When I started contemplating dating again, I wasn’t really attracted to the men who were contacting me from the online dating site. Like every woman (if I may be so presumptuous to speak for us all), a handsome man with slightly rugged features, a strong chin, and the body of Adonis is what sets my nether-regions a’tingling. You know – the type of guy that graces the cover of Men’s Fitness! The men who were interested in me were more like the type that would be featured on the cover of Geekologie Today, Old Folks Digest, or Good Ol’ Boy Monthly.
However, when I contacted attractive men, I never heard back, and it bothered me that I was (I assumed) being judged on the basis of my age, body type, or looks. How could I be so shallow as to do the same thing to someone else? I decided that if I was contacted by a man who met my other criteria (educated, humorous, and gainfully employed), who shared some of my interests and had all of his teeth, I’d meet him for a drink. At least I could get to know him a bit better and then make a decision about either continuing to date or not.
So, with some trepidation, I agreed to meet Teddy – not his real name, but I called him Teddy because he was somewhat soft and squishy – like a teddy bear.
Teddy was highly educated, had a high-paying job with the government as an electrical engineer, and he shared many of my interests. He didn’t make the greatest first impression – email #1 (just before Christmas) complimented my smile (that’s nice!) but when I responded and asked about his interests, he then hit me with a barrage of emails. In #2, he confirmed that we did like many of the same things – in fact, he had tickets to a musical next month and he would love for me to be his date. Before I could respond, email #3 came, entitled “Tentative First Date Plans” – in which he suggested that we meet for dinner that weekend, his treat. I emailed back and explained to him that, as I was rusty in the dating department, I preferred to go verrrrry slowly. I added that I would feel more comfortable meeting for hot chocolate or a soda. Within minutes, he emailed again (#4), saying that would be fine, but that he could tell me more about himself by email. What followed was a 500 word essay about his job, past jobs, his current “sole proprietorship,” pets, more interests (dancing, board games, museums, and antique stores). He ended with “What else would you like to know?”
At this point, I went back and read Teddy’s online profile more closely – and saw that he was “Looking for the woman of my dreams; my partner for life.” His political views were conservative and he was Catholic. I emailed him back: “I’m not sure how carefully you read my profile, but I wanted to make sure you understood that I’m currently separated and have no plans to divorce for at least the next several years due to financial and insurance issues. Also, I’m not an organized religion type of person – in fact, I have an issue with most religions. Finally, I am not at all conservative in my views. “ Teddy responded quickly, “I did read your whole profile and understand all of the above – none of these things are deal breakers for me.” He followed up with email #6 within an hour: “The more I read your profile, the more I am interested in you. When can we meet?” I explained that my children were in town over the holidays and that I would not be available until after the first of the year – in fact, I would not be checking my messages until then – but if he was still interested then, he could shoot me an email then.
On January 1st, I received email #7: “How are you?” and on January 2nd, two more emails: “Would you like to meet for dinner?” and “Would you like to plan to meet now that the holidays are over?” The excessive emails were working my last nerve by this time, but as Teddy was never anything but polite and friendly, I figured that he was just eager and perhaps lonely. I again reminded him that I would prefer meeting for a drink and we set up the date and time (he sent three more emails during this process).
I have to admit, it was difficult to muster up enthusiasm for the date, as I was not really attracted to Teddy, I was put off by the many emails, and…I was still a tad resentful that I was in a position where I even had to consider dating again. But I had decided that I needed to get over my fears, put myself out there, and start meeting people – so with some trepidation, I arrived at the coffee shop that Saturday afternoon.
Teddy was waiting for me at the door. I shook his hand and accompanied him to the counter, where we ordered and he deftly paid for both drinks. We then sat down and began to talk – almost immediately, I noticed that Teddy reminded me of…my brother. His mannerisms, laugh, and his voice were nearly identical. That’s not a bad thing – my brother is a great guy – but I don’t want to date my brother, you know? Still, we talked for over two hours and Teddy seemed very friendly, if a little pretentious (he often talked about his boat, his great-paying job, and the fact that he only eats at “fine dining” establishments). When we finally wrapped things up, Teddy asked me if I would like to go to see the musical “Chicago” with dinner beforehand at a restaurant I could never afford on my own.
I was torn – I could not see my platonic feelings for Teddy changing and I didn’t want to lead him on. But on the other hand, he was pleasant and we did share so many interests – plus my esthetician had told me that I should really give each prospect at least three dates “to know for sure.” Also – and I’m ashamed to admit it – I really wanted to go eat at the nice restaurant and see the show! So, we agreed to meet at the restaurant that Thursday. Teddy immediately followed up by suggesting we go out to dinner prior to that – on Tuesday…and perhaps we could go on a hike the next weekend? I gently told him that I had plans on Tuesday and we would discuss the hike at our date on Thursday. We exchanged numbers and I took my leave.
Before I got home, some twenty minutes later, Teddy had already texted me three times.
Have you ever fallen for someone that you initially were not attracted to? How important do you think physical attraction is in a relationship? How much texting and emailing is too much?