So I have a few questions. Who does a shrink go to when they have a problem or an issue? Do they work it out themselves or do they go to another doc? And does everyone have an annoying little psychic, Tinkerbell-wannabe angel that sits on their shoulder or is it just me?I discovered the answer to these questions the hard way. As much as I hate to admit that this is one more of those stories from online dating hell, it is. But I always seem to have resilience and a short memory of all who have come before and I tend to see (or try) to see the good in folks.
As I was browsing a popular website, up popped a handsome, distinguished-looking man from Sonoma. I noticed that he had been looking at my profile quite a bit. He had all of his hair and as I perused his dossier, I discovered that he was an interesting hybrid of sorts. He was a part-time flight attendant and clinical psychologist. (Ok, so I squirmed a little at first on the flight attendant thing, but then I thought of traveling to Italy and Portugal and slapped that little intuitive angel off my shoulder.) Then I thought that perhaps someone with a background in therapy might be a healthy and wonderful communicator. So I gave him three stars. One for being a talk-doc, one for all of those fantasy trips in the air, and one for his hair.
The first time we spoke on the phone, my little angel scrambled back up on to my shoulder and started screaming in my ear. I sensed a monotonic and depressive tone to his voice (as he was disclosing all of the facts of his recent heartbreak), so I let this one go for a while. Then a month or so later, he connected again and since I wasn’t seeing anyone, I agreed to allow him to visit me in Monterey.
As he drove up to meet me, I was pleased to see that he looked just like his photo. And he still had all of that hair and the trim body too. I have to admit that I was attracted. We had a delightful brunch and the conversation flowed easily (as did the three or more glasses of wine we each had). I’m sure that you all know this, but just in case you don’t, alcohol is a deadly additive to a first date and don’t worry about swatting your angel. She’ll fall off your shoulder on her own after a few cocktails. It will also make you throw any rules you have made out the window.
“Do you think I’m too thin?” he asked during our chat.
“No, you’re just right (plus I love your hair),” I said.
“I prefer the term lithe,” he whispered.
My angel was desperately and dizzily trying to climb back up my arm. She was hanging on for dear life. I’ve never heard a man use the word “lithe.” I even started to squirm again.
Needless to say, I allowed this person into my home. He felt safer as I began to feel happier with another glass of wine.
When he walked in, he immediately started making comments about my home (which I have to admit is a little eccentric, but I live there, I like it, and the last time I checked I was the one paying the mortgage). He sarcastically asked if I thought I had enough Buddhas (they make me feel calm), commented that none of my doors opened all the way, and thought I had too many clothes (one of the closets with a door that wouldn’t close was slightly open).
Oh, well. He was already in, and since it was dinnertime and I am nice, I invited him to stay for an impromptu meal. I think I made fish, but I distinctly remember that the side dish was sliced green beans (being the typical bachelorette, I grabbed the closest bag of frozen veggies in my freezer). As I started to sauté them, he started his critique.
“Aren’t you supposed to boil those?” he asked rhetorically.
“They’ll be fine,” I responded.
To my horrified chagrin, he yanked the bag back out and pointed to the directions like a possessed and overzealous third-grade teacher. “Look. It says BOIL right here.”
The green beans might not have been, but the cook was boiling. In spite of the hair, I was losing my attraction for this man. So I pictured him bald. But as I said earlier, he was already in and although I was tempted to shrink-wrap him and escort him out my front door (which does close all the way and should have never been opened to begin with), I simmered down and fed this guy.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details to this very short story, but suffice it to say that when a man refers to his mom as “The MOTHER,” put those track shoes on and run. When he admits that he sometimes needs help with issues too (but asked his female therapist out because she was hot), keep running. When he complains about the vegetables, stop cooking and kick his little lithe ass down the stairs (good hair and all).
And when Tinkerbell (or whatever name you give your angel if you have one too) starts talking, listen to her, and never, ever give her a drink on a first date.
Copyright 2008 Robyn Justo
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Robyn Justo is a freelance writer who is living, breathing, and learning the new rules of dating over 40. Experienced, but by no means an expert, she shares the frustrations, triumphs, and general hysteria of single life on the Monterey Peninsula. “The Expiration Date” addresses the lighter side of dating later in life. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (and the guilty). Robyn also occasionally hosts local social events for those brave-hearted single folks who actually have the courage to come out of the house.