I ate an oyster and almost liked it.

I spepnt the weekend in South Carolina with The Fella…I won’t call it a lovely weekend, because it wasn’t. But it was very informational and productive.  No, we haven’t broken up. Quite the opposite. But I learned a lot that needed to be learned and because I am Calvinist, I will be thankful for that unpleasantness.

It’s like this. You can tell the quality of a person based on their response to stress. I won’t go into details but he had ample opportunity and reason to completely blow his top and go all blue-faced Celtic Warrior on a couple of people, and didn’t.  There were reasons many people would find excusable for really scary behavior and epic retribution, and he didn’t do it. He walked away. Yes, he was very upset and that could have cast a real pall over the whole weekend, but I was able to see the sort of person he is under tremendous stress and that was a very good thing.

A while back, when I first started looking into the dating situation, The Pastor’s Wife told me I needed to see how a man reacts to stress. “He needs to show his butt so you know what happens when you have a fight.  He needs to see you show your butt, too.”  I didn’t show my butt this weekend, but I am sure the time will come.

There were a few really good times too…he made a pot of chili that was completely different from my chili and I realized I must be grown-up now because I let him do it his way without any input and even ate it the way he does too (on crackers with some cheese) and it was delicious. If it’s cold one time when he’s down my way, I’ll fix chili too and we’ll watch maybe an Auburn game. Likely by then it will be basketball so maybe not.

We watched the Alabama-LSU football game and I hardly made any comments about getting hives from watching Alabama play, AND I wore an Alabama shirt, without any  much commentary.  I wrote recently about his window-rattling laugh.  Well…he ain’t quiet watching football either. Some people call it clapping, but when he does it, it’s more like he’s high-fiving himself.  I’m pretty sure if he could jump up and chest-bump himself he would.

There was a point when we were having a conversation about something and he said “Huh. I’m more like you than you are.” and I actually understood what he meant.

We went to worship together. After the stress of the previous day, it was necessary and while it would have been easy to say “oh let’s don’t.” he took lead and said we should, so we did and I am really glad we did. The service spoke to both of us in different but very meaningful ways.  One of the qualities that is very important to me is having someone who will take lead like that. I am finding out if I can trust his judgement, and I can, so letting him lead will be a joy, not a grudging submission.  (spare me the feminist lecture about what I just said. I have my reasons and they are valid, and work well for me. Also, my blog, my opinions.)

He got me to eat a raw oyster. I still say it was akin to a giant cow booger texturally, but with enough horseradish, and on a cracker, not too bad. I don’t know that I will ever crave one, but I ate it and didn’t throw up.

It’s a peaceful place where he lives. Quiet and out in the country. I want to plant a bunch of pansies in the beds lining his walkway.   My dog, Rusty, is getting used to his cats and know where he can go outside.

So, we’ll see how the future works out. Right now things are pretty good and if I know anything, it’s that life can change in an instant. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the prospects.

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All that and a pack of crackers

Hereafter, this person I met and with whom I am making long-term plans, shall be referred to as The Fella.

Perfect, he isn’t. Neither am I. Compatible, we are, ridiculously so. The relationship is new enough that we don’t know everything about each other, but we finish each other’s sentences in our heads (because we aren’t quite close enough to do it out loud) and say things like “that’s what I was going to say”. Which is a very shallow and silly benchmark for a relationship, but it’s one that the world recognizes.

This past weekend, I went up to his place (to investigate), and the 2 of us drove to Alabama, so he could meet my parents and see The Hillbilly Compound. He loved them and it.  They are obviously fond of him, Dad found someone who speaks his language, and Mom someone with whom she was immediately comfortable. #3 was understandably cautious (I mean, he’s pretty protective) but warmed up when he saw how The Fella was with Grandpunkin.  #3 informed me that “What matters is not my opinion, but how you feel about him, how he treats you, and if he ever hurts you I will whup his a** ” Later on he said “I’m ok with this, he’s good with Grandpunkin.” and “As the Pater Familias of *my* family, the influence he would have on my son is critical, and I think he’s going to be fine.”

It is nice to be loved.

The Fella got to experience Saturday Night at The Hillbilly Compound, and spent the entire time looking over at me and saying “This keeps getting better and better.”  The evening involved BBQ ribs and grilled sausage, platters of potatoes and cole slaw, a couple of cases of Corona, a few extra people who’ve been adopted into the family, lots and lots of laughter, off-color jokes, some firearms, and an intentional explosion. Pretty much a typical Saturday when I’m over there.

And he loves my house, the gardens, and the workshops. His place is similar, though not as spread out, and more developed in several areas. So he saw the potential and has wheels turning in his head. I know this because when I saw his place, my wheels began to turn. I know wheels when I see them.

