How It All Began - Part Two
What's shakin everyone?? Feels like winter has decided to make an appearance today in Austin. Cold and damp is not great for doing my normal 5 mile walk but it is perfect for writing about all my dating escapades while sipping a hot cocoa so let's dive right in shall we?
The Single Years
As I said before, I was married shortly after my entrance into military service and it was pretty much a bust. I was 32 and very ready to settle down, and was even entertaining the idea of motherhood when, after a lengthy military training course, I came home a day early to find jewelry on my bedside table that wasn't mine and my husband nowhere to be found. The astonishment was real. We'd been married for 14 months. Soon enough, as I sat on the couch in our livingroom, said jewelry in hand, he came sauntering in, hand in hand with his mistress and the look on his face was classic. I've always felt that the big O face emoji was a great emulation of the face my husband made that afternoon.
And so to divorce court we went. It was over as quick as it had begun and at 34 years old I started "Dating while Serving" which I assure you is VERY different than dating as your average female civilian.
So, in your thirties dating is very different than it was in your 20's. First of all, I was a divorcee. Ugh! That in and of itself was cringe worthy to me, and then finding the right place to meet men was a serious thing. I didn't hang out in bars with my girl gang to meet guys anymore. Almost all my friends were married and having babies. There wasn't a "single" friend to be had among my married friends so that hopeful introduction wasn't going to happen so what's a girl to do? Well, Match.com came a calling. I mean, literally. Somehow I'd gotten on a phone list (possible my divorce?) and I got a call one day from a representative of Match. They wanted to give me a free month on the site and then, If I was still available, would give me a code for three additional months for a discounted rate. Welp, that was it for me. I signed up. And so the drama began.
Figuring out what to say about yourself is hard enough but describing your physical appearance and lifestyle to a bunch of men while trying to sound available yet aloof, fun-loving yet grounded, and confident (but not too confident) is tremendously hard. It borders on torture and so after many attempts, I finally called in reinforcements and asked a couple of friends to help me describe who I was. Once that was done, you find some of your most flattering photos, upload them, and waa-laa, you've entered the meat market! Hang on to your Manolos gals cause it gets wild up in there. I will describe just a few of my experiences for you. First up - The New "Bad Boy".
The classic, toxic bachelor, otherwise known as the Bad Boy (but referred to by me as Manthrax) is that guy that every girl dreads sitting across the table from, but is also, unfortunately, instantly drawn to.
He's not as easy to spot when you're in your thirties as he was back in the day. He slinks in wearing his button down shirt, sport coat, and $100 loafers. Gone are the tell-tale jeans and leather jacket of old. You know, the "Bad Boy" stereotypical outfit of choice. He flashes you that enigmatic smile and you're immediately taken. He has that "I'm a Bad Boy" glint in his eye and as you steel yourself to his assuredly witty banter, he orders a rather nice glass of Cabernet and flashes you his pearly whites.
In an unexpected turn, and a refreshing change of pace, instead of talking about himself for the next 30 minutes, he proceeds to ask you questions about you. Eventually the conversation moves back to him, you find out that he’s a financial manager, is also divorced, and escribes his last trip to Napa. Finally, your conversation moves on to simpler things such as our likes regarding music and wine.
He tells me that he doesn’t own a motorcycle, have a tattoo, or think that either of those things makes him “cool”, but he does explain as he leans in a bit closer, that he thinks he may have to rethink the motorcycle thing because, "You'd look pretty sexy on the back of one."
I blush at the compliment and by the time we get to appetizers I’m almost convinced that this one is a nice guy; and then, all of a sudden, as he eyeballs my décolletage, he asks me if my “fabulous" breasts are real or fake.
It was shocking…..like falling in love with that great Prada bag that you find for half price, only to discover that you're locked out of the store. It just went down-hill from there.
This handsome, obviously intelligent, well traveled man was just a Bad Boy in a Brooks Brothers shirt.
As I sit there, skirting the rude question and finishing my glass of wine, the conversation takes an even bigger turn. I’m regaled with the fact that he only dates ‘hot’ women and that I fit into that category, and then the pièce de résistance.....he says, “but if I’d known that you were a Staff Sergeant in the military I probably wouldn’t have asked you out”
It wasn't just insulting, it was him, putting me into some pre-conceived category that because I was in the military it somehow made me un-datable. Needless to say, I was outta there quicker than Linda Blair's head spun around in the Exorcist and man was I hopping mad.
