception, then there must be a reason. Such questions lingered as I walked through the carefully crafted set up, hearing the drums off in the distance, like an ancient tribal ceremony of some sort. These drums would probably lead me to Shawn, the guy whom I had met briefly on the online dating site.

Walking down the boardwalk I saw the familiar, the things I liked about Asbury Park- the amazing architecture that someone with a vision for the town sought diligently to preserve, and it’s emerging identity, as I continued to question whether it had really found itself, or whether it was still in some kind of existential flux. The prices ridiculously high for such common items as T-Shirts bearing the name of the town, it seemed to have turned into some kind of a tourist trap. I eventually found the drums and nonchalantly circled the area, walking a couple steps in, trying to get a good shot of the scene with my cell phone.

The drummers sat in a circle. They drummed and drummed together for reasons unknown to me and perhaps themselves. I could see Shawn. He looked a lot like his online picture. I don’t know if he saw me. As I looked on with the others surrounding the camp, with questions possibly similar to mine, I wondered as to the value in this strange communal activity. I recalled that Shawn had told me they do this from 6-10 every Tuesday, and at Belmar every Saturday. It was hard for me to believe that there was anything which could cause such commitment with such little payback. It wasn’t even a full band, just drums, pounding non-melodically over and over, with about 20 men, women, and children participating.

Suddenly they took a break. I felt like seizing the moment, so I walked up to Shawn. He stayed turned away, while the lady next to him acknowledged me. I thought of a question to ask, “Are you here until 10?” He turned, and seemed to finally look at me as he answered yes. I said “Hi, I’m Katie.” He seemed ashamed, perhaps of where he had met me? He looked better than his picture, but his teeth reflected bad dentistry, which I could not overlook. His arms were nice with tattoos, and muscular, possibly from drumming on a solitary conga for 8 hours a week? He seemed artistic like someone I could perhaps be interested in. But we had very little conversation before he excused himself and walked away. I did not get the impression he wasn’t interested in me, but rather he was very shy around women, or me in particular. And so I wasn’t insulted. He had said, “excuse me one moment,” but after about 2 minutes I decided it wasn’t really worthwhile to wait for him to return and so I walked away to find something else to do.

I went in to the Parthenon where they have the big name acts come in to play on occasion, and wandered into a bar which jutted out into the beach area. The evening beachside air was beautiful. I ordered an over-priced Corona and sat and felt the fresh breeze coming off the ocean, as I sang along to a random John Mayer tune, admiring the acoustics in the old fashioned space, newly renovated, but keeping with some of the rusty old architecture for the nostalgic sorts like myself to enjoy. I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel I needed what the drum people had to feel good. I was enjoying myself much better where I was at.

I soon decided to go home, and on my way out, I walked past the drumming circle again. There were more people. It was darker now, and interestingly many standing on the periphery of the circle had hula hoops. A lady carried a bunch of them and she seemed to be the instigator for the hula hoop vibe now enveloping the drum circle. Wanting to break from my judgmental mode I grabbed a hula hoop, proud of the fact that I had taught myself this skill at the ripe old age of 32. But after a while it seemed non special as everyone was doing the same thing. While fun for a moment, this activity soon seemed pointless accept that it amounted to my entire workout for the day. Shawn was still in his spot, next to his people and drumming on his conga. He didn’t see me. I did not attempt further communication with him, and wondered if he would be one of those who was very honest and forthright through email, while extremely shy in person.

I walked back to my car, happy to be leaving, still questioning what was real, and what was disingenuous in what I had just experienced this evening, and resolving that Asbury Park in its current state was a mixture of both. The tend toward a hippy vibe while applaudable, seemed contrived. And I could not get it out of my head that this guy was wasting huge portions of his time. I kept asking myself how one could actually do this? How can a guy spend hours and hours drumming on a conga drum, and how did this have any value for him? Obviously this practice had something to do with the need for community. But can someone just shut off his mind and beat on a drum for hours in order to be part of a community? Not wanting to discredit this seemingly progressive movement (there must be something worthwhile in it), I compared it to a scene from “Forrest Gump” where he suddenly stops running and says he’s going home now, and all the people following him have to wonder why they’ve been running after him for so long, and where do they go now? It seemed like the same sort of thing to me, people were going somewhere, but not sure where, just following someone else. This definitely wasn’t my type of scene.

What’s more, this guy who has a profile on a dating site; what is he hoping to find? Does he think his new girlfriend will sit for 4 hours every Tuesday and Saturday and admire him banging on a drum with his friends? No doubt any future acquaintance of his sort would already be sitting right in the circle with him, or maybe twirling a hula hoop on her hips with everyone else. She will fit into his community, and be a great conformist to this activity. But it will not be me. I am much too thoughtful. Perhaps if nothing else this eventing helped me to define what it is I am and am not looking for.

