If you have ever dated it may bring back memories and hopefully make you smile!
The Search For
After the drama of my divorce finally simmered down, I had decided it was time to move forward. I was looking for my “last first kiss.” To my dismay, this dating thing turned out to be right up there with root canals. Having been married for 30 years, dating was something I was no longer good at. I have met some wonderful women along the way. From a beauty queen and an actress to a stripper, a porn star, and even a princess, I have seen it all. Some were not right for me, while for others I was not right for them. Through these trials and tribulations, I learned a few harsh truths along the way. I hope because of my sharing, you may not have to learn these hard lessons the way I did.
1) This was not a class I signed up for, but if I was going to have to get an “A” in it, a positive attitude and a sense of humor were definitely going to be required.
2) (I know I am going to catch flack for this one) For most women, “The thrill of the chase is more important than the quality of the catch.” As one man put it: “I chased her until she caught me!”
3) “It is not about “finding” the right person ... it's about “being” the right person.” Many people have asked me "What do you mean by the statement, it is not about "finding" the right person, it's about "being" the right person. How did you get to this point? Being the right person and finding the right person go hand in hand don't they?"
Finding the right person for YOU makes it about you, and what you ‘want.’ ‘Being’ the right person is about being what the other person needs. When you make it about giving to them and being what they need, instead of getting from them what you want, it changes your dynamic and perspective from self-gratification to fulfillment of someone else.
If they are willing to reciprocate and be the right person for you, then it becomes a two way loving and giving relationship. The old adage "It is better to give then to receive" takes on a deeper meaning when applied here.
Here are some of my dating highlights:
1) Who was that in the picture? - About half of the women I met did not look anything like their picture. Not even as a relative!
2) “Let’s get married.” - We went on our first date and I sat across the table from her. She was a nurse, 10 years on the job (It would show she had stability right?). I walked her to her car and gave her a "social" hug good-bye. The next day I got a call from her, informing me we had to get married. She was serious. She said I was “The One.”
OK, I am willing to go as fast as a woman wants (Note: not looking for quick sex or one-night stands) but if we hit it off, I always let the woman decide the pace (as you will see next). So FAST is good, but there is a "natural" progression to it. Example: Meet … talk … eat … hold hands … kiss … really kiss … cuddle … make love … get married. You cannot skip steps!
3) 46 Year Old Virgin – She was saving herself for her future husband to have kids with him (did I mention 46 years old?) enough said.
4) Too Slow – She was so afraid of getting hurt she wanted to go slow (as I said the woman sets the pace). After nine official dates, still no kissing, just starting to hold hands. I am patient, but does anyone else see a problem here?
Note: She said I am the best she has ever met (go figure).
5) Tit for Tat - Our first meeting, I was on time; she was 15 minutes late. Ok this is Southern California – traffic can be a problem. I was gracious about it, and the date went well. It went so well, we agreed to meet the next day. She was very pretty and seemed nice. In fact, I wondered why she was still single (It didn't take long to figure this one out). On that day, I was running late due to an accident on the freeway. I called her to let her know and said I would be there in five minutes. I called her three minutes later to tell her I was two minutes away. She asked me if I knew how to get home from where I was. I said “yes.” She said, “Good. Go home.” She had left because she did not like to be kept waiting.
6) “What kind of S**T car is this?” – I was running around town ... bank, etc. I was in my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which gets pulled behind my motor home and is washed when God washes it (which is not often in Southern California). In the world in which I operate this Jeep (as is) is legendary and has great significance to me. On this day, while I was out running errands, I received a call from one of the women from a dating website I was on. As luck would have it, I was only four miles away, so I agreed to meet her for coffee. She was out front when I arrived, and when she saw me she walked up to the jeep and said, “What kind of S@#T car is this?!” I asked, “Does it matter?” And she said, “Yes, of course! It tells me you are a dirty person and not very successful. If you were, you wouldn't be driving this S#@T car.” She was so upset she refused to even sit down with me to have coffee. At, which point, I said: "Well too bad you feel that way”. I then said, “For the record, I have a $40,000 sports car, a $250,000 dollar motor home, and a three million dollar house. All of which now you will never see.” And I left. I am so glad I was in my Jeep that day!
7) The “User” - They have no interest in you other than what you can spend on them. While I have many examples I could give you, this is probably the best example to drive the point home.
