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This story is a fantasy based on actual events and real people. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
My marriage was a means to an end for me. It’s probably why it didn’t work out. I started out believing in true love and soul mates and all that bullshit, but once my age started with a 3, I started to realize that it wasn’t going to happen the way that I’d hoped. I decided that I needed a wife in order to buy a house and get on with my life, and because that’s the way that I was looking at things, that’s what I eventually found.
By the time I’d settled down and gotten a respectable job I was 25 and it was the turn of the millennium. As you probably know it was a boom time in the United States, in real estate in particular. I started a house hunt to finally get out of my parents house, and found that all I could afford were dingy two bedroom condos. I passed. I figured that any day now I would meet “the one” and we would be able to afford a wonderful home together. More years passed and “the one” never materialized. Forget about doing anything on my own now, those dingy two bedroom condos had now doubled in price! I certainly wasn’t going to buy one of those things now if I wasn’t going to buy it a few years ago for half the price! I knew the only way I was going to get the kind of place that I wanted was to find someone to share it with.
Finally somebody came along that appeared to fit the bill. We were set up on a blind date. We hit it off and got along well enough that we were engaged within eight months and living together within a year. My life was a blur for a few years. The wedding, the gorgeous townhouse that I always dreamed of, then the baby arrived. Unfortunately by then it was also obvious that my wife and I had no business being together. We didn’t agree on anything. My wife lost her job and refused to go back. Her dream was to stay home and raise a child. My goal was to have a nice house and financial security. I lost the battle. My life became miserable, full of anxiety about what was going to happen when the money ran out. I did my best, giving up a job that I liked to find a job that I didn’t for an extra ten thousand dollars a year, but it barely made a dent. By the time our savings was gone our marriage was over. Next thing I knew I was broke and back living in my parents’ spare bedroom, saddled with huge alimony and child support payments, and wondering if it was all worth it.
To my credit, I guess, romantically I never looked back. I was back on the online dating sites almost as soon as the divorce papers were filed. I had had very little success with them the first time around, but nowadays it was a much more acceptable way of meeting people. I put up a profile on just about any free dating site I could find, my smiling face plastered all over the internet. Divorced male with young daughter, enjoys bowling and mini golf, long walks on the beach, romantic evenings by the fire. I enjoy going out as much as I enjoy staying in (this redundant bit of nonsense was a requirement on every profile for some reason.) I spent hours fine-tuning my profiles and searching the sites. I knew I had a much better idea of the type of woman I was looking for this time around. I browsed through hundreds of profiles. Sometimes I even found somebody I was excited about, and I would write them thoughtful, witty messages and never hear back from them. I had second-hand knowledge that some of the profiles on the sites were faked, and I assumed I was very good at picking those out.
Despite my frustrating experiences, I did get my share of attention. After all, I’m 5’11 and physically fit, with hazel eyes, wavy brown hair, and a killer smile. And to my surprise, the women that I confided in that I was flat broke and living with my parents didn’t seem to mind. Before my divorce was final a woman struck up a conversation with me. We talked for two months. I found that I was ready to meet people but not ready to meet people, if you know what I mean. She didn’t seem to mind, but by the time I was ready to meet her in person she balked. She was a teacher and it was August. She was going away to Florida, she said, and then to Maine for the rest of her summer vacation. She would be gone for two weeks. I was in no hurry, I replied, we could get together when she got back.
I was lucky to have friends who were going through their own divorces. A close friend of mine was having almost the same experience, just a year or so ahead of me. He went through the marriage, the child, the disagreements, and finally the divorce. He committed himself to helping me through the divorce and the aftermath. He had just started dating someone who had been divorced for several years and had been on the dating sites. She filled him in on all of the awful things that women did.
When I told him that this woman told me she went on vacation, Rich told his new girlfriend and she reported back that it was all a lie. She said she was actually tuzla escort seeing other men and putting me on the back burner. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Why lie about that? What if we did end up together? How would you account for the fact that you weren’t actually doing what you said you were doing? I was an honest person, and the thought of someone concocting an elaborate lie like that was beyond my imagination.