I think the thing that works between us is the ability to say what we think, and how we think it. He understands the concepts immediately, and can riff off of my ideas to develop them. I can do the same. There’s a lot of “what if we did (this)” and “I think if we took (this) and developed it (that way) there would be an improved (whatever)” and he GETS IT without me having to explain it. And he doesn’t have to explain it to me. That saves a lot of time and frustration.

So in short order (because we’re both in our 50’s and know what we want) we’ve gone from “Hm…” to “Ok, here’s a workable 3-year plan”.  That’s the difference between being 20 and looking for someone, and being 50 and looking for someone. It’s far easier to weed out the non-contenders and know when you found the fit.

Also? He’s growing out his bodacious beard. He’d shaved it off for the dating site picture, but had a couple up on his profile with it on. As soon as we started talking a little, I asked if he’d be willing to grow it back, and he hasn’t shaved since.  So, maybe a tad scruffy at the moment, but by Christmas he’ll be full-on bearded and by Spring probably approaching Duck Dynasty stunt-double status. Which is FINE BY ME. I know that look isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, bt it’s mine with scone on the side.

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he even smells good!

Ok…well, y’all…I had A Weekend With The Fella. and it was…Wow. I couldn’t have found a better match if I’d made a custom one from the McMaster-Carr catalog. No seriously. The compatibility boxes are all checked except for one.

He went to University of Alabama. 

But, I can get over that since he isn’t holding it against me that I went to Auburn. So I’m not holding it against him… except for the Iron Bowl. (that’s the Auburn-Alabama game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving). Since that hasn’t happened yet I’m not sure how it will go, especially since I will be spending that Saturday with his family, all Alabama graduates. I can either be obnoxious and wear my AU gear, or be sweet and not. Being obnoxious comes more naturally.  It’s not really a thing at all, but there has to be something wrong and that’s the most obvious one I could find.

And GET THIS…guys. Y’all. (seriously…I’m mildly verklempt)…he stayed at the Preacher’s House and even allowed himself to be subjected to The Inquisition by the Preacher’s wife. That is equivalent to a parental inquisition from Dad sitting on the front porch cleaning his shotgun. THAT IS SERIOUS BRAVERY.

Also? He changed their broken front door lock and took them a jar of honey FROM HIS OWN BEEHIVE.  HE HAS BEES.

He lives way out in the country on a plot of land, has an assortment of shops (blacksmith, woodworking, etc) (HELLO), the aformentioned bees….

Ok but it’s not about what he has. It’s about who he is.  He grew up in the same denomination I belong to (a very small one, Presbyterian Church of America…the super-conservative one), we share the same beliefs about God and redemption and Jesus and praying together and going to church and all those things that make people equally yoked (Christian-ese for believing the same things thus compatible) He understands about Himself, and how I will always feel about him. He has a window-rattling laugh, gets along with my boys and treats them like intellectual equals, treats *ME* like an intellectual equal (very important, as I will NOT be in a relationship with someone who is either condescending or can’t keep up with my train of thought). We share a like for shooting and blowing things up. (he hunts. I don’t, but I like to process deer and make sausage, etc). That’s a really big one because in my family, it’s what we do and if someone can’t handle that, then they aren’t part of my tribe.

All weekend long he kept speaking my language, without even trying. NO ONE DOES THAT.

Strong as the proverbial ox, hard working, same priorities, same sorts of interests, same type of curiosity about the world, and a nice truck with a cattle guard on the front because he lives in the boondocks and there’s always deer.

Like I said, I couldn’t have put together a better match if I’d ordered one custom. I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

 

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Big Step

So yeah, been doing the online dating…only now I seem to have found a fella. He’s coming here this weekend (TODAY!! EEK!), we’re spending tomorrow in Savannah and on Tybee Island, and going to church with me Sunday. AND…so as to not Risk My Reputation…staying at the Preacher’s House.  A far cry from Moneybags who tried several times to get into my pants (unsuccessfully…but the steak was mighty good.).

Wish us well.

 

 

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Does this picture make me look stupid?

Oh, the curiosity of online dating.  Dating is so different from 35 years ago, when I would go out with someone after getting to know him due to similar circumstances (in the same organization, working together for a while, that sort of thing).  It’s different when your 52, instead of 20.  EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT…even how I feel about it. All of it is different.

And…there’s landmines around which one must tread carefully.  But the scammer types, the ones who are trying to do whatever it is they’re trying to do…they’re so stinkin’ obvious about it…to me, at least. Talking talking, flurry of emails full of compliments and WOW YOU’R SO INTERESTING… and gradually get more personal and sweeter and start in with the endearments like “oh sweetheart, you seem to be exactly what I’m wanting” and “Oh this is amazing I hope I don’t do anything to screw this up” and yet, there’s no real personal information there.

