Alrighty, let’s put a fork in this trilogy.
I felt awful as I got ready for my date with Rob. Sure, it was only one night of promise with Scott, but it meant something to me. I allowed myself—ever so briefly—to be hopeful. You’d think I would be jaded, considering my history of bad dates. Some might even suggest I should plan for the worst so if something good happens it will be a pleasant surprise.
That’s just not my nature.
Yes, in many ways I’m a realist, perhaps even a cynic, but when it comes to love, I’m a dreamer.
Pedro Superdoorman called to let me know Rob was in the lobby so I took a deep breath, put on a perky face and repeated half-full-isms as I rode the elevator down to meet him.
He looked great. In fact, that’s an understatement. He looked like he stepped off the page of a Brooks Brothers catalog. The man was practically wrapped in cellophane and there’s nothing that makes me worry more about an errant hair or spinach in my teeth, than a guy who’s that fastidious. And you know I love a well-groomed man but have to say, I draw the line at Felix Unger.
Even his shoes shined like a mirror and the streets were a slushy mess after a recent snowstorm.
Did he walk over with trash bags on his feet?
We headed out to Dakota Bar where he’d made a reservation. The place was crowded and noisy—filled with a bunch of hipsters. What is it about that ironic mustached bunch that leads them to believe they’re so clever? That everyone (even those seated two tables away) can’t wait to hear what they have to say? Could it be all those trophies for participation?
OK, back to Rob.
We ordered wine and shouted across the table to each other. I learned that he was in the process of a divorce, but not single yet. His parting was taking longer than usual because he had a very difficult situation with his wife—one I’m not going into. That he shared it with me was brave and I respected and admired his willingness to be upfront. He talked about his job and what he enjoyed doing when not working. He was a triathlete and competed often in ironman competitions. He started running many years earlier as stress-relief from his marriage. He mentioned that he’d been unable to run outside because of all the snow and working out in the gym didn’t give him the results he must have.
Now, when I say this man had a perfect body I want you to understand I’m not comparing it to the average in shape fifty-ish male physique. Rob could hold his own with Olympic athletes and I told him as much. Then he mentioned his BMI was that of a fit twenty year old. He wasn’t bragging, either, just stating a fact. He also said he was hoping that the next day (Sunday) would be clear weather so he could get up at 5am and go for a run. A fifteen fucking mile run or some god-awful distance like that.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
Let the over-sharing begin.
“I put on weight this winter. I’ve been sedentary, trying to finish my book.”
“You have a great body, I don’t see anywhere you need to lose weight.”
OK, Rob got big points for that one but he didn’t understand. I was wrapped in shape wear that would eventually come off. When I bid adieu to my little spandex friend—shit would get real.
At that point I knew two things: There was someone at our table who looked head-to-toe airbrushed AND one of us could strip down, walk naked to the bathroom and receive mad hipster applause. Neither, was the blonde wearing Spanx.
After a second glass of wine I was ready to go. Rob walked me home and apologized for choosing such a noisy place.
“Next time I’ll make sure we can hear each other if you’ll see me again,” he said.
I struggled to see the point. I could probably push through the impossible hardship of dating a physically PERFECT specimen, but Rob didn’t make me laugh. Not once. He was smart, had beautiful manners, and seemed incredible decent but I was kind of bored. Nonetheless, after the recent Scott debacle, “decent” won and I told Rob I would enjoy getting to know him better.
“I need to clarify that I’m not ever going to run. If you’re looking for a woman who’s willing to lace up her sneakers for a Sunday morning togetherness jog, that’s not me.”
I didn’t add that I was hoping for Sunday mornings in bed with the Times, a bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich, strong coffee and an even stronger man because, well, some things are best saved for the second date.
We said goodbye in front of my building with a chaste peck and over the next several days, Rob and I sent a few texts back and forth. He said he’d like to arrange a dinner date for the weekend and he’d get back to me once he had figured out his schedule.
Good ole reliable Rob. I was all snuggled up, safe in his steadfastness.
Welp, that weekend passed and another and another and I never heard from Rob. I didn’t text him, either, and wasn’t bothered a bit. Sure, it was weird, but no biggie. I just wasn’t that into him and obviously he felt the same.
A month later my neighbors and I were just about to head over to that same bistro for dinner when I got a text.
I’m at [bistro name] and haven’t been here since the night we met. Would you be interested in meeting for a drink?
Funny you should be there. I’m having dinner with friends in less than an hour.
