Posted on February 12, 2020 by scottiejeanette
Best laid plans of mice & women… I had hoped to follow-up last week’s string of near and total whiffs (okay, I still have a few sports dialect filters running) with a stand-up double (to keep the baseball jargon, a’flowin’) or at least a solid line drive up the middle… I wasn’t swingin’ for the fences (or so I thought) heck, let’s be real, I would’ve been happy for a full-count walk…
I don’t wanna lose faith in the boys of summer (or winter spring or fall) but I am beginning to wonder what went wrong… with guys in general, I mean. Or in this case the men of Bumble, Tinder and Plenty of Fish. They are, so far, turning out to be as cliche’d bad as everyone warns me they are. Even my dear friend Chris (a veteran dude, if ever there was one) just shakes his head, not at their b*llsh*t, but at my naïveté.
But it can’t just be me. And in truth, I’m getting a lot of sympathy from my sisters out here. They commiserate with me, they console me, and they too are battle-weary, and yet, we cling to the myths of “she met her husband on POS” or they met on Bumble and they get married next week. We cling to these as dearly as the legend that somehow kissing frogs will eventually reveal one’s Prince Charming.
After the aforementioned text-misfires I spoke about last week, wherein each fell into one of three response categories that were so similar that I was seriously wondering if I was doing battle with Russian bots, I “hit it off” with not one but two…
I thought I had broken my streak. The first was a handsome hunk that really made me wonder if it was his eyes that stopped my heart or that grin… after he asked the standard line about “wanting to chat” which I replied “no – ask me out”- he did.
And I replied, “I’m free Saturday night.” – he wrote back – “Saturday works.” I said, “great let me know where and when.”
Take 2… this time with feeling…?Take 2… this time with feeling…?Well, Saturday morning came and went. No word. I started doing backwards math. Date night hair = a least an hour + Date-night make-up = 1 hour… no WAIT! Better make it two + Date night dress(es) = however long it’s gonna take to put on and throw off my entire wardrobe – say, another hour… so, if we’re doing, “Saturday night, pick you up at eight.” like they do in the movies, we’re talking three o’clock H&M call, with wheels up at 7:00 (still don’t where we’re going) to make a set call at 8:00…
(Once a producer always one?)
So, I write – Sweetheart, please let me know where and when, but I need to know by three o’clock otherwise, I’m afraid I shall have to make other plans.
Which of course, came and went. I was so mad I did just that — made other plans after jamming several needles into a doll with piercing blue eyes and a grin that stopped my heart.
But the punch line is three days later he (without apologizing) said he doesn’t open his Tinder much and was just now seeing my messages.
Talk about insulting. He didn’t even honor me with a decent excuse. coming up with plausible excuses. — is it that he thinks I’m stupid? (He was the one who asked me out and confirmed that Saturday would work.) Is he stupid? Or entitled, (he doesn’t owe someone common courtesy?) Eyes and grin or no… handsome or not. You don’t get this girl, dude.
After telling myself what all my girlfriends would repeat to me later — good to know this before I wasted any more time on him, his loss, that’s why he’s single, etc. etc. I got really angry that I had even allowed my heart to skip a beat when staring at his picture… I blamed his mother and every girl that came before me for creating this entitled childish piece of…. before realizing that no. If he’s gonna call himself a man – he will take sole responsibility for being him. No woman needs to ever take that fall.
So, another phrase I’m learning to also steal from the set – moving on.
Take 2… this time with feeling…?
Yes, as I’ve said I’ve hit it off with not one fellah, but two…
Fair disclosure, “hit it off” came after the absolute horror on the face of my dear friend Aubrey who eas looking through my Tinder profile and the stack of photos… when I head a whispered… ooops…?
Ooops? Ooops Aubs? Seriously… oops?
Yes, she said, sheepishly handing me back my phone… I sorta, accidentally… um superliked a guy for you… I think.
I looked at the screen lighting up like I just won a free game on a pachinko machine… (Anyone? Anyone? Nevermind, Google it, or ask your older sister) declaring in bold italics —
IT’S A MATCH!!!
And I thought I was the only one who used multiple exclamation points…
Now, I don’t wanna be shallow, so I read his profile which provided absolutely no information on Mr. Oops. But Fate (And Aubrey brought us together, so… you can’t tell an oops by its cover, I wrote – “Hi. How’s your night going?”
And I was surprised when he immediately asked me out. Which is what I had been wanting – I don’t wanna text, don’t wanna exchange pics or more written info, I need to meet someone and see if I’m interested…
I said yes. He said he was new to the area, could I pick the place. I picked a wine tasting room — at least I’ll get a good glass of wine if the evening skids south…
wait for it…
Now. His text minutes before I was finally ready to walk out of the house was cute – he just pulled his shirt out fo the dryer (that’s not the cute part) and… he said he was nervous. (still not the cute part) he hadn’t dated in a while…
Sweetheart… you have no idea.So, yes, I found that cute.
His clean shirt was… dry. He smelled nice… and he was nervous. So much so that his little “manny tail” (what else do you call that little tuft of hair that’s smaller than the rubber band holding it?) was bobbing in the lights of the wine garden. He excitedly asked what we do next…
Oops, it is.
I said, “well, I guess the first order of business is we get two glasses of wine.”
“Oh, I don’t drink.”
Oops a daisy.
