Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Warning! You've Been Warned...

I think the biggest obstacle I face with the online dating process, is knowing what to say when I’m openly communicating with someone.  I can write a mean profile to accompany my pictures, and I can answer the canned questions with reckless abandon.  But how do I communicate with someone without the protection of 250 character limits? 

It’s the impossible task of striking a balance between “I’m interested” and “This is a complete interruption of my very fabulous life, but here’s a bone…you’re lucky to have heard from me.”

Tell me again why can’t I go to a bar and just pick up the first guy I see?  Ah yes, because I’m 41…

I’m a very expressive speaker and I’d venture to say that my personality is my strongest attribute.  Therefore, when I’m writing or texting someone, I have a very deliberative delivery that they just can’t derive from an electronic medium.  So how is the person on the receiving end of my messages supposed to “get” how charming and hilarious I am?  The short answer is - most of the time, they don’t.

Worse yet, how embarrassing is it when you think your exchange with someone is about one thing, but the person on the other end perceives it as being about something else altogether?  There is just so much that can go wrong or be misread by texting/emailing, and I think this leads to a lot of missed opportunities in the dating world.

One opportunity, however, was not so much missed as it was unintentionally hit head on, hastily batted away, smashed with the heel of my shoe and lit on fire, never to be spoken of again.

Until now…

One Saturday as I was sitting in the spa chair for my bi-weekly pedicure, I received a notification that a potential suitor had contacted me. (an email alerting me to an email – very efficient)  When I logged into my account, I saw a very cute guy with the subject header, “Trying to get your attention.”  I clicked on his profile and found that he was currently in the military, had a doctorate, a master’s, two bachelor’s degrees and some certification I can’t remember the name of.  So, you know, a bit of an underachiever, but I decided to contact him anyway.

My response to, “Trying to get your attention” was “Well, you got it.” 

I discovered through our email exchanges that he was currently in Afghanistan, but would be coming home at the end of the year.  The emailing was getting a little laborious, so we started IM’ing (that’s Instant Messaging, mom) since phone calls to Afghanistan were out of the question.

His name was “Tim”, his favorite ice cream flavor was vanilla, his biggest fear was heights, he’d been divorced for 3 years and he had a dog named Bo.  He was nice, he made me laugh and he was smart…I knew it was early, but I kind of liked this one.

Day two of our "romance" consisted of me IM'ing Tim from the backseat of a friend’s car, which made 2 ½ hours of the 3 hour road trip I was on fly by! (the last 30 minutes dragged a bit as my phone died and I was without a charger)  We IM'd questions about everything from the first job we ever held to how many siblings we had.  Not only was he easy to converse with, he seemed to "get" me. 

Here's the latter part of our IM conversation:

Tim – “When I come home I’m taking you out to dinner.” (awwwww!)

Karen – “When will that be?  December?  Hey, by the way, my phone’s about to die, so if I just stop responding to you that’s why.”

Tim – “Ok. Yes, December.  Will you wear something tight?”

That seemed a bit suggestive to me and made me a little uncomfortable, I have to be honest.

Karen – “Ummm…what did you have in mind, exactly?”

Tim – “Tight jeans and heels – I bet you look great in tight jeans and heels.”

Karen – “Well, as luck would have it, I do look pretty good in my jeans.” (hey, ya gotta flirt a little!)

Tim – “Man, now you have me thinking about you…is that okay”

Karen – (awww! He’s thinking about me – how sweet!!) “Of course!  What’s not flattering about someone thinking about you? ”

<phone dies>

Ugh!  Seriously!?  I at least wanted to say, “Hey, my phone’s dying, I’ll IM you when I get home tonight.”  Now I had to wait until the next day to talk to him because of the 9 hour time difference. 

Unless….I can talk my friends into stopping at the Wal-Mart up ahead to grab a new charger!  I promised the group in the car I’d be quick as I didn’t want to hold them up.  Naturally, I ended up standing in line forever back in electronics due to some computer glitch.  So, 20 minutes and $15.93 later I emerged with my new charger, excited to continue the sweet conversation with my military man!

