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Sorta Like Heaven

Whitestrat

“So did we ever…you know?”

“Umm, no we never did that”

“Why not?”

(Are we really having this conversation?)

“Well because you said you were good friends with your landlord and felt weird having sex in her building”

(I mean also because the first time you kissed me was three minutes after we finished a half-drunk game of Yahtzee. Well, you were half drunk. I was drinking Sprite. You had your hand in a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips that you had been snacking on throughout the night. If I know potato chips, they leave behind a lot of remnants in one’s mouth. So I still have vivid memories of that first kiss, where I was transferred some of the remnants of said sour cream and onion potato chips. The landlord thing was certainly part of why we never had sex, but I didn’t want to bring up the chips while you and your friend were coincidentally sharing a basket of tortilla chips)

“Oh okay, I wasn’t completely sure”

(How do you not remember who you’ve had sex with? Also, in retrospect, that’s kind of an insult! I can remember the women I’ve been with, fooled around with once, dated briefly or for years. A good chunk of those women, are connected to The Cure and my history with that band so it was no surprise a random girl I dated for a month almost a decade ago would pop back into my head the night of a Cure concert)

My friend Michelle sent me a message a few days before this show saying she may have an extra ticket and if so I can have it, and if I’ll drive. Deal. I tend to never get tickets when they go on sale at this point. There’s no real reason to, especially with all the buying options out there, and friends on social media going. If you can’t find a ticket to a concert the week of in 2016 you’re not trying. Also, I’m never dropping however much money people spend on beer and drinks at shows so I’m willing to pay a bit more for a ticket if I need to.

Michelle and I got to the venue early and grabbed dinner nearby. We’ve been friends for a few years online, met once in person while I was working the door at a bar six months ago but never hung out so it was nice to be able to drive and chat and sit down to dinner and chat instead of meeting up at a show and not having time to talk. She is similarly minded as me I think, and is hilarious in person as she is online. It’s good to have friends like this.

There was a woman sitting to my right alone who at one point ordered two drinks. At one point I look up and approaching the table is a girl I recognize immediately as the sour cream and potato chip girl. I have no idea what her name is at this point. I struggle with the guilt of this lapse in memory later as I judge her for forgetting if she had sex with a particular person. When I realize forgetting someone you played Yahtzee with isn’t that big of a deal I move on. Emotionally. We exchange pleasantries, she even says her name for some reason, probably sensing my lapse. I introduce her to Michelle

“This is my FRIEND Michelle”

When it’s time to leave Michelle is well ahead of me and pretty much outside when she stops me and asks

“So did we ever…you know?”

We get to the venue and of course run into Yahtzee woman and her friend again who are sitting in THE SAME SECTION AS US. That’s the last interaction we have with them.

Just as that is happening the band is suddenly on the stage and you can hear some sort of noodling around on stage for a few minutes. I think it’s maybe some sort of pre-recorded thing playing and then realize they are opening with “Open” from 1992’s Wish. I posted about them hopefully opening with this on Facebook earlier in the day so that was exciting. I mean not really but it was a tiny personal victory I celebrated inside my head alone in a venue surrounded by thousands of people.

They followed Open with five songs from what may be my favorite Cure album, The Head on the Door. It was the first record I heard by them, it’s short and has catchy pop songs and just enough darkness to at least place it in the top five essential albums in their catalog. When I first heard the record I was heavily immersed in the hardcore scene, especially what was happening there with all of the new more metal sounding bands like Corrosion of Conformity and D.R.I. The Cure was a quirky thing for me at the time. I wasn’t married to hardcore and metal, I grew up loving The Beatles and later on Squeeze and Joe Jackson and The Clash so the Cure was kind of natural for me. I think this era of the Cure is right before they would get the badge of being that band you put on a mix tape for the girl at the book store, or the band you were a sad sap for listening to. That wouldn’t start happening until the next record, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

This was also around the time I was dating my high school girlfriend I was with for about two years. After getting burned by my first girlfriend in junior high I was a slightly paranoid boyfriend. I was one of those dudes. It was early in life and I’m not even remotely like that at this point, but yeah I could get jealous.

My brother got tickets to see them at the Orpheum in October of 1985. October 25th to be exact. My girlfriend mentioned a party her and her friend were going to the same night as the show. The party they were going to was being hosted by a boy her and her friends thought was cute. I can still remember him. He was that weird quiet misfit kid. Like the one in that movie American Beauty who films the grocery bag. I was bummed she would be going to this party so I tried getting out of going to the show but couldn’t. And of course nothing happened aside from me being able to be that obnoxious guy that says things like “Oh, cool, yeah I saw them in 1985” Hanging out with that high school girlfriend years later she did admit that her and the weird quiet misfit kid had sex after she and I broke up which was a horrible thing to tell a person.

Back here in 2016 they follow the dark and brooding Sinking with three songs in a row from Disintegration (Pictures of You, Closedown [like on the album] and Fascination Street) and then on to Hot Hot Hot !!! from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (God I’m sick of typing that out over and over. Wish they played more from Wish, or Faith) was a soundtrack of a whole crush I had on a girl who turned out to be my cousin. I swear I can explain. She was a cousin as her aunt married my mother’s cousin. This would have been around a year after Pretty in Pink came out (February, 1986) The Cure album with too many words in it came out in May of 1987. Me and, I’ll call her Elizabeth became friends when my uncle introduced me to her at a family event. When I found out she wasn’t related by blood it was over. She became Molly Ringwald. Had red hair, wore those hats, may have even had “The Rave-Ups” written on her book cover (doubtful) for all I know. We spent many nights driving around Swampscott and Nahant, Ma parking and listening to that album. I was a scared baby with this kind of thing so I never made any kind of move at all. Neither did she and we just remained friends.

A couple of years later we would go to a Cure show together, it was the Disintegration tour, well “The Prayer Tour” I had seen them a couple of more times and was going to both nights. She went with me one night and I went with another friend or maybe my brother another night. The night we went at one point in the show I was yawning and my eyes got all watery. I consciously thought that if she looks at me she’s going to think I’m crying. And low and behold the next day she told one of her friends about it and they told two friends, and so on and so on…I get told by a friend “Hey dude Elizabeth said you were crying at that Cure show”

I hope I didn’t reply “Boys don’t cry”

The band bounced around their immense catalog of music throughout the remainder of their thirty-one song set. Once you get rid of any kind of disappointment you may have if they don’t play a particular song, seeing The Cure is always an amazing treat live.

I was hesitant seeing them in a hockey arena as the last place I saw them was in a nice old theater in Los Angeles (performing their first three albums and a host of other rarities) and it was probably the best time I’ve ever seen them. I was by myself at that show, thousands of miles away from seeing anyone I know, far away from Molly Ringwald and Yahtzee girl. This show here in 2016 was just as important, and if it ends up being the last time I see them it at least has an amusing bookend to it running into that girl, and spending the time with a good friend, meeting a few new people and seeing other friends.