Whether she was lying or not, in the end it didn’t matter. The woman suddenly stopped writing me while she was still “on vacation.” A week after that her profile disappeared. Disgusted, I swore off online dating for… an hour. A good hour.
For the next couple of months I slogged my way through online dating without any success. The few profiles that I found interesting enough to respond to never responded back to me. The women that tried to contact me were unattractive, incoherent troglodytes. One conversation fell apart after a few days because one day she told me she was on only child, and the next day she mentioned having a brother-in-law. Really. After that I swore off online dating for two hours. I never enjoyed being single, but I comforted myself with the thought that being single was better than being with anybody I had met up to that point. I rather enjoyed masturbating, anyway. I was good at it. I had years of being single and being in a bad marriage to practice. I knew my way around the internet. I knew the sites that offered free x-rated videos, and where the best erotic stories were. I knew how to find what I wanted, as long as it wasn’t an actual woman.
In the middle of October a woman contacted me. She seemed nice enough and attractive enough. I decided I was going to meet her. I asked her and she agreed to meet me at a coffee house near her. I didn’t drink coffee, but I didn’t drink alcohol, either, so I decided a quiet Starbucks was much better than a bar to get to know someone.
We said we would meet at six o’clock and I was there at six o’clock. Did I mention I was obsessively punctual? It was obvious that this woman wasn’t. There was no sign of her. I texted Rich after ten minutes. “Still waiting,” I said. “No way,” he replied. I wasn’t too nervous when I arrived, considering it was my first post-divorce date and I really didn’t know what to expect, but as the minutes dragged on and the thought of being stood up crept into my mind, I started to get anxious. I looked around the Starbucks. Customers were drifting in and out. There was a man with a baby in a detachable car seat sitting by the door, drinking a coffee while the baby napped. A woman had come in at almost the same time as me. She didn’t quite match the photos of the woman I was expecting to meet, but after a few minutes ticked by I started to wonder about her. She took her coffee and sat at a table facing the door, and cracked open a laptop in front of her. I began to think that maybe I should just go over and make sure that it wasn’t my date, when she suddenly put her phone to her ear and started jabbering away in Spanish. No, that wasn’t her. I continued to pace around the little storefront, trying not to look like I was waiting for somebody and getting increasingly worried that she wasn’t coming.
After fifteen minutes I decided I would try to call her. Mind you our entire correspondence up to that point had been on the dating site. We had exchanged phone numbers when we agreed to meet in case of emergency, but we hadn’t even spoken on the phone yet. I had stepped outside and dialed the number when I finally saw her approaching. She was 5’3 with waist-length brown hair, a slim figure and pretty brown eyes. She apologized for being late and I followed her into the Starbucks. We sat down at a table near the door and she talked for the next fifteen minutes. No, really. I don’t think I said more than two words the entire time. She suddenly excused herself to go to the bathroom. I sat there, practically shell shocked, and expecting that when she came back she would feign an emergency and leave. Instead when she came back she said she wanted some coffee, so we went over to the counter.
Here is the other thing that Rich had told me through his new girlfriend. There are women out there who will date you pretty much just for the free stuff. Free drinks, free meals, whatever. Food whores was the term that he used. The idea had stayed in the back of my mind. Mary ordered a coffee and I ordered a hot chocolate. I watched her out of the corner of my eye. She didn’t even budge when the cashier totaled up our order. Whatever, it was barely seven bucks total.
We sat back down and she started talking again. Every once in a while she would ask me a question and I would answer her, which would send her off talking about another topic. I found myself just staring at her, following what she was saying but also letting my thoughts drift. I stared at her lips and wondered what it would be like to kiss them. Her gray top left her collarbone exposed, tuzla escort bayan and I imagined myself kissing it, then throwing her down somewhere and tearing all of her clothes off. I was never a man who let his sexual urges run his life, but this was a fresh start, right? Maybe this time around I could find it in myself to date women just to try to get them into bed. It could happen, right?