Sidenote - Due to the fact that my mom reads my blog and I don’t want to offend my more sensitive readers, I’m going to use the following code to help explain Tim’s message that awaited me once my phone powered on. 

Code:   “Taking an exam” =  "Sex"

Tim – “Look, I know your phone’s about to die, but, ‘When you’re taking an oral exam, how do you finish that exam?’ Hurry and answer because I’m about to finish my own exam right now.”


Yes, that’s the look I had on my face, too…

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Closers Need Not Apply

I swore I would never succumb to the online dating game…but, alas, I found myself on not one, but two online dating sites.  Not simultaneously, mind you; that would be the equivalent of having two full-time jobs. 

"f(ing)Nonharmonious (fNON)"

My online dating career got its start on a site I like to refer to as, “f(ing)Nonharmonious.”  I figured the 600+ questions you have to answer along with the monthly fee would be enough to weed out the Suaves; I couldn’t have been more wrong. (don’t misunderstand, I met a lot of great guys on that site, too, but they wouldn’t be any fun to write about)

Listed below are some of the sections one would think pretty effortless to answer if you’re genuinely looking for someone to share your life with.  But I’m here to tell you, common sense and "normal," are elusive beasts in the online dating game.

For example:

********************
Section 1
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I’M LOOKING FOR IN A PERSON
********************
  • Acceptable –  I'm not looking for one specific quality in a man; I think it's the blending of his qualities with mine that will either work or it won't. Some I appreciate, however, are loyalty, honesty, genuineness and a sense of humor.
  • Not Acceptable -  I like ‘em big, I like ‘em small – don’t care if they’re real or just real nice, I like ‘em all! 
The answer is yes; this gem was an actual response.

Vomit 

********************
Section 2
PHOTOS
********************
Oh, how I would love to post some actual “don’ts” under this section, but being sued for infringement of privacy rights by a Suave would be the ultimate “fail.”  Therefore, I will do my best to illustrate through words what I deem acceptable and what is not in an online dating photo.

Acceptable:
1.       Head shot
2.       Full body shot
3.       Pictures of you and friends hanging out and having a good time
4.       Picture of you being active
5.       Any picture where you’re smiling
  
Not Acceptable:
1.       Any picture that resembles a mug shot
2.       Any photo from your wedding with a black circle blocking your ex's face
3.       Two words: Nose Check
4.       A self portrait in the bathroom mirror.  I don’t care that you are wearin’ that wife beater and your mullet has never been longer.  Ask your brother Darrell or your other brother Darrell to take the picture for you, chief.
5.       If you MUST take that self portrait/bathroom shot, at least remove the lotion from the back of the toilet behind you, as that leads me to believe it's there for just one reason.  Yes, THAT…(sorry, mom) 
  
********************
Section 3
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN MY LIFE HAS BEEN
********************
  • Acceptable – My daughter. She has changed my life in every way, giving it much greater purpose and meaning.  She’s taught me patience and unconditional love.  I love seeing the world through her young eyes.
  • Not Acceptable - Chad
Seriously, people.  A skosh of effort is all I'm asking for, here.  And, yes, another actual response.


"Plenty of D-Bags (POD)"
 
Once I realized that the laborious question-answering and hit to the pocketbook weren't Suave deterrents, I ventured onto another popular site you may have heard of called “Plenty of D-Bags.” (POD)  Okay, that's what I call it, but that doesn't make my title any less accurate.  This site is a fantastic demonstration in the practice of  “spray and pray”; just send a message to every girl on the site and pray someone responds.

