Seasons come and go, as do the people in our lives and the number of zeros in our bank accounts. There are, however, a few things I consider steadfast, certain and true: 1) Every season in NEO is a bad sinus season. 2) Girl Scout cookies. 3) Dating is a fruitless, ridiculous gesture that’s certain to drive me around the bend.
While writing this dating diary, I’ve had more than a few lousy dates, to be sure: one with a guy who claimed to be a “young 56,” but spent our entire two hours talking about his knee replacement surgery and the fact that he’s been on disability for over 20 years; another with an Italian cop who wasn’t familiar with the term, “compromise”; and even one with a man who was immediately impressed with how confident I was but spent so much time talking about his past relationship that I finally asked and was told that he really didn’t want to date, just yet.
No need to point out that I’m halfway around the bend already, thanks very much.
With the immutable end of my column in sight (this one is it), I have to admit I was feeling a little perplexed, a little flummoxed, a little discombobulated. (Actually I just wanted to use all three of those words in one sentence; it makes me laugh.) I truly can’t understand, though, why my dating track record remains as dismal as a Cleveland Browns season.
And then, a delivery to the akronlife offices — an envelope, addressed and hand-delivered one afternoon in early February. Inside, three pages of handwritten soliloquy, three pages of admiration for my monthly articles, of kudos for writing about my life (and making him laugh about it), of introspection about what he himself had experienced.
The letter is, perhaps, one of the sweetest things I’ve ever been gifted with.
The “Mystery Man,” as my friends and I came to call him, claimed to have some similar interests — music, the outdoors, the arts — and said that he had three daughters. He didn’t give specifics about who he was or what he did, except to note that he “wasn’t an intelligent man,” while offering up a couple phone numbers of people he worked with that I might call to ask about his general character. At the end of the letter, he asked if I might be willing to meet him, and gave me two dates and times that he would be at a coffee shop in the area.
It was all very “Sleepless in Seattle”-ish, don’t you think? My editor and I certainly did! So I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to the coffee shop.
On the specified day and time, I arrived five minutes early, looked around, saw only one person who might be him — but decided it couldn’t be. He was sitting at a table that was completely covered with newspapers, books and periodicals — not something I’d expect of a guy who said that he’s not intelligent.
Listen, finding a guy who knows how to read more than the sports page is like finding a needle in a haystack, so I just assumed this wasn’t him. No worries, though — since I was the only woman in the place by herself. So I bought a cup of java and parked myself at the counter. I even put the letter out, next to my cup of coffee.
There, I sat, I sipped and I waited.
Surely, I figured, if “Mystery Man” was sitting at that table, he would approach me.
Perhaps it wasn’t him. During the 20 minutes I sat there sipping coffee and looking around, I was never approached and no one new came into the shop. So when I finished my coffee, I left.
Here’s the thing: I’m not upset, I’m not sad, I’m not angry — I’m just kind of numb. All my attempts at finding someone to spend my life with have been unsuccessful, and I’m thinking it’s time to regroup. And it’s not so bad, being alone. I don’t have to answer to anybody. I can eat Fritos and Ho-Ho’s for dinner, while standing up, drinking a glass of wine (I don’t, but I could). I can sleep till noon on Sundays (though I don’t do that either).
I do still believe in the possibility of love. I also still believe that laughter is the best medicine, that the glass is half full and that my kids are better than everyone else’s.
As for “Mystery Man,” if you’d like to try again, email Georgina, the editor of akronlife at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll pass along the message. And thank you for that sweet, sweet letter. I was — and remain — incredibly touched.