I knew the Planets were in the right astrological position. Venus was tripping over Mars, and all the stars were shining down on me. I was feeling lucky, so I turned on the computer and logged onto the dating website.
“Yippeee, there’s e-mail!” Yes, indeed, it was my lucky day. The letter said, “We live in the same town and are practically neighbors.” Just a few miles separated us. I liked that because it wasn’t too close, but far enough away that I wouldn’t run into him at the store. The other two e-mails in my box I deleted. The long distance notes didn’t make sense to me anymore. After all, why would someone write to me when they lived thousands of miles away? I’d already been down that road and wasn’t about to go down it again. Geographically undesirable ceased to exist. Nope, ARIZONAorBUST had taught me a valuable lesson–one I wasn’t going to repeat!
I opened the letter before me. It read:
Hello. I wanted to send you a note because
you had a very nice profile. I’m not looking
for a pen pal; my time is very valuable.
So far, I haven’t been lucky with this website.
His letter was straightforward and to the point. He was looking for a relationship. He was a little pushy and I was tired of meaningless communications with people who were looking for a collection of pen pals. I sent him back a funny note, hoping he would enjoy my humor. I requested a picture, because his profile didn’t have one. Being fairly new at this, viewing a photo gave me a slight edge, providing it was a recent snapshot.
He wrote back:
No need to worry. A picture is not necessary.
People tell me I’m handsome. I have women
asking me out all the time. Trust me.
Could I trust someone I didn’t know? He was an accountant and well known in my community. I looked in the local Yellow Pages and found his advertisement, minus a photo, of course! If I needed references, he had a whole list of local clients. I was sure that if many women asked him out he must be decent looking. Who was I to question? I wrote back:
Okay, send me your phone number.
I had learned earlier not to give my phone number out. I always called from my private line just in case the date didn’t work out. No telling what a jilted computer dater might do. There was no need to have my number etched on a bathroom door in some sleazy bar or plastered on a sexual website.
The next day a correspondence was waiting in my incoming e-mail with his number attached. There was no humor, no comeback, or “have a great day;” just his damn phone number. I began to worry, as I asked myself, “Am I doing the right thing in pursuing this ‘no-nonsense’ man?”
That night I dialed the number and waited. His answering machine clicked on. Halfway through my short message, he picked up the phone.
With humor infused in my voice, I said, “Screening your calls, I see.”
“Yes, my ex-wife is harassing me,” he spewed with anger.
Most of the time irritating exes have a reason. This was not a good sign in my book. I passed on the comment and was met with silence. After a few moments of relative uneasiness, I initiated a conversation. He was a man of few words and I pulled each word from his mouth with great effort.
“Would Saturday night dinner work for you?” he asked, after yet another uncomfortable pregnant pause.
“Yes, that would be fine. Am I to dress casually?”
“Yes.” Without as much as a goodbye, he hung up. I didn’t hear from him for three days before he left me a message as to time.
When Saturday evening arrived, I was questioning my judgment along with my sanity.
I finished preparing early, sat down on the couch, and turned on the television. A Lucky Charms commercial appeared with that funny leprechaun dancing across my screen. He was wearing green pants, big black shoes, a short plaid jacket, a tall hat with a big gold buckle, and he was talking with an Irish brogue that made me laugh. I was mesmerized as he pranced around, clicking his heels in happiness, waiting for his rainbow to magically appear. My attention was broken when I heard the doorbell. With a smile on my face, I held my breath as I grasped the doorknob. With great expectations, I swung it open.
Exhaling with the force of a hurricane, I started to choke. Trying to regain my composure, I gripped the doorjamb and held on for dear life.
“Are you okay?” he asked, drawing his brows together and looking confused.
Trying to catch my breath, I managed to say, “I swallowed wrong. I’ll be fine in a second.” I knew I wouldn’t be okay until I safely arrived home later that evening.
“Are you ready?” he brusquely asked.