POD offers photo posting and an "About Me" section, and my rules as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable still apply on this site.  However, by the time I resigned to sign up for POD, I was so disenchanted by the whole online dating experience that when I wrote my profile, this is the extent of the effort I put forth:
  • Headline - Looking For Someone Who Doesn’t Bore Me
  • About Me - I'm looking for someone to complement my life, not complete it.  I do fine by myself; I have a lot of great friends, my own interests and I can handle my own, but I would love to have someone to share the rest of it with.  
Let me tell you what I learned.  Not only did I get approached way more on POD with my “finger in the air” attitude, than I did on fNON.  But most of the guys on fNON were on POD, too!   
  • Positive - POD is free and I didn't lose 6 hours of my life answering questions no one cares about
  • Negative - Every time I'm on POD, I feel the need to disinfect my entire body...blech
Sidebar - this could be due to the fact that not only do a majority of guys on that site say something completely inappropriate in under 3 message exchanges, but one of my best guy friends is also on POD and packed a bag for his first date with a POD girl.  I said,  "You're packing a bag for a first date!?"  His response was, "I'm a closer, Karen." (Man, I love guy humor!)  To my (not so) surprise, I did not see his car in the driveway on the way to work the next morning. (she sounds lovely)
  
Takeaway from today's post; if you find yourself in the market for an online dating site, save the 4 - 6 hour mind-numbing Q&A session and approximate $720.00 associated with fNON, and go directly to POD.

Lower "f-with-it-factor," same Suave experience.  Just make sure you have lots of disinfectant on hand...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Nothing will make you reevaluate your life like writing the “Interests” section of an online dating profile or answering the, “So what do you do for fun?” question. 
  • Online Interests:  I love to run and stay active. I ran in a Mud Run in November and am training for another, this coming November; I will be training for an Adventure Race this year as well. Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I love weekend camping trips.  The Monday Night Football theme song, coffee and sushi genuinely make me happy. Although I am a mother, (and a very good one) I do make time for myself and the things I like to do.
  • Actual Interests: Vacuuming, folding t-shirts with Gap-like precision, finding new uses for the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, (seriously, those things will clean anything) finding a candle that burns evenly, (not as easy as you'd think) running, writing and taking pride in an exceptionally clean toilet.
That’s right boys…the line forms to the left

So when one of my matches sent me the question, “What do you do for fun?” and it gave me a PARALYZING brain cramp trying to come up with a response, I realized that I needed to get out from behind my computer and find some interests!  Right then, I hid my profile from the masses and turned off the “match” feature.  Time to go live my life!

I swear there’s something to the old adage, “When you stop looking…”    

“Living my life” equated to dinner and drink dates with my girls, enrolling in a candle-making class, (I was on a journey, people) hitting the gym more regularly and catching up on my ever-growing library of books. 

Candle-making, gym-ratting and marathon reading didn’t do much for my social life, but the dinner dates with my girls resulted in great times and fun pictures.  Fun pictures get posted on Facebook.  Pictures on Facebook get noticed by lots of people.  Some of those people are guys…you see where I’m going with this…

So there I am, living my life and I get a Facebook message from someone whose name I didn’t recognize.  One look at his picture and I didn’t care who he was, I was just happy he was emailing me!  He ended up being a friend of a friend, so I called this friend to get the low down on the ultra hot cowboy we’ll call Trent.  She told me, “Trent's a great guy, a bit of a ladies’ man, but if you want to give it a shot, go for it.”

Well I did go for it.  I was on a business trip at the time, so we did a lot of texting while I was out of town, just playing the “get to know you” game.  Then he asked the question I’d been waiting for; “Hey, when you get back in town, would you like to get together?”

Uh, yes please.

We decided to meet for dinner and then hit a bar to listen to some live music.  He told me his usual group of friends would also be at the bar, and asked if it was okay that he wanted me to meet them. (did you hear me?  He wanted me to meet his friends!

Dinner was at a fantastic Mexican restaurant on the lake.  We sat outside and there was a gorgeous sunset; a perfect backdrop to a really great date.  We had lots to talk about given our mutual friend and our steroid-induced texting sessions.  I just knew that “living my life” was about to be rewarded!  In fact, he even asked when he could see me again as we made our way to see the band. (Karen and Trent sittin’ in a tree)

As we made our way to our next destination, I found myself inordinately intimidated to meet his friends.  I mean, this group all went to high school together and knew each other really well.  And let's face it, no one likes a newbie. (Who does this chick think she is?  Did you see her roots?  Trent can do SO much better than her!)   All eyes would be focused on me and not in a good way. 