We met up with Rob as we waited for our table. He ordered drinks for all of us and we chatted until our table was ready. I asked if he’d like to join us. He declined and instead asked if I would be interested in going to dinner the next night. I knew Rob was a good man and probably had a logical explanation as to why he disappeared. I was willing to hear him out. He said he’d call in the morning with a time and place and asked if there was any food I didn’t like. I told him I was really watching what I ate and I would appreciate a place with fish on the menu. I didn’t add that I’d lost five pounds and wasn’t wearing shape wear because who shares that kind of information anyway?
Steady Eddie called the next morning to let me know he’d made a reservation at Ocean Grill and would meet me there. Dinner was absolutely delicious–the conversation, painfully predictable. Rob didn’t mention his disappearance so I did. He apologized and then explained. He realized after our date that he had to push forward with the divorce—a messy situation. He’d also been approached about a job in another state and he’d traveled there, first for an interview, and then twice to assess the area. Both were valid reasons for being unavailable but still not justification for his lack of communication.
“I get it. Totally understandable that you’ve got a lot going on. You still should’ve told me.”
“You’re right. I got caught up in everything but should’ve reached out.”
“Ok, but I want you to understand. You disappear again, I disappear forever.”
We finished our meal while continuing to talk. I made him laugh and hoped he could do the same for me. Didn’t happen. It wasn’t as boring as watching paint dry, but it was pretty dull. I didn’t think I was up for a third date and after another chaste kiss goodnight I was sure of it. If he’d really kissed me I might’ve known if we had a drop of physical chemistry.
The next day he texted to let me know he’d enjoyed our night. He had some divorce stuff going on that week but would keep in touch and was looking forward to seeing me again. Over the next few days we exchanged texts. I didn’t want to go on a third date with Rob but I also didn’t want to reject him in the midst of what he was dealing with. I spent a lot of time thinking about a nice way to tell him. I wanted it to be the perfect blend of flattery and kindness—to let him down softly, that decent, considerate and consistent man.
After a few days that radio went silent and I never heard from Rob again.
Good Ole Reliable Rob.
“A man’s kiss is his signature.” Mae West
As you told me on part two… who knows one’s motivations… at least you didn’t have to break his heart! But what is it about us being more concerned with their feelings than our own happiness???
My rule is separated is married, I only date men that are single/divorced, not separated… to much going on there… (not that that has helped much, I’m still single!)
Very true, Anna, about being more concerned about their feelings. Why is that? I do understand your rule about someone who’s separated or divorcing. That was my rule, too, until my good friend pointed out that those men might be the best ones to date. Her rationale is that they’re the normal men. The ones online (generally) are those who couldn’t ever get a date in the real world. She does have a valid point.
From the man’s viewpoint (or at least this one) is that Anna is more likely to be correct. I am not sure any of us are ready to date with intention as we are going through a divorce. We all need a wash out period to get the toxins of the last relationship out of our system. I know that is not true in every case, but I think it is more likely than not. Men deceive no one so much as ourselves.
Very insightful, Matthew. “Date with intention”–love that. I agree, most are pretty damaged during and then after a divorce. I wonder if it’s better to stick with someone during that temporary condition or seek a person who’s beyond all that. I guess the risk is they’re one of the perpetual misfits I often encountered online. Slippery slope, for sure. I enjoyed your comment, Matthew. Hope to hear more from you!
I have trouble with the “separated is married” thing only because I’m separated and I’m still best friends with my husband, but there is NO romantic love between us and we are both ready to date. And both GREAT catches, if we do say so ourselves. I find, in my experience, the question is … Who did the leaving? If the fella was left, he needs time to heal. If he left, then chances are good he left emotionally QUITE some time before.
Sounds like the healthiest of divorces, Alex. How nice that you’re best friends. I’ve done my best to remain friends with all my exes. I’ve succeeded with all but one. I figure there was something about the person that I liked before the relationship failed so I try to find that something and keep the friendship going. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your story.
Agreed Matthew, but I believe it works both ways, however I can only speak from the female point of view, I did work with divorce/child support for 10 yrs and things do get ugly during that time…
Your friend could be right, I have an online account I rarely look at, but when I do, I see the same boring faces… and just because you get a divorce doesn’t make you a bad person. I just prefer to wait until the wife is out of the picture, I don’t need some lady knocking on my door with ‘the other side of the story’…
And there’s always another side to the story, Anna. I actually don’t care what the former spouse has to say. That was their problem–the result of their issues–and I’ll make my own assessment. I completely agree that it’s best to wait until the wife is out of the picture but sometimes “the crazy” doesn’t end with divorce. There are exes (male and female) whose only goal is to make their former spouse’s life a living hell. Sure hope I don’t end up with a guy dragging that batshit baggage behind him. Good comment, Anna!
