Wow, has it really been since before Christmas 2011 that I’ve posted anything here? That’s like six months. I wish I could state that I have been incredibly busy in that time and so focused on the important things in life that I simply didn’t have time to sit down and write anything. Yeah, that sounds good.
The truth is, however, that I am just lazy.
Not that things haven’t been going on in my world. In the six months since my last entry I have replaced two computers, moved from one part of town to another, and played a shit ton of video games. Oh, and the relationship I was in for the past seventeen years (to the day, oddly enough) ended.
Now it would be very easy for me to blame Shannon (my ex… it still seems weird calling her that), or for her to blame me, for our breakup (and she has lots of right to, I will admit), but the truth is that it was probably really over years ago. We were hanging on by a thread woven of familiarity coupled with the fear of being alone, I think. What happened… happened and there are no do-overs in life. What’s really important on our journeys, I believe, is not where we’ve been or even where we’re headed, but how we behave where we are at the moment. To that end, Shannon and I have done our best to remain amicable and remain friends. So far its working out.
So I suddenly found myself single again at the age of forty four.
Men go through an interesting metamorphosis when they divorce or end a long-term relationship. Our Baucchian or Dionysian natures tend to take over and we suddenly view ourselves as wild free spirits. “Now I am going to fuck everything that moves,” I told myself for about five minutes before my inner George Costanza took over and I muttered “I actually don’t see myself ever being in a position where I will be able to ever have sex again.” We do think with our penises a lot of the time. I’m not proud.
Needless to say, my walking hard-on and gloom and doom phases didn’t last very long at all, I’m a realist and I knew that if I did want to meet someone new, she (or he – I considered batting for the other team but decided it really just isn’t in me… no pun intended) wasn’t going to just suddenly knock on my door in the middle of the night. I was going to have to start dating. GASP! Thing is I really hadn’t dated in two decades. I wasn’t sure I knew how anymore. Even Shannon and I never really “dated” in the traditional sense. For readers to really understand that, I would have to go into far greater detail about how and when Shannon and I met and how my previous marriage ended than I am prepared to do at this time. We’ll just say that I sort of transitioned from my marriage to Pam into my relationship with Shannon. And don’t ask me why Shannon and I never got married after being together so long. Neither of us have the time for that explanation right now.
So, again, I had to start dating, frightening as I found the concept to be. How does a guy in his forties do that? This is the age of the internet. If you need a new motherboard for a computer, a prescription for Canadian Viagra, or a DVD of the director’s cut of Dawn of the Dead (George Romero, not Zack Snyder, of course), you can find it online. I knew from experience that you could find a woman online just as easily, having done so in the past (one of those things that happened during my and Shannon’s relationship that I’m not so proud of). But where to start looking. Then I remembered one of my earlier posts which dealt with Magic:The Gathering world champion Jon Finkle meeting a woman via online dating site OKCupid. Jon didn’t have the best experience with OKCupid, but surely not every girl on there was a geek-hating cooze, right? Best of all, OkCupid, unlike other online dating services such as match.com or eharmony, is free. So I went and signed up and started looking through ladies’ profiles.
I made a pact with myself right away as well. It didn’t matter very much what the lady looks like (although I do prefer what I call “cute and chubby”), I just wanted to be sure she was a gamer to some extent (or st least didn’t think that video games were just for kids and geeks who live in their mom’s basements), she had to appreciate the Beatles and horror & science fiction films (Prometheus was due out in a few months, after all), and she had to either be an atheist or at the very least have a mindset where God has little or no meaning in her life whatsoever. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it?
Surprisingly enough, there seemed to be scores of women on OKCupid who fit that exact description.
One of the profile sections the site likes people to fill out asks for “six things you can not live without,” and while I breezed past plenty of profiles that listed “my God” or “my church” or “the Bible” as one of a woman’s six all-important things, there were plenty who listed things like “my Xbox 360” or “the films of John Waters” among them. Surely the next Mrs. Triggs was here somewhere.
So I kept sifting through profiles and cautiously sending messages to the women I found interesting in some way. I tried to keep these messages as brief and introductory and non-creepy sounding as I could while still attempting to be as up front about my interests as possible without sounding like too much of a geek. Let’s face it, although I was looking for ladies with similar interests, there are few women in this world who feel as strongly as I do about Star Wars, zombies, and video games or comic books. I would usually write something like, “Hello! I do hope that is a suitable enough way to break the proverbial ice. My name is Mike and I came across your profile here and was quite interested. I think it’s great that you enjoyed Watchmen so much. I’d love to learn more about you. If you’re also interested after reading my profile, perhaps we can chat a bit or go out for coffee or something… blah, blah, blah…”
What I didn’t realize for a while is that no one really communicates on OkCupid the way one does in, say, an email. The popularity of the site has grown considerably in recent months, largely due to the availability and usefulness of the site’s app for Android and IOS smart phones. People use it like an extension of their text messaging or IM programs. I learned this when I got a reply from one of the women I’d sent that introductory message to and it simply said “hi.” I realized that the woman it came from had a little notifier next to her name indicating she was online right then. We chatted back and forth a bit and I realized that I was actually pretty good at the getting to know you chit chat. At one point I asked her about the Double Down Saloon, a local dive bar which her profile had mentioned. Popular with the local Las Vegas twenty and thirty-something crowd for it’s cheap drinks and live music, the Double Down was apparently her favorite place to hang. “Wanna meet there in half an hour or so?” she asked me.