Regardless of the voices in my head telling me otherwise, I proudly walked into the bar, head held high, on Trent’s arm.  After all, he chose me, right?  He spotted his group over by the dance floor and we made our way over.   A shorter girl with brown hair was the first friend he introduced me to.  I was so nervous and it was loud in there, so all I heard was “…is Jennifer.”   

Thank goodness I at least heard her name. (and she kind of looked like a Jennifer so it would be easy to remember)  So I said, “Nice to meet you Jennifer,” as I shook her hand.  Jennifer looked at me kind of funny, but I didn’t have time to over-think this – it was onto the next person to meet:

Trent - “Shayla this is Jennifer.” 

Karen – “Nice to mee –" (wait….Jennifer?  Was I Jennifer?  No wonder “Jennifer” looked so confused – her name wasn’t Jennifer.  She thought I was an idiot!)

Shayla – “Nice to meet you Jennifer”

Karen(are you freakin’ kidding me?) “Nice to meet you, too”  
 
This scenario repeated itself 4 (yes, 4!) more times before he finally got it...

******************

New Interest: Guys who know who the hell I am!

Damn!



Sunday, August 21, 2011

1995 Called...

There is a phenomenon called “Time Dilation” wherein someone traveling at the speed of light stays the same age (or ages more slowly) than those who are left on earth.  I have found that marriage followed by divorce creates this same phenomenon.   
  • Marriage = Traveling at the Speed of Light
  • Divorce = Returning to Earth
Which has to be the explanation as to why I was only attracted to 25 year olds for the first two years following my divorce, right?  Poor Suave Magnet – she didn’t realize she’d aged. 
So you can imagine my elation when I found gorgeous “Guido” on “Plenty of Douche-bags.” (another doozie of a dating site I used to make fun of others for joining)  Not only was I attracted to Guido, he was MY age!  Unheard of!
Guido was seriously model-hot! Black and white photos of him on a beach, with a rock-hard body and a dynamite smile covered his profile.  And not just one picture – anyone can have one good picture.  He had about 15 photos posted.  Candid photos of him with friends and family laughing and enjoying life;  I could picture myself in his photos – I WANTED to be in his photos.  But before you go off thinking I’m being shallow again, his written profile was exceptional as well.  Not only was his ancestry rich and multi-cultural, he was very well-written and gave interesting details about his interests.  I don’t remember exactly how his profile read, but included phrases such as, “I know how to pair food and wine, I can properly set a table and my manners are impeccable” – a far cry from, “I like sports” (do ya, there, Slingblade?)
Guido and I began texting (again, how all deep and meaningful relationships start) and decided to meet for a happy hour. (to my surprise he did not select BJ’s)  He chose a very popular Mexican restaurant with a happenin’ patio, but did let me know that he would have to leave around 7 as he had a previous engagement.
Sidebar – for those of you who are not currently in the dating scene (bastards), let me explain how this works; you meet for a happy hour, but stress that you must leave at a specified time due to a previous engagement.  This way, if your date is a troll or requests to touch your feet, you can make a graceful exit.    
I knew this is what he was doing and I’ll admit I was more than disappointed that he gave himself an out – I was hoping to spend more than an hour and a half with this gorgeous, educated specimen.  But oh well.
Before I arrived I received a text from him that he would be inside at the bar as there were no tables available on the patio just yet.  I sat in the parking lot terrified to walk in.  What if he looks at me and thinks, “Ugh, she's way cuter in her pictures.”  I mean, you kind of know where you rank on the hotness scale and I was nowhere NEAR Guido’s level of hot.  But after a quick pep talk with a dear friend, (don't forget to pluck any renegade chin hairs) I made my way into the restaurant. 
I looked high and low for this guy.  Granted, the bar was packed, but all I had to do was look for the ethereal light shining down and the throng of women and there he would be.  But I saw nothin’.  So I shot him a text, “Where are you?”  And he replied, “I see you, I’ll make my way up to you.  Sit tight.”
I was so nervous I seriously thought I was going to throw up.  I tried to act casual, and felt myself TRYING to act casual.  I was going for breezy, but feared I was just looking constipated.  Not exactly the look I was hoping to achieve.  Just breathe, Karen.  Just brea - 
Guido - (in a voice not unlike Mike Tyson's) “Karen?” 
Oh.  my.  God. 
The look on my face had to be one of “Are you f’ing kidding me!”  Standing before me was a 5’ 7” Oompa Loompa with a generous smattering of bling, an overly-tanned face, a big barrel chest and I’m guessing to be around 15 years older than portrayed in his profile pictures.  His only redeeming aesthetic quality was that his Under Armour shirt was so tight it was smashing down his man-breasts.  Let's just say, a gross misrepresentation than that of his profile. 
I prayed that this was Guido's wingman sent in to scout out the date, but that prayer went unanswered.  For this was my Guido. 

