Thursday, July 21, 2011

Disappointment, Longing & Age

This is for all the folks out there who have had a disappointing date night experience. It is written in “journal writing” prose – literary sticklers be warned! For acquired tastes only.

I have a date tonight. I met him on a dating site and after a brief correspondence, he seems really into me. He’s digging my ideas & saying I intrigue him. I like his questions. He wants to know what my thoughts are about kissing, and I have a lot to say about it. He is in town from America and wants to treat me to dinner. I am excited. Men don't take you to dinner much anymore on the first date. They usually just want to do coffee & get a look at you. Does anyone date anymore? This feels more like a date. I want to look nice.

We meet. He has massive sunglasses on and my heart sinks because he doesn't take them off to greet me so I do not have the pleasure of seeing his first reaction to the site of me. I love it when a man looks at me and I see desire in his eyes. But he has sunglasses on so I can't tell.

I suggest we go for a drink first. It is too early for dinner. He tells me it doesn't make sense to go for a drink one place and then food in another, we should do it in the same place. I am not sure why it has to be that way; in my mind we are just here to enjoy each other's company. I tell him I don't need a drink so I'm okay either way. He thinks about it some more & then decides to go for the drink. Then he complains about the drink he says he doesn’t really want. I ask for water.

He orders a strawberry daiquiri grudgingly. Or so it seems. I salivate at the sight of it. I tell him how good it looks, hoping to relieve him of some of the burden of drinking it. He sits there like a bump on a log and stares into the distance. I'm thinking he’s not into this at all. In fact most of the night he appears terribly bored. Some times he just sits there and doesn't say anything. The beautiful smile on his dating site profile has taken a leave of absence. I think he is simply tolerating my presence. I watch him drink his daiquiri and fight off some of my own boredom, while my inner optimist gives me a pep talk. Maybe he's shy, I tell myself, but just in case, I will offer him a way out before we go to dinner.

After some more conversation I tell him I am hungry. I want to see his reaction but also, I am hungry. He tells me he is not. I feel awkward and dumpy. He said he wanted to treat me to dinner so I didn’t eat all day. I wanted to save myself for the big event. So much for that plan. I tell him we can skip dinner, hoping to bail. I don’t like to eat alone on someone else’s bill. He tells me it is okay and he promised but it doesn’t seem right. I ask if he will get hungry soon and he says he doubts it. I sit there trying to think of a way out so I can go home and eat.

We start to talk about travel. It turns out he flies to Toronto from the States every two months to see family here and to Africa twice a year to see his father. I ask him what he does with his father when they visit. “Nothing,” he says, dismissing the question.

At one point he comments that he “has no money”. I remember wondering why he brought up money because I don't think I did. My first reaction, a little confusing to me, is to chuckle. I am not sure why I chuckle but I do. Maybe because it seems ridiculous to me that someone who can afford to fly to Africa twice a year and to Canada from the States 6 times a year still sees themselves as someone with “no money”. He asks what I am laughing about. I try to explain myself, regretting my gaffe, blathering on about how different people have different perceptions about what having “no money” means. Picking up steam, I tell him that if he had “no money” the way I define having “no money”, I wouldn't be comfortable with him paying for dinner. He then launches into a very long rant about the economy. I think his point had something to do with people making lots of money still having no money. Or something like that. I get what he is saying but I want to talk about something else. I want us to have fun tonight. I wanted to flirt and be flirted with.

The waitress brings his bill over. He shows it to me and tells me how expensive drinks are and how it is worse in New York. Then he starts talking about the high cost of living. I am tired of listening to all this because we are supposed to be on a first date and exploring each other. I am wearing my best dress that shows off my hour glass figure and full booty. It has slits up the side so that when I walk the wind caresses the fabric and exposes my tanned legs, which look pretty damned good on a 49 year old woman. I am happy with how my face looks today. I think I look pretty. He doesn't seem to notice and if he does, he isn't showing me. He just looks bored.

I tell him I need to eat soon. I am watching him drink these nice drinks and smelling all this fantastic food and I am getting really hungry. I am hoping he will just say something to make it easy for me to leave so I can go home and eat. I don't want to eat alone in front of him. He says he will look at the menu to see if there is an appetizer or something that will make him hungry. He is not enthusiastic. I want to go home. I decide to stick it out because he came a long way to meet me.