Also, because of how we were sitting (me on the inside, and Michelle on the seat closer to the aisle, with me facing the stage and her essentially behind me) she didn’t see me get a little misty in the eyes during Just Like Heaven.

Chew Gum. Complain (More Awkward Dating Stories)

 

  


In my last entry here I talked about how horrible and awkward dating in your 40’s can be. Then I remembered how I was as a teenager…and how I was in my 20’s…and how I was in my 30’s. I feel like I might over-dramatize that I am awkward with women. I’ve had a number of long term relationships, and with all of those relationships I have remained very good friends with all of them so I can’t be that weird and awkward with women. And then I remembered these stories. All true stories. I changed the names of the women even if I am still friendly with some of them.

My second girlfriend, who I was with for a good chunk of high school was two grades above me. I was good friends with one of her friends named Julie. Julie and I lived next door to each other as kids, I was friends with her brother and her. At one point she tells me that this girl Tina likes me. I get Tina’s phone number from her. At this point I’ve maybe spoken to Tina in person zero times, but probably closer to a negative amount of times. That night I call Tina’s house (I still remember the phone number) and her mother answers.

“Hi is Tina there?”

“Yeah one second. Who’s calling?”

“It’s Chris, from school”

“Hello?” it’s Tina’s voice (I guess?)

“Hi Tina, it’s Chris Campagna”

“Hi Chris”

“Will you go out with me?”

“Yeah”

“Okay, see you tomorrow at school” and I hang up

Tina and I are now boyfriend and girlfriend, and remain so for well over a year. Everything is great, we spend every day together walking around Swampscott and getting mosquito bites from hanging around in the cemetery sitting on the grass listening to music. I was one of those kids that carried a boombox around. I’m just remembering that this second as I type this. Ewww.

My first girlfriend, Olivia she lived right behind me. That relationship started at Fantasy Island in Salem, a staple for first dates for any teenager in Swampscott and ended near Captain Pizza over by the train station. What a horrible metaphor. At one point Olivia told me she wanted to see other people along with me though. Fourteen year-old me was okay with this for about three days. Until I watched them make out in front of me. That ended but we somehow remained friends and I would often stop by her house and hang out on the porch talking to her. This would also be the first time I create a web of lies in my head to get out of something that wasn’t necessarily that bad to begin with.

I stopped by Olivia’s house while dating Tina once and Olivia’s dog came to the door and bit me on the leg. I didn’t have a dog, nobody I hung around with had a dog. When I saw Tina later that night I would have to explain to her where I was that a dog bit me. Olivia had come to the door in a bathrobe so I already felt guilty being there. I came up with some story in my head that a neighbor’s dog chased me while I was on my skateboard.

The mark the dog left on my leg went away within three hours and Tina never found out I was bit by a dog that day.

In my twenties I was again friends with two girls who were good friends. Renee and Cara. We would hang out together, talk on the phone and do shit teenagers probably do. Chew gum. Complain. Split pizzas. Order mozzarella sticks. Not know anything about anything whatsoever, etc. At one point I developed a crush on Renee. We would talk on the phone late at night about who knows what. At one point I was going to just tell her but wanted to do it in person. I made the mistake (well in retrospect not a mistake) of telling her I had something I wanted to tell her. We were going to hang out the next day anyway.

“So what did you have to tell me?” Renee asked a few hours into us driving around aimlessly

“Oh, ummm, yeah, nothing. Forget it” I chickened out

“Come on” she insisted

“Nah, it’s nothing”

“You can’t do that”

“Okay fine, I think I have a crush on Cara”

Cara and I date for a few years off and on. We had a great relationship. That was my first real “one that got away” thing when that ended. That relationship coincidentally ruined Let it Bleed for a few years for me as she was also a big Rolling Stones fan. The fact that it started falsely never really troubled me until I think about it.

In my 30’s at the beginning of the Internet (for me anyway) there was a Yahoo! Penpals thing. It wasn’t really a dating thing but maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t even called Yahoo! Penpals. Some bullshit chat thing on Yahoo! You look it up. I met a woman on there who was a jazz singer and teacher. She was the same age as me, maybe a year or two younger. We dated for a brief couple of months. It got to a point where I liked her enough that I lent her to CD’s a Coleman Hawkins CD called The Genius of Coleman Hawkins and Discs 3 and 4 from the Miles Davis Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel Box Set which is some of the best live jazz you can ever hear in your life. So you definitely want to always be in possession of all seven discs. At one point she took me to see Patch Adams (GOOD LORD WHAT A SHITSHOW), that was the second to last time we would hang out.

The last time we hung out she needed help moving a rug from one room to another in her apartment. On the way over there I decided to break up with her. I had lost interest and we didn’t have much in common besides jazz music. Music compatibility isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. As we pulled up to her apartment I asked

“Do you still want help with that rug?”

I don’t think I’ve seen a more mortified look on a person’s face since. Oh well. Who didn’t suck in their 30’s? Oh yeah, most mature people.

A year or so goes by and I decide one night I’d like to hear Disc 3 of The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 by Miles Davis box set. It’s not there. I need to get that disc back from Terry. There’s no possible way she wants to talk to me as a friend at this point. I devise a plan. Terry is a pretty accomplished singer and vocal teacher. I’ll call her and sign up for vocal lessons and at some point ask about the CD. According to her ad in the Phoenix she charges $30 an hour lesson. I’m a complete pussy for even doing this so it will end up costing me at least $150 to get those discs back from her.

I had recently started my band Presley and wanted to attempt to actually sing so I did want to learn how to sing, so this was some sort of weird, lame excuse to do that.

I called her out of the blue and she was fine, water under the bridge. She’d be glad to teach me and would be happy to see me she explains. The lessons take place in her apartment her at a piano and me standing there singing. It was interesting and fun. I even have tape recordings of me singing things like “My Funny Valentine”, “The Night We Called It a Day” that I really should just hold a giant magnet over if I have any nerve. At the second lesson I spotted the discs on her kitchen counter lined up among twenty or so more of hers.

“Hey I just remembered something…you don’t still have my Miles Davis discs do you?”

“Oh I don’t think so. I thought I gave those back already”

“Oh okay yeah maybe you did” and then I did that thing only a true asshole would do

“Oh wait, is that it right there?”

I got the discs back and had ten or so more lessons until I realized I wasn’t learning that much from the lessons. Perhaps a better appreciation of vocal jazz.

Last summer, while broke in Los Angeles and hungrier more than a few days a week I sold the Miles Davis Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 box set on eBay for around $100.

This is also my official announcement that I am starting a Kickstarter campaign to buy me another copy of the box set. Click the link below and donate what you can. I really need another copy of this box set. I’m kidding, there’s no link to click. You’re fine.

