I’ve Got Green and I’ve Got Blue 

I’m back from a trip to Dublin, Ireland.  This is where Tiger Man and I decided to meet to spend some time together and get to know one another.

When I left Norway, I was convinced I wouldn’t hear from him again.  But, to my surprise, I got a text after I landed on American soil.  We texted daily ever since.

Until now.

It’s so easy to be flirtatious and gooey with texts, photos, and even heart emojis (am I really 52?). I told myself, over and over, this isn’t REAL.  But, did I listen to myself?  Nope. Nada.  Not a chance.  I forged ahead with this romantic notion that we were inexplicably drawn to one another, and the fact that we lived a gazillion miles away only further cemented my belief in the romance of it all.  Should I have been less gullible? Probably, but I went with the “life is short” credo, and hopped on a plane to Dublin, full of optimism.

When I spotted him at the airport, we greeted each other warmly, and decided to grab a quick bite, since we had some time to kill before heading over to our Airbnb.  And this is when it happened, and IT remained my captor from the moment I was struck.

Anxiety.

I had imagined so many scenarios prior to that moment, that by the time the moment finally arrived, I become frozen with fear and anxiety.  I wanted everything to go so well, that the real me got lost behind a wall of uncertainty and utter blankness.  I couldn’t even decide which groceries to buy when we were stocking up for the apartment.  Where did I go?  Why couldn’t I just let go and be the weird, witty and warm person that I believe I am?

I chose to hide my weakness instead of coming clean.  I couldn’t bring myself to burden him with my demons on this grand plan for a third date. He was wonderful, and I believe the poor guy worked his ass off trying to maintain the conversation, make plans, make decisions, and entertain me, all while I gamely went along, teased him here and there, and tried to overcompensate with physical affection.

In the end, we spent four days learning a little more about each other, seeing a smidgen of Ireland, and making memories that I’ll never forget. When it was time to go, we kissed goodbye, I stepped on the escalator, and then turned around briefly to catch a glimpse of him one last time.

The adventure is over, I’m back home, and the communication seems to have moved from steamy and sultry to positive and oh so polite.  Today was the first day I didn’t hear from him at all.

I can’t say I blame him.

This song is dedicated to Tiger Man.  I don’t know what the future holds, for either of us, but I thank him for being a good sport, for my morning coffee accompanied by a single biscuit, and for the excellent DJ skills.

Two Chocolate Biscuits and One Tiger 

After I met Tiger Man, we started to text every night. Some of the texts were innocent.  Some were not.  Since I was in Norway for only two weeks, I let my guard down a little more than usual and decided to throw caution to the wind (which isn’t always easy for us Nordic types).

After staying with my mom for a week, I decided to drive to Sweden to visit my “ancient aunt” (her words).  With the plans all set, I ever so casually mentioned to Tiger Man that I would just happen to be passing Oslo on my way to Sweden.  He responded by inviting me to his place to stop and have a meal on the way.

My answer…yes.

After several hours of driving, I finally arrived thanks to Google Maps’ decision to send me through a maze of narrow Oslo neighborhood streets. He met a tired and frustrated me at the door with a hug, and quickly gave me a tour of his place.  We settled on his couch and I slowly began to relax.  Somehow that quickly morphed into kissing, and it quickly became clear that we shared a pretty strong mutual attraction (I’ll leave it at that).

After a little while, we decided we were famished, so he migrated to the kitchen to warm up some bread for the chili he had made. While we enjoyed the food, he played me a variety of music, ranging from Cat Stevens to AC/DC, to some unrecognizable Norwegian metal bands.  I asked him if there was one band he wishes he would’ve seen, and he answered ”NirvaaaaaaaNAH” in that stilted, sing-songy Norwegian way.

After dinner, he offered to make me coffee because he said he needed to make sure all my needs were met (swooning begins now). He also asked if I wanted a “chocolate biscuit,” and I said yes, thanks.  He proceeded to put two oreos in a nice little bowl to set on the table with the coffee.  Of everything that happened that night, I think the two oreos (one for each of us), melted my heart the most. It was getting late and I needed to get on the road, so he drove me to where my car was, and kissed me goodbye.