Guido – “Shall we?” (his arm was extended toward the patio door…there was no turning back)
Now, as I said before, he was well-written, so I was hanging onto the hope that that would translate to well-spoken with a  good personality. 
Guido(total non-sequitur) You have excellent teeth – I notice teeth.  My last two girlfriends didn’t have nice teeth like you.  And the most recent girl I was with was a total psycho.  We stayed together way too long.
Sidebar - I can appreciate if you're nervous on a first date and just start rambling.  But rule number one - keep the mentions of previous dates/relationships to a minimum. (I get it, you're a hot commodity)  I couldn't have cared less about the psycho woman in his life, but I played along and pretended to show interest...it was short-lived...
Karen – Why did you stay with her if she was so psycho?
Guido - Because she had a bad-ass Mercedes and really great tits (verbatim)

*********************

Our date was approximately 27 minutes long.

Damn!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Exceptional Blonde; I'm Talking About My Beer

The morning started out like most others; I rolled out of bed at 5 am, made my cup of coffee (4 heaps of creamer and 4 heaps of sugar...don't judge) and headed back to my office to peruse the fresh crop of men that "f(ing)Nonharmonious" and their "29 Dimensions of Compatibility" deemed matchy-matchy for me. 

Now, as shallow as I know I can be, I actually DO read the entire profile before deciding to "close" someone out for shooting a gang sign in his profile picture.  This particular morning, however, I had three (yes, THREE) keepers! A pilot, an attorney and a secret service agent.  I was particularly drawn to the secret service guy, "Darren", and to my delight he contacted me almost immediately. (yay me!)

Darren was like the majority on this site and took us through "Guided Communication"; a 4 stage Q&A process to get to know one another.  After flying through the steps, we exchanged numbers.  We had great phone chemistry and it didn't take long for him to ask me out to a happy hour.

Sidebar - I'm not sure what it is with 90% (and I'm not exaggerating, here) of the guys I meet for happy hour, but they all choose BJ's Brewhouse.  And, naturally, each has a HILARIOUS parallel they feel the need to explain to me. (Oh, you crazy boys.  Your fascination with your penises is absolutely precious)

At any rate, the day of the date was soon upon us.  We both arrived at the hilariously named BJ's and proceeded into the bar area to snag a table.  As the server approached she put down two menus, which Darren quickly handed back to her.  He told her we wouldn't be needing menus and ordered himself a large draft beer.  When the server asked me what I would like, Darren quickly interjected with, "She will have the same as me and keep 'em coming".

Now friends, I can scarcely think of a time when something good DIDN'T happen after drinking big ass beers on an empty stomach.  

This is how the date progressed:

Karen - Did you do anything fun for the Super Bowl?

Darren - Yeah, I went to a party at my neighbor's house.  I got a call from him the next morning telling me that I owed his wife an apology.  (laughing) I was so hammered, I didn't even know what I'd done wrong. (OMG that IS a knee slapper!)

Karen - My son and I just watched at home.  I didn't owe anyone an apology the next day. (now THAT was funny!)

Darren - (taking a huge swig of beer) So tell me how you wound up in Texas?

Did he really just ask me an open-ended question, showing genuine interest in me?  Maybe he wasn’t such a “Suave” after all.

Karen Well, I grew up in......