1000 Different Women I Know

In the hills of Whereversville California
Far above gross strips of orange and grey
Hollywood on one side and an area I should never call home on the other
Trying to locate the first second
The best way to my heart
Looks of frustration
Contentment
And just that look

“every single one down there is a liar”
“stay away from me I’ll only hurt you”
”these sunglasses and hat will make it easier to deal with”

My first, but really second moment like this
Interrupted over and over
Spilled directly into awkwardsville
“oh well then”
Months from now in the middle of the night
Months from now in the early hours of dawn
Months from now we’ll remember this time and laugh
We’ll look back fondly
Speak of fucking and taking things fast
Speak of how better everything gets
Months after things get worse
Weeks after things get worse
Even days after things get worse
They seem to get better

Her gaze even better in real life
Better than hours of phone calls and letters
letters on a screen that have something
“nothing will ever stand in the way”
Not women you’d never meet
Not men I’ll never meet

Eight months later
Almost to the day though
Light in my eyes that makes it hard to even sleep
Darkness that makes it easy to sleep
Why is it when I feel I’ve done wrong
I can sleep better at night?
I always have more light in my head
The way I pull information though
This gigantic flashlight
A flashlight made of fire, frustration and sixteen other words that begin with the letter F
Even without a flashlight though
I can always get deep into their heads

Adventures in Online Dating Part 8

Ah loneliness, there you are again, just in time for that time of year when you’re the biggest enemy in the world. I knew I would see you again; we are such great friends that I was surprised you were gone for so long. After all this time though, I realize we need to be best friends. The other choice has obviously proved to not be such a good friend. This weekend is Christmas; at this point a holiday I care less about each year. People ask what I am doing out here for the holiday as “nobody should be alone on Christmas” I don’t subscribe to this belief at all, especially nowadays. I am perfectly fine not dealing with the gift giving and taking. I’ll see some friends and eat amazing meals and that will be enough.

 

I went on quite a few dates this past year, mostly with women I wouldn’t be caught dead caring about. I wrote about most of them, some I left alone. If nothing that exciting or horrible happened I just didn’t need to talk about it. One date I never wrote about was the one I met at a chain restaurant near my place. Earlier in the day I discovered a hornet’s nest in the drivers side mirror. I decided to deal with this on the way to the date. Spraying it with a little bottle of perfume my mom had left in the car. It was about 90 degrees out and I had the windows closed up tight. The air conditioning in the car didn’t work and the hornet would have made their way inside the car had I left the window open. At red lights I would crack the window and spray the mirror with this perfume, closing it immediately after. I was sweating and now smelled of perfume. When I arrived to meet my date it was yet another “oh jeez” muttered to myself when she arrived not looking anything like her pictures on her profile.

After dinner, I asked my date if she would take me to a store to buy some hornet killer. There we were, this girl I wouldn’t have been caught dead with on a date anytime prior to this year doing “normal shit” Running an errand. After this, we went to a closed car dealership as I was in the market for a car and I wanted to look at some without having to deal with a dealer. After this she invited me to her place where we watched television and did what adults do when they are alone together.

 

Driving home thinking about the night, I don’t think I necessarily had a great time. Dinner was okay, taking this poor woman to a store to buy bug spray and spend time with my neurotic personality and me for a few more minutes than she needed to was funny (I know I can be an obnoxious handful if I am in a mood where I’m trying to impress or be funny). Empty sexual experiences are just that though: empty. Driving home is always a sad place to be. At least for me, I feel like a scumbag.

 

I had a few other non-eventful dates, even one I set up in California for when I was visiting here for a week that I think ended abruptly. It was so fast I hardly knew what happen. “Women out here are different” I thought to myself. Not really.

 

My best dates ever though, they happened out here. I met a woman on the website that I immediately hit it off with. We spent hours and hours talking about everything we had in common and had a number of dates after that. I was just about ready to let her know I wanted to move on to something more serious. A short time later, just this past week it ended. Out of the blue. Fuck, wait; I really liked this girl!

 

As it turns out, it doesn’t matter if I liked the girl. Right now, the way life is I apparently don’t get the girl at the end. I don’t want to go on dates anymore. I find them exhausting. They drain all of my energy and personality out in one sitting. At the end of the day I ask myself, is it better to have one thousand nights in a row falling asleep alone? Singing some sad hopeless melody in hopes that I lose my way and make it to dream land one verse in. Or is it better to sleep one thousand nights in a row with someone. Keeping them awake with my constant tossing and turning, waking up over and over. Sleeping a total of three hours. Well, three for me, probably more like two for them. I have no idea what the answer is, but the further and further I get away from the second  choice, I realize I am ready to deal with singing those made up songs in my head as I fall asleep in whatever state I decided I needed to be in that night.

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip Up the Coast of California (2009)

(September 2009)
It had been so hot in Los Angeles that a brief trip up the coast to San Francisco for a couple of days seemed in order. It’s hot here all the time in LA, people here are different, they’re used to it. I was living here for a month and a half I guess? I like it here, I’m getting used to it, but it’s tight and stuffy here. People are tight and stuffy, the roads are real wide but somehow stuffy, people crowd them and breathe down your neck for you to get out of their way. Coming from Boston where it’s pretty much the exact same vibe aside from people having bad accents (like me apparently!) and shittier roads. I grew tired of New England road trips. My whole life from when I started driving at 17 to maybe a year before I left was spent on gorgeous orange and sun soaked golden tree lined roads in the fall to bright green summer jaunts up to Southern Maine/New Hampshire or upstate New York. After doing these hundreds of times where I could practically drive these roads with a blindfold on I grew tired of them, but more importantly grew tired of my life back there. I lost any spark for anything whether it was going to shows, playing music or just plain going out. The last few months spent there I spent some quality time with good friends going to shows and being out and about in social settings. I obviously miss this aspect of living in New England and family and friends, everything else though, not-so-much.

G and I had just started dating, but knew each other for quite some time. She lived in San Francisco and I lived in Los Angeles and came down for the week. I had some plans for the us to see some outdoor places with my visiting friends from New England. We didn’t do all of that on the day we hung out but did have a great day outdoors and indoors with them and they all got along which was nice as I had wanted her to meet some of my friends from back home. This was also one of those instances where you want to show off your new girlfriend and hope your friends like  her. They all got along great and we had a nice couple of days with them exploring Los Angeles from the coast to atop hills overlooking the orange specs below.


We checked out of the hotel in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning to drive my car back to my house. G was going to follow me there and then I would get in her car for the drive up to San Francisco. I get in my car and it won’t start. When I moved out here I had the same problem. My starter and alternator were dead and I paid $650 to have them fixed. We waited in the bright hot sun for the tow truck driver to arrive.  Sun tired and slightly burned from the previous day the last thing I wanted to do was sit in the sun aggravated by more car issues. The night before swerving around like her twelve thousand mile long smile through canyons high above Los Angeles my brakes were continuing their squeak that had started a few days prior. Turns out my battery was dead, like forever dead. Ugh. Brakes, rotors, battery and labor here I am $855 poorer. Great. I avoided thinking about this for the majority of the trip as it would have made things shittier than they needed to be.