After a while she excused herself to go to the restroom again. As soon as she was gone I pulled out my phone. 8:05? We were sitting there for two hours? No wonder my stomach was rumbling. I texted Rich that I was still there at the Starbucks with her. I didn’t have time to wait for his reply. Mary came back and started talking again. I wondered if I should ask her if she wanted to go to the Appleby’s next door for dinner, but she just kept plugging along. Finally an hour later she said we should probably go before the Starbucks closed. We stood up and walked outside.
“I had a good time,” she said.
“Me too,” I replied.
“I don’t kiss on the first date,” Mary blurted out.
Reflexively, I held out my hand and she shook it. I turned and wandered back to my car, wondering what came next.
I honestly had no idea if there’d be a second date. It was a bit awkward and uncomfortable at times. Still, I enjoyed myself. I think I enjoyed myself. I must have enjoyed myself. Why else would I have sat there for three hours on a Wednesday night and missed dinner, right? Mary broke the ice the next day, saying she had a good time and hoped that we could see each other again. I replied that hopefully we could get something to eat next time. I couldn’t tell if she found that funny or not. I couldn’t tell if she had any measurable sense of humor, really, which was a big strike against her. We agreed to meet at a restaurant of her choosing the next Wednesday.
“Why Wednesday?” Rich asked me the next time I spoke to him.
“That’s the only night she’s free,” I replied, “She said she works two jobs.”
“I’ll bet she works two jobs,” Rich said, “Her regular job and her other boyfriend.”
“How could she lie about that?” I almost shouted. “Imagine that conversation. Hey Joe, I’m not actually working two jobs; I was just lying about that so you didn’t know you weren’t the only man I was seeing. But you’re the only man I want to date now, I swear!”
“That conversation is never going to happen,” Rich said calmly, “She’s only dating you for the free food.” I groaned. “My advice to you is to stop trying to make this chick your new girlfriend and just try to get her into bed.”
I heard him, but was I really listening? I was never able to date anybody with the sole intention of getting them into bed. Would I be able to now? I knew I wanted, needed to get laid. Maybe, just maybe it was okay to focus on that.
The following Wednesday was more or less just like the Wednesday before it, just with food. She showed up fifteen minutes late, did the vast majority of the talking, and made no effort at all to contribute to the bill. We were the last people to leave the restaurant, sometime after 9:30. This time I got a hug for my trouble. I left thinking that if I was going to date this woman just to get her into bed; I was going to be dating her for a long, long time.
“I think you’re a great person, but I don’t think that you’re the right person for me.” I practiced saying that in my mind almost every day, but it never made it into my messages to Mary. I wondered if I really wanted to keep seeing this person, or if it was a desire to just have anybody to go out with. I hadn’t met anybody better yet, not for lack of trying. Mary said she was busy the following Wednesday, but that she could meet me on the following Saturday morning for breakfast before she had to go to work. I could hear Rich snickering in the back of my head. That was certainly something that friends did, not people who were dating. I thought that maybe she would tell me she only wanted to be friends during breakfast. I thought that maybe I would say that if she didn’t.
She was late to our breakfast date, too. I’m not sure how late she really was, because after nearly half an hour of sitting in a booth at the diner waiting for her I finally got up and found her sitting in the waiting area. As usual she did most of the talking and I paid for the meal. This time, at least, I got a peck on the lips before she hurried off to her car. Utterly perplexed, I wandered off to my car, the lingering contact still tingling on my lips.
The following Wednesday we met at a little Italian place in town. She was twenty minutes late, did most of the talking, and didn’t contribute to the bill again. It turned out that we had parked on different sides of the restaurant, and I offered to walk her back to her car. I thought it was a bad sign when I held out my hand to walk across the street with her and she refused to take it. We got to her car and she started talking for another escort tuzla ten minutes or so. It was unusually warm for a December evening, but it wasn’t that warm. It was also about ten o’clock by then. I had to be awake by 6am to go to work the next morning. I willed myself to stay calm, curious to see what kind of goodnight I was going to get. Finally she stopped talking and told me she had to go. She pulled me in for an embrace, and then I could feel her face seeking out mine. We kissed. I was too eager, too passionate. I had to slow myself down to match her pace. We made out for several minutes, lips parted but no tongue, arms around each other but no caressing. The town was still bustling at this late hour, and eventually we were startled by voices nearby. I insisted on staying there until she got into her car and started it. Once the motor was running she gave me a look to say, okay, you can go now. With a wave I turned and hurried off to my own car, more confused than ever.