Helen M. Vann says
Love this comment (your reply to Anna), Melanie. Things really do go both ways. Holding onto what is/was good, letting go of the bad, staying friends–if only we all would, especially when children are involved … though sometimes the combination is too toxic and perhaps better to say the literal meaning of A Dios.
Also, I am curious about this sentence: “After a few days that radio went silent and I never heard from Rob again.” Is it some idiosyncratic meaning I’m not yet familiar with?
Care to share a few more thoughts?
Hi Helen, thanks for your comment. I agree, sometimes it’s too toxic, and that’s a shame if children are involved. OK, now to your question. The “that radio went silent” is just a play on a play on words. Basically, it’s the expression “radio silence” when referring to no communication. There’s also “crickets,” “entered the federal witness protection program,” or “went off the grid,” to name a few. I probably shouldn’t try to be so clever and should’ve just said, “Rob disappeared–again.” Thanks, Helen, for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Rob had no sense of humor and we all want a guy with sense of humor. But why? Do they use it to playfully explain away their faults and failures? Or do they just modestly not take their awesome selves so seriously. Let’s not just embrace humor without a little observation.
Melani, this must be extra hard for you because you had a Neal. Some of us didn’t.
I absolutely want a man with a sense of humor, Pam. I agree, some use humor to mask bad behavior but there are a million other manipulations that are used, as well. He’s got to make me laugh. I’m not saying that’s all he has to do, but it’s high on my list. It is extra hard because of Neal, but I know it’s possible to be as happy with someone else. I just need to meet that man. Thanks for the comment, Pam!
Oh… not making me laugh is a deal breaker. In fact, funny trumps a WHOLE lotta other drawbacks. Why? Because … if I’m gonna spend a lot of time with someone or possibly the rest of my life, it had better be fun. Life is FAR too short. As YOU, of all people, know too well.
Agreed, Alex! Funny trumps a multitude of sins/foibles/quirks, etc..
Laura L says
I have dated that perfect man with the peck at the end of the night. Ugh! Give me imperfection any day. Much more fun.
There wasn’t an ounce of passion, Laura. Foreshadowing of the bedroom, I believe. I couldn’t see Rob messing up his hair or allowing himself to let go. Um, yeah, that sounds exciting. About as stimulating as that kiss. Thanks, Laura!
Hi Melani, it was great to read you blogging about a dating experience again. Sorry they were both duds. Looking forward to the book!
Thanks, Melanie! Love your name.
Hey Melani…it’s hard to ignore the comparison of men to animals…don’t all animals live in the present moment (which is good) but I’m beginning to think most guys don’t see past their own noses and don’t think about the next “date” and “I’ll be in touch”…it is basically just lazy to just fall out of sight and mind…I’m familiar with the sound of chirping crickets! Ha…Dana in Tulsa.
Ha, Dana, you might just be onto something! I guess I’d like a guy who lives in the moment but remembers a few things he’s said in the past. Sheesh, is that asking too much? Thanks for the comment!
Thanks Melani, I enjoy receiving your posts because of the levity it brings my day. You deserve nothing less. I’m not of a quick witted humor such as my 22y.o. daughter who lives with me, but I have no problem being silly and we find ourselves busting out with laughter everyday at all times with the ludicrous and absurd all around us. This goes all the way in dealing with this challenging life. I’m sure when she meets her man, humor will be in the mix. If I ever go there again, I can’t imagine carrying the weight of the humorless. Keep an open heart and love will have a venue.
“Carrying the weight of the humorless.” Well said, Bella. It is a heavy load for someone who has to laugh to feel fulfilled. Just like you, I spends lots of time with my daughters cracking up. They are really funny. My heart is open for a love venue and in the meantime I’m thrilled to be one of your levity providers. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Bella. I’d love to hear your thoughts again.
Matthew Mooney says
Separated is married in my eyes. Too many variables come with that situation. There is a skeleton or two in his closet and you can bet big money on that . And again, I laughed out loud at your description of his running habit. I hate to say this Melani, I feel so sorry for you, but at the same time you deserve better that some half-ass. And I can look forward to another great read from you soon! Take care girlfriend! .
Glad to keep you laughing, Matthew. Yeah, that run on Sunday morning was never going to happen. I just don’t get it–where the hell are you going? Thank you for taking pity on me and also for the reminder that half-assed should never be an option. I have a skeleton or two in my closet but since I’m a chronic over-sharer it never stays there for long!