We started on Highway 101 which brushes against the ocean and snakes back inland here and there. Our first stop was a non-event in Santa Barbara, a quick lunch and we were back on our way. A nice little area I had sped through before, and for the most part sped through this time as we weren’t sight seeing. I did see a Mission that I plan on going back to some time soon to take pictures of. A bit south of San Luis Obispo (near Pismo Beach) we stopped at a pier G had been to before and took some pictures of sea lions and pelicans. The area was drenched in fog and was noticeably colder than any place I had been since I moved out to California. The pier and fishing boats made me feel like I was in New England again. The air here was particularly heavy on me. The fog at dusk , the chill in the air and that always welcome sound of an ocean sounding like an ocean is like no other sensation. We walked on the damp pier for a while. This was the first week we were spending a good amount of time together so only fond memories were being created. Any other emotion I could have felt would have been false; this was nothing but romantic in every way possible. I got some good footage of the sea lions on video, and then things “got racist” so we stopped. Long story.


With no place booked for Wednesday, just on Thursday and Friday in SF I successfully booked us a place in San Luis Obispo up the road a brief fifteen miles or so via the iPhone. The fact that you can do this kind of thing on a little hand held device and check it out and make sure it’s clean/safe, etc. is great, but there was always something about gambling with your evening by stopping at some random motel and paying for a chance. No such luck this time though. We make our way to the room and notice the bathroom sink is covered in ants. Ouch. I go down and talk to the manager and we are upgraded to a suite at no extra cost which is basically just a wider room with a stove, a couple of comfortable chairs, a working remote control (unlike the room in LA) and a bathroom that is two rooms. Nothing great really, but a step up from a bathroom full of ants.

San Luis Obispo, or SLO had failed us briefly and then redeemed itself but after that the thumbs would continue to keep pointing further down. A trip to the Madonna Inn to eat dinner at a restaurant that closes at 10:00 PM according to their website proved to be a waste of time. They are doing major construction in the area, with exits leading you to nowhere and not telling you where detours lead you…a mess for the most part. To top it off we get there a little after 9:00 to be told that they now close at 9:00 even though the doors are open and lights are all on. The gum chewing woman at the counter is not really interested in us and is doing math out loud while we stand there. The inside of the restaurant is all types of gaudy, like an Italian grandmother from the 70’s exploded all over the inside of a diner at Liberace’s birthday party type gaudy. But awesome. I made my way down to the ladies room and had G take my picture inside and then went into the men’s room and took a shit in the urinal just to show them how I felt about their letting me down. Not really, but I would have and will if it happens next time!

Close by was a diner that was all lit up, even the sign that reads “OPEN” was on in the window! We parked and walked up to an empty diner, a woman counting money at the cash register and a locked door. Eh. A trip downtown proved to be even less successful. Fucking downtown. A college. Only places open were loud bars and shittier restaurants. Well, bar/restaurants. We ended up at a shitty 24 hour breakfast chain (although after the preferable one was closed as well!). Horrible food choices were made by both of us and that’s about the extent of it.

We had another errand to run before ending the night, finding some medicine for her. After a creepy drive down a road curiously called “Tank Farm” we found an all night market helmed by this D & D reject named Neil (Limelight by Rush was playing on radio).  He worked the register and had creepy eyes that he couldn’t stop moving. Just one of those talkative people who are nice enough but also sporting a depressing existence so it’s hard to pay them much mind.

We decided to take the rest of the trip on Rt 1 which is quite literally on the coast. The same drive I did a couple of years previous when her and I hung out the first time. It was nice being able to look out the windows and take it all in even if it was foggy for a good chunk of it. We did a few stops along the way to take in some of the breath taking views that are so high up, the wind made you a little nervous you may blow right off the particular cliff you’re standing at. I think I ended up taking three pictures for couples who asked for a scenic picture with them in the foreground. The ocean though…on a clear day it goes on for miles. it looks calm and inviting unlike the jagged gray crazy ocean of say, Northern Maine. I’d like to say I like the Pacific Ocean better than the Atlantic but really, there is no better or worse.


A room screw up in San Francisco resulted in an upgrade to a suite yet again. Perhaps I will start complaining every time I travel so I can upgrade my rooms. It’s usually not much more than an extra room with another TV or just a bigger area. It’s not like suites in real expensive places. I had a great time the day and a half or so I was in the city. The first night though, we hit this delicious ass hamburger joint in The Castro. I didn’t have cash on me when the food was rung up. I walked over to get cash to give the woman, meanwhile G paid part of it and was chatting with the woman. Afterward she told me the woman said “Does he always do this, make you pay for meals like this? I hate when men pull that shit” or something like that. Whoa! Hey lady how about a large order of mind-your-own-business with that good ass cheeseburger? The cheeseburger though, I would have married it.

We took some amazing drives through some beautiful areas I had never seen, off the beaten path areas outside of the city. The fog proved to be a little bit of a hinderance, but to me at the same time added a character and mood to the sky that I hadn’t seen since moving out to this side of the country which has been a barrage of sunlight. We walked around the city last night North Beach, Chinatown mostly, watched a bug scurry around different areas of a counter in this Italian bakery. We were hoping to see a customer discover it. We had really shitty service at an Italian restaurant. We tipped really low at G’s insistence. The food was the one redeeming quality of that. Running out and disappearing into the crowded streets was slightly exhilarating, not like the time I walked out without paying at IHOP a few weeks before leaving Massachusetts, but still fun nonetheless.

Leaving this morning was odd. For a moment I thought I was flying back “home” to Boston, but no this is home now. This area of the country, and of course the area north of me is one of my favorite places to explore and I highly recommend taking the Pacific Coast Highway at least once in your lifetime. By yourself, or with someone it’s a beautiful drive. With the right soundtrack and the right weather it’s even better.                    .

(All pics were taken on this trip)

Adventures in Online Dating Pt. 7

“I like spending time down at the river, it’s where I can relax” Lynn told me a number of times. We planned on spending time at the river on our first date but the rain took it in a different direction all together.

I have been taking a break from dating for a little while now. Actually, this is a lie. I have gone on some dates but most of them were uneventful or worthy of writing about. It has become pretty easy to get a date at this point with women of all ages (no one younger than 30); for the most part though it has been a sad affair. It’s been sad for some of the women, and sad for me. My decidedly empty life has a little bit of meaning when I meet some of these strangers…well at least I tell myself it does.

Normally when I write these, I will change the name of the person. The fact that this woman was named Lynn though, I couldn’t change it. It fits way too well.

Lynn started writing to me a long time ago. Right around when I first started using the dating site. She lives in a part of New Hampshire that is a little too far away for me so we never exchanged anything aside from a few brief messages. She wrote me out of the blue a few months ago and we eventually exchanged phone numbers and started texting and then talking on the phone. After the first phone call we got along okay, she was very clear as I was that she wasn’t interested in anything serious, almost to the point of sounding like some sort of free loving hippie woman. Lynn lives in what I understand is a room in a friend’s house and she had car issues, often borrowing her friend’s car to drive home. Said car apparently didn’t have working headlights so if Lynn found herself out past sundown she would park the van in the lot of a Walmart and sleep there until the sun came up. Lynn is also a grandmother. A young grandmother at 43, although I believe she may have changed the age on her profile at some point as I remember her being older when we first started talking.

