After things with Curiously Cheap George cooled off, I picked up where I had left off: online. At this point I was on eHarmony, and for a few months I had a flurry of "getting to know you" communications, followed by a small succession of first dates. A few of them didn't even warrant monikers, but of course, a couple of them did.
First there was Dr. Phil. He was neither a doctor nor was his name Phil, but he was a dead ringer for Oprah's ex-favorite goombah. I had exactly one date with the good doctor, and on this date I learned that he had been married not once, not twice, but FOUR times. I had already written this one off, when he surprised me by actually farting at the dinner table. And then made a joke about it, instead of doing what I think most adults who had met their dining companion just 40 minutes prior would do and pretend it was the seat. Check, please.
Angry Steve called me and left a message of him singing "867-5309" (you know, the Jenny song from 1981?) and thought that was the height of hilarity. He managed to find the one restaurant in the tri-state area where they still allowed smoking, and I spent a hellish hour and a half hearing all about his psycho bitch of an ex-wife who apparently was still pretty hot. Yes, she was crazy but he said he'd "take her back in a minute". Angry Steve did tell me about the show "Rescue Me", though, so I guess the second-hand smoke and the second-hand bitterness weren't all for nothing. I do love me some Denis Leary.
Sad Counselor was a guidance counselor from a local high school. We actually went out on a few dates, and I did have a decent time with that one. Although he pissed me off with the lying about the height thing. What's up with that? Why do so many of these men fudge their height when chances are really good that eventually someone will meet them in person? And what is it with the magic fake-height of 5'10"? Is that like some universally known panty remover number? Personally, height is not a deal breaker. As long as I can't see the top of your head when we're standing next to each other it's all good (and I'm barely 5'4" so you see, I do keep an open mind). But skinnier than me, that's an issue. Short/thick around the middle=good. Short/29" waist=not so much.
Anyhoo. Sad Counselor was a sweet guy but had a little bit of a dark side. After too many of our conversations morphed into mock-therapy sessions where he'd start going on and on and on about how he was terrified that he'd end up dying alone in a nursing home bed (his words, not mine, I swear!) I decided that I needed more of a half-full outlook kind of guy and ended things.
And I simply do not have the time or the finger strength to describe in great detail the ones with whom I never made it past the "About Me" stage. The countless guys who had 300 pictures of themselves, and in 298 of these pictures he's straddling his motorcycle (not that there's anything wrong with motorcycles. They're hot. But dude, one picture of you and the bike is plenty). Or the ones with a single picture, and that picture happened to be a soft-focus senior portrait of a groovy kid with long feathered hair, wearing a wide-collar rayon shirt with a desert scene printed on it and yes, a puka shell necklace.
Lest you think I am some choosy, holier-than thou bitch, let me tell you. This is a scary thing for someone like me. Looking back, I cannot believe that I had the guts to actually do this. I am what people call "self-effacing", or what some therapists would probably call "filled to the brim with crazy, insecurity and self-loathing". I didn't go into this thinking that I was above everyone, that no one was good enough for me. Quite the opposite: I worried incessantly that I would not be good enough for anyone. Dating after the age of 40 is tough. It can be loads of fun, but believe me, it takes a lot of work, a lot of courage and some seriously thick skin.
So, I began to lose interest in the whole deal. And one night, when the kids were with Big Daddy, I did something totally out of character.
It involved craigslist, a ride on a Segway, and of course, some wine.