Guest Column: Dating Online Series. Finding the balance

by Ms. Jennifer

The last few days I’ve been outside my comfort zone.   My neighbor and I had a sweet talk where he told me I shouldn’t “save the pussy.”  Which is exactly what I’ve been doing.  He told me pleasantly that I’m being too picky. There is no reason why I can’t have a FWB while I continue to snoop around.  Of course, he was offering his services, but he’s only available for a QUICK fling because he’s already in a relationship and can’t disappear for too long.   

I know however, this is not what I want.  My life is always rushed.  I have to work my life around my dad’s nap. I want to  languish and get lost in someone’s touch not work around someone’s work schedule or my dad’s needs.  I want to escape.  Still he came over today (despite no food delivery because of Mardi Gras) and clearly he had some time.  Since my Mardi Gras plans fell apart I was still in my PJ bottoms and t-shirt when he came over and he slipped his hands over my round ass.  This isn’t totally new, but this time he move his fingers and found my wet pussy.  My dad wasn’t far away from this scene and the blinds were open so it was easy for me not to get TOO lost.  He lifted my shirt up and found my hard nipples.  It felt good, but I wasn’t going to let myself have a quick fuck.  It’s just not enough. 

Besides, I went on a date with someone with potential.  Well, first he’s too young for me and that’s a problem.  Suddenly, I’m meeting 45 year old men.   And this guy is hot, but I told him I felt like a pedophile….lol.   And I had ruled him out (he was pretty wasted), but today we talked on the phone and I’m back to being curious, but more on that next week!

I had “the talk” with Joey.   It went as well as could be expected.  His ardor had all but fizzled out. Suddenly we weren’t planning trips together when he was on the road, but that was to be expected.  I couldn’t feel too sorry for him, because he told me that his friend, who I had met on our first date, the next night she went home with him and they’d given each other a massage and made out and he also told me he’d a good date on Friday.  C’est la vie.  I suggested to him his drinking concerned me and he responded that his drinking also concerned him.  So at least he wasn’t in total denial.  This is why I’ve learned never to get too excited. He needs to work things out within himself.

Mostly there is one speed with online dating (sprinkled with the occasional too quick you’re better than ice cream speed):

 There’s the “You look like the type of girl who would enjoyed being pinned up against the wall and fucked” fast speed.  And then there’s the other fast speed which includes the uncountable one dates that disappear after the first date. The latter is the NORM if you restrict your options.  I assume this is not just happening to me.  I can’t even count how many times this has happened.  Even when the dates are good and hold promise they just disappear. I need to expand my options. Sometimes I reach out to them.  Typically I just let it fall away.   And ultimately it doesn’t seem to matter. People move on in the online dating world. It’s the nature of life. It’s brief. We’re all in transition.

 The dilemma at times is that I’m operating under some old rules that the man has to make the first move after our initial date (“let him pursue you,” my friend advises), but I think things have changed so much that this is no longer the case. That’s 20th century thinking.

 Regardless, if I’m interested I do reach out to them. I may get a polite response, but then nothing. No responses are not personal. At least you know where you stand rather than the guy who will reply back, but then never actually say “let’s get together again.”

 Actually, the let’s fuck now speed includes the occasional men who say they also want a relationship, like Joey, who wanted to move too fast into a relationship, before any real time has passed.  The quick intimacy still ends up meaning let’s fuck.  I asked Joey about that after I declined his come into my apartment offer, but he said he had “no expectations.”  But I’ve made that mistake before thinking we really were going in to check out the guy’s “art” so hard to believe there was no agenda.

 After this conversation, we had plans to go dancing but he decided he wanted to get something to eat. I had too much shit to burn off so we parted ways with the possibility of meeting up later on the dance floor.  Meanwhile, I texted Juan because we had planned to meet up before I met Joey, but he had to cancel so I reached out to him again and we made spontaneous plans to meet on Frenchman Street since I was already down there.  I wouldn’t jam up my life like this except when I have help watching my dad, I have to make the most of my time away.  

I got to the bar where we’ve agreed to meet, but I don’t see Juan, but that’s cool because I’m dancing, but this goes on for a while and I keep checking my phone.  Sometimes when I’m at a bar alone I pretend to check my phone (pathetic, uh?) to make it seem like I’m waiting on someone that I’m popular enough to have friends or a date, but I’m really trying to be comfortable in my own skin as a single middle aged woman (when do I actually become an old woman?).   He asks what I’m wearing, but then tells me he has to go find his wallet, but by this time I’ve given up and have started heading back to my car after waiting 45 mins. 

 He finally texts and tells me he’s now heading back to the bar and I’m having one of those moments not sure if this guy is for real or he’s bullshitting me.  Keep in mind I’ve been stood up a number of times. I call his phone he doesn’t pick up and his voice mail isn’t set up. Okay, keep walking, then he calls me back.  

 It turns out he’s not bullshitting me.  He’s walking up the block to meet me.  This reminds me how much I don’t know, how unexpected things are, how people are different and similar, how to keep at least a kernel of hope.  And we meet each other on the sidewalk and walk back to Frenchman street.  We don’t actually go dancing we end up talking and after a few hours I really like this guy.  There’s two problems.  He’s also fucking 45 and he lives in LA (although he’s moving to NOLA).  He’s feels at “home” here. He’s successful, but modest and he has the spirit of an artist and, once again, I could see myself with this guy.   