Speaking of talking, Lynn did quite a lot of this, and for a woman who agreed with me that I didn’t want any kind of situation where I was talking to someone on the phone or texting every day she sure was a bit talkative. I don’t want to know anyone’s schedule or what they are doing, and I certainly don’t want anyone to know what I am always doing (well, aside from my 300 + friends on Facebook). There were a few instances where she would call me and I wouldn’t pick up the phone and text me and I wouldn’t reply. I’m not going to get into small “cute” text messages with a woman I’ve never met. After my last relationship I think I am bitterly out of those for good at this point.

Lynn and I set up a date for a Saturday, and like the last time I went on a date far away in New Hampshire I got myself a room. For one thing, I’d have the luxury of spending the night in a bed. Since I have been sleeping on couches and floors for the last two and a half years this is always a highlight of my life. It’s the little things. Also it would appear that I might have been getting together with Lynn for more than just a “walk by the river”

She decided we meet at the hotel, which I was a little apprehensive about at first. Since this would be my little escape if I needed to run away. We met outside in the parking lot and she was pretty much what she looked like in pictures; short, long wavy blonde hair, thick and big tits. I’m not really a “tits guy” although I like to sometimes pretend I am when I am “out with the guys” and we are talking about women. Well when I am out with married men or men with girlfriends who seem to talk about women who they’re not in a relationship with more than us single men. Since it was raining our plan to go eat lunch and then go down by the river would change. She suggested we maybe hit up a club in the area after we eat and see some live music. Lynn doesn’t drink alcohol, and I barely do, but if I go out to a bar I might have one beer or a drink. Lynn apparently goes out at night to the bar and drinks “iced water and watches the music” Sounds fun Lynn.

She grabs a free newspaper called “The Hippo” in the lobby and we go up to the room. She mentions her cell phone is out in the car and we should use my phone to call all the venues in Manchester listed in The Hippo to see what kind of music the artists are. I tell her I have limited minutes (I don’t, I just don’t want to try and explain how to use a touch screen phone and what if a text comes in from one of my snarky friends while she is holding it?) We use the hotel room phone. She puts me in charge of the phone book and she will tell me the name of a bar, I will find the phone number, tell her and she’ll make the call. These are all the real names of bars we called and the artists performing, and pretty much exactly how she spoke to whomever picked up the phone.

First place is called Derryfield

“Hi, can you tell me what the band Phoenix is like? Oh, 90’s and classic rock covers? Okay thanks”

Now on to the Jam Factory

“Hi what is the band Cruise Control like? Oh, classic rock covers and 90’s? Okay thanks”

Mad Bob’s

“Hi can you tell me what the band Max Voltage (!!!) is like? Oh, classic rock and 90’s covers? Okay, thank you”

You get the picture…we called a few more and finally I stopped her and she stumbled upon an ad in the paper for a place called Shaskeen where a band called “Destroy Babylon” was playing. “They play reggae and dub…I’ve never heard of dub, what is that?” she asks. “It’s instrumental reggae” I tell her. The show is listed as tonight but the date is off so we assume a typo. We are going to get lunch right near this club so we will check when we get there.

We drive to downtown Manchester (in her car) and park right in front of Shaskeen where there is a sign that reads who is playing. “Toolfist” I am pretty certain Toolfist is a Tool cover band, which to me sounds like a nightmare. She apparently doesn’t believe me and still wants to go in and check. So she literally walks in and asks the bartender “Hi, what is the band Toolfist like?” I was correct.

We decide on Chinese food right next to the bar. She has been here before and tells me they have a fried-rice here that doesn’t have soy sauce in it. It’s white, but has the same vegetables and meat a generic Chinese fried-rice would have. I find it on the menu and when it comes time to order the food Lynn has a brief uncomfortable exchange with the waitress who can barely speak English

“We would like that fried rice that doesn’t have soy sauce in it, it’s that white one”

“Yes, white house rice special?”

“I don’t know, is that the one that doesn’t have soy sauce in it”

“Yes”

“Do you mean yes that is the name of it or yes I am right that it doesn’t have soy sauce in it?”

I pull the menu out and point to the “white house rice special”

Over lunch Lynn starts talking about her life and her son. I remember her telling me she had a son and a grandchild but that was it. She lets me know her son is in federal prison serving ten years and she takes care of his daughter from time to time but the mother may move away from the area and then her eyes start getting watery. Are we really going to start crying into the white house rice special or what? At some point she tells me, she may have to take a phone call from him so she can read him some docket over the phone so he can assure people in this jail he is not a rat. I can’t make this shit up. She never tells me what he is in jail for.

Once we finish I half joke how I could use a nap. For all I know this could be me being passive aggressive about sex, but I would never admit that here. It is early though, and these clubs all don’t start having live music until 9:30 or so. I really want to make sure I am fully rested before Cruise Control or Max Voltage takes the stage.

We arrive back at the hotel and her phone rings just as we are pulling in and I can hear the recording “You have a call from a federal prison….” I give her the second key card to the hotel room and make my way upstairs. She comes up about a half hour later, says nothing about the phone call and I am already on the bed getting pretty tired. Now normally I wouldn’t write anything this personal in this blog, especially as I don’t want people to think I sleep with random women all the time. But again, I can’t make this shit up.

So Lynn joins me on the bed and we start fooling around. It’s at this point when I realize she isn’t as attractive as I initially thought so I am a little apprehensive about ummm, “stuff” She takes her top and bra off and after a minute or so tells me “that one had pre-breast cancer in it so there might be a scar there you can see” Now I definitely would never make light of cancer, especially where I know so many people who have been affected by it but really. Don’t talk about cancer when we’re about to start doing some shit in bed. This pretty much turned me off, but not as much as what would come next.

I’m not going to lie and say I would never have sex with someone on a first date. There are lots of people who do this every day. To me it’s no big deal really, especially if it’s agreed that you’re not doing anything serious relationship-wise. So Lynn mentions she has a condom in her bag. She gets up to get it and casually says “You don’t mind having sex with me while I am on my period do you?” That Price is Right music when someone loses goes off in my head.

“Um, yeah I don’t think so”

“Oh okay, I figured I’d ask as some guys are okay with it”

Yeah, not guys who have the hotel room on their credit card and want to leave the room looking like a crime scene. It would appear Lynn was kind of a disgusting person. So this pretty much brings everything to a screeching halt and she puts her clothes on and says she is going to go out to her car and get a book so she can read while I take a nap. This is at 6:30. The next thing I know it is 7:45 and Lynn is still not back. And she has a key to this room. I assume she left for good. I clearly don’t want her to come back. The 90’s and classic rock cover bands can wait. I venture outside and notice her car is gone so I send her a text message

“So did you leave?”

I go back in the room and tell the clerk at the desk I may have dropped the second key outside with the envelope with the room number on it so he gives me a new card. About an hour later I get a response “I thought you were going to sleep longer. I’ll be back in a little bit”

I reply

“Don’t bother, I’m going to sleep”

She replies

“K, goodnite” and that is the last I heard from Lynn.

