And this is why you do not put your picture on Craigslist ads

On Election Night 2012, I had a one-off date with a guy I had met on OKCupid. In fact, he was the first guy that I had a date with from that site. We met up at the Driskill for the Democrat Election Viewing Party. It was a perfect setup for me – I was already going to be there with some friends, they serve plenty of liquor (which you definitely need on Election Night), and it was a comfortable crowd (at least for me). We’ll call this guy Grey, which will make SO much sense later on.

So Grey met up with me around 8:30 that night. He hung out until 10, met my friends, we had what I thought was a lovely time. I walked him out and he asked if he could see me that weekend. I said sure, we talked about getting together Sunday, and I went back inside to totally be the first person in the room who noticed when the electoral count changed on the television and scream, “Oh my God, we won!!!!!!!!!!!!” I literally could not speak the next day at work. And even though Election Day is on a Tuesday, and Grey and I had set Sunday as our rendezvous day, I still expected to hear something from him – like, “Man, I left too soon!” or “Hope you were happy with the election (and the date)!” But no, nothing. Never heard from him again. In fact, he became part of a trifecta of guys who I had had amazing dates with shortly after my divorce and never heard from again.

Flash forward about 15 months. I was playing on Craigslist this weekend, because, why not? I love checking out the different ads that people post. Guys, when posting under “Missed Connections” – it’s really creepy if you repeatedly post the same thing every single day, especially if it is about someone you work with or live near. To the guy here in Austin who has a not-so-secret crush on the girl who lives downstairs from him at the Rolling River apartments – I’m sure she knows, and she is trying to break her lease at this exact moment. Man up and talk to her, but you have posted the same exact Missed Connection every day for the past three weeks. It’s just sad. So anyway – I was scrolling through the “Men for Women” posts, and I came across the title “Do you want to explore your submissive side??” Now, I’m not sure that I have a submissive side, but I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey (although not the sequels), and I’ll admit, it’s pretty hot. So I open it and OMG!!! It’s Grey from Election Night. Like, no way is this someone who just looks like him, or maybe I’m misremembering him. No, this is without a shadow of a doubt the guy that I had a date with the night that President Obama was reelected. He even states that he lives on the south side of town (which Grey told me that night that he did) and he goes in to EXPLICIT detail about what a relationship exploring my submissive side would look like. Apparently he has been doing the dom/sub thing for quite a long time. And that maybe could have been hot, but I kept thinking, “I know this guy! He seemed kind of boring!! He’s seriously into this stuff???”

Granted, it’s been over a year, but when we met up, he told me that he worked in the downtown area, somewhat near my current office. If I see him in person, I don’t know that I will be able to keep from laughing out loud. I certainly won’t be able to look him in the eye.

And maybe he never called me back because he realized that I’m not exactly the “taking orders” type.

– Finch

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At least it wasn’t me

Back in January, I wrote about this really nice date I went on, with someone who totally got where I was at that moment (I think we’re always in the fitting room). This guy and I texted after our date, then a few days later I hit him up, asking if he wanted to get together for another happy hour. He was down with that, and so I asked where he would like to go. I never heard back from him. I wasn’t sure where I had gone wrong, whether asking where to meet up for a drink is too pushy or not, but I didn’t let it phase me. I had been pretty sure that this guy was not a great match for me, but might have been a good friend. I chalked it up to the game and moved on.

So, last week, Bunny and I were on our weekly walk, and she was telling me about one of her closest friends who had recently broken up with someone who she had been dating for over four years, and how hard it was for her. She said the guy’s name, and I literally laughed out loud. This guy has a VERY distinctive name, and when I paired it with his equally unique last name, Bunny stopped dead in her tracks. “How in the hell do you know _______?”

“We went on a date back in January. I know all about the trip to Rio, his job, his mom’s name, what she does for a living… I could write a book about everything he told me about himself.”

“I don’t think that he and ______ were officially broken up by then. She is going to be so pissed. And he’s not even your type!!”