He drives me back to my car and we talk a little more and then he says he would like to see the building I’m renovating (he’s an investor and contractor) and I tell him when he’s back in town I will make him a “shitty meal” (he’s told me he can dance, cook and give a good massage and I respond that’s all I need).  Then he reaches for me and I’m not sure if this is a hug or kiss. It turns out to be a hug. I think I’m still looking for the rules, when there are none. Thinking back I would have like to make out with him, but I still think “let the man make the first move.”  Of course, I’m assuming there will be another time to make out, but, of course, who really knows.

So I wait a few days letting him finish his work here and get back to LA and reach out to him saying “Hello Handsome, how was your day?” (we had joked about this is how other women reach out to him) and I add “I hope we can stay in touch.”  Since he hasn’t bothered to reach out to me since our date three days ago, I’m pretty sure I won’t get a reply and I don’t.  Trust is a slippery slope.   

On top of that, I’m so tired of dealing with my dad.  He sleeps a lot, but when he’s awake he’s worse than a newborn.  I need the caregivers, but I want them gone at the same time.  The newest caregiver is way too young and asks me constantly for directions when I need her to know what to do and to stop the chatter. In my mind anyway, a “boyfriend” would be there someone I could talk to that wouldn’t go AWOL, but no one seems remotely interested in investing–it’s “one and done” which reminds me of my time with Doug.  

Earlier in the week I met him.  It was another impromptu meet and greet.  I was down on Frenchman dancing and sent him a message.  He had been debating whether to go see Little Freddie King and so he agreed to meet me as long as I met him at that bar where he was playing.  Before we met the conversation was flirty and he seemed like the boy had a little edge. 

I told him to text me when he arrived at the bar (I was busy dancing down the street).   When I got there he had already ordered a drink. We talked while waiting for LF King to start.  Of course, in real life neither of us were so fearless.  Once he started playing at one point I simply couldn’t sit still anymore and got up and danced.  And out of the blue an older gentleman danced with me this was all while Doug sat perfectly still.  The “date” wasn’t long and in the end Doug fell into the “unsure” category.  On his profile he said he was looking for a LTR (Long Term Relationship) so I figured it was worth pursuing. 

I reached out the next day and asked if he thought we should hang out again.  And he said, “I don’t see a reason not to!”  But he also told me “he turned off the apps and decided to take a break from dating.” 

“Why?” I inquired.

“Too many one and done!””I get the one and done.  Why do you think it happens?”  “Do you typically reach out after a first date?”

“Yes, I do.  I truly believe there are many women out there that know they can get free drinks/food by just meeting a guy without any intent to take it further.”  (keep in mind he didn’t buy me a drink and I reached out to him).

“I’m sure there is some of that, but plenty of men are just looking for sex.  This transaction level of connection is bewildering if not pathetic at times.”  He’s decided that women are tired of getting used just for sex by men so they decided they’ll use him for money/things. And he’s tired of spending all that money on “nothing.”  I suggest a “coffee date.”   But this guy is done.  I end up being relieved that he never bought me a drink.  When I mention the typical disparity between what men and woman make he doesn’t respond anymore.  That’s okay everyone has been burned online and no one wants to feel used.  I get the reluctance to invest… time and money, but if people want to connect with each other don’t you have to “put out?”  

A synonym for trust is hope.  We live in a world of mistrust. It’s all taking its toll and I’m not sure what to do.  Quit?  There is an addictive compulsion, like gambling, this feeling of next time you will get a hit so you keep trying despite the evidence.  It’s that endless hope cycle that you want and, at the same time, you need to kill. There is always new crop, but is that all you can count on? 

And then there is the occasional old crop.  About the only person who has ironically, stuck around is Jerry, my wanna be fuck buddy.  He got sick this Wednesday so I didn’t have to decide about meeting him at a hotel.  I seem incapable of making a decision.  We’re caught in a hamster wheel where I want more “face time,” and he’s so hell bent on my keeping my head on straight and he sees no point in complicating the issue by spending time together dating. There is something too rigid about it.  Beside, I’m very sensitive to my voice not being heard or is that bullshit and I simply want control?  

And somewhere in all this mess I accidentally started talking to a country boy.  He a typical conservative white man from the south.  He told me all about his family history and his Irish family being “white slaves.” The dude knew his history, but I felt like I was talking with a Bible thumper who could recite all the verses, but there was something about it that smelled wrong.  And then I realized I wanted off the phone. 

It turned out he’s a contractor so we started talking shop, but I had to be careful, despite how much I could really use his help. He had wanted to go to fine art school, but had taken over the family business at 17 after his father died.  I appreciated that about him and his farming background.   There were a lot of similarities between his background and my mother’s family, that side of the family were also farmers, but also bigots and homophobic.  

 Once I sorted out he was legit, I had him come over to show him what I was doing and he seemed more than eager.  It turns out he does concrete work and could really help me (assuming this isn’t some huge con job), but once I saw him in person I knew instantly NO to dating him. The last time I did this it was a disaster, but this guy is the exact opposite of the sexy, bad boy artist who came to work on my house.  This guy is a craftsman, a laborer and a hard-working blue collar guy’s guy.  I don’t know I tell myself I don’t discriminate, but actually I need to.  Anyway, we will see what happens, but if he thinks he can date me and work for me he would be dead wrong.

Meanwhile, I took a huge nap today so I’m not ready to quit, but it really feels like the options are to find a fuck buddy online or keep going on single dates.  

I did reach out to Johnny who has family and friends here for Mardi Gras, so maybe I will hear from him next week and another guy who wants to go out after holiday is over, but maybe this is a good thing.  

I need to get some work done around here. I’m back to focusing on myself and being okay on my own.  Online dating is both a huge distraction and disappointment and it’s also ultimately hopeful.  “Balance,” I repeat to myself.