At this point I am going to put dating on hold. I have a number of other things going on right now that are preventing me from giving someone attention, even if it’s someone I am only half interested in. As much as I like to think I am cynical about these experiences, and think I have no room in my life for a real relationship it’s obvious this isn’t the place to find that. All of my best relationships have been by accident, or something that grew out of a friendship and that kind of thing. The closest friends in my life right now are all women. Either platonic friends or ex-girlfriends I have remained friends with. They all know me well and I know them well and sometimes having them in my life fulfills that need to spend time with a girl.  What can I say, I enjoy spending time with women, whether it’s on a deep emotional level or some shallow empty one night affair in the middle of New Hampshire.  Live free or die.

Adventures in Online Dating Pt. 6

A couple of Saturday’s ago, as usual sitting around waiting for something to happen I get an alert on my phone that I have a new message on the dating website. I had slowed down all dating activity for the most part. The message turns out to be from “Donna”. The first woman I went out with on this site, which turned out to be a nightmare. I received a number of messages from her over the couple of months since that date. I ignored every single one of them. Most of them just said “hi”, while some read: “Why are you ignoring me?”, etc. She finally stopped for about a month and then I get a two word message from her that just says “YOU SUCK”. I’m not really a mean person, but sometimes I have to be I guess. This is how the rest of the exchange went:

“Wow, thanks”

“WELL U DO”

“Look, it didn’t work out after that one date and I moved on. Sorry if that was wrong of me”

“OK then”

“So Donna, have you had any luck on here since our date? I haven’t”

“Well that’s UR Problem NOT MINE”

“Good luck being a drunk, lonely older woman forever Donna”

And then I blocked her.

For the most part this online dating thing is working. I have gone on dates. Most of them have been less than one time deals. It’s getting a bit exhausting at this point really. There’s only so much talking about yourself you can do, only so much listening to someone else talk or write about themselves you can take. Some of the messages out of the blue I get are painful. I feel like I have become shallower than ever. I like to think I am meeting people for practice, or because of some eventual time when I meet someone I really like I’ll suddenly be “ready”. What it all boils down to is I’m bored. I like hanging around with women more than men and, well I’m bored. I am not in any place to be in a relationship with someone. I most likely never will be. Even writing to women on there, after a few days you start writing each other more frequently and then start to know each other’s schedules and that kind of thing. I don’t want anything to do with that. It’s nice to share certain experiences in life with people, and obviously it’s nice to get laid, but really, I’d rather just be doing my own thing without having to “check in” or wonder where some girl I call my girlfriend/wife is. That sounds horrible to me at this point. Okay before I get too serious here…

I started talking to Jill on the dating website right when I started using it. It was really hard to talk to her as she would send these one-sentence responses to me and couldn’t keep a conversation going. I kind of forgot about her and then noticed her online one night and sent her a message asking how her search was going. Asking this seems like something everyone asks each other there. Usually when I ask someone I am trying to gauge how bitter she might be at that certain time. If they are really at the end of their rope it’s going to be harder to get a date. From what most women on there tell me, and from what most women I know in real life tell me, men are idiots. They have no idea how to talk to women, they say disgusting things right off the bat, assume women love photos of penises, etc. I never do this, and I’ve never sent a photograph of my penis to anyone via my phone…that didn’t ask me to. I have to say trying to photograph your penis with an iPhone in your mother’s bathroom at 5:35 AM is a skill every man should learn at some point. This is what I have heard anyway. I’m not some sort of gigolo with “THE PUSSY WHISPERER” airbrushed on the back of my Chevy or anything, but I like to think I can talk to women and generally am interested in things they have to say…well as long as they aren’t playing the “do I look fat?” game.

So Jill and I start talking and she is now more talkative, and admits that she is “shy at first” We exchange phone numbers and text for a few days straight. At one point, after a week I see on my phone I have a missed call from her. This is followed up by a text message. “Sorry, I accidentally called your phone! LOL” I guess we are at a text only situation. A few days later I suggest talking on the phone and through some miscommunication I assume she doesn’t want to talk on the phone. We continue texting for another week. In the meantime a new woman starts talking to me, also named Jill. At one point she gives me her phone number. I have no idea what either of their last names are but don’t want to put “JILL 1”, “JILL 2” as the contact names. I end up just putting “Jill” for the first “text only” Jill and leave the other one blank. In a year from now I will most likely have no idea who either of these two women are so what the fuck does it matter really? Finally the first Jill and I speak on the phone and arrange a date. Well, to hang out.

Jill lives in New Hampshire, about an hour from me. She lives with her son (11) and her brother (38), while he “gets back on his feet” The father of the son is homeless and has one leg. When I tell my friend about this a couple of weeks prior she tells me to “run away”.

“Are you fucking crazy?” I ask her

I am going to head up to her place on a Friday night and hang with her and her brother and the woman he met on the very same dating website. Oh yeah. So when Jill and I started talking she mentioned her brother seeing this woman he met from the same website. She showed this woman a picture of me from the dating site and she claimed I wrote her. When I arrive at their house, low and behold I recognize her as a woman I sent a message to.

I make plans to hang with the other Jill on Sunday afternoon. When I pull get off the exit to go to the first Jill’s place I note there are two towns listed on the sign that I am heading to. One is where Jill lives, and the other one is where the other Jill lives. I have to come back here Sunday.

The house they live in is a two family house with a huge yard. When I pull into the driveway I am immediately confused as to where Jill is. She ends up looking a little different than her pictures, but not much. Also, I have recently as of this summer realized I might need glasses so that might have had something to do with that as well. She greets me, and there is a younger skinny girl (upstairs neighbor) standing there, a guy (brother Billy) sitting on the porch with his date (Brenda). There is also a little Chihuahua running around and a little boy (the son) off in the distance. Everyone is smoking aside from the child and the Chihuahua. It seems as if for the remainder of the night there is always at least two cigarettes burning. Jill introduces me to them and then immediately mentions “See that’s Brenda who you wrote to”. I make eye contact with the brother and now I’m pretty uncomfortable. The brother is a normal looking New England type guy. He is wearing a New England Patriots shirt, has a goatee and is just New Hampshirey. He turns out to be a pretty nice guy. They are all really nice people.

We sit around a fire pit. Jill to my left, her brother to my right, Brenda to his right and the neighbor comes and goes throughout the night. Her boyfriend arrives at one point and he is an okay New Hampshirey guy as well. While sitting by the fire a radio plays a classic rock station that is playing some of my favorite music, and of course Billy has to call out the band every time a song comes on. I only correct him twice. He is wrong five times.

For whatever reason, I quiet myself into a personality that must have left little to be desired. I think we had talked about everything we could talk about those few weeks getting to know each other before meeting. This was the end result. Two people sitting there barely talking to each other with other people around to make it a little easier. Obviously everyone there must have noticed. I had three cans of Budweiser over the five or six hours I ended up hanging out. At one point while putting my beer can down in the tall grass to the left of my seat I secretly dumped out half of the beer on the ground. I don’t really like beer or alcohol that much so it’s usually a chore to get through a second beer, and a third one, forget it. I didn’t want to look like a pussy that doesn’t finish his beers.