And I continued to regale him with a lovely anecdote of a girl who grew up in Missouri and found her way down to Texas.  Truly, my choice of prose was flawless. I, myself, couldn’t wait to hear what I was going to say next.

But let me tell you that I could have said, “Hey Big Daddy, how about hitting the closest hotel and I let you treat my body like an amusement park?”  because he didn’t hear a word of it.  He was too busy straining his neck, turning around, looking high and low for something.  For what?  I had no idea...until it was too late. 

Darren - (screaming across the bar at our poor server) "Hey! I told you to keep 'em coming and I'm sitting here looking at an empty glass!"

**********************

Sweet Lord, please tell me I'm being Punk'd! 

This is when one realizes that "f(ing)Nonharmonious's" 29 Dimensions of Compatibility just might not be enough dimensions.

And that was the end of Darren...

Damn!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Three Out of Four Ain't Bad

Long gone are the days when I could just go to a bar with some friends, spot the guy I wanted to date and reel him in with a rousing rendition of the "Electric Slide".

No, now I'm forced to go online, write a flattering "Cliffs Notes" version of my interests (does vacuuming appeal to you?) and post a picture that says, "Look no further.  I'm girl-next-door meets voluptuous vixen".  It's a sad, boiled down version of peacocking and if you can't capture their interest with your pictures, they're Damn! sure not going to read your profile!  But I'm not here to bag on online dating - that's a post for another day.

So on this particular site, we'll call it "f(ing)Nonharmonious", you have the option to either go through all of the steps the site has in place for you, or you may jump to the finish line and just email someone through the site.

One particular suitor, "Gary", decided to skip all of the pomp and circumstance and just message me directly.  I liked this.  Here was a guy who was willing to say, "Saw your picture, liked what I saw, let's chat", which is exactly what his first email to me said.

My first message to him was to ask him about being an author.  His profile had stated such, so it seemed like a natural topic to start with; he gets to talk about himself and I get to learn more about him.  He told me that he was an author and an advocate about and for abused children.  He went on to say he had been abused as a child, so he felt he had an interesting perspective on the subject .  I thought this was quite admirable, of course.  First to have gone through something so traumatic as a child, but then to actually do something positive with it and make a difference in the lives of others. (say it with me girls, "awwwwwwwwww!")  What a great guy!

His next message to me was, "Are you a good snuggler?".

Good Lord, here we go again...keep in mind I had been through approximately 946 disappointments at this point, so I was willing to push on through with this one and see where it could take us.  After all, he was cute (shallow much?) and the question wasn't completely offensive.

My response to him was, "I've never had any complaints."  To which he responded, "Can I have your phone number?"  I realize I probably shouldn't have given him my phone number, but I didn't want to disappoint the little fella.  After all, he clearly found me irresistible and he was an advocate for abused children - how bad could he be?

The minute I gave Gary my digits, I immediately regretted it.  And as I was mid-text with a friend, Gary's call came in.  For those of you who don't own an iPhone, when you're in the texting "zone" and a call comes in, your finger goes to finish a text word, but instead hits either the "Answer" or "Decline" button.  My finger hit the "Answer" button. (Damn! iPhone!)

Here is how our conversation went:

Karen - Hello

Gary - Hey Karen, it's Gary

Karen - (kind of chuckling) Hey Gary, how are you?

Gary - (screaming in the background) You guys stop that - play together! Sorry about that, I'm at the park with my two kids - a dad's work is never done!

Karen - You have two kids?  How old?

Gary - A girl who's 9 and a boy who's 6...(more screaming and now crying)...stop your crying - we don't eat ice cream from an ice cream vendor, you're going to get salmonella.  (more crying) If you don't stop your crying this instant I'm going to beat you so bad the cops will be called!

Now let me interrupt this fascinating story for a little sidebar - A) I'm pretty sure giving your child a salmonella scare isn't the best argument as to why your 6 year old can't have ice cream (why, yes, Father is so wise, let's forego that tasty ice cream treat for fear of contracting a food-borne illness)  and B) What was his profession again?  Child abuse something or other?  

Okay, back to our conversation:

Karen - You sound a little busy, I'm going to let you go.