Oh! You’re a contractor? What’s your current job? Answered with a flurry of vague “have to go talk to my workers now I’ll get back with you later”

The most recent one…he had to go to Dubai (it’s always Dubai…) for a final job… Because Dubai is going to hire a private contractor to build a bridge and road…and he will be there 2 weeks because that’s how long it takes…

DO I LOOK STUPID TO YOU?

His final email said something along the lines of “Oh darling, would you please UPS me some sunscreen and cookies because I don’t have anything to eat and everything is in Arabic here”

ummmmmmmmm. no. But I will google a bunch of pharmacies in Dubai that carry everything in English so go get your own damn cookies.  Asshole.

Image result for do i look stupid to you

But no! What about the one in a nearby town?  He seems nice! But still vague. And strangely, the town of about 5000, where his business is apparently based, has no record of his existence…sooo….hmmmmmm…I wrote him a terse letter as well, telling him that unless he could provide compelling evidence he actually exists as he says he does, he can take a short step off a tall cliff.

But…what about the most recent one? We talked on the phone and he asked “so, how’s the online dating thing going?” And I told him. And he said

OK! Here’s my address, you have my phone number, my cars are (this) and (that) and if you want to send your sons over to check me out I’d be happy to have them. You see, (he said) I am a retired police officer, and have dealt with scammers and their mess, so I want you to be comfortable with me.

Then he said the “widow” word on my status was a magnet for those types. I reassured him that even though I am a widow, I am competent and well-armed. (HA!) as well as fairly smart. I have not given away any really personal information except my phone number to him and Moneybags (who I scared off with a brief discussion of the arsenal). He doesn’t even know my last name or address yet.

Well that’s certainly refreshing.  We’re still going to meet in a public place for coffee, though.

So why did I give him my number? I had an epiphany. First of all, he gave me his number first. And email address. I still felt cagey about it all. Then, #4 came home and said he got a girl’s number at a party. That marinated in my brain for a bit and I thought OH!…that’s how it’s done! And this guy gave me his number and I essentially called him a “stalker until proven otherwise” which is kind of rude, really.

So I sent him a text message, apologizing for responding weird, and said he could call me. Which he did, and we talked for about an hour. Which was really nice. So, we’re going to meet for coffee, or a coke, or something…next Saturday. And he didn’t say a single thing about dumping his girlfriend because she hit menopause, so he’s already one up on Moneybags from the other day.

So for now, we’ll see if we can be friends, since he’s not a contractor on his way to Dubai.

At this point, the online dating thing has become a psychological exercise. I wish I were working on a PhD and could make this some sort of dissertation because it’s kind of fun, since my boundaries are thick.

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So, tell me more!

This online-dating adventure is nothing less than fascinating.  I am getting some very interesting e-mails, from some very interesting (and some not-so) men.  Generally the first one or 2 exchanges are polite, cocktail party “so, what do you do” sorts of things.  After that, I try to be a bit more forthcoming, a bit of my story, so to speak. Mainly because they ask things like “So, what is your story?”. And then…many of them don’t tell me anything…it’s all just glitter and smoke screen.

Have you met me? Do I seem like the glitter type to you? And I don’t smoke.

I’m also 52, and not a fool. If you can’t tell me anything (and I don’t mean phone number or address) about yourself…stuff along the lines of “I grew up in Des Moines and got out of there ASAP” but only say things like “Your such a lovely lady and I want to throw glitter at you for the rest of your life and here’s another smoke screen” then I am not going to talk to you anymore. Even if you say you’re a Christian. Because no…I won’t.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

On the other hand, I have time for you if you tell me verifiable things like “I worked for thus and such a charity for years, then retired” (and the charity exists) or tell me you grew up in Europe and said “I read for architecture at <European university with an acclaimed architecture school> but decided construction was more fun”  Yes, I know that COULD be a falsehood but just by saying you read for it, rather than you have a degree in it, kind of goes a bit toward your veracity on the subject.  If you tell me about yourself, however humble you might think those things are, I’m going to listen/read.

I will never ask for any information from you that I am unwilling to give about myself.  What was your childhood like? I spent mine in the woods with my dog. What’s your family like? Mine’s a bunch of slightly weird creatives who will try anything. Do you have children? I have 4 overly protective sons.  and so on. (with more detail than that)

No one is completely story-less. I know what sort of person with whom I will be happy for the rest of my life. Mind you, I am not trying to find Himself Pt 2…that would be impossible.  But I would like to find someone who can talk the talk and carry a conversation to it’s logical extreme without thinking it’s strange or getting uncomfortable.  Smart, free thinking, a Believer in Christ, with a silly streak. I’m not so fearful for my future that I’m willing to settle for less than that.

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Dipping my toe into the pool

Well, it’s happened. I went on a date.  It was very…shall we say…ok… My friends asked “Are you going to blog this? Please say you’re going to blog this!”  Right now, I’m going to only say that I was unimpressed by 2 things.