I met a woman from a dating site and on our first meeting; we had mutually decided to meet for lunch. To be in the “spirit” of dating traditions, I told her she could pick the restaurant and I would pay. (I am still old school on this topic, but it may change.) Anyway, we met, and sat down to order. After she ordered her lunch, she proceeded to order another meal to go. I looked at her a bit bewildered. Then she said, “Oh, thank you. This is for dinner so I won’t have to cook later.” When the bill came, she never offered to pay for the to-go order. I never saw or tried to hear from her again.
Unfortunately, there are many of the “user” types out there.
8) I guess I'm not as ready as I thought for a relationship - (I ran in to this one the second most) They pique your interest, they start to know you and you them, and then they decide they are not ready for a new relationship. This is confusing to me because some part of them drove them to be on a dating website and go through all of the effort to set it up, look through names, and start corresponding with men. Yet when they find one who just might be everything they want, they shut down. They make statements like, “I am overwhelmed.” or “I guess I’m just not ready.”
The key here is not to withdraw but to continue forward. It does not mean, “Jump into bed,” but it does mean, “Jump into Life!” People spend a lot of time talking about “the quality of life.” And having “quality time.” Here is my spin on these statements, “The Quality of Life depends upon the Quality of Time invested in it!” I have had many “If only I’d met you at a different time.” Here is what I tell them: “What if, is what you are left with after Why not, is gone.”
9) The Other Guy - (I got this the most). Here are two examples. Example one: They tell you they are over their other relationship. One week later, after you asked the question, they get married to “the other guy!” Example two: You have been texting and on the phone with them for a couple of months, so you drive 1600 miles to meet them. They are wonderful, just what you hoped for. However, distance is an issue. You spend a week with them and their kids. Their kids fall in love with you, and you fall in love with them, only to find out she really is not over the other guy. Even before you leave the house, they are back on the phone together and you drive 1600 miles back home with your heart in your throat.
10) Rules, Rules, Rules! - These are women that have rules for everything. Rules for who they will and will not date, when they will date, how the man MUST act on the date, what can and cannot be done on any particular date. Heck, they even have rules for how you … well, you get the idea. They are so busy with their rules they miss the bigger picture.
The first “rule” of life is there are no rules! It is only what people agree to. Rules and ground rules are fine but both parties need to know what those rules are from the beginning, as opposed to waiting for the man to stumble upon or against them. They leave no room for flexibility. There are exceptions to every rule and rules are made to be broken.
11) The Combatant – This is a most unusual category, to say the least. I have had several run-ins with them. The first time I was caught off guard by the results. From the very first date, they take offense or challenge most everything I say. They put down or argue about the way I talk, the way I dress, even the color of my car. They put down my work and my philosophies of life. The strangest thing of all is after the date, a few days later, I hear from them wanting to know, “When are we going out again?” I guess if you are a masochist, it is good to know your perfect match is waiting out there!
12) The Green-Eyed Monster – This is the stuff Hollywood scripts are made of. For those not familiar with the term “Green-Eyed Monster”, it refers to someone who is jealous. One of the first to coin the phrase was William Shakespeare.
A little possessiveness is OK, even desirable (it’s nice to know you are valued), but jealousy is another world. My Green Eyed Monster was from another solar system! Here is how it went…
We first met; we hit it off right away. In fact, I was surprised how well we got along. For the first two weeks, it was great; then her “green eyes” started to show. It started with her questioning me as to where I was going and who I was seeing. Then it progressed to she would go with me so she would not worry about me. It went steadily downhill from there. She would become upset every time a female talked to me. When we were in the supermarket, I would be admonished every time she (not me) saw a woman she thought was pretty. Believe it or not, it got worse. How much worse, you say? How about this: I live in one of the most automated homes in the world. The house is voice controlled and has a personality. The house’s name is Angela, and when I speak to her, she answers me in a human perfect female voice complete with a French accent. She was even jealous of her! Finale score: Jealousy 1 – Love 0
13) 8 minutes is too long – Aside from online dating I have tried my hand at other forms in initial contacts with women, and 8 Minute Speed Dating was one of them. For those of you who are not familiar with this form of dating, it goes something like this: A group of men and women meet at a restaurant and the women are each seated at a small table. They have a nametag with their first name and a number on it. The men also have a nametag with their first name and a number. A bell is rung and each man approaches a table and sits down for an 8-minute date with the woman seated at the table. After eight minutes, the bell rings again and the man gets up and proceeds to the next table. Each person, both men and women, have with them the equivalent of a dance card to keep notes on each date. At the end of the night, they all go home, log in to the dating site, and input the name and number of each person they would like to see again. If the numbers match, they receive the necessary information to contact the other person. Let me say up front it was an enjoyable experience, and I am sure quite a viable avenue for some people to pursue.