We met again the next Wednesday at a Chinese restaurant of my own choosing. For the first time we were getting together in my neighborhood. I was acutely aware of the possibility of my ex-wife or her friends or family walking in and seeing me on a date. I found myself glancing at the door every time it opened. It wasn’t that I was worried about seeing someone I knew; on the contrary it would’ve been quite a kick for me to know that she knew that I was dating. We had been divorced for four months already. My constant glancing at the door annoyed Mary, however, who eventually asked, “Are you expecting someone?” Rather peevishly. I apologized. It was the first date that I did anything besides stare at her while she talked incessantly.
“Don’t you have any questions for me?” Mary asked. I found the question so ironic after listening to her talk for hours on end I had to hold back laughter. The problem was that although I was a curious and inquisitive person, I had a hard time actually asking questions. That was what I told her. I’m not sure if she understood or accepted the explanation. Our date lurched to an end. We walked outside and Mary said that she didn’t want to kiss me because she burned her tongue on the soup. I didn’t mind. It was more conventional December weather and I didn’t want to stand in the parking lot and make out in the freezing cold. We said goodbye and I walked away thinking that I didn’t want to date Mary anymore.
I was so sure Mary felt the same way that when she messaged me the next day I was expecting her to say it to me. I wasn’t expecting the message that I got:
I had a great time last night. Maybe next Wednesday we can meet at my apartment. Let me know what you think.
“Go for it, man!” Rich said when I called him.
“Yeah, but,” I replied. I paused, collecting my thoughts.
Rich cut me off. “You’ve spent how much money on this chick so far?” He asked. “Four meals? A hundred, hundred-fifty dollars? If she’s willing to put out, go collect.”
“She might also be luring me to her apartment to poison me and chop me into little pieces,” I replied. I idly wondered if my life insurance policy would pay out if I was murdered by a woman I was dating that turned out to be a serial killer. I made a mental note to look into it.
“You’ll get past that if you want to get laid badly enough,” Rich said.
In the end, I guess I wanted to get laid badly enough. I told Mary that I would love to come to her apartment. She asked me if I had any STD’s. I didn’t. Did she? No, she replied. She would’ve loved to cook something for me, she said, but she simply didn’t have the time. We decided to just order a pizza.
By the time we were done talking about it, it was Wednesday morning already. It was a long, long day. My mind constantly drifted off to various scenarios of how the evening could play out, each one more outlandish than the next. I got very little work done that day.
I had her apartment mapquested and on my GPS. I was there on time. I don’t know why I bothered. There was no sign of her car. Mary was going to be late to her own funeral one day, I mused, sitting in my freezing car outside her apartment. She arrived fifteen minutes later. I wondered if maybe she set her clocks ahead fifteen minutes and forgot about it, and thought that she was always on time and everybody else was crazy. She seemed surprised to see me when I got out of my car to greet her.
“Oh, hey,” Mary said, “I didn’t expect you to be here already.”
“You said to meet you at six o’clock,” I said, “It’s 6:15.”
“Oh,” Mary said, as though the concept of people showing up when they were supposed to only occurred to her at that moment. Mary turned and started walking toward her apartment, launching into a story. “Remember that girl I told you about at work…” she said, and I groaned inwardly. I didn’t know why I would’ve expected anything different from her. The story of the co-worker lasted until we were inside her apartment. It was a tiny one-bedroom apartment, cluttered and unkempt. The odor of kitty litter assaulted my nostrils. I felt claustrophobic even being there. How far would I go just to get laid?
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