We walk to the restaurant and he starts complaining about the Obama administration. My heart feels heavy. I tell him I am a huge Obama supporter, even though he is not perfect I still support the man. I don't want to have this debate. Usually I like a good debate but he just seems to see the down side of everything. He carries on about empty promises and I say that change takes time and Obama is cleaning up the mess left by Bush. He says, “I know, but I still think it's not happening fast enough.” I clam up and try to think of something else to talk about.

We enter the restaurant. I remind him we don't have to stay if he doesn't see something on the menu he likes. He says we are staying. I recommend a few appetizers and say the food is really good. He orders a full chicken dinner. When the food comes he spends most of his time eating with his head down. He looks miserable and depressed. Afterwards he complains he feels bloated. He says he ate too much but he had to eat it because that is how he was raised. I don't bother asking him why he didn't just order an appetizer.

When we are saying goodnight on the street corner I hug him with a big smile to thank him for dinner. Even though I am feeling sad about how it went he was still a gentleman in his own way and I want him to know I appreciate it. He smiles back, and asks me if I want to meet again tomorrow. I am shocked. I am shocked he is interested at all. I don't know how to reply. I tell him I will call him later to talk about it.

I go home and think about what to do. It comes to me that maybe he just sees a date as an opportunity to behave the way you would in a relationship. Maybe he just felt comfortable with me or was just letting it all hang out by talking about the things that bothered him. I'll never really know. All I know is there was no chemistry between us. In the end I tell him I didn't see it working out for that reason. I guess I am a hopeless romantic.

I want passion in my life. I want to be wooed. I am old fashioned that way. And I need to feel that someone wants to be with me, otherwise, what's the point? I don't want to be with someone just so we can both avoid being alone. I want butterflies. I want fire. I want to get caught up in the moment and laugh away my troubles or lose track of time and forget for a while. Or maybe remember. Wherever the moment takes us. I think communication happens on more than one level and at its best is sort of a rhythmic dance. Most of it is nonverbal and if you're not paying attention you can miss stuff. I want to surf that wave. I want to be brave enough to put myself out there. I am a slave to my senses. The pursuit of sensual pleasure is my holy grail, and I am prepared to embrace its dark undercurrents.

I grew into these longings with age. I treasure the richness of a desire that my youth was sorely lacking in. I would rather ache for something that matters than betray it to indifference.

As I enter my second coming-of-age, I am slowly becoming more flexible, more adaptable; better able to grow from life’s disappointments. I am learning to live from my heart, even when it hurts. I’m getting there. I’m still only 49.


Ryoma Collia-Suzuki said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I haven't been online much for ages and so glad that I spotted your blog link on Twitter.

I was ranting every other sentence to Gina to say how badly this man was behaving. So sorry for your experience. We believe in that chemistry you talk about, that fire, the passion.

We look forward to the blog you write when you meet that person who hangs on your every word on your first date and you talk and laugh until the the dawn comes around again.

Jesse Mendes said...

Oh Ryoma, how so very kind of you to post such a supportive comment. You just made my day. That experience made me so sad and I have been feeling so down about love (have been very unlucky in that department most of my life) and then to receive this -- it is so heartwarming and encouraging. Thank you for telling me you believe in passion, and for talking as if the date I dream of has every possibility of happening.

And by the way, I haven't been in touch much, either. Mostly overwhelmed. So glad to be reminded of your blog, as well, which is so beautiful. I encourage folks to check it out:


Anonymous said...

I sincerely believe in Love and how people connect and are meant to connect. My belief in it is unshakeable.

I thank you for being so candid on your journey, it's so wonderful to share your heartfelt and sincere thoughts.

Thank you for mentioning my blog as well! I really appreciate it.

Sharon ODay said...

Jesse, I once thought I'd write a book entitled "I Think I Should Be Dating, But I Can't Remember Why." I was in my 40s, thinking back to the almost religious regularity of Saturday night dates. Then I remembered a phrase we used in Brazil, where I grew up: "Melhor so que mau acompanhada" (Better to be alone than poorly accompanied). And decided that the serendipity of feeling sparks fly when in a man's company--wherever--was better than another miserable dinner in a forced "date-like" situation. And those sparks happen in the damnedest places. Even at 63.

Jesse Mendes said...

Sharon what a lovely response to my post. Thank you, your eloquence touches me, as does your insight. I especially like your mention of "sparks happening in the damnedest places, even at 63."

It is true, that the older I get the more open I am to a life unchartered; to the unfolding of events that transpire the way I might least expect. I would think that sparks happen in the damnedest places *especially* at 63 (or in our second adulthood, so to speak). I'm looking forward to growing into that, and freeing myself with preoccupations that drain my creative energy.

