Last Thursday, I went to my children's track meet and I had a sneaking suspicion that I might, just maybe, run into horse show Harold, since the school that his kids attend was hosting the derned event. As soon as I set foot on the campus I started surveying the peanut gallery looking for Harold. He was conspicuously missing and I will admit that I was a bit bummed, after all, I had actually gone to the trouble of putting on make-up in case I saw him and everything. But there was this other dad there who kept stealing glances at me from across the green and although there was something about his face that I wasn't totally loving (he was far enough away that I couldn't quite put my finger on it) I didn't exactly find him unattractive. He was rugged and tall and had a nice body, he was undeniably intriguing. Plus, his apparent interest in me was most entertaining, enough so that I forgot to pout about Harold for a bit. I was flattered, no doubt, by his unsuccessful attempts to covertly spy on me, and there was definitely something curious about him, so I peeped at him, as well, from behind my dark glasses. Right about the time I was thinking of beatin' feet back to my cute, little car, Jordan came up to me and said, "Mom, there he is!" "There who is?" Oh yeah - him, there was Harold. Huh. You know? He really wasn't as cute as I had made him out to be in my hazy memory of our introduction. His hair grew from way further back on his head than I had remembered and in his conservative, preppy boy attire (I don't do belted, pleated Dockers that sit right on the waist, sorry) and with his diminutive stature, he bore a startling resemblance to my ex-husband...this was not working in his favor. But I went ahead and did the right thing, and approached him to say "Hello Harold, remember me?" He acted at first, as if he mightn't (well I never!) but then I saw it click and he said, "Oh hey, how are you?" I stopped walking and planted my feet thinking he might come my way and perhaps strike up a conversation, but he continued to walk in the total opposite direction, which indicated to me, a complete lack of interest, dagger! Ehhhh, what's the difference, I had already stopped thinking he was cute anyway, right? Well, now there really was no sense in me dickering around at the meet anymore, my kids were through running and I needed to head back towards their school to pick up my youngest daughter, anyway. Walking down the gravel path towards the parking area, I saw a man approaching and as I got closer, I realized that he was the dad who kept beepin' at me the whole day. I don't know why I got awkward, but when we passed each other I barely looked up at him, when offering my good-neighborly "Hello" and then immediately Indian gave my nanosecond glance as soon as he said "Hi" It was weird, I don't usually make strange with folks.
I didn't get back to my trusty, ole Mac til, like 10 or later that night, and I checked for messages and even answered a few fun ones, including one from sweet and wonderful Reid! He had decided that it was time that we should finally meet, for real. I mean we have had a very simpatico rapport with one another since first yuckin' it up online, I dunno, sometime during the summer, and I guess it did make sense that we finally make our friendship, official. It was funny, cuz Reid had e-mailed me to say that he had gone out, just that evening, with a friend of mine who messes around on the same dating site, he was the second guy on this one particular site with whom she and I had both gotten friendly. Huh, what are the chances? Anyway, I was checking more mail on the "Reid" site and I came across a long e-mail which was not accompanied by a profile pic.. Now usually, I just ignore the picture-less notes, but this guy had clearly put a bit of elbow grease into his message so I decided to have a look...
" This is kinda weird and requires a bit of a lead-in, so please bear with me....
I’ve been on "dating site #1" for....well...for longer than I’d like to admit. I wasn’t finding or attracting the type of gal I’d hoped to, so I ventured farther into cyberworld. I checked out "dating site #2". I had to fill out of their silly questionaires just so I could poke around. I didn’t bother with any photos, or actually join. I’m already paying more than I should to be on "dating site #1", remember? But I did come across your profile and was tempted to shell out the $17.95 or whatever so I could contact you. But I didn’t.
Then, just a couple of days ago I came across this "dating site #3" thing. It’s free, but again with the necessary questions. I did the bare minimum just so I could access it. I came across your profile once more.
Now I’m thinking...how can I contact this gal without having to upload a bunch of pictures or struggle over writing an impressive profile? I needed to study on that one.
So today rolls around (this is where it gets weird) and I head to The Hill School in Middleburg for my daughter’s cross country meet, and as I’m making small talk with the ex, who do I see in the paint splattered Carhart jacket? Yeah, you guessed it.
So now what? Do I go talk to her? Just blurt out, “Hey, don’t I know you from all of those internet dating sites”?
No. That would probably be weirder than what I’m doing now.
The ex leaves (work called - go figure), my daughter is running around, being the social butterfly that she is...I’m pacing...counting the minutes til we get to leave....I decide to walk back to the truck to check my cell phone. On the return trip, I round the corner by the fence, and...I’m face to face with the mini-bike riding, roof-sitting, quirky artist gal from "dating site #3". You smile and say, “Hello”. I return the greeting and keep walking. Remember? I was the guy in the ball cap, brown shirt, week old whiskers?
From then til now, I’ve been thinking about what to do. Obviously, this is my solution...
I’m not going to pay "dating site #2". I’m not going to add pictures to "dating site #3". I’m going to direct you to my "dating site#1" page. I’ve tested it, and I’m pretty sure that non-members can at least search for a user name. If not, the next time we see each other at a school function, at least you can say, “Hi Stuart”. That’ll raise the ex’s eyebrows.
Holy fucking shit! Is that not the most romantic thing, ever?! Ok, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but it sincerely left me feeling a smidge bashful...and woozie. The cool thing was, I knew as soon as I got to the "Hill School" part of his letter, exactly who it was...and I felt that this surely must've been my reward for not getting bent out of shape about Harold. The weird thing was that as I was unearthing this treasure, my online dating world went eerily quiet, absolutely silent - everyone stopped writing, and IM'ing, I could hear crickets chirping as I devoted the remainder of my night to reviewing Stuart's profile on "dating site #1" and reading and rereading his charming note, completely uninterrupted. It felt as if there was an unspoken understanding amongst all of my other suitors that I should not be disturbed while I contemplated this captivating coinkedink.
Now, I have to be brutally honest here, which I am characteristically want to do...after studying Stuart's profile, I gathered that he was a devoted dad, successful in his chosen career, a musician, surrounds himself with many dear friends and travels til his little heart's content. All of this was terrifically appealing! And he had a nice assortment of photos posted...and that's, unfortunately, where the trouble begins. His photo revealed the most penetrating eyes, incredible, really...so blue that they were almost white! And a flawless, genuine smile, with teeth so white that they were almost blue (hee hee), but dangling down in the middle of all of that goodness was a nose that I simply could not wrap myself around. It was like Cyrano de Bergerac meets Karl Malden. I know most people probably wouldn't really even give a shit about a nose when everything else is so flawlessly geeeorgeous, but you know how I am about the nose, I mean christ! Why that? If I just focused on his eyes or his smile I was fine, even attracted to him, but as soon as my eyes locked onto that schnoz I got all mixed up. Frances just threw her hands up in despair when I recounted this story for her, she was like, "What is your problem? You can fix a nose, my god! If you're at all interested in the guy just go out with him, you can fix the nose later, stop being so goddamn picky!"
I e-mailed Stuart and agreed that the whole thing was kinda crazy, but neat, and said that I hoped to hear from him soon, cuz I really believe that I did at least want to see what would happen if we continued talking. Over the weekend, he wrote a brief note to me, apologized for it's brevity, that there would be more to follow, and said that he was looking forward to getting to know more about my art and my farm and my kids. I only just today, three days after receiving his second e-mail, got around to sending another note, and I have not heard back, as of yet...