Much time was spent after that date reflecting on why men found what I did for a living so intimidating and trying to discern if I should downplay my role in the military saying only that I "worked in government" or something like that. Ultimately, I decided against it. If a guy couldn't handle what I did for a living then they sure as hell couldn't handle me, nor did they deserve to have a shot at it. Like Arianna Grande sang....NEXT!!!
Bachelor Number Two is going to be called Mr. Clueless. Let me set the scene.
After a bit of back and forth on Match using their email system, we decide to meet for a glass of wine. I chose a small little wine bar at one of the big shopping centers in Austin, The Domain. I arrive a tad early (a long time habit) so that I can size up the place and get a good spot at the bar.
I am wearing my "dating armor" as I eventually call it. Jeans or a nice blouse or tee shirt, high heels, perhaps a sweater or blazer thrown over my shoulders, and a bag. Not too dressed up, but nice enough to make a good first impression. Mr. Clueless walks in, recognizes my face instantly and slides into the bar seat next to me. He introduces himself, and very immediately I notice that he has
something in his mouth. Something, that I can't quite put my finger on but after he utters a few more sentences I realize that he has a dip of tobacco tucked behind his bottom lip. I then took a moment to peruse his ensemble and he is wearing a baseball cap, crumpled jeans, sneakers that seemed like they'd seen netter days, and a shirt that looked as if he'd pulled it out of the hamper right before walking out of the house. Now, this guy is 44 years old, not some frat boy. To say that I was confused was an understatement.
I will tell you that for the many dates that I went on over the course of 20 or so years, I always showed up. What I mean by that is that I would take the time to put myself together, threw on some lipstick, do something to my hair, and dress in a way that would make a good first impression because that.....is what they will remember. And if you're not going to do that, then why are you dating to begin with?
For the next 45 minutes I sat there and listened to this guy tell me a bit about his life but what I really heard was that sound that the adults make in the Charlie Brown cartoons. All I could pay attention to was this mound of tobacco in his mouth. I wondered how long it had been there and where did the spit go? Did he swallow it? It didn't seem to hamper his speech but I couldn't imagine kissing him. And while he drank his glass of wine, it still sat there. Why on earth order an excellent Sauvignon Blanc if you're just going to ruin it with the mixture of tobacco in your gums. Needless to say, I didn't return his kind text message after our meeting. My first attempt at "ghosting" in the dating realm. It wouldn't however be my last.
I could go on and on about my dating misadventures (seriously, I could write a book) but honestly, they weren't all bad. I met many men that were nice, decent, gentlemen, but for whatever reason they and I would never be a we.
I've learned a lot about myself over my years of dating and I feel that I also learned a lot about men. And after serving in the military, I feel like I have some insight into men that I don't think a lot of women ever get so you'd think I would be somewhat of an expert on the male of the species. Not the case. But I will say that I feel I have a unique understanding on what makes a man tick, what drives him, what invokes his passion and what flames his desire to protect people he loves. But why do they show up on a first date with a dip in their gums? Ya got me!
Just a couple more things I want to share. There are a few things about me that really only those close to me know; well, and those 40 or so men that I went out with more than once. You see, dating is like going on an interview over and over and over again. You find that you repeat things about yourself and after a while, I felt like I should switch things up by telling my dates oddball facts about me. So, here are a few oddball facts about Lisa:
a. am irrationally afraid of clowns.
b. I love SVU and true crime shows and have them on for background noise most of the day while I work.
c. I often faint when getting Botox or fillers because of my needle phobia. I have an amazing Doctor that takes good care of me.
d. Even after serving in the military for 27 years, I hate guns. I hate shooting them. I hate being around them. I own two because the world is an unpredictable place.
e. I am OCD and own it. The military probably exacerbated this. I like things neat and orderly and clutter causes me extreme anxiety. Needless to say, my home is always ready for "drop in" guests.
Feel free to share any of your oddball facts with me, I'd love to hear them.
For now, that's it for me. I'm off to make a big pot of Chicken & Dumplings for the hubs and then settle in for some West Wing binging tonight. Neither of us ever watched it when it originally aired and now we are obsessed!!
#dating #datingwhileserving #gijane #datinglife #blogger #austinblogger