Undeterred by my first date in thirty years, I found another man who intrigued me. Preston had worked in a field that conjured up all the romance and debauchery of the seventies at their best, and he had also spent time as a big game hunter and guide. He had a lot of photos online, at least some of them appearing to be several years old, the most enticing being of him on horseback, fully decked out and sporting a wide grin. His profile was extensive and suggested that he had both breadth and depth. I was fascinated.
Less than ten days after I joined the site, he and I were trading e-mails and talking on the phone. A friend of mine observed that most of the men she had met through dating sites had talked on endlessly about themselves at their first meeting, seemingly uninterested in knowing about her. I had experienced a bit of that with Preston in our phone conversations, but I allowed that even a man with his seasoning and sophistication might be nervous during the initial verbal dosados.
When we met face to face, I found him engaging and charming, but my gut was also giving me a few red flags. For one thing, he seemed intent on making sure I knew he could still perform sexually. And he seemed a bit fixated on sexuality. He regaled me with the story of how a much older woman had personally schooled him on women when he was a young man. And when, under the auspices of being trained in reflexology, he asked to see my shoeless foot, he was quick to place it in his lap. He later told me I could leave it there or reclaim it, whichever I preferred, and his vote seemed in favor of my leaving it in his crotch. I gently removed it. I am a lusty woman who has been known to deliberately place a foot in that exact position, but it has always been with a man I knew quite a bit better than I knew Preston.
He also seemed to have a bit of an attitude about “women’s libbers,” which made me wonder who had hurt him and how.
Still, we had a great conversation, and I liked the fact that he was both manly and bright.
He made a point of walking on the outside when we left the restaurant and taking my hand, gestures I appreciated. I wasn’t sure how much chemistry there was going to be between us, but there was at least some. He hugged me at my car and said he thought the two of us could get into some trouble together. It was a somewhat disconcerting statement, another sexual reference, but I couldn’t disagree with it. It did make me wonder, though, if what he was looking for was a quick hit. And I was not going to be that.
Later, the internal red flags found external expression. I now had his full name (all three parts), and I googled it. What I found was a court document related to an old lawsuit. Its contents gave me pause. Another thing also gave me pause. After our meeting, he had messaged me saying, among other things, that our conversation had been the deepest he’d had in years. I hadn’t found it that deep.
I didn’t hear from him after that for several days, despite the fact that he said he was looking forward to our next conversation. About a week later, I e-mailed him to see where he stood. He had been and was still out of state. He had decided that the elusive chemistry between us was not as strong as we might have anticipated.
As I travelled on, it occurred to me that I had probably dodged a bullet.
The next contact that seemed interesting was from a man who said he had grown up in the same part of Illinois I was from. We had gone to the same high school. Bill asked if I remembered his family. The last name sounded familiar, but nothing more, so I called my sister. She remembered the family well and thought them to be uniformly decent human beings.
I looked at his profile and his photo. The fact that he possessed a PhD, liked to hike, and was well traveled seemed promising. We traded messages, switched to e-mail, and made a plan to meet. I did not know until later that he had been equivocal about me because I am a shaman. Bill wondered if I could relate to an ordinary man, and it wasn’t until he had searched for information about my late husband online that he decided I might be a normal enough woman to appreciate a normal man.
I liked Bill a good deal and would have loved to develop a friendship with him, but there was no chemistry there for me. I told him that in an e-mail a couple of days later, as gently as I could. I was beginning to hate this part of dating. That was the last I heard from Bill.
On the same day Bill and I met, I had discovered another man on the site, one whose photo made me suck air when I first saw it. It wasn’t just that he was gorgeous, though he was. He had the kind of scruffy bad boy good looks I had been a sucker for in my youth. Apparently, I still was a sucker for them. It was more than that. I recognized him, even though I had never met him in this life.
Things were about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Note: The names Preston and Bill are fictitious and have been used out of respect for the men involved.
Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall