So, I met this guy.
Oh, wait…can you believe that it’s December and I’ve only managed 9 DIO entries on a goal of one per month?
And one is still in draft form. Maybe I’ll mothball it. Heck, maybe I’ll finish strong! January had four bachelors – even though they were all no shows, if I recall correctly – so I’m giving myself partial credit for that effort and saying that right now, I am at 12/12 on the year. Plus, there was my Halloweentime attempts at dating that resulted in multiple ghosts and/or false starts, so I’d put my attempts on the year closer to 14…
Still, just to goose actual in person failures – er, attempts maybe I’ll go ask out both of the cute baristas here at Nossa Familia and then go shopping for a New Years Eve outfit.
Just kidding, I’m not going out on NYE! Way too crowded. Way too many amateurs.
I ran across our latest potential late one evening late last month while swiping left on all of the jokers OKStupid thought would be good matches for me.
Sidenote: Seriously, OKC, “opposites attract” is an irony. Stop sending me emails about guys that managed to score a 60% compatibility using your algorithm. Either they were too lazy to answer enough questions to generate a legitimate compatibility score or we aren’t compatible. I don’t need to be reminded by you that I’m a tough sell. As a matter of fact, I think there is a bar one must clear to activate a profile on OKC, but it’s ridiculously low, like answer five questions. If you’re trying to set yourself apart from hookup sites and apps, maybe raise that to 50 and set it up so that they have to answer at least five questions from each of your ethics, dating, lifestyle, sex and other buckets before they can activate a profile.
Anyway, furthering my quest to prove or disprove my Rib Theory that getting a guy fresh off the boat in your town is a solid plan, I swiped right on this guy. He’d actually mentioned in the first line of his bio that he’d just moved to Portland.
For all you readers that closely monitor the ages of the (almost, in a completely unshocking double entendres) men that I date, he is also 33, which puts him squarely in the Damn Near Old Enough to Not Be My Son category. I actually can’t even wrap my head around a scenario where someone my age has a child his age, but I know that it’s biologically possible.
I actually enjoy the heaps of shit people give me for dating younger guys. Linda Belcher refers to my dates as being “from the half-off rack”, another pretty legit double entendres since they are much younger than me but also fairly scratched and dented. Another pointed out that this new guy was “one whole year” older than Rib and then drily complimented me on my growth…they failed to take into account that Rib was merely 24 when I met him, though. He’s 32 now, so really I think I earn a prop or two for starting in with someone a third older than him at the starting line.
Feel free to take a minute to regroup after that epic rationalization. I have a lot more experience with my crazy than you do, friends. Trust me, though, I know my mental contortions can result in dizziness. Possibly nausea.
Anyway, I decided to check out this guy’s bio to see what a 94% compatibility actually looked like. He actually answered a lot of questions. Hundreds. After ascertaining that we clicked enough minimal boxes to invest, I messaged him.
So, when you say “new to town”…how long have you *really* been here?
To my surprise, I woke up to a new message from him. He’d been in town six days…and I was off to the races. We traded messages on OKC for the rest of the week and on Friday night, he started putting out – not that way, Diezel – messages that I should ask him out.
So I did.
Just kidding. He legit had a good reason, and a bad one.
The bad reason was just lame. Not that I cared. He’d been working on his bedroom at his new apartment and all of his going out clothes were back at his hotel. Again, not that I cared how he was dressed…this is Portland, after all. Plus, I’m probably the jeans and tee-shirt guy prototype, so really, I didn’t care how he was dressed.
But on the other hand, his pod was arriving the next day, so going out the night before moving day wasn’t the optimal situation, obviously.
But when I checked in the following Monday to see how his first day on the new job had gone, our texting led to me inviting him out to try what I call the best beer in Oregon, Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack IPA. You can only get it on tap and I know the one bar in the area that always has it on tap.
It isn’t Big Legrowlski.
It’s this dive bar that I’ve gone to off and on – more on now that it’s only about ten blocks from my place – for about 20 years. It’s called Kelly’s Olympian, and it’s pretty cool. There’s motorcycles suspended from the ceiling and neon gas station and repair shop signs hung on the walls. And they always have Pallet Jack. The one time they blew a keg while I was there, they had a back up keg to put on.