“I KNOW!!!! But I was trying to date outside of my type, and he seemed very sweet.”

As we continued to discuss everything, my first thought was, of course, “that poor girl. I cannot believe that he stepped out on her when they’d been together for over four years. That is so horrid.”

My IMMEDIATE next thought was, “Oh thank God it wasn’t anything to do with me.” Because while not hearing back hadn’t phased me, it had given me a second’s doubt about myself – had he not called back because he wasn’t attracted to me? Or did he not think I was as awesome as I obviously am? No – he was a guy who was dating someone else, or had split up with that person within the past week, and was just trying to get out and have some fun. Which is all well and good, but I’m not the rebound girl – move along.

And it made me wonder about some of the other guys who I had dated and had not heard back from. What had actually been their situation? Were there some girlfriends waiting up at home, thinking their guys were out having a drink with some buddies? Had they just ended some long-term relationship that they hadn’t even begun to process? Were the trying to convince themselves that they should be out dating when they weren’t really ready?

The truth is, we don’t really know people as well as we think we do. We figure that since we can Google or Facebook someone, that we’re as close to them as their family, and in reality, any of the information can be faked, or tailored to suit whatever story that person wants to tell.

When I told this story to K, she laughed out loud when I told her what me second thought had been. “Girl, that would have been any woman’s response!!!” There is some truth in that!

– Finch

I don’t exactly remember his name

If you tell me this has never happened to you, then you are a liar. I met this guy online, as you do, and we emailed a few times. He had one of those email addresses that made it obvious that he only used it when responding to CL ads. It did not have his name, there was identifying information, and even the “nickname” part that shows up only showed “N.”

We had made plans to meet up one day, whilst I was in the middle of my dating marathon earlier this month. However, I had triple booked my plans, and I forgot that I was supposed to meet him. He later claimed that he had forgotten as well, but I wonder if that was a “Before Sunset”-esque ploy to seem as if he had not been stood-up. He emailed me a few days later and said that we should perhaps text so as to not forget our plans as easily the next time. I agreed, but suggested that I might need his name (he had never supplied it) before I gave my number. He literally sent back an email that looked like this – Name – 123-456-7897 (obviously I’m not putting what his real info was). Against my better judgment, I responded with my number.

Well, in a fit of post-New Year cleanliness, I was clearing out my emails, and I accidentally deleted the email with his name in it. So when he texted me the next day, saying simply “Hey, what’s up?” I knew it was him, but could not remember what his name was. We texted some trivialities back and forth for a couple of days, but I was always busy, and I had pretty much gotten my dating fix, so I was pretty set for a little while. I just didn’t want to expend the energy to go out with this guy.

So here’s where it gets ridiculous. One of my friends, CJ, HATES that I post on CL, and she frequently harps on me about this, as well as for her strong dislike of Tripp. We were hanging out one night, and Tripp texted me, and CJ attempted to steal my phone so as to respond to Tripp in a “not so nice” way. Well we were playing around, and I stole her phone, and we ended up actually taking each others phones home that night. The next morning, N texted me “what are you doing today?” Only CJ thought that it was Tripp, so she told him he had the wrong number and blew him off. When we met the next day to switch our phones back, she told me what she had done. Laughing, I looked at my messages and saw that Tripp’s previous text was still there.

“If you deleted his thread, why is this message still there?”

“What?? That wasn’t the number that I deleted!”

“Well that’s Tripp. So who did you delete??”

“I don’t know!!”

So now I’m in this place of having someone text me, I don’t remember his name, and I’m not particularly interested in meeting him. Why did I give him my number again??

– Finch

I just don’t feel like I’m there with you

So from the same CL listing that brought me the fleeting joy that was Catcher, I was able to snag another fish. Long after all of the responses had come in, I received another one, incredibly long, with a picture. I was feeling pretty bored, so I went ahead and read through it.