We continued to text, but time and circumstances got in the way of us seeing each other again.  He was out-of-town for work on the day of my flight home, but I wasn’t sure exactly when he’d return.  So I decided to take a risk and make a (sort of) grand gesture.

I texted him to let him know that I wanted to see him and say goodbye, and that I’d be at the tiger statue where we met, for one hour.  I didn’t receive a response, but I went anyway.

So I ordered a cappuccino at an outdoor cafe, and staked out the tiger.  The hour passed with no sighting of him. I grabbed by bags, and began my journey home.

This week’s song is from one of Tiger Man’s favorite bands.  I hope we meet again.

Isn’t it Good?

A fabulous friend of my roommate, and a new friend of mine, suggested that I should date while I’m in Norway.   He sounded so enthusiastic and hopeful about the idea that I thought, why not?  I know Stretchy Pants Guy uses Tinder to meet people as he roams the earth.  Why can’t I?

As it turns out, due to a delayed flight and a lack of planning on my part, I found myself stuck at the Oslo Central Train Station the day of my arrival. With 7 hours to kill, I parked myself at Starbucks (where else?) and began to pass the time by searching through the stockpile of available Norwegian men.  I edited my profile to alert my potential date(s) that I was in Norway for two weeks visiting family, and that I was up for coffee, dinner or “adventure.”  I think it was the latter that inspired interpretation.

Apparently, there are LOTS of Norwegian men who are interested in meeting an American woman with an expiration date. I’m guessing they assumed that meant no strings attached sex for two weeks without having to deal with the hassle of breaking it off – woohooo! (um, no). 

As I busily responded to multiple texts from multiple men, one guy started to pull ahead of the pack. He suggested we meet at the giant tiger statue in front of the station, and I agreed.  As I approached the statue, I caught sight of Tiger Man ducking for cover as it started to rain.  We said our hellos, then headed for the station hall that housed some shops and restaurants.  He directed me to sit while he grabbed drinks, and I dutifully took my seat.

Tiger Man was easy to talk to, and I was grateful for the company.   After the unavoidable discussion on the disbelief over the state of the US, he revealed he was an engineer who recently left the petroleum industry, has three grown children, and has been single for quite some time.  When we discovered a mutual love of books and offbeat movies (he’s a huge David Lynch fan), I started to become genuinely interested in Tiger Man.  After some candid sharing about why we felt we hadn’t met the right person, I looked at the time and realized I needed to get going.  He needed to close out the check, and I needed to grab my luggage out of the lockers, so we said a hurried goodbye.  He rose to give me a hug, and gently kissed me.

I rushed to get my stuff and boarded the train, and began to imagine how cool it would have been to have had a dramatic kiss goodbye on the platform outside the train.  It’s then that I received a text saying he tried to catch me at the train, but he missed me.  I told him we didn’t get a chance to kiss long enough.  He said he was thinking exactly the same thing.

This song is dedicated to my new fabulous friend, who gave me a very “good” idea indeed.

 

Playing for Keeps

The dating sites I use make finding “matches” deceptively simple. Swipe right if I like a photo; swipe left if I don’t.  If the guy swipes right on me, “Boom!” (one of them actually says “boom”), then there is a match.  We may or may not start communicating. If not, then, well, you just keep swiping.

Last night, at dinner with a few of my high school BFFs, I offered up my phone so they could participate in some vicarious swiping.  They did what I do, which is carefully evaluate each one, then make a firm decision before moving on to the next photo.  This went on for a minute or two.  But, then, the daughter of one my friends and our waitress, wanted in on the action.

Her method was far different from ours.  She leaned over the table, and swiped rapid-fire through the photos, swiping left on nearly every single one.  While I calmly witnessed the hijacking of my love life, my friends were visibly (and audibly) upset.  “What are you DO-ing?”  “Stop. stop. stop.”  “What’s she DOING?”  “NO NO NO NO!”

