I've been sober for 12 plus years. I've been single for four and a half. The last time I slept in the warm embrace of a man was, well, let's just say it was two presidents ago. And one had a double term. When you do the math, it's a pretty shitty equation.
I have kids (let's blame them!) but I know moms who have sleepovers. I understand it can be done. My kids aren't even kids any more, but they live here with me, and creating a safe environment for them, especially post divorce, has been my priority.
There's that... and, no one has exactly invited me to spend the night. *sobs*
I don't look particularly pathetic. I lead a fairly glamorous life -- except for the fact that I spend most days working alone in my pajamas, don't earn enough money to stop the constant deep dip into my savings, and went an inordinate amount of time unable to score a friggin' date.
Seems like when I was getting high, and married, there was a plethora of available, attractive, interested men. Almost as soon as I said my "I don'ts," they scattered faster than Republicans at a Cat Stevens concert.
I never really learned the art of dating and courtship. Historically for me it was meet cute, fall in love, move in, stay too long, move on -- but, not until the dying relationship had breathed its last stinkin' breath.
I didn't know how to do "date" then. What chance did I have as a middle-aged, newly-single girl, who doesn't drink or wear dresses, and has more baggage than the Kardashians packing for a year-long getaway?
Following my separation my excuse was, "it isn't time." Post divorce, four years later, I was still using the same line. Fear? Self-sabotage? Too soon?
My therapist (of course I have a therapist. I also have a sponsor and three friends I consult on a daily basis. I'm an addict, not to be trusted when it comes to my own well-being) was bereft at my bad fortune, urging me to consider the dating sites. She gently suggested it about six dozen times, and then not so gently about three dozen more.
I was insistent they weren't for me. Sure, Susie was out every night she cared to be, juggling suitors more deftly than an Ed Sullivan plate spinner. Claire had a boyfriend -- her first in a gazillion years. And she was... happy -- also a first in a gazillion years. Jack and Nicole got married for fuck's sake! But, no -- not for me. I used to be a rock girl, dammit!
So what if I spent Friday night's checking the Facebook home page, and the refrigerator, imagining some delicious surprise would jump out at me. Who cares that I hadn't been kissed, except by my kids and the neighbor's cat -- both, usually, when they wanted something?
I wasn't completely dateless. I had at least a dozen total disasters over the four years.
After about 200 Sundays -- sorry Billy -- following way too many lonely Saturday nights, whilst my kids were at sleepovers, one late August Monday I asked my shrink which site she'd recommend.
She told me a couple of her patients had found boyfriends on this phone app. No profile to write, no witticisms to post, just upload a few pictures and swipe away.
Well, shiver me Tinder!
I felt like Madeline Kahn choosing her escorts in History of the World Part 1... no, no, no, no, no... yes... no, no, no... yes, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no. No...YES!
After about an hour, I had to tell myself to step away from the phone. I returned moments later. Addict. As I opened it -- BAM, you have a match -- BAM, you have a match -- BAM, you have a match. It was like hitting all cherries on a slot machine. I was giddy with success. What the hell took me so long? My first day on the site I had a handful of matches -- now what?
In this scene I decided to play the girl. I waited. And waited. And swiped. And matched. And waited.
A couple of men eventually started conversations. "Hi." Does that constitute a conversation? Well, "What's your number? Would love to sleep with you," does, I guess. Just the wrong conversation. It was time for one with my therapist.
"Is Tinder a hook-up site? That would explain why it tells you how many miles apart you are." She reminded me that her patients had met actual boyfriends. Okay, back to the swiping board.
After a number of matches, a couple more hellos, and not one attempt to actually meet -- other than the "sleep with you," guy -- I whipped out my computer and went straight to Okcupid. I did not pass Match.com, I did not collect $200.
This was a whole new deal -- with two-dimensional depth. There were stats -- how tall, astrological sign, dietary preferences, occupation, some even listed their salaries. And the all-important self-summary -- a window into the mind of the creative, the funny and the get me the hell outta here.
I spent about an hour creating my profile, another couple answering the personality questions -- "Is foreplay necessary for good sex?" Note to self: Any man that answers "no" to this -- block immediately. "Would you rather kiss in a tent in the woods, or in Paris?" A man choosing the former should be committed. To someone else.
Once I felt satisfied (this site was good, no human contact and I was already craving a cigarette) that I'd bared enough of my soul and idiosyncrasies -- I began window shopping on my Mac and then reading messages. They must've sensed fresh meat, or Cupid chose to feature me as queen for the hour, because there were lots of them.
I had four dates the first week -- all for coffee -- all at the same Starbucks. There's nothing like seeing the same barista day after day. They must've thought I was a hooker. Then again, what hooker meets at a Starbucks? Bright lights, screaming kids and local mommies, oh my! Is there anyplace less sexy? Even though I don't drink, I resolved I'd be better off meeting in bar. They shoot seltzer, don't they?
The first guy, who insisted we meet for a one-hour tête-à-tête the very day we connected, drove 40 miles even though I'd made clear I wasn't attracted to him, that way. He proceeded to greet me with a kiss -- on the lips. There was nothing in front of him, and he did nothing to change that, for him or for me. A coffee date with no coffee. Mortifying. But, not nearly as mortifying as when I was leaving, he stole another kiss on the lips goodbye.
There was the coffee date with the funny guy that spilled into lunch, with no lunch. The good guy with the bad odor, the smart guy who still lived with his ex, their kids -- and her boyfriend. Did I say smart? There was sexy, clean-shaven Johnny "Tinder," who showed up looking like he was preparing to audition for ZZ Top. When I asked his name so I could put it in my phone, he said, "Sam." Wait... what... "Johnny's not your first name?" "Um, no." He left without offering his last. And then there was the dinner date with not only no dinner, no nothing, except the bottle of water I provided. When it finally came time to say goodnight, I stood there starving, and he asked for a kiss. I'm not sure what's worse -- a cheap creepy guy stealing a kiss, or a cheap creepy guy asking for one. Or, me not being able to relax enough to enjoy either. I need a friggin' drink!
Chris emerged from the lot. He was adorable. Had a good career. He was even one of the tribe. Whoever heard of a Jew named Chris? Um... Mary? Close enough. We texted throughout the days, and chatted away the nights, never getting past the virtual world and into the real one. It seems to be the way the majority of these connections go. For me, anyway. I can't figure out what the hell I'm doing wrong. It's me, right?
Pierre thought so. A Parisian, we went from Cupid to téléphone faster than I could close the app. After hours of flirty conversation, we met the next night. The man who greeted me looked years older and sterner than the picture I'd seen. He was impeccably dressed, but when he went to kiss my cheek a foul smell from deep within almost knocked me down. I gleaned he was successful, and asked about his work. He ended the date abruptly and scolded me for talking business, offering to see me again if I promised not to speak. Je suis Vicki!
So now there's this guy... he has kids -- little kids. He's never been married, or monogamous. He's short, underemployed... an actor... with a day job -- at night -- who doesn't like electronic communication. Therefore, there's little to none of it.
"You're in this why?" My therapist demanded.
Because... I like him. He's funny, smart and talented. That counts for so much right there. For me, there's little worse in romance than not respecting a partner's work. He's sexy as shit and a good kisser... I feel comfortable and easy around him, which makes me hopeful that I'll be able to turn off the noise, relax and let loose for once, dammit!
And, he wants me.
To sleep over.
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