Thank you for your support, Sharon, and for reaching out to encourage me to post again. I am grateful to you.


DazyDayWriter said...

This would make a great first chapter in a memoir, Jesse. Thought this was extremely interesting ... with great potential for expansion.

Jesse Mendes said...

Thank you, Daisy. I can't imagine anyone would find my life interesting enough to read an entire book on my "memoirs" (and I'm sure publishers would have no interest either -- these days you have to be famous to be able to sell a book of memoirs) ....but I really appreciate the sentiment behind your comment. Thank you for your ongoing support, but here especially, for your kind words. Jesse

twowisegals said...

This man was a mystery, especially when her asked to see you again. You certainly showed much patience, perhaps more most women would. Since you were gracious and attentive, he must have overwhelmed by meeting you. My thinking is you were right not giving him a second opportunity, you are way out of his league.

Jesse Mendes said...

Well thank you "twowisegals" for your kind salute to my virtue! I agree, his behavior is a mystery, we never really know what goes on with people.....we may have our instincts about things but life always has a way of surprising us. Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Jesse

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesse --I have just come across your blog and find this particular post to be very interesting. I'm 55 and spent many years trying to "please" the men in my life. Unfortunately, that translated to being on the receiving end of abuse -- either verbal or physical. It wasn't until I was in my late 30s that I began to not only recognize the precursors of that abuse, but to listen to the "bells and whistles" and run for the hills. I've learned that it truly is "better to be alone than poorly accompanied" as one of the other posters stated. Having said all this, I recently had my first experience with dating a man younger than myself (7 years). It was fun and taught me quite a bit about who I am at this point in my life -- it also taught me that I haved learned from the past. When he began to demonstrate abusive tendancies, I terminated the relationship. I mention this only because I was surprised that you would consider seeing your "date" again based on his unacceptable and in my opinion, borderline abusive behavior. Perhaps I've become too much of a hardass :) Best to you in your future dating adventures!!

Jesse Mendes said...

Hello Anonymous, thank you very much for taking the time to write. I do appreciate your position and your experience and I'm glad to hear you have gained enough insight into men that you are able to take better care of yourself by guarding against those you are wary about. As for my experience, I did not find this man's behavior to be abusive, not at all, but then that is neither here nor there because we are all different and have to make choices based on what feels right for us as individuals.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to post a comment, and for your good will and friendship.


Rick Bylina said...

Plain and simple. He was an egotistical jerk unwilling or unable to connect with another person. Even on the dates when I knew within seconds that it wasn't going to be a match, I always sprinkled a little sugar on top and made it as positive an experience as possible. You owe that much to everyone you meet. Unless they're trying to stab you with a butter knife, of course.

Jesse Mendes said...

Thanks Rick for your words of support, and for making me giggle at the thought of him picking up that butter knife in the heat of passion.....:--)


Anonymous said...

"I would rather ache for something that matters than betray it to indifference.” Yes. THIS.

Ah, dating… I’ve let it go. I’ll just wait for passion’s ambush. And thanks for the Twitter follow. I so hate Twitter… but, it is a great tool.

Suzanne Marques said...

great post! don't settle or be with someone because you have compassion. follow your passion. you're out of his league xo

Jessica Mendes said...

I appreciate your sentiment, Suzanne, and the vote of support. Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

After my divorce I experienced the world of online dating. As a man I expected women to behave differently, with a bit more grace and humanity than my fellow men. What I came to learn is women behave badly in these situations just as much as men do and there was more than one night where I came home from a date and cried myself to sleep because it was such a disaster, the person I was hoping would raise my spirit was disinterested, selfish and in some cases outright cruel. Your story of a bad date and the crushed expectations resonates deeply with me. I feel your pain, I hope at this point it's all water under the bridge.

But I also learned a lesson. Love can come when you least expect it. After all those online dates (yes, some were actually quite lovely even if it didn't go anywhere) I had kind of given up. Then one day I walked into a sandwich shop to get lunch, in line ahead of me was a beautiful lady who I couldn't take my eyes off of, she kept stealing glances back at me as well. I summoned up all the courage I had and spoke to her on the way out of the store. We fell in love that first day and 9 years later as husband and wife we're still deeply in love and have built a life together.

So maybe all the bad dates are just a down payment on future happiness that will surprise you when you least expect it. I went in for a sandwich and came out with a life partner.

Jessica Mendes said...

That is so inspiring -- and exactly what I needed to hear from now. Thank you for sharing your story. It made me feel less alone, and hopeful that maybe one day, I will have the same experience, and maybe meet a life partner.