Gary - No, they finally left me alone.  Look, I want to tell you something.  I've been with a lot of women (swoon!) so I know exactly what I'm looking for.  Imagine my surprise when I get online this morning and see this beautiful blonde (that's me!) and I think to myself, "Well, she's beautiful, but does she have brains?"  So I read your profile and everything is spelled correctly and I think, "Good for her!"  Then I think to myself, "Well, she has brains and she's beautiful, (he's still talking about me!) but does she have a sense of humor?"  And what were you doing when you answered the phone, Karen?" (I wasn't prepared for a test)

Karen - ummmmm....  

Gary - You were laughing!  And good for you! (he seemed so proud of me!)  So you've got the looks, the brains, and a great sense of humor.  Now all I have to do is see if you're as hot in person as you are in your pictures, but 3 out of 4 ain't bad!

Karen- <click>

And that, my friends, was the end of Gary...

Damn!

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Watched Me Apply My What?

Typically, I know better...but this ONE time I accepted a setup from a friend. (okay, it's happened 3 times, but I digress.)  This particular guy, however, (we'll call him Ben) was 8 years my junior and had two young children.  So I thought, "normal guy, well adjusted, friend of a friend, loves kids...".  Why not?

We started off texting, (because that's how all deep and meaningful relationships start) and then we graduated to the elusive phone conversation.  I'm not gonna lie, I fell in love with his voice; it was that low, smooth tone and he had a really great laugh.  For whatever reason, I pictured him with a baseball cap on backward (maybe because I think that's ridiculously hot on a guy), and that just made me want to meet him more.

Now at this point I had seen a picture of Ben, but it was kind of like one of those "illusion" pictures.  If I looked at it one way, he looked really cute.  If I looked at it another way, however, he just looked sort of "meh".  Anyway, I held onto the "really cute" version of Ben while we spoke on the phone.

Sidebar - Before you start hating on me for being shallow, you have to understand that I know nothing about this guy other than he's a single dad of two and has a really great voice.  So looks kinda matter.  And, yeah,  I am that shallow... 

After about three days of texting and talking, I'm ready to be asked out or cut bait.  Ben must have sensed this, because as I was about to bid him adieu, he asked me out to lunch. And this, my friends, is when the magic happened...

Our lunch was scheduled for 12 noon, so you can imagine my surprise when Ben texted me at 11:15 saying that he'd already arrived at the restaurant.  I asked why he was so early and he said he was very excited to see me and that punctuality was very important to him.  Two things happened simultaneously at this point:  1) I had the fear of God in me that I was going to be late (I felt he was warning me.)  2) I was a little taken aback that he was THAT excited to see me.  To be honest, I was kind of dreading the date not wanting to ruin the "backward baseball cap" version of Ben I had dreamed up in my head.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and met Ben at the restaurant. (I arrived at 11:55, if you're concerned for my safety)  Ben was actually cute. (not as cute as I had imagined in my head, but cute)  We had a nice meal and a nice conversation and I thought to myself, "Wow, I've been on a million dead-end dates, but I can actually say that I'd agree to another date with this guy".

As we're waiting for the check, I pulled out my lip gloss and applied it at the table.  I know that's not the greatest move, but I wasn't checking myself out in the mirror or anything.  I just wanted soft lips in case he closed in for a kiss. (doing my due diligence, people!)  And just as I put my lip gloss back in my purse, Ben says, "You know, I've noticed your feet through the entire meal and they're amazing.  May I touch them?"

I'm sorry, come again?

You say you want to touch my feet in a restaurant, at the table, on a first date, in the absence of alcohol?  At this point my mind is reeling and I'm trying to think of a graceful way to recover for him because I don't go on second dates; I always find a reason not to go.  THIS guy actually had a chance and I had to save him.  But I had nothing...there was no coming back from that.
I politely told him that was the weirdest request I'd had on a date and that no, no he may not touch my feet.

When I got back to the office after lunch I received a text from him that simply read, "I watched you apply your gloss."   

Eeeeewwwwwww!  Does it "...put the lotion on its skin," too?

And that was the end of Ben...

Damn!