Two entirely different perspectives.  My friends were looking at these men as Potential.  Our young conspirator knew what I know; there will always be more photos.  This struck me with a mixture of both hope and sadness. Hope, because, there’s always that “maybe…”. Sadness, I think, for the same reason.  The maybes, more often than not, remain only maybes.  And I’m playing for keeps.

Which leads me to my list of maybes.

  1. The Belgian texted me and asked if… a) I’ve found my Prince Charming and b) if I remembered him.  I only answered the second question.  He asked me to join him for a drink, “no pressure,” and I said yes.  He ended up canceling. Several days later, he asked if I was busy the next weekend.  I didn’t answer this time.
  2. After telling Patch Guy I couldn’t see him again, we reconnected over our shared anticipation (ok, yes, obsession) for the new Jason Isbell album.  He invited me to join him and his friends tailgating outside a Jimmy Buffet concert.  I went for a bit, and had fun.  But being friends with men is tricky business.
  3. Success Guy is traveling for the summer, and sends me texts and photos here and there.  A possible maybe.
  4. RV Guy is off in the “sticks in Georgia,” and is doing some serious wandering. I think that’s all he is really serious about.
  5. The new guy, Sports Dad.  Unlike most of the men I meet, Sports Dad is cautious. In person, he’s a low talker (yup, a Seinfeld reference).  In his texting, he’s more animated and clearly interested.  But, he does little to move that interest into reality.  He’s smart and finds me funny (both essential ingredients), so I’m doing my best to squash my impatience and see where it goes.  Another maybe.

This week’s songs are dedicated to Betsy, my partner in crime, mainly misdemeanors.  I was lucky enough to have her join me in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry to see Jason, Amanda and John Prine.  They, for sure, were playing for keeps.

To Text or Not to Text.  That is the Question.

I hate waiting.  This is why I have a love/hate relationship with texting.  With friends, the rules with texting are simple:

  1. I send a text.  I get one back.
  2. I receive a text.  I text back.

Early in my dating career (yes, I think I’ve put enough time in), I breezily texted guys with reckless abandon.  A text would appear, and I would answer it.  “Whoa!  You answered right away?”  My guy friends told me that made me look desperate.

Really?

Now, I have learned to strategically wait, because we all know I’m out running marathons or better yet, doing yoga (men love chicks who do yoga), saving whales and other equally amazing activities.  Clearly, I don’t have time to text while I’m straddling a Humpback Whale.

So, when I lay on my bed and watch Netflix at night, what do I do then?

I try to answer a text within what I guess is an acceptable time frame.  NOTE:  there is A LOT of guessing going on in this process.  Unlike in Friend-land, response times in the dating world often vary considerably, from immediate (suspicious), to 5-15 minutes (good and evidently normal), to hours, days, even weeks.

This is always a topic for post-game analysis with my roommate/little sister/dating coach/comedian/friend/confidante.  We try to decode not only the time it takes to respond, but the response itself.   Is he into the chase?  Am I coming on too strong?  Is he busy, uninterested, or just a bad texter?   It’s all so confusing. And at 52, I wonder, aren’t we old enough to not have to do this anymore?

Which leads me to one of my best friends, who I’ll call PB (a nod to the Peanut Butter t-shirt she was wearing when we met in seventh grade). PB got on match.com for a short stint, but decided she’s not into dating right now. Since she had some time left on her subscription, she is going to conduct an experiment:  message guys with whatever crosses her mind, no matter how crazy or outrageous it would make her appear.

This inspires me.  I decide to send a text to let One Guy know that I was disappointed that our communication recently fell off.  He called me back and we talked it out.  Like grownups.

Thanks PB.

