Not long ago I was dating someone I sort of liked. But when he and I began making each other batshit crazy that began to fall apart, I thought it time to start ratcheting up the "supply" again. So I refocused my attention back online.
As I sifted through old emails from guys I had placed on the back burner should precisely this scenario arise (as it so often does and will until it won’t), I lamented to myself why finding my dream guy has to be this difficult.
After answering messages from a few contenders, I took another moment to peruse the mug shots head shots on the JDate "Members Online" page. That’s when I spotted him: A mid-forties, tall, cute, educated professional with a lifestyle and interests similar to my own. Poifect! The only problem was, if you want to call it one, he lived locally.
Because… I. Don’t. Do. That. (I have since reconsidered and am willing to give up my dating “commute” once and for all.)
True, I’ve dated plenty. But the majority of the guys have been out-of-towners. Mostly because of dumb luck (my own, the operative word being "dumb" here), and also because I haven’t really gone looking for love in all the "right" places – in my own neighborhood where I would have a better chance of sustaining a meaningful relationship. What can I say, I like my privacy (notwithstanding the fact I write about such matters in a blog).
This guy, however, lived only 15 minutes away in one of the towns neighboring my own, one in the trifurcate of incestuously Jewish locales here in good 'ole suburban New Jersey where we all date each other.
I looked long and hard at the guy’s photo. Then back again at his profile. I got nothing. Bupkis. No bells went a ringing.
So I did the unthinkable. That is, for a "Rules" girl like me, a girl who believes, and still does, that a man must pursue. That a man must lead. But, hey, the God of all gods, dating coach, Evan Marc Katz, says it’s okay for women to email first. And I’ve read more of his dating blog than I have the bible. Which is why I decided to listen to him and take what he said as gospel (even though E.M.K. and I are both Jewish).
Technically I guess that makes this all sort of his fault. But E.M.K. is as cute as could be and I love his dating advice (apart from this dastardly tip), so I won’t hold it against him. Not for long, anyhow.
I don’t need to tell you what happened next. I typed a short, flirty email. Yes. I. Did. And suddenly I went from dating like Elizabeth Walton to dating like Elizabeth Hurley (in my mind, at least).
Wouldn’t you know, he answered me! I. Am. THAT. Good. Oh, yeah.
We exchanged a few short emails that afternoon. And then he asked if I would by any chance be available to meet for a drink that night being that we lived so close.
My mind began to race and my heart began to pound.
He could be a serial killer! After all, the Craigslist killer was Jewish. And a doctor, no less! Well, almost. He was still in medical school. Same difference. That means the odds of a Jewish consultant also being a serial killer are equally as great, right?
I know those "Rules" ladies would have said setting up a date without the requisite three days advance notice is an absolute no-no. I was pretty sure E.M.K. wouldn't approve of it either. But since he wasn’t on my speed dial because I’m not a paying client (yet), I enlisted the advice of my BFF who may have known a lot about dating back in the day but who knows much less about it now. Sorry, chickee.
“Just go. Be spontaneous!” she ill advised. "Talk to him for a few minutes on the phone first to see if he sounds weird.”
One quick call later I detected no weirdness whatsoever, and we agreed to meet at my office this local bar in town where I hate going on dates because I’m sure to (and have) run into my cousin, my friends, and my teenage babysitter’s mother all while out on a date.
That night, of course, would be no exception. Which, as it turned out, proved to be the least of my problems.
Our date got off to a good start and was going well. Actually, it was going better than well. So well that I didn’t even glance down at my phone to read the barrage of incoming texts. Not the text from my guy friend sitting at a table right behind me who texted to say, “Hi,” or from my BFF who wanted to make sure I wasn’t lying dead in a gutter somewhere, slain by the bare hands of my JDate.
Now, in all honesty, my vision is quite abysmal these days. Too many hours spent with my nose buried in a book or in front of a computer screen mean I can’t see jack (No, his name wasn’t Jack) without my level 2.0 reading glasses sitting squarely on the edge of my nose. Not necessarily the sexiest of looks, and definitely unnecessarily aging. Which is why I left them off and didn’t immediately read my BFF’s texts that were becoming increasingly frantic by the moment. All I knew is the texts were NOT from my kids, and that was good enough for me.
It’s also why my BFF convinced herself I was in the process of being tied up somewhere (and not in a good way), and called our mutual friend in a panic.
Meanwhile, as my date and I got chummier we exchanged all of the details people usually do on a first phone call, which we did not do since ours was so last minute and so short. It was when I asked that last question, “What does your ex do for a living?” that it all came together or, I should say, it all fell apart.
Just like that, I became Daphne in a Scooby Doo mystery, watching as my date’s true identity suddenly was revealed. My mind flashed back through all of the "clues" I should have picked up on earlier but hadn’t, clues which all would have led me to the conclusion that I was on a date with…
wait for it…
I was out to lunch with some other friends and her only days earlier. Her ex even called while we were at the restaurant, a call she sent directly into voicemail because he wanted to go over the last remaining details of their divorce agreement before finalizing it.
My jaw dropped.
He looked at me like, "WTF?"
So I asked. And he confirmed. Yep, it was my friend’s ex.
And then it dawned on me, and because I have no filter, I blurted out: “Hey, wait a minute, you told me you’re divorced!”
“Well, I have what’s known as a "get," he began to lecture. “You know, a Jewish divorce.”
I rolled my eyes.
There goes that truth in dating thing again.
How the hell was I going to explain this one to my friend, I wondered, as well as to my other friends who are also her friend? I could already hear the phone conversation in my head:
Hi, Brenda. This is Kelly. I just want to let you know I started dating Dylan right after we went out to lunch last week for your birthday.
My crazy train, however, was prematurely interrupted by something even crazier. At that very moment the bartender approached us and said there was an urgent call waiting for me at the other end of the bar from my friend who was locked out of her house and needed her key.
Okay, I know I’ve been to this place a lot. But this local establishment isn’t Cheers and my name isn’t Norm. No way should I be receiving calls there. Ever. Besides, I didn’t have anyone else’s house key! Still don’t.
I picked up the phone. "Hello?"
“Act natural,” a familiar voice brusquely ordered.
Suddenly I was involved in a covert operation I knew nothing about.
“BFF and I want to make sure you’re okay since you didn’t answer any of her texts. BFF is convinced you’re out with a serial killer!”
No such luck.
“I’m fine. Really,” I reassured.
When I returned to my date I explained who had called – a friend on behalf of another friend (who also both happen to be friends with his almost ex) – and how they were each worried about me because I was with him, despite not knowing who "him" really was.
In that moment we decided not to tell. There was nothing to tell – yet – and if it eventually came to that we would.
But the next morning I called Brenda anyway. I couldn’t have it any other way. It simply didn’t feel right, even if it was only one date.
She listened and was not only understanding, but encouraging as well.
“I would LOVE for you to be my kids’ stepmom!” she gushed.
Hold up, sister.
She wasn’t "quite" as enthusiastic after our second date when she broke things off with me. Yes, you heard correctly. My date’s ex-wife (their divorce was finalized some time during all of this mishigas) informed me her ex-husband and I would no longer be dating. As she put it, although he liked me he thought seeing one of her friends might be weird.
Hey, it’s probably all for the best. Even though Brenda and Dylan were already apart, no one ever really forgave Kelly.
How thoroughly should you screen your dates before meeting them?