My face must’ve betrayed my… my what? Well, put it this way. I have several friends whose lives have been saved by the various “Something -A” programs. (AA, NA, AL-ANON) and I am truly blessed to have these amazing people in my life — so I am extremely grateful for these programs and have the highest respect for their principles and methods. I would never ever ask someone to do anything uncomfortable. This is as my date pointed out… a DATE!
There are a million-bazillion other places we could’ve met at than a freaking WINE BAR!
He tried to reassure me that it was no issue at all. But it was for me. I wanted him to be comfortable…
Which he must’ve thought I was, because within seconds of finding a romantic place under the trees and twinkling lights… soft valley breeze making my just curled locks wave seductively in the evening promise and breeze… I get…
… his story.
And it’s a doozy. Involving international drug cartels, his smuggling pilot skills being tested as the Nokia walkie-talkies that the feds hadn’t quite figured out…yet, being used to alert the twenty 4×4 trucks to turn on their headlights so he could land his shipment on the 600 yards of jungle cleared just and only for his Cessna…
Yes, the excruciating detail here is his, not mine.
And it doesn’t end there but as you can imagine, in a federal prison for ten years with a year in solitary served when he “defended himself” (apparently inmates found his 6’2′ inch blond and cocaine-sculpted physique irresistible) sending his would-be suitors to… (well, his raised eyebrows and unfinished sentence lead me to believe that I was supposed to let this imagination fill in the blank – which, as we both know, is very dangerous) but wait…
.. it gets better.
He’s new in the area, because… yep, you guessed it. This ain’t a history lesson… it’s an “in the moment,” “up to date,” present-day freaking fact. He’s living in a half-way house. He just got out.
I’m flattered. Kinda…? At least, shouldn’t I be?
Now, those of you who know me that not only is he not the first smuggler I’ve ever met, but not even the most clever, bold or professional… I… um, come from a long line of outlaws. But that’s as they say, a topic for another post. Suffice to say, that his story was fascinating only in that…
… it was my second date ever, and the first… wait for it… hour, (that’s right sports fans, she said HOUR) of our conversation.
His phone buzzed, he looked at it and decided that a prop might bring this all home… he showed me a missed call number which his phone had tracked down to a number in Japan. The cartel, inquiring if he was really “retired.”
When we pivoted into “how” he got involved with the cartels in the first place, I did accept his invitation for a second glass of wine. He didn’t care and I needed to join him.
But I could not. I did, in fact, care. I was able to rise above my own feelings for a brief moment and allow myself to be touched by a rather (now) admirable man. He was not a victim. Did not blame others for his actions, was taking responsibility for making his life right. He had a son & a daughter and was making it right for them too, seemingly.
When he finally paused for a breath, I sipped pensively and heard…
“So… what’re you thinking?”
I tried to swallow without choking…I admit I did not see this coming. I bit my lip and tried to sort my feelings – the screenwriter in me was still feverishly scribbling notes for the action thriller that had just unspooled before me. Which was good, because she would’ve tried to stop me if she knew I was going to say…
“Well… we’ve been here over an hour, and… I know your entire story. But… you don’t know a thing about me…”
He was mortified. He had that look on his face that the second baseman gets when the ball whizzes between his legs… (you knew I would do it didn’t you?)… as Charlie Brown would say, “that feeling you get when you cut your fingernails too short”
He asked then begged for another chance, but I had two glasses of wine and more than I could take for one evening. He said he really liked me. Wanted to see me again. Wanted the chance for me to teach him how to be with a woman.
I was speechless. I said I was not looking to be his teacher. How could he like me when… he didn’t ask a single question of me.
He stared at me – mannytail no longer bobbing in the garden lights… and croaked, “Well… what do we do now?” My heart sank yet again.
I was could not believe my mouth was able to put the words together to say, “It’s time for us each to go to our rides home.”
I cried all the way home. I wondered if I had the stuff to be like my friends had counseled me — you’ll know within minutes, (true) and you can just walk away.
They didn’t tell me my heart would make the second part feel like sh*t. I was touched that he was truly seeking connection with another human – a woman. He had seen (almost all) of my TED talk. So he knew that much about me.
I did what any self-respecting woman raised on Nora Ephron movies would do… I called my girlfriend. Ruthie pulled the frosted martini glasses from the freezer with a flourish, poured us two stiffs ones and gave me a huge hug. We curled up on the couch with a box of kleenex and after getting all the reassurance that it wasn’t me it was him – and that I should’ve done what I did and that by staying and spending the evening with him I was more than generous and kind.
I do know what I want. I want someone to want me. I want… f*ck… I want what I had. I want love, someone who will go the distance like Mylove. Did I know she would when we first met…?
Yes. On some level, I had to have… right?
And before you too jump in to wipe my tears or tell me to grow up (both are valid) know that I’m not going to compromise, settle, or even lose sight that it is love or bust…And I know, I know, I KNOW — it’s a process…
But it still hurt my heart. I don’t want to look another soul in the eye and say – sorry not sorry. I don’t know how to be “looking for something else.” I’ve been that one who wasn’t what she was looking for and it’s not fun. So how could I possibly do that to someone else?
Am I cut out for this kinda thing?
Am I playin’ with fire?
Oops… is right.
Scottie Jeanette Madden
Screenwriter, Author, Cook and Lover. Author of "Getting Back To Me, from girl to boy to woman in just fifty years" & "Recklass In The Kitchen" a year of light, laughter & love... oh. and food!