OMG. This guy was perfect. 6’4″, 250, former football player. Played for Miami in college, Kansas City Chiefs in the pros, a little NFL Europe, had amazing dreads and tattoos. He waxed philosophically about string theory, and discussed the complexities of rap in today’s world. I was hooked.

We email back and forth for two days – as in, 48 hours. We then exchange phone numbers so as to text each other (he lived about 75 miles away from me). I had told him that I was going to be packing for my trip to San Francisco, so texting would be easier for me. Now, this was a Tuesday night, and I was not leaving until Thursday morning. This will become relevant soon.

One of the first things he texts me is this little picture which says “Don’t chase people. Do you, work hard, and the people who are supposed to be in your life will find their way to you and stay there” (or something like that). It was truly exactly what I needed to hear right then.
“Thanks! Perfect message for me!”
“FYI… I fall hard.”
Um, what? I don’t know you. I understand falling in love with someone’s personality over the interwebbings, but please. We have only been speaking for two days. “Okay, well, I usually wait until I meet someone to fall for them, so…” “Oh yeah, me too!” Liar. Now I’m a bit weary, so my responses are not coming as quickly as possible. Finally he asks me to send him pictures and texts throughout the day while I am in SF so he “can feel like [he] is there too.” No. I am going on vacation to a city I have never been to and I will be with R, one of my best friends ever. I am not wasting my time texting someone I don’t even know.

The next day, I made all of my co-workers supremely jealous with details of what I was going to do, and where I was going to go whilst on my adventures. I completely forgot about football guy. Thursday morning I woke up bright and early to head to the airport. While I was waiting for my flight (I like to get there ridiculously early and hang around the terminal), I checked my emails and…

I just don’t feel like I am there with you, baby
Are you okay? I’m so worried about you! I haven’t heard anything and when I tried to call, I kept getting a weird message. Let me know you got there safe!

Oh wow. Now we’ve gone into crazy stalker mode. I don’t know why my phone would not let his calls through, but for the first time ever, it earned the moniker of “smart” phone. I deleted the email, determined to just ignore him, and went on my way.

Except that, when I landed in San Francisco, there were five text messages from him and three new emails. Well, both Verizon and Yahoo make it easy to block people, so okay, blocked! Good – I can now enjoy my vacation. Oh, what is this text from a new number? “I really miss you.” Guessing that is not from one of my friends, since none of them are creepy. And what is this email from an address I don’t recognize? Oh, it’s a picture of a teddy bear and a candle. “Already buying you gifts!” Okay, more blocking.

In the end, I only had to block three email addresses and the two phone numbers. And, thank the lord above, he never got my last name or a real picture of me (my face was pretty well blocked in the one I had posted). Is it any wonder I am crazy when these are the kind of guys out there???

– Finch

…And a little hip-hop in the bedroom

Guy number two from my initial disastrous Craigslist post was even worse than my first (“I do not think you are as tall as you think you are“). Besides the previously mentioned issues with honesty, he had the unfortunate experience of being a complete jerk.
He sends me his email – “Hey, I’m 5’11”, well employed, super awesome and funny guy. You sound really cool and I know I’m the guy for you, so you should definitely get back to me.”

So he already knows that we’re going to make it? Awesome. I love not having to put any thought or effort into silly little things like dating. Alright, I’m ready to meet my ready-made man. I don’t want to intimidate his under 6′ tallness, so, again, I wear my 3″ heels, rather than going for a more fierce, and dare I say, more awesome, 4″ or 5″ heel, so I am a measly 5’8″. Except, here’s the thing. When I slide off of the bar stool as he arrives, I am looking down at him. Like, full head tilt, chin into chest, looking down on his no-way-in-hell 5’11” self. We do the hand shake, and I guess my disappointment and weariness show in my face, because I get nothing – no smile, no “how are you?” – nothing. We go to order drinks, and here’s where he shows his ass. I order my sangria (I can pretend that it’s healthy because it has fruit) and he’s looking at the menu. I ask if he knows what he wants. He stomps his (tiny) feet up to the counter, snarks, “I guess I do,” and orders a Fat Tire. The barista gives us our total, and I reach into my purse, fully capable of paying for myself. He says, “Uh no, obviously I’ve got it,” said with what might be described as a grimace, or maybe a scowl. Okay, thanks. We get our drinks and go sit outside.