“As ready as I’ll ever be!” I plastered a frozen smile across my face and took that dreaded first step forward.
Standing in front of me was the same damn leprechaun I had seen dancing across the television screen minutes earlier! My eyes slowly panned from the top of his bright curly red hair to his neatly trimmed beard, and down to the big black shoes that encased his large feet. In between was a wrinkled, obnoxious, turquoise short-sleeved shirt, a Hawaiian-print tie, and the ugliest pair of Kelly green, short polyester pants I’d ever seen. All he needed to complete the picture was the top hat and a big gold buckle! I was damn sure that a rainbow and pot of gold were not far behind.
“Great, let’s go,” he said as he turned away, leading me to his car.
I followed, hoping the restaurant he chose would be far away and that it had at least one dark booth. I didn’t want to die of embarrassment having my friends (or even my enemies) see me with this man. Had a circus clown showed up at my door, I would have been more comfortable. At least he would have had an excuse for the blinding colors he wore.
“I rented this car to impress you,” he guffawed, yanking the car door wide open.
I scanned the unwashed car and said, “If you really wanted to make an impression, you should have tried a Jaguar or a Lamborghini Diablo; not a dented, four-year-old Cadillac with a broken tail light.”
He said nothing, but I saw the tips of his ears turn a bright shade of red, nearly matching his hair color. That awful silence between us was back. The car was not a rental, nor did it ‘impress’ me. The back seat was filled with boxes, papers, and miscellaneous junk food containers. I would bet a quarter his office looked the same. I sat and waited patiently as he sauntered around the car and got in. He must have been holding his breath, as his face had taken on a light shade of purple while his shaking fingers tried to insert the key into the ignition.
“Where are we going for dinner?” I asked, clenching my fingers together.
He handed me a two-for-one coupon book and said, “I thought you could pick out a place.” I looked down in utter shock as I began to fan the pages.
“How about we take a ride over the canyon to the beach? It’s a beautiful evening and we can find somewhere over there,” I said; knowing the further from town, the more relieved I’d be.
“Well, I wanted to stay in town. I don’t know if I have enough gas to make the trip over the hill. Gas is so expensive these days and this car seems to suck up an enormous share of it.”
I leaned over to look at his gas gauge. “It’s only nine miles. C’mon let’s go for it,” I whined. “Besides, you must be a very busy man because most of the good coupons are gone.”
The last sentence shot him into action, his car jerked forward, and off we drove. Conversation was very stilted.
“So, how do you like accounting?” I asked after a few miles of listening to droning classical music.
“It’s hard work and long hours.”
“Yes, so is writing,” I added.
“How hard can writing be?”
“A lot easier than talking with you,” I thought.
We finally made it over the hill. The sun was setting over the ocean and the sea gulls were dancing like ballerinas in the sky. I pointed to a classy looking restaurant and suggested we have dinner there.
He shook his head, “Looks too expensive.”
“How about Jack-in-the-Box?” I suggested sarcastically, pointing my finger across the street to the fast food restaurant.
“I was thinking more like a coffee shop.”
“To find a coffee shop, we’ll have to head back over the hill.” A big smile graced my face.
“That sounds much better. I’m sure these restaurants are too pricey for my dating budget.”
Back over the canyon we went; this time the silence was calming.
“Are you okay?” I questioned after what seemed like eternity.
“Why do you ask?”
“Your face is turning blue and your death grip on the steering wheel has turned your knuckles white. You’re scaring me.”
“I’m hungry!” he uttered in a shrill, high-pitched voice.
“Me too. I’ll bet I could find something good to eat at home.”
“Like what? I don’t eat fish and only certain vegetables. My diet doesn’t allow salt and I have allergies to flour.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t inviting you. I thought you would drop me off, and then you could find a coupon in your book and buy two dinners. Just think, you could have leftovers for tomorrow night. Two for one, get it!”
“I got it.”
I learned a very valuable lesson that evening: “There’s not always a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, nor is my MRRight!”