Anyway, he accepted the offer. Not only did he accept, he countered with meeting up the following day. I had been trying to veil my invitation to weeknight drinking with a drink – or two, as it happened – with the weekly cubicle dweller holiday known as Hump Day. But it’s not like I had anything else going on a Tuesday night, so game on!
Of course, Tuesday started five days of rain. The biblical type, too. Our first real inclement weather of the Fall season.
Talk about a harbinger.
But we each arrived, a little damper for the pedestrian transit. Turned out, he liked the beer…which didn’t surprise me a bit. We chatted comfortably for a couple hours and each enjoyed two Pallet Jacks.
Our conversation was alternately serious and fun, not a bad way to get acquainted. He talked about not assuming others’ intentions, but seeking to understand before reaching a conclusion. I really like this challenge. I call it a challenge because I also struggle to live that ideal. It’s hard. I’ve been a wise-cracking asshole for so long that it’s hard for me to let people prove themselves before judging their intent.
Actually, if the Myers-Briggs personality tests are to be believed, I’m a perceiver not a judger.
Following Myers-Briggs down their rabbit hole, I’m an EFNP.
Go ahead, look.
The long and short of it is that I’m a dating nightmare. Not to foreshadow, but that intuitive versus sensor bucket really works against me.
One of the other conversations we had came up when I mentioned that I’d been single following Rib for four years, roughly the same length we were together. I think he had assumed that it was a bad break up. I’d said something about still seeking a successful relationship. I clarified that Rib and I still enjoy a very nice friendship, a success in its own right. Then he said something that I found really interesting.
Why do people think of a relationship ending as a failure? If you tell someone you were in a rock band for twenty years, they’ll probably think that you were pretty successful musician. Why is it different for relationships?
Ok, that flipped a mental table. I really enjoyed that analogy.
Maybe we were talking about his parents or the Silver Fox, who were each divorced after decades of marriage. Memories get a little fuzzy midway through a second beer for me.
My only counterpoint was that maybe it’s in how it ends. Someone in a rock band for two decades is likely left with a moderate amount of wealth. If they truly were successful. People leaving a marriage after two decades are left with an intimacy vacuum.
At the very least.
Money doesn’t fill a void like that.
Still, I did enjoy the analogy.
We parted, in a drizzle. He hugged me and kissed my cheek – I’m not usually one for kissing on the first date. If we only end up friends, now I’ve kissed a friend, and that’s not a usual behavior of mine. So, the kiss on the cheek was an unexpected surprise.
He promised to send me his number on OKC so we could get together again and then said I didn’t have to walk him to his bus stop. He’d demurred on both of my offers to pick him up at his office for our date, so I was forming the opinion that he was either reserved or independent and wanting to find his own way versus being shown. I actually hadn’t intended to offer to walk him when I asked him where his stop was. I was trying to figure out if we were heading the same direction. When he told me where he was heading, I said I was heading the opposite way and said good night.
When I turned in for bed that night, I sent him a thank you message on OKC while resisting the urge to assume anything about how he didn’t use his 20 minute bus ride to send me his number. My message was really just a way to indicate that I’m not one of those dating game types that thinks waiting X days after a date is the cool way to date.
He responded pretty much immediately.
I pushed down the impulse to label his behavior and replied that I’d shoot him a text at a more reasonable hour and clicked off my nightstand lamp.
The next day we texted a lil bit.
The next day, I offered to take him out for a little bit riskier drink. The dive bar happy hour date had come in right at my $20 first date limit. Well, excluding gratuity. My second date idea was Portland City Grill in Portland’s tallest building – actually, there might be a taller structure now. Regardless, it has views like this
…from about 30 floors over Portland, which I think any newcomer would surely appreciate. That said, this ain’t no $20 date. He had said that he liked martinis, particularly, real martinis with vermouth, dirty and with onions instead of olives. A twist in the summer versus onions.
We laughed at how people who made martinis without even a trace of vermouth were just drinking vodka, but I made note of the order. I’m attentive like that, despite how I struggle with how ordering a date’s drink could be misconstrued and #metoo-ed.
Anyway, Portland City Grill’s cocktails are probably $12-15 each, so…yeah, this wasn’t a $20 date.