Good Night and Good Luck

A friend noted that I hadn’t written in a while, and that she always knows when I like someone because I stop writing.  Damn, she was right.  So tonight, I’m determined to be brave, and to admit, yes, I was beginning to like Someone, and well, here’s how that turned out…

The last few months have been a string of highs and lows.  After the Canadian, I took myself off the dating sites and found myself spending time (fill in the blank here) with a few old friends.  When we were together, it was fun and sexy and cool.  When we weren’t, my phone taunted me with its silence.  Both Blank Guy 1 and Blank Guy 2 clearly saw me as more of an “option” than a priority. Man, is my ego getting a workout. I wish I could report that I ended both in a blaze of crazy badass bitchy glory, but, the truth is, both simply faded to black.  Just like my lifeless phone.

I decided to abandon ship altogether, and quit the dating scene.  Three days later, I abandon my resolve and I’m back online analyzing the significance of the endless variety of profile pictures.  There are pictures of men posing with tigers (is this a thing?), a poorly executed photoshop experiment where a guy pasted his super tiny head on an enormous bikini-clad body builder, and one of my favorites, a guy posing in his fatigues, surrounded by a dozen topless babes dressed like Santa’s elves.  Amidst all this craziness, I did manage to go on a few dates.

First, there’s Success Guy.  An accomplished businessman, he also paints, writes and is driven by the need to mentor and inspire others to live a good life.  I kind of feel like a potential project when I’m with him.  Next, there is RV Guy.  He’s 5 years younger, selling his house, and is about to jump into his brand new Airstream and cruise wherever the road takes him. When he gave me a tour, I quipped that I should go straight to the dealer and buy my own Airstream van.  “Or you can just come with me.”  Hmmmmm.

Finally, there’s the Someone.  I liked him right away.  He was easy to talk to, cussed as much as I did, and when we went to say our goodbyes at our first meeting, I pointed out that I was slightly taller.  His response: “Who gives a fuck.”   The next day, he asked me to join him for a stroll around Dunedin and to watch the sunset, and I happily said yes.  When I left him last night, I was swooning.

Today, I received a good luck with everything text.  Ouch.

This time, I’m choosing to believe that there must be a Silver Lining.

 

Loose the Weight

“Straight truth time – loose the weight.”

This was the last text I got from the Canadian.  I’m guessing his unsolicited advice was to lose weight.  I blocked his number.

After he returned to Canada, our conversation veered into the scintillating topic of Real Estate Investing.  While not as sexy as well, sex, I was interested in discovering his methods as an investor. He recommended a book to read, and later he texted to see how far I had gotten through the book.  I told him I was taking the author’s advice and thinking about what my specific goals were – that I was looking to generate enough income to travel.   I went on to admit that I had imagined traveling with a partner, but that was looking less and less likely.

That’s when he felt the need to comment on my weight.  Stunned, angry, hurt, and incredulous.  I took the high road and told him that was uncool, and that he may be turned off by my “weight,” but I felt pretty good about the way I looked for my age.  (Actually, I told him I felt sexy and beautiful – I felt the need to make a powerful statement).  Deep down, all I could think of was “motherfucker.”

So, what did I do?  I shared the screenshot with some of my girlfriends.  If there is one subject that men should NEVER ever say to a woman, it’s this one.  I mean, this is March on Washington shit.  Here are just a few of the reactions:

  1. Is he fucking serious?
  2. He is a douche
  3. Super dick
  4. Rude as fuck
  5. 3 Water gun emojis
  6. Shithead emoji
  7. Asshole!

I’m 52 and a size 10 on good days; a 12 on not so good days.  I try to take care of myself, but, yes, I fall short.  There were many, many years that my body served as the prime target for my self-hatred; I’ve learned to not only accept, but embrace my imperfections as uniquely mine.  It’s taken me a lifetime to become comfortable in my own skin.  Now, with one text, I’m resisting the temptation to distrust any other man who wants to be with me.

I’ll let Christine Kane do the rest of the talking for me.  This song is dedicated to every woman who has been shamed into feeling less than because they don’t live up to someone else’s idea of who they should be.   They can kiss my lovely dimpled ass.