Even though each date is only eight minutes long, sometimes that is seven minutes too much. As an example, I submit the following: The bell rang and I approached the table of a woman and had a seat. She said, “Hello” and I responded with “Hi, What do you like to do?” (Remember we only have eight minutes here.) She said, “I like to tell jokes.” (Note the plural of the word “jokes”). I said, “Great, tell me one.” She got a puzzled look on her face and after stuttering a bit said, “I only know one.” I thought, ok maybe she had misunderstood the question or I had misunderstood the answer. Anyway, I had her tell me the joke, which was ok but poorly told. So just to clarify my thinking I said to her, “When I sat down you said you like to tell jokes, yet you only know one joke,” She said, “Yes, I do like to tell jokes.” The next seven minutes seemed to last forever.
14) The Analyst - Suffers from Analysis Paralysis - This kind of woman analyzes every aspect of words, sentences, paragraphs to the point she never talks to or meets the guy she is trying to get to know. It all becomes about assumptions and analysis of words in a text or email, rather than human interactions and observations. Important things such as voice tones, body language, and physical chemistry are bypassed, so much so in the end, nothing happens and they never meet. Here is one case:
We met online, traded messages on the dating site a few times and then switched to emails (tons of them) and hours of chatting online. She even categorized the many things we had in common. And I quote:
“There are too many similarities. It's pretty scary. I would be AMAZED if there's not an earth shattering connection between us.
1. We both have sugar gliders & love them (most people do not even know what they are).
2. We both like to travel.
3. My female Jack Russell sleeps on my bed every night & you said your dog sleeps on your bed also and it’s a male Jack Russell!
4. We both love animals in general.
5. HALO-The song Halo was on both our dating profiles and what we are both looking for.
6. We are both looking for “the one,” our “last first kiss”.
7. We both hate the dating game.
8. Both have a Carmel obsession & are interested in exploring the possibilities
9. Mirrors everywhere (even the ceiling!).
10. Items 10 through 17 cannot be discussed for this book is rated PG.
18. We both had enough respect for the relationships we were in to possibly let true love slip by so as not to hurt the other person.
Unfortunately, because a situation did come up, I need it completely resolved before I can meet or talk on the phone“.
Despite the fact her heart felt we were connecting, her mind refused to accept it. She was convinced I was lying because it all sounded too good to be true (now remember this is only to have a first meeting, not a true date!) Here is how she put it:
“My problem is my gut is still telling me what my heart and brain don't want to hear and I will know when I meet you if my gut is right. So a meet and greet is going to be either really good or REALLY bad. If my gut is right & you've been lying, it won't matter what my heart thinks anymore. That's what makes it SO scary because as far as things in common and weird coincidence (We even have the same kind of dog)! I can't see where it could go wrong.”
No action was taken. We never did meet.
This reminds me of a story I heard about some birds sitting on a wire. “If there are three birds sitting on a wire and one decides to fly away, how many are left?” “Two?” You may say. The answer is three! You see the one bird, which decided to fly away is still there because though it decided to fly away it never took action. To decide is not enough, action must be taken for something to happen.
15) The Sad and Wounded-Maybe it is due to the age group I am dating in or maybe just the times we now live in, but there are many, many unhappy and jaded people out there. One wonderful woman in particular was feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship and many, many years of being tortured about giving her son up for adoption forty some years before. Her son had recently found her, and they were both going through a lot of pain and hurt.
Because she knew I wrote poems, she asked me to write her one on adoption. She told me cynically I would not understand how she felt. I thought about it and wanted to try to show her the positive side of her decision. So I wrote the poem and presented it to her. The poem surprised and admittedly impressed her beyond her expectations. This is what I wrote:
Over many years and with social changes, women raised their voice.
So when they face the unexpected, they then would have a choice.
When not ready to have a child, it’s hard to know or guess,
Not to have them, or to have one, a No's easier than a Yes!
But to have a child, is quite a job, it requires money, time, and care,
To try to keep them without these, to the baby is not fair.
So out of love and for what's best, the Mother may decide,
To find her child a better home and quickly step aside.