Once they grew tired of some of the deeper cuts on the radio a laptop was brought out and we listened to some Pandora stations. I then learned that one of Jill’s favorite bands is Matchbox 20. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard Matchbox 20. I mean I am sure I have but according to my friends on Facebook I am supposed to not like them or Nickelback, another band I’ve never actually heard. Thankfully the band names are so awful that I already just don’t like these bands on that alone. So we’re listening to some truly awful music I’ve only heard of. Shinedown. Disturbed. The Sick Puppies. There is apparently a band called the Sick Puppies and it’s not a punk rock band from 1981. “You like rock music and you’ve never heard of the Sick Puppies?” Jill asks me. I shrug. And then Kid Rock comes on.

An hour later as I am pulling into my driveway a little shy of 5:00 AM I get a text from her “You could have given me a longer kiss than that”. She is referring to the peck I gave her five minutes after the Kid Rock song ended.

“Oh we hit it off?” I thought to myself.

Later that afternoon I call the other Jill on the phone and cancel our Sunday date. I need some time to myself on a Sunday. That’s what Sundays have always been: for me and that’s how I want them to continue to be.

Adventures in Online Dating Pt. 5

Somehow I got myself into a situation where a woman was sitting across from me telling me about how her Halfling character killed some beast with one eye with an enchanted crossbow (that was also flaming). I can explain.

 

I recently stopped using the dating site I was using as I was hanging out with a nice young lady I met on there for a little bit. I briefly mentioned her after my second one as she wrote me the morning after that date. Of course I managed to fuck that up but I’m not going to talk about that. I’m an idiot like that.

 

I was still getting messages from “the Kid Rock lady” as recent as last week. Just weekly one word e-mails “Hi”, etc. and then I got an e-mail from a woman named Jessica. She apparently liked my profile and when I went to check hers out it mentioned she played Dungeons and Dragons. It didn’t even matter what she looked like, I obviously had to meet her.

 

I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons anymore, especially since I discovered orgasms and I don’t know, eating. I have two Dungeons and Dragons stories. The first one involves me breaking the law. In Dungeons and Dragons there is a person named the Dungeon Master, or “DM” (check my profile pic). He pretty much controls everything in the game aside from what the players do. He maps out the adventure for you and is responsible for keeping the game interesting and challenging. A good DM should obviously be smart and have a good imagination. The DM my friends and I first used was an older boy named Andrew. He lived two doors down from me and was the ultimate nerd. Granted I was playing Dungeons and Dragons, I still kept my hair long and feathered, and my heavy metal t-shirts nice and tight on my little chubby self. This was 1983. I was in between heavy metal and punk rock, I was 14 years old, confused, covered in acne and had an active imagination. D & D was right up my alley. Andrew though, he was just a nerd. Math team, glasses that made him uglier, greasy hair, probably making millions of dollars now doing something amazing while I go on shallow dates with women, you know. So Andrew was our DM and he always had particularly hard dungeons he set up. At one point in the middle of a month long “campaign” he went away to New Hampshire with his family. My friend and I decided it would be a good idea to break into Andrew’s house so we could find the maps. Of course after spending a few scared moments rifling through his room we realized he probably took them with him and left.

 

My second Dungeons and Dragons story involves a stripper. We had another DM named Chris. Chris was this big dude, tall and fat, big white dude afro. He was also older than us, not as good as Andrew was, but he was okay. At one point when he turned 18 and we were all still 16 or so his brother held a birthday party for him. He hired a stripper. So in the basement of Chris’ parents house was a group of six or seven of probably the nerdiest looking kids you’ve ever seen in your life, and a stripper. I had a girlfriend at the time, but was still awkward around women and I can only imagine what this scenario was like. I wish there was a video of this as it may be the saddest video you could ever see, like sadder than watching a video of an old woman falling down and breaking her hip.

Those are my two biggest memories of Dungeons and Dragons. I recently bought a bunch of the old books again just to see them thinking I might get back into it at some point. Yeah right.

 

I replied to this woman and mentioned to her how I used to play Dungeons and Dragons too! I just didn’t mention it was when Ronald Reagan was president. She wrote me back three minutes later telling me about her character in the game and we ended up chatting back and forth for most of the day. She suggested we meet sooner than later, like that night. She seemed a little more normal than my first date; we decided to meet at a Barnes and Noble in between where she lives and I live.

 

Again, on the Internet and dating sites in general, the photos people post are (obviously) the best possible pictures they can find. Sometimes the pictures posted are jaw dropping. A faded photo where a woman has teased hair and stone-washed jeans…and a beeper, sideways photos, photos of pets, children, landscapes from trips they took, etc. I understand people are insecure and want to look their best or hide but come on, try a little harder maybe. Jessica had two photos up and neither really told much of a story. I certainly was not talking to her because of her looks. I wanted to meet a woman who played Dungeons and Dragons! Even when I played as a teenager there were never any girls playing so this seemed like a good idea. Also, I was kind of bored and was having a low self esteem day.

 

We met outside the store and she went to shake my hand and I gave her a sort of half-hug thing that was awkward and weird right off the bat. My first thought upon seeing her in person was “yeah I would never have sex with this person”. She looked like someone but I couldn’t place who it was. This bugged me for the majority of the “date”…well, until I figured it out.

 

Jessica was a little pushy. She had a personality that I don’t think I would be able to hang with at all. We sat in the coffee shop at the bookstore and talked for a few hours. She was another person who didn’t get the music part of my profile. Maybe I should just write that I am extremely hip and a music snob on there. Then I wouldn’t have to have these kinds of exchanges with anyone:

 

“I saw Alter Bridge in concert and they were amazing!”

 

“Oh yeah, I bet”

 

“Yeah, Mark Tremonti is great”

 

“Oh yeah, Mark is fuckin’ sick” I replied

 

I have no idea who Mark Tremonti is. Well, now I do because I had to Google “Alter Bridge” so I could remember his name. As it turns out Mark Tremonti is a founding member of Creed! Wow, that is one thing I never wanted to know. I knew there was a guy named Scott Stapp that sang for Creed and that was it. I’ve never heard them and was trying to never hear them or know nothing about them aside from that guy’s name and there was a connection to Christian rock. I wonder if when I die I will get the time back I spent having that conversation with her about Alter Bridge (it went on a little longer. Apparently the singer can “really sing” and she got a thumb drive shaped like a guitar with a recording of the concert on it), the time I looked up information to get Mark Tremonti’s name and now writing this. I bet Mark Tremonti would know.

 

She then wanted to check out my tattoos, so after seeing the (two) dragons, wizard, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and various other dude bullshit I have on my arms she points one out.

 

“What’s that one?”