Hi Melani….I agree with some of your readers that separated = married. Seems that there are too many unresolved problems …..pending divorce, custody battles, $ settlement issues and ex-wife drama. I “bent” my rule twice and regretted it both times. Being with someone because you don’t want to be alone is not the same as wanting to be with that person! I still have hope that I will trip across that man who wants to be with me! I agree with Pam….you were very fortunate to have your Neal.
I have enjoyed reading your blog from it’s beginning – thank you for sharing!
Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your feelings, Denise. I was fortunate, indeed. I’m still on the fence with separated = married. When I first decided to start dating again, someone who was separated but not divorced was a deal breaker. I didn’t want to go through the aggravation of their divorce. Then I met a friend who had been separated for a few years but wasn’t going to get divorced because of health insurance. She was absolutely done with the marriage and the split was amicable. I guess it depends on the circumstances. AND, one last bit of over-sharing. Neal was separated for three years but not divorced when I met him. There wouldn’t have been any rule that could’ve prevented me from being with him. It was unstoppable. Thank you so much for following the blog from the beginning, Denise. I am very, very grateful.
Glad you are back with your dating adventures. I’ve missed hearing about them. And Sorry they suck. But they are funny!
Though, I have to disagree with your friend that the men that are online are men that can’t get dates in real life. Some, sure, but those aren’t the ones you or I would say yes to online, either. Almost all the men I have met from online would have no problem getting dates in real life in they were in situations to meet a lot of people, or were meeting people they wanted to date. They have been mostly attractive, interesting, successful guys that are just not right for me, but seem to get snapped up pretty quickly by other people. Also, the men that I have had relationships with (the ones I met online) were all totally men I would have dated in real life if I had met them that way, and also are men that have no problem meeting women that want to date them. I think men go online to expand their pool, the same way women do. And, I would totally date someone who is separated, as long as it has been for a while (and depends on the reason). What I wouldn’t do is date someone going through a divorce. That is hell.
The pool of available and appropriate men is pretty small at our age, but, you are funny, bright, compassionate, and stunningly beautiful. I’ll be surprised if you didn’t meet a keeper sooner or later.
Helloooooo, rj! Long time, no chat. Good to hear from you. I agree, there are men online who could get dates in the real world but my experiences during my year of online dating led me to believe that most could not. I also think that’s changing as people are realize it’s a good way to expand the dating pool. I recently read that 80% of all singles are now online dating. With a percentage like that it’s clear they all can’t be from the “Isle of Misfit Toys.” You are so right about the limited numbers in our age range, too, as well as the ones who are available and normal being scooped up quickly. I guess what it boils down to is no matter how good two people might match up, the deciding factor is chemistry. If it’s not there all those great characteristics and shared interests mean nothing. Thank you for your kind words, rj. I wish us both the “keeper” sooner rather than later. Glad to know you’re still following along!
Well, that was certainly a deflating ending. I was hopeful that the second guy was going to turn out better. Melani, it seems as though if you had any luck at all, it would be bad. Thanks for sharing the experience. I enjoyed the weekly posts.
I’m half full, Macgrooder. Lots of good men have come my way but I’m holding out for great. I think Rob was a good man, just at a bad place in his life. But even if he hadn’t ghosted, it wouldn’t work. I felt no passion. I’ll keep putting myself out there and one of these days I’m certain you’ll read my last dating post–the big announcement. In the meantime buckle up and enjoy the rutted road leading to the Autobahn. Thanks for your comment.
Keep going Melani!
I’m with you – I’m going for what Hunter Hayes sings in, “CRAZY!” I’ve never had it, and won’t settle again.
Thanks, teeja! I didn’t know Hunter Hayes or the song but googled and thought it was great. I’m with you–nothing less than crazy. Thanks for the message!
Here’s a link to the song in case anyone reading comments would like to listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvtXgNtYFMs
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed another one of your adventures, Melani.
I’m with rj though. I have met some nice, attractive people on-line and dated some of them. I’m quite sure they could get a date in the real world. But what’s the real world, anyway? There aren’t many bars in my city that cater to people over 25. At my age, most social circles are small and stable (not a lot of big parties or new people). The workplace can be option for some, but sometimes not. The grocery store is not all its cracked up to be in my experience 🙂 I find meeting on-line and then going to a relaxed place for some nice conversation much nicer than a noisy bar anyway. I’m also with rj that you’re funny, bright and stunningly sexy, shape wear or not. Preferably not 🙂
Re the chaste goodnight kiss, let me share that its sometimes difficult for men. I know, poor us 🙂 It seems you would prefer to get an indication of passion and chemistry in that kiss on the first date. But some women would think you are way too aggressive if you tried to give them a kiss like that on the first date. I must confess that I’m usually trying to be respectful on the first date or two and it might come off as a chaste kiss, but its not forever. If we get past that, its like Elvis says:
“Cause once I catch you and the kissin’ starts,
A team of wild horses couldn’t tear us apart”
I’d be interested to know what other women think about this. Do they want a passionate kiss on the first date?