I’m Going to Block More Guys

I’ve decided today I’m just going to block more guys. I seem to have guys arguing with me for “not giving them a chance.” When I say as politely as I know how, “I am talking to several guys at the moment” when it appears they think they are the only one, they continue to push the issue. The reality is I find their pictures unattractive, but of course I don’t want to tell them that, unless they really keep pressing things. One time I actually did tell a guy I thought he was unattractive, but only after he was really mean. Such guys are obviously being manipulative, but I can sense there is something wrong when they continue to persuade me as if I were too stupid to know what it is I want, or what I’m looking for. This type of guy gets angry when he starts to realize he’s not going to get his way. He insults me to a hilarious degree, then I get to have the fun of out-witting him. This has happened on a couple of occasions.

Other guys just get mean when things aren’t phrased a certain way. And you see right off the bat, not the nice kind guy whom they purport to be in their profiles, but the rotten SOB that some poor lady recently divorced. Perhaps I am skilled at bringing out the worst in this kind of guy. Maybe it is the psychologist in me. Or maybe it is the vixen that likes to toy with these sorts.

I want to share with you one such conversation. This conversation referenced the profiles which the site encourages you to share prior to having a conversation. I will change the IDs, including my own… This by the way is the first time I ever spoke to the guy. After reading that he was a fun and light-hearted guy on his profile, I thought I would have some fun in my initial conversation with him, I never thought it would turn out as intense as it did.

Kate: Are you materialistic. Sorry, that’s my first impression. Also, you look cute in your pics. Not bad for a 53 year old.

Someguy: ###-###-#### call me and you can tell me what gave you that impression…. Sg

Kate: Sorry, I try to get to know guys a little before calling. But I guess you’re the type to only play by your rules, huh? (;

Someguy: Boy, you like to make assumptions don’t you? First, I’m materialistic, which by the way is a wonderful way to make an impression & now I’m the type to make the rules……where did you learn your social skills? And what in my writing or the way I look makes you think I’m materialistic? Could it possibly be my cultural background? I mean as long as we’re assuming things….should I give you the same treatment? The reason I want to talk, is because it saves time, it’s immediate & you hear the person’s voice. All things that let you make a more intelligent decision, rather than making assumptions…or is it that you’re the type to only play by your rules? One more pt. If I were trying to play by my rules I’d have asked for your #, for all I know if you did call you’d call from a restricted number, hence you’d be in control. Finally, since you’re so governed by your faith, why would you click on me anyway? I’m about as non-religious as you can get……But to be fair, you don’t look so bad for a 44yr. old……unreal!!

Kate: Wow, I thought you said you were fun.

Someguy: You make a point of saying you’re a “tell it like it is” person….but I guess you don’t like it when someone else tells you like it is……now, maybe I took what you said the wrong way, but if you read what you wrote, it can very easily be taken the way I took it, especially since you’re refusing to answer my questions. I’d still like to know what in my profile gives you the impression I’m materialistic…..finally, if you’re so consumed w/your faith why would you want to see someone who’s not of your faith? Balls in your court…..I am fun & quite easy to talk to…….your call

Kate: Actually you seem kind of mean. That’s not what I’m looking for as a friend or otherwise.

Someguy: Yeah you’re right…..I’m mean because I point out a MORONIC question that you asked & you don’t have the maturiity/intelligence to explain it, let alone retract it….”are you materialistic, sorry that’s my 1st impression”…….and offering you my phone # tells you that I only play by my rules? Here’s some unsolicited advice……GROW UP!!!….Best of luck to you…..

Kate: So you’re saying you are materialistic, and mean as well?

Someguy: You know, for someone who claims to tell it like it is, you really don’t like it when someone throws it back at you. You asked me if I was materialistic, I asked you what gave you that impression. Since you’ve REFUSED to answer my question, unless you think wearing Levi’s or LLBean makes one materialistic, I’m left thinking that you came to that conclusion based on my cultural background. So until you answer my question I’ll keep feeling the same way……but you go ahead and think what you want if that makes you feel better…….maybe the one…in this case YOU….who makes these statements or assumptions is the mean one…….again you only want someone from your “faith,” so what’s the difference…..LOL

So, after a while you could see I was just playing with him. But after his last comment I figured what’s the point? His faith was Jewish by the way.

Fortunately there are many other very nice guys I have spoken to on the site. And I am certainly not always this challenging in conversations with them. This sort of thing may be an example of a guy who is projecting his ex wife’s qualities onto me (as he perceives them), so I end up in some intense form of conflict I never bargained for. In such case, I have to remind myself, I don’t even know this guy, much less consider it of any value to engage in an argument with him. In his responses it seems that he is saying, “Keep talking to me, but I’m going to continue to berate you.”

There was no further reason to communicate with this person, and no obvious fun left to be had. So all I could do is stop responding. And as I said, going forward, I would not change anything but to stop my responses quicker, unless of course I could have the fun of out-witting such a person. As for the other guys whom I was never actually interested in? I will simply not even respond at all in the first place. Fortunately, these types of conversations are exceptions and not the rule. Overall, the experience of being on this online dating site is still a good one. And I am starting to look forward to actually meeting some very nice guys, who are quite interesting as well, for reasons other than being fun to toy with.

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