 

“The Mexican God of Death”

 

“No it isn’t, it’s Achmed the Dead Terrorist” she says in a horribly executed Middle Eastern accent

 

“What?”

 

“Jeff Dunham’s puppet, you know”

 

“Oh yeah, that guy”

 

“It’s Achmed the Dead Terrorist”

 

“No, it’s the Mexican God of Death”

 

“And look he’s sitting there with his arms crossed like a rapper…like Eminem!”

 

“Well, he is usually perched on top of you know, like a pillar”

 

“Or like one of those Aztec temple things that look like pyramids”

 

“Sure”

 

(help?)

 

I’ve never seen any of this Jeff Dunham person’s stand up, but I know the audience he caters to and a good friend of mine who generally has great taste in stuff completely despises him so I just assume he is awful. I can still hear her and her voice saying “ACHMED THE DEAD TERRORIST!” and it’s very upsetting to me. Not as upsetting as whom I finally realized the woman reminded me of physically: PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN. While sitting there, maybe an hour or so into hanging out it came to me and I have to say it sealed my decision to most likely not have a second date with her. Even if she had turned out to know all sorts of things about John Coltrane and been into Mick Taylor era Rolling Stones the Philip Seymour Hoffman thing was now in my head and it wouldn’t go away.

 

While this was a public date and I didn’t get to survey one of those depressing lonely apartments, she pretty much turned me off personality-wise and I can just assume her apartment is filled with stacks of horrible books on dragons and the smell of lonely. On our way out of the store she stopped us and kissed me on the lips for a second. A half hour later she texted me “I could get used to that kiss”. I didn’t reply and haven’t heard from her since.

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Online Dating Pt. 4

In 1998 the Internet was an awful place. Well, in retrospect it was. I can’t recall what was on the Internet at the time but I kind of remember it like this:  Free e-mail, online forums where people gave their horrible opinion on everything, pornography, chat rooms, pornography, news, pornography, personal websites where people would put up links to places like “YAHOO.COM” among pictures of their car, some sort of horrible flash thing that played music, and a giant stat counter in comic sans (that usually read “044”). Somehow though, I managed to meet some women. I can’t remember the format of Yahoo Personals in 1998 or if that’s what I had, but I ended up meeting a girl from the South Shore named Ann.

Ann was from Florida; this should have been my first sign that this might not be the best idea; also she lived on the South Shore. I lived on the North Shore. I remember we exchanged pictures. I’m not sure how though. I didn’t have a digital camera at the time and who knows what picture I may have sent her. I do remember seeing a picture of her and thinking she was okay looking.

I was not really a bar person and the relationships I had been in up to this point were mostly via friends of friends and that kind of thing. The idea of dating women from the Internet sounded interesting to me. In my opinion you could at least spend some time getting to know each other. I don’t necessarily agree with this at this point. Tone in writing is hard to read in small grammatically challenged text messages and brief one and two line chat conversations at this point. I have experienced a number of let’s-call-them-disagreements because the tone of a message was read wrong. It truly is just better to talk to a human being face to face. I was kind of a pussy though. This seemed easy to me, less stressful.

Ann and I talked on the phone and she had an accent that was a dead ringer for Jodie Foster. Some of the things we had in common: we smoked marijuana, we smoked cigarettes, and we were single.

After a few conversations we decided to meet. I would drive down to her place on the South Shore, which frankly, is a pain in the fucking ass. At this point in my life, to drive to the South Shore for a date I would have to be put up in a hotel for the night, and the date would have to look like Marcia Brady, or Joyce DeWitt. Like most women I’ve ever dated, Ann lived in one of those ugly two story brick apartment buildings. This may have been my first visit to one of these “single woman with cat(s)” apartments that I would frequent for years after.  These apartments are all the same at this point. The same furniture in every one, no remnants of past men, a few cat toys strewn about on the floor, a number of CD’s that sit on a shelf writing a biography for your eyes.

Ann greeted me at the door and gave me a little hug. She was kind of dressed like a dude, or a lesbian. A flannel shirt with a tank top under it, jeans, you know. I met her cat and as it turns out the cat ended up being a little more interesting. I did not know the area so I had her direct us to places to eat and whatever other place of interest we needed to see. I went out with Ann four or five times. Each time we hung out a dinner was involved. Each time she ordered a chicken finger dinner. Four chicken finger dinners in what, a two-month period? A red flag went off after the first chicken finger dinner. I mean, really? Chicken fingers are great and all, but you should never eat a plate of chicken fingers in front of another person. If you are ever in a situation where you are eating a chicken finger plate in front of another human being you are probably on your way to a NASCAR race, or somewhere in New Hampshire.

On this first date we went to eat at some chain place where it was a long non-conversation about nothing at all. As it turned out we had all the conversations we would ever need to have over the phone. Ann was painfully shy and a pretty boring person. After dinner we drove around the South Shore, which was okay. It just looks and feels like the North Shore except you have no idea where you are going. The beaches seemed a little better. We made our way to a beach and walked and I had a one-sided conversation. She suggested we go back to her place to get high. We go back and end up playing with her cat for a little while. Her talking to her cat bums me out a little bit. She had recently moved to Massachusetts from Florida to deal with an ill grandmother and stayed. I don’t think she had many friends beyond that cat and “some of the folks at the call center” How many lonely chicken dinners on Friday nights with the cat, five hundred cigarettes and a sink full of an odd amount of dishes has Ann endured?

Ann suggested we play Yahtzee. For a minute I pinch myself and wonder if I just woke up at my aunts house in 1981, but no I’m here in the present on a date with this new girl, high as a kite on a couch…about to play Yahtzee. The Yahtzee ended up being a little more fun than I had remembered. I mean, not as fun as sexual intercourse, but it was a first date anyway.

We had a few more dates. She ended up being a little more talkative but us hanging out turned out to just be someone to get fucked up with and do some adult, non-Yahtzee type stuff…an hour away from where I lived. What tiny little spark we had kind of faded out before it even ignited really. At one point I went away for a week trip and when I came back I remember her telling me she really missed me and I made some sort of cold comment. Shortly after maybe the fifth time we hung out I broke it off with Ann…via e-mail.  The only way I guess I can justify this is it was early on in the life of the Internet so maybe I didn’t know this was a weak move? Yeah that’s it.

This would be my first of a number of “Internet dating” situations I’d get involved in. In retrospect most of them were good. The longest relationship I’ve ever been in (7 years) was with someone I met online and we are still good friends. The last real serious but brief relationship was also with someone I met online. The difference between these relationships and these random dates is that I met the long-term women without the dating stigma attached at first. It’s pretty impossible at this point, at least for me, to get thrown in the fire with a new person and adjust to their life and my life. It’s harder at this age as well since most folks are pretty much how they are going to be forever. Some of my close friends have suggested that I go on more “bad dates” like my first two I wrote about because they gave me material to write about. While this sounds enticing I don’t really have it in me to purposely seek out women I know I am not going to get along with just for something to write about. It’s obviously shallow and I’m not necessarily made of money to go on a bunch of bad dates. Well then, there are still more of these.

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