Of all the choices women have, this is the hardest one,
Because though the baby now is gone, her love is never done.
Throughout her life with tortured tears, and her baby not in sight,
She'll lie awake on sleepless nights, wondering if she'd done what's right.
But in her time of stress of strife, she chose the hardest option,
Not to end the life, but instead, give her baby for adoption.
* * * * *
So, with respect to my dating experiences you might be saying to yourself, “OK so where is the positive in all of this?” Actually, there are several positives and a big one you will see in a moment. Just based on the small sample of my experiences you read above, the first is maintaining a positive attitude toward the process. It would be very easy to become jaded, disheartened, quit trying and just wait for “it” to happen.
Second, is the understanding you can just sit back and let fate decide your outcome. However, it is better to understand through the positive way of thinking you have a more positive option. Fate is the opportunity for new choices where none existed before? In other words as someone once said, you can “ride the bus” or “drive the bus.” If you ride the bus, you go where the bus driver is going and at the speed, it is going. If you drive the bus, however, you decide the speed and direction and you are participating in your own rescue!
Despite approaching some 2,760 dating prospects (mostly on-line), and 897 “dates,” I continuously chose the positive option. Had these women done the same, many of our encounters may have ended quite differently. Nonetheless, I chose to remain un-jaded and optimistic. If I truly am to find my “Last First Kiss,” I must not let any of the less-than-pleasant experiences of my past affect my future. I knew it would not be long in the future before I would walk into a room and for the first time look into the eyes of the woman who will become the love for the rest of my life, and it would all have been worthwhile.
It was Abraham Lincoln who said: “The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time!”
Now some of you may say, “how could you know this with just a first look?” As I said, I am searching for "the one" and the moment I see her I will know. She may not, but I will. When I was 19, I was in college and I walked into a party. There were 35 girls from the local sorority there. I looked across the room and saw one girl in particular. She looked back at me, and we were together for seven years... A while after the relationship had ended; I went to a restaurant with a co-worker to get lunch. The waitress walked up to the table and asked “may I help you?” When she walked away, I turned to the co-worker and said, "That is who I am going to marry.” Even though it took one year to get brave enough to ask her out, we were together 30 years. There is a book called "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell which explains what I am doing is way more than just looking at the physical, AKA "Lust at first sight." It is an instant, multifaceted analysis based upon parameters such as pheromones, instinct, and personal preferences all happen within seconds after I meet someone and look into her eyes.
And then it happened… One day I was contacted from the dating web site by a woman who wanted to meet me, (a psychic no less!) so I agreed. When we met, she did not look anything like her picture or physical description. I instantly knew she was not someone I was interested in. However, since I always try to maintain a positive attitude about things, I decided to have the date anyway. I was across the street when I first saw her and could have easily left there and then. Despite my lack of interest in her as a future partner, I stayed with her and bought us dinner. I was polite and later found out several of her first dates excused themselves to the bathroom and never came back or stuck her with the bill and left. Toward the end of dinner she said, “I feel I am not the one you are looking for” (Well she IS a psychic after all!) I said no she was not, but when I see her, I will know.
After she inquired about my business and understanding what I did, she went on talking about it and said she had a friend, which could use my help. I agreed to meet with her and her friend in the next few days. The “psychic” then tentatively set up a meeting with the woman who needed help. On the appointed day, I had not heard from the “psychic” to confirm the meeting. In addition, she had not returned any of my calls all day long. It would have been very easy not to show up at this point because it was only an unconfirmed tentative appointment, but I had promised to come so I went anyway. A positive choice I am most thankful for.
There is a saying: Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.
As I walked up to the table I noticed three women sitting there, not the two I was expecting. As I sat down at the table I was introduced by the psychic to the one I was supposed to help and then to a friend of the Psychic who she had also invited to come along (who I later found out the psychic had specifically invited to come meet me). As I was introduced to her, I looked into the eyes of the woman as she sat there. My heart started beating harder, alarms went off in my head, and I had the feeling of being on the downhill slope of a rollercoaster. I had just “Blinked.” Her name was Terry, and we are together to this day!*
What if I my attitude had been the same as those other men’s attitude had been? In a strange way, I should thank them for having a negative attitude. Because if they had not, I would not now be looking into the eyes, of My Last First Kiss!
*Update: As of the publishing of this book, we are engaged to be married!
Click here to see the video of how this chapter ends.