Internet Dating Gone Wrong Part 1: Chinese Food and True Intimacy

Posted on October 19, 2011 by


online dating

I’m wading into the shark infested waters of dating after divorce dramas to tell a “hypothetical” story.

  1. Join dating site in order to avoid becoming a lonely woman in fifties living with cats and marking the calendar between obligatory visits from children.
  2. Receive email notification that Ron is interested! With an exclamation point. Despite knowing it’s silly, feel a little excited. After all, Ron has kids too. He also likes to hike. What more do you need to form a meaningful connection?
  3. Meet Ron for Chinese food. You don’t really like Chinese, but you don’t want to be unadventurous, or disclose what excessive salt does to the bags under your eyes.
  4. Try on three different outfits before realizing that nothing you put on will make you look twenty-five. Nothing. You are forty. Period. And you have the look of divorce. No matter how far you’ve come and no matter how much therapy and healing and moving-on you’ve completed, there’s a rapid aging affect that occurs with divorce. There’s a pre-divorce and post-divorce picture. Like a JennyCraig pic only in reverse. Your own sister has suggested a shot of botox between your brows.
  5. Ron is sitting at the bar, working on a beer and a plate of egg rolls when you arrive. You size each other up. But, you haven’t done this in like, twenty years. You’re rusty. You try to remember what you should be evaluating…and just as you notice Ron is wearing cowboy boots with shorts, Ron rushes in for a hug/greeting/so nice to meet you moment.
  6. Ron likes Chinese food a lot. He’s an enthusiastic menu peruser. That’s something. You find that positive and hopeful. You are also hopeful when Ron does not order another beer followed by a mixed drink and a shot. Maybe he is not an alcoholic. So far the date is a success.
  7. Ron is forty-five. Ron has three children and a job. He’s been divorced for three years. He enjoys jet skiing in the summer and loves snowboarding in the winter.
  8. Ron sells paper products to large corporations. There is never a lack of asses to be wiped and so, the recession has not hit his industry like other industries.
  9. Ron is a guy with a job. That’s the new sexy. It’s no longer the least communicative, most pierced and darkly brooding guy in the room. Employment is the new turn on.
  10. You see the two of you starring in a Viagra ad…your hair is grey/blond in a bob and you’re wearing a tennis skirt and for some reason, Ron is still wearing his confounding cowboy boots.
  11. Ron asks what you like to do. Your mouth is burning from spicy beans and the jalepeno pepper you inhaled moments earlier. What do you like to do?
  12. You like to read. Really? Like what?
  13. Well, books. Yes, you like to read books. Dead space. Ron is patient. You are sure your face is beginning to swell. Your upper lip is sweating from the fucking jalepeno.
  14. You order a shot. You order a shot to change the subject and numb your mouth. Ron looks concerned. You consider telling him that you don’t usually drink but that would sound like a lie or a cover up or an excuse. When what you really want to say, is other than work and taking care of your children? You’ve been pretty busy doing things you don’t like to do, like getting divorced…
  15. Bringing up divorce would make you a Debbie Downer…it would be the buzz-kill moment. But it’s the reason the two of you are “available” and sitting across from each other in a Chinese restaurant. Being served by a painfully polite Chinese woman who leans over the table in a white uniform and refills your water over and over, your mouth ablaze. You hear your ex-husband tell you water does nothing. Milk. You need milk. Consider ordering milk. But you’re still waiting for your shot.
  16. Beneath the niceties of the initial hello, awkward no-personal-space-hug, just below the surface, are the stories that brought two middle-aged people out on a date. They are the stories of your shipwrecked personal lives.
  17. You could share how many coconut husks you were left in your divorce… yep, there is a good dose of drama just beneath the surface. But you and Ron keep in lite.
  18. Ron wants to experience “true intimacy.” He is ready for that. He says this and waits for you to be amazed? Dazzled? True intimacy is a dating site concept, bandied about by those of us seeking others. In fact, true intimacy has dethroned long walks on the beach as the biggest dating cliché. At least, that’s what you think.
  19. Ron knows you’re a therapist. You made the mistake of including that in your “profile.”
  20. Ron thinks you must know about true intimacy. He looks at you, hopeful.
  21. Apparently he’s willing to overlook your the inability to say anything you like to do other than read (and even that’s kind of stretching the truth because you only read trashy magazines at the gym anymore). You’re a therapist. You must know something…
  22. Herein lies the problem: Semantics. Semantics and what true intimacy means to Ron, to you? That screws (pun intended) with things.
  23. You might be a good conversationalist. You might ask Ron so many questions that he thinks, since he has answered you, that true intimacy has begun to blossom. What Ron doesn’t know is that you speak to everyone and anyone.
  24. You break it to Ron: You have no idea how to obtain the true intimacy he seeks. You’re pretty sure it isn’t instantaneous. Like, just because you have had dinner together, a foundation for true love has not been poured. Ron looks sad. You feel sad.
  25. How about another shot? Ron suggests. He’s suddenly up for hard alcohol too. He wants top shelf stuff.
  26. How long can people with histories and bags and bags of commitments keep it lite? You are not twenty and the road is not open and vast. The road has trees on either side, it has frost heaves and your eyesight has changed a bit.
  27. Not only is Ron up for a shot. He’s got another thing he’d like to share: he’s battling an online pornography addiction. Have you heard of that? You nod and imgaine Ron in his cowboy boots, eerie computer hues illuminating his naked belly. And below his bellyshelf of flesh? He clutches himself and does not blink, does not want to miss a moment of the  lusty, lubricted strangers who are as far from true intimacy as one can travel.