He suggested the following day, Friday. Yesterday. I agreed, which was followed up by him offering to wait til early next week to avoid the crowds I loathe so much. I found that kind, and attentive in its own right but committed to perseverance.
It was just one drink, after all. I wouldn’t mind two, but I was cognizant of the fact that he was both coming from work and had mentioned he was a lightweight. My intention was neither to pour him onto a bus nor end up with him at my place…so, probably just one drink.
I sent him a confirmation text at noon-ish the next day to make sure we were still on for that evening.
He responded immediately with
Can we please reschedule for Monday?
Turns out that some co-workers were going out after work and invited him along. Setting aside my grumpy old man-ness, I told him we could reschedule and to go get his networking on.
He read it immediately, but didn’t respond.
Why do people leave or turn on read receipts for their texts? Seriously, the only reasons I can think of are that they are clueless that they are on or it’s so you know they’re blowing you off.
Anyway, this is where being an intuitive type works against me: I’m prone to noticing patterns.
It was one thing to reschedule. It was another to not say “thanks for understanding” or even “sorry” when he did so.
I’d enjoyed meeting this guy. He and I were a good match according to the folks that wrote the OKStupid algorithm. He was fun to talk to, seemed to have some good life experiences under his belt and just engaging.
That said, I’d decided not to write this until today so that we’d have two dates under our belts and I’d have an idea how I felt about him. What direction I hoped this to go in. You see, algorithms aside, he’s an attractive guy…but hairy.
Generally, I’m attracted to smooth guys. I’m getting past guys that aren’t clean shaven, I live in hipster-ville, after all. But I haven’t really gotten into being attracted to guys with chest hair. And this fella is a hairy motherfucker. But, I am challenging myself to set aside that immediate spark qualifier that I’ve relied upon when meeting people. Look where it’s gotten me, after all.
Yet, here I am…Saturday. The day I intended to write this entry, if for no other reason than my December output has been meager. Only, I hadn’t successfully crossed my two date threshold.
Since it seemed like a pretty arbitrary goal – two dates – I decided to write this entry anyway. As I’m sitting at Nossa, sipping my coffee and tapping this out, I jump over to OKC to double-check a quote from our messages there.
Now, I can’t fully explain why this wrankled me so. I think it was because he’d never thanked or apologized to me for post-poning on me yesterday.
So, I just sent him a text message.
Your actions are giving me a “not interested” vibe.
I know that this is more than likely to offend someone, in the case that they aren’t interested and aren’t being clear. On the other hand, if it’s not intentional, it at least opens the door to conversation about how I ended up at that…perception.
Being a native Portlander, I take a lot of guff for our reputation for being passive-aggressive. I offset this through my actions, namely: being direct in my communication.
Of course he responds immediately.
Now he chooses to be in the moment. Surprising no one he says he had fun and would like to be my friend.
Oddly, he still didn’t apologize that I felt that way or take any accountability for how I’d gotten that hint. My least favorite language, right there: hint.
One of the patterns this intuitive person tends to recognize is that pattern where people fail to accept responsibility for their actions. I’m responsible for my feelings, and try to be equally responsible for my actions…so expecting others to acknowledge their own actions and their fallout seems pretty fair to me. I’m also not one who is going to get all butt-hurt about someone makes me feel. I gave them the power to make me feel hurt, I can easily take it away.
What he didn’t know in his offer of friendship – genuine or simply another sentence in hintonese – was that I expect more of my friends than my lovers. Relationships come and go – successful, as he frames them, or not – but people I call friend are in my life indefinitely. We may not see each other every day or every week. I’ve some friends I only see once a year, but we know each other and when I see them, it seems like yesterday.
I told him his actions yesterday didn’t seem like he’d make a good friend for me. After explaining why, I said
If you’ve got the balls to not be offended by that, then the <ahem> ball is in your proverbial court.
He texted me back, but I’m not in any hurry to read it. So far today, his texts have shown that he’s more interested in preserving the perception that he’s a good guy versus actually – y’know – being one.
If he wants to show me he’s someone else versus another typical lost boy, he’ll put some effort into it.
In the meantime, this is me…not holding my breath.