Now, yes, I wanted to leave right then and there, but he had just paid for my sangria, so I felt that I could at least finish that before I walked off. We sit down and talking with him was like pulling teeth. “So, where do you work?” “At my job.” “Okay. Do you like your job?” “Yeah.” So I think, maybe I should try talking about me. I start in on something trivial, and he literally starts dancing in his chair. Nice. “You obviously like music. What kind of music do you listen to?” “Oh, really anything. Rock, jazz… And a little hip-hop in the bedroom.” That last was said with a lifted eyebrow, a knowing smirk, and I completely lose my cool.

“Do me a favor, will you? Don’t ever look at me and say the word “bedroom” again, okay? Because you will never see me in a bedroom, or any kind, ever. In fact, if I saw you in Bed, Bath and Beyond, I would leave, just so I would not have to look at you with beds anywhere around us.” I finished my drink, stood up, and promptly walked away.

And here is the moral of this story – don’t assume that your date likes listening to music in the bedroom. Maybe they just want peace and quiet!

– Finch

I do not think you are as tall as you think you are

Last May, shortly before my divorce was final, but well after my ex and I had separated, I felt (naively) that I was ready to test the dating waters. Back before my marriage, Craigslist was a perfectly acceptable place to meet guys, have a few drinks, a few laughs, and then have some much needed physical release. Not all (not even many) of my encounters were casual; they went on to something slightly more than sleeping with each other and slightly less than relationship. But they were great for what I needed, because they all followed that fundamental law – what you say about yourself on the internet can be proven true or false when you meet in person.

I post onto CL, under Women for Men. “Hey, I’m looking for someone cool and laid back, someone who likes movies, wants to grab some breakfast tacos and then chill at Zilker Park, and then can partake in awesome make-out sessions.” I included my picture, because, again, honesty is the best policy. I also stipulated that I wanted someone between the ages of 25-32, 6′ tall (I like height!), and employed (I have my reasons). Many, many responses came in, many who did not fit the three basic requirements, but some which were keepers. I picked two (the other one is recounted in “…And a little hip-hop in the bedroom“). We make plans to meet – one on Friday, one on Saturday, both at Austin Java.

This one had said that he was 6′ tall, 28, had a great job, lived on his own, and was totally ready to meet someone. Okay, I’m set – let’s do this. Now, a quick note – I am about 5’5″, and I have a love of heels. I wore 3″ shoes on this date, which would make me 5’8”, or four inches shorter than this guy in his bare feet. So can anyone tell me why when he showed up, I was looking him  straight in the eyes? I’m going to notice  a difference of four inches, dude! (That’s what she said!! Come one, it was too easy!)

Okay, height isn’t everything. I can go with it. So we sit down, and start talking. That whole being employed thing? Nope, he got fired the month before. And his living alone? That’s only because he can’t find any roommates, and he’s about to be evicted for not paying rent. His readiness to meet someone? He spent an hour talking about his ex-girlfriend. I didn’t dare ask if he had also lied about his age, but since everything else was flexible in his mind, I wouldn’t have doubted it. Yes, I stayed far longer than I should have. It was my first date after four years of marriage – I was a little out of my element.

But can I just say, since we are very much living in an online dating world, just be honest! If you are really 300 pounds, but you claim 150, I’m going to be able to tell the difference. If you send me a picture where you look 26, and then you show up, and it is obvious that that picture was taken around the time of my junior prom, we’re going to have issues. You want to fudge about a few things here and there to get your foot in the door, I get it! But if everything you have said in your initial email was a pack of lies, guess what? No nookie for you!

– Finch