Getting to Know You?

From his first hello, Sully’s voice was music to my ears.  Our phone conversations were easy and free flowing.  It was as though we had known each other in this life and beyond.  I felt as if he were my familiar.  There were no bawdy sex comments, no stilted conversations where I had to take the lead and pull out each word from the other’s mouth, like a dentist pulling teeth.  We shared our most precious thoughts and beliefs.  From political views to psychological ones, our conversations simply floated along on a cloud.  I was immersed in a blanket of warmth, trust, and affection.  We spoke several times a day for two weeks before setting up a date to meet.

Great Expectations

I agreed to meet Sully halfway at a McDonald’s for coffee.  I was a little surprised because it was only an hour’s drive.  All other dates, with the exclusion of Aiden (who was four hours away) hadn’t minded driving two or three hours to come to me.  Also, meetings were always over lunch or supper.  I suppose I had become a bit spoiled.  However, I didn’t mind because I was excited to make the acquaintance of this special person with whom I had such a warm rapport.

The journey took me longer than expected.  As the countryside was unfamiliar to me, I was bound to take a couple of wrong turns, which I did.  Fortunately, my quirky sense of direction and GPS got me to where I needed to be.  Almost 30 minutes late, I was like a wet mop.  Beads of perspiration rolled down my face from nerves and frustration.  Getting lost was one of my pet peeves; I always liked to be on time.

As I pulled into a parking space, I took a peek in the mirror and rolled my eyes in disgust.  I looked disheveled and sweaty, like I had just gotten out of a sauna.  I hoped I wasn’t too unsightly.  I so wanted to make a good impression.  As I exited my car, I turned to see a man parked next to me having some difficulty climbing out of his SUV.  Maybe I should go over and ask if he needs assistance, I thought.  However, he finally managed to disembark before I could ask him.  As he made his way around his vehicle, he caught sight of me.  He greeted me with a friendly and familiar wave and shuffled towards me.  Dressed in cloth sandals, oversized shorts, and tee shirt, he was bent over and looked like a little old bag man without the shopping cart.  He made his way towards me as if we were old friends.  I looked into his craggy face and realized that he was Sully with whom I had flirted and shared such wonderful phone conversations for the past two weeks.  He looked nothing like the one in the younger profile pictures from his online account.  My stomach felt like it had sunk down to my toes.  Disappointment enveloped me.

To Tell the Truth

We seated ourselves in the uncomfortable plastic fire engine red seats at McDonald’s and ordered coffee.  I could not help but notice other features of Sully that unfortunately stood out.  When he smiled, a chipped tooth was revealed.  His fingernails and toenails needed trimming and were tinged an unhealthy yellow.  I know I sound critical, but I couldn’t help thinking how much this man had misrepresented himself.  He had seemed enthusiastic and vigorous.  This Sully appeared opposite of all my expectations.  My symphonic hopes quickly crashed into discordant ones.  There was no way that I could make beautiful music with this version of him.  He had also lied about his age as he later sheepishly admitted.  I fought hard to hide my consternation.

He asked me if I were disappointed.  Of course, I did not admit that to him as I had been brought up to be kind to others and let them down easily.  He began to speak of our future together.  The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach plunged even lower.  I felt sick.  How to let him down easily?  I finally admitted that I was unsure of the future and had to think about it.  I couldn’t wait to get into my car and travel homeward.

When I arrived home, I saw that Sully had sent me an e-mail.  It broke my heart.  He wrote that he wanted to come to my area and take me out to dinner at a very nice place.  He very much liked me and wanted to continue our relationship.  He apologized for making me drive out his way and wanted to make up for it.  I realized that he had no idea what a sad and vulnerable picture he presented.  I never replied, which was unlike me.  I didn’t know what I could have said.  It had been disillusioning, and I felt cheated.  My great expectations had turned into greater disappointment.

Fair and Balanced

From personal experience, I have come to understand that online dating is not for the faint of heart.  Even the most determined become disheartened.  That is how I walked into a mirage.  From the first phone conversation with Sully, I allowed myself to envision a beautiful future together.  It was the perfect optical illusion, a genuine disenchantment.  From this, I learned that I need to stay the course with realistic expectations.  I have learned there are no shortcuts in life.  There is no way to wave a magic wand and have that special someone appear.  I also was reminded that I must remain aware of my needs and desires as to what is acceptable while being realistic in future expectations.  Making a more concerted effort at vetting my online dates prior to meetings is also another lesson of which to be reminded.  I will also work on better exit plans toward any future disappointing surprises.




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