I’m sorry these two guys didn’t work out for you, Melani, but glad you’re still available 🙂
Ha! Tim your comment made me laugh. Maybe it’s just NYC and online dating or maybe I just happened upon a year of insanity. Patti Stanger says that women outnumber men 5 to 1 in this city. My theory is that a guy just has to step outside and breathe to get a date and if he’s online–there’s a reason. Of course I did date many nice men in that year, too. Most of them were recently online after a divorce or breakup. I doubt those nice guys are still there. Now, on the kiss. Patti Stanger (seriously, she’s not my go-to person for relationships) says a man should passionately kiss a woman on a first date to see if the chemistry is there. She insists the French variety, too. I’m not so sure I want to have that experience on a first date unless there’s a strong attraction that’s obvious before we say goodnight. If there’s sexual attraction/tension, absolutely. if not, maybe something beyond Rob’s (kissing Grandpa) kiss would be right. Now, on a second date? Oui! It should be passionate and foreign. I could understand on the first date that Rob was being respectful but by date two he should’ve done better. Seriously, Tim, I’ve felt more passion blotting my lipstick with a tissue.
Ladies, want to share your feelings?
Thanks for your kind words, Tim, especially the shape wear. That really made me smile.
I think a first date kiss is good, but not a passionate kiss, just a ‘yes, there is an attraction’ kiss (I don’t want my guys to look to eager)… but, on the second date, if the attraction is still there, I’m all in, plant one on me!
Laura L says
If the first date is fun, flirty, and the attraction is there, at least linger with the kiss. You can still be respectful. Don’t make your lips two hard lines that appear as though they may never part. And if there is no good kiss on the second date, there will be no third. I hate to sound harsh but it really is important, to me anyway.
Totally agree. If the chemistry is there, why not go for a kiss? I can tell you this: a woman pretty much knows if she ever going to sleep with a guy within first 10-15 min. Now, when she knows that, she doesn’t want you to be aggressive, but she needs a kiss to know if the chemistry is mutual. I, personally, never had bad intimate relationship with a good kisser. Being a good kisser is an ultimate deciding factor for me 🙂 It’s like a very telling preview of the potential passionate relationship – savory and delicious.
Melani, just out of curiosity what is your astrological sign ?
i ask this because the women that have meant the most in my life (good friends and lovers) and that I consider the most likeable/loveable do fall into the most compatible on the detailed charts. The ones that have been the most pain full to me and me to them I ignored the charts threw them in a drawer and the one I chose to marry and have children with ended up a loveless c0-parenting situation for 19 years. The woman that I felt the most for and was going to marry and have children with loved me, I loved her and was going to spend my life with died suddenly at 38. Our charts were almost perfect. I can now see with 20/20 hindsight the difference.
Just my thoughts after looking back at all of them.
I obviously was not a believer through the years but looking back it is kind of uncanny how it all came back to me. Now it is the end of looking….
I’m so sorry for the loss of your love, Bob, and all the what-ifs I know you’ve had.
I’m a Leo and I think you have a valid point about astrology and I might go one step further. All the men I’ve been with longterm as well as lifelong friends are astrologically compatible to my sign. If I’m feeling a connection or absolutely none at all I try to work their birthday into the conversation. I know many will scoff at this, but it’s a pattern. I’m drawn to certain signs. Thanks for the comment, Bob, as well as sharing your story. I wish you lots of love in your life and believe there’s not just one person who’ll be a perfect fit.
I followed you but first time I felt I should comment on the dating situation. The male/female ratio varies with geography-I’m in a large city in the midwest and there are equal numbers or slightly more males. Not that it makes you want to date them, but the numbers are better here.
Like you, I’m a widow-which has made me avoid the separation issue. I am in a state that VERY rarely allows a legal separation. If a guy tells you he’s separated, good chance he’s a friend of Scott’s.
Thanks for the comment, Sapphire. I don’t think there are many states that make a legal separation an easy process. I do know there are logical reasons people stay married in name only. Now Scott is a completely different story. He was flat out married and told me he was divorced. Because I didn’t get into the details of Rob’s marital issues it’s probably hard for readers to understand why I knew he was telling the truth. He was absolutely separated and going through a divorce. No question. Thanks, again, Sapphire! Good luck in that wonderful world you’re living where men outnumber women. I know–that doesn’t mean they’re all dateable, though!