I froze. Wait… an actual… date? Gulp! I wasn’t ready for that at all, I suddenly realized. Not at a moment’s notice anyway. And this was on a Wednesday. Did people actually DO that? Go out for drinks and chit chat with the potential for groping on a school night? I was surprised and interested at the same time, that debaucherous nature tugging at me and reminding me that getting tipsy with a stranger could lead to a memorable Wednesday night indeed. But, as is too often the case, I was broke and in no position to be buying drinks (I’m still of the mindset that the man does the paying on the dates and though several women have worked to change my mind on that lately, I assumed that everyone expected that to be the case) for myself or this woman. Reluctantly I turned her down, but went away from the conversation feeling pretty good about myself. A woman had found me interesting enough to ask out. Wow.
I contacted several women through OKCupid, but only actually went out with a couple of them. The first was an absolutely lovely lady who, though she was a few years my senior, was far more heavily into her video games than I ever was into mine. She was an avid MMO player (which, for the uninitiated, means she plays games known as Massively Multiplayer Online games; titles like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic were her forte although she also admitted to thoroughly enjoying Rock Band) more than a console player like me, but she loved her games and stated so proudly in her profile. She also had an appreciation for comic books (or, more accurately, graphic novels – yes, there is a difference) and science fiction films and television. She also shared my love of the Beatles and she was an atheist. I was smitten.
We met for drinks and hit it off immediately, talking about everything from the finer points of Star Wars to whether Diablo III was going to live up to the hype surrounding it (it doesn’t). It went so well that we were both interested in meeting again, which we did a week or so later for lunch on what happened to be her birthday. We went out one other time, to see the Tim Burton film Dark Shadows (don’t waste your money – not even at the Red Box) which she enjoyed and I pretty much hated. Nobody’s perfect.
It was through this lovely woman that I was introduced to my current roommate. She had a male friend who was looking for someone to rent his spare room. I was looking for somewhere to flop, cheap. The price was right. He’s a lot like me. His chosen profession is writing (although unlike me he holds an actual journalism degree) but he pays the bills answering phones in a customer service position. He digs his science fiction, especially Star Trek (and no, we’ve not had the inevitable Star Trek vs. Star Wars argument yet… I’m not looking forward to that one) and he’s a generally good guy. I packed up the few possessions I didn’t just let Shannon keep (the last thing I wants to do was fight with her over material shit) and moved myself and my cat Sophie into his place.
I was about ready to start dating this lady exclusively when my inner voice spoke up, telling me that after being in a single relationship for so long, I really should see what else the world has to offer before getting too heavily involved with just one person. So when I was looking at the OKCupid app on my phone and a sudden notification buzzed in that I had a new message, I clicked over to it immediately, wondering who it was from. I thought it might have been one of the other ladies I’d been speaking to for a bit, bjut hadn’t actually met. Was it the thirty-something attorney who liked to read Stephen King? Maybe it was the cute blonde woman who had seemed interested until she learned I don’t drive a car? I located the message and learned it was from someone completely new.
“Hi,” it said.
“Another IM-er,” I thought, as I typed out a quick response (something like “Hello to you!” most likely). While awaiting her next message I went to check out her profile. Her name was Tara. She referred to herself as a BBW and was pretty attractive. Cute and chubby. Check. She talks about playing video games. Check. The Beatles appeared on her list of favorite music. Check. Atheist. Check. We started tallking via the OKCupid app and kept doing so for most of that day. And then most of the next day… and the next. I learned she was a single mother of two girls. One was twenty and an adult, the other was ten and a child. She only dated on the weekends when her younger daughter was away at her father’s place. Although the bright red “SHE HAS KIDS” flag was waving in my mind (having raised Shannon’s two boys from the time they were about five and three until now when they are twenty one and nineteen, was I really interested in getting involved with someone with children again? I’m getting too old for that shit.), we made tentative plans to meet in about two weeks. And we kept talking all day every day of those two weeks at first via OKCupiod and finally via our personal cell phones. By the time we met for our first date I felt as if we’d known each other for years.
The first date quickly led to a second and a third and another and surprisingly quickly we were getting pretty serious about one another. Again that voice popped up in my head, asking if I was really in a place where I should be getting serious. I countered it by saying that, if one was digging for gold and found the mother lode in a specific spot, one would not keep looking in other places. I have arguments like this with myself fairly often. And I always win them.
Suffice to say, before I knew what was happening, I was head over heels, Popeye and Olive Oyl, Burton and Taylor, (hell, Burton and Bonham-Carter) in love with Tara.
AM I crazy? Perhaps. But I am definitely done searching for the mother lode.
I’ve found it.
And life goes on…