  1. His money. Apparently he has a lot of it and I don’t care. Maybe that’s a problem? But I have a house and a car and enough income to eat sushi with a friend on Friday night. Who needs more than that?  But apparently he wanted to tell me all about investment and retirement funds and Roth IRAs and how much he threw around.
  2.  I am thankful he liked to talk about those things because it meant when he implied we should find the nearest hotel room and (I don’t even remember how he worded it, but he worded it 4 or 5 times during the meal)…I was able to divert the conversation back to retirement plans.  The only reason I didn’t get up and walk out? It was my favorite restaurant and the steak was incredibly good.

In the interest of being a courteous and ladylike Southern Woman…”and that’s all I’ve got to say about that”. Believe me, the desire to be mercilessly merciless about this is strong.

arrogance

So via the dating site I am using (for +50’s) I am gradually able to figure out the different types of men and their (apparent) methods.  Also, I am assuming it’s mostly women who read this, so if you’re masculine eyes and mind are upset by what I say,  you might fit one of the molds I’m laying out and should consider a life-coach. On the other hand, there are many, many wonderful men in the world who don’t fit these stereotypes and I applaud and salute you.

*and aside…Himself thought I had a bit of a nasty streak sometimes. He was right (still is, even though he’s busy learning to play the guitar and sing with Jesus and maybe Don Williams), however…if the shoe fits…*

So here’s what I’m finding.

  1. The one who wants to impress me with money. See above. Money doesn’t impress me. What you might do with it could…water wells in Africa, sewage treatment plants in India, microloans for small businesses in Bangladesh, setting up a fresh food market in an inner city food desert. Ok if you have money and use it for those things, you’ll catch my attention. But a Lexus and a Phillipe Patek watch and the people for whom you made buttloads of money on the stock market are not interesting.  NEXT
  2. The one who says “I can worship in nature on the golf course as much as I can in a church building”    NEXT
  3. The one who sees “widow” on the profile and instantly assumes “lonely and desperate” and thinks flowery words and immediate proclamations of beauty, faithfulness and a lifelong partnership of true and devoted admiration are what I crave more than air and water…um. No. “Widow” means I was married for a long time and had the man I chose for a life partner rudely yanked away and I had no part in that decision.  It doesn’t mean I’m helpless or confused.  NEXT
  4. The one who has a profile description something along the lines of “Gurl, ur a lucky lady to catch this big fish”  hm…Think I’ll not even bait that hook.  NEXT

So what am I looking for? At first I wasn’t sure. A few online conversations, including one that was proceeding beautifully and I was feeling hopeful.  However, when I asked him to send a current picture, of himself holding a card with my name on it so I could be positive he was who was in the photos he’d sent me (I’d sent him one doing just that), he blew up and started ranting about American women and their constant suspicion…annd…I said…Ok, thank you for your time and the great conversations. and blocked him.  Fortunately I have to good sense God gave me, and never told him my full name or the town I lived in.    If someone is truly interested and invested in having a genuine relationship with me, he will be willing to do what I need to reassure me that he is who he says he is. Whether it’s online or in person. And I would be willing to do the same. This is a strange and sometimes frightening world we live in, and as a woman (albeit a well armed and competent woman) I am cautious with who I choose to give my information. And if he is truly a gentleman, and someone who respects me, he will be forthcoming and do what he can to reassure me.

So, I know what I’m not looking for….just what AM I wanting? Right now- I’d like to make a couple of friends. I miss the singular conversation with  a man.  Men talk differently than women, and as much as I cherish my woman-friends, they tend to not talk much about the merits of a small-block 350 over a big-block 489, or generally recognize the visceral thrill of hitting a bullseye with a .45 from 50 yards. I miss the ideas and laughter of men’s conversation.  (Other than that one friend who’s sometimes also a 14 year old boy like me)

So, I’m learning to pick through the baloney and figure out how all this works. It may mean eventually I’ll set aside the online stuff and allow my friends to do the choosing. The only men I like to talk to right now are all married, so the conversations are very limited, and never over tacos and beer (unless their wife is there too).

All I’m doing right now is standing at the edge of the pond and seeing what the fish look like. I’ve thrown the line in a couple of times, and thrown back what I’ve caught.

Long term- I’d like to find a man who loves and worships God as much as I do, who passes muster with my sons, and who’s children (if he has any) approve of me.  He can’t take himself, or this human life, very seriously, and maybe has a bit of a dad-bod.  Currently I feel a little bit like I’m interviewing people, and it’s the first round.   After that first date (where I was nervous for about 3 seconds, then decided not to be), a friend reminded me that I AM A GREAT CATCH and HE has to impress ME, not the other way around. That doesn’t mean I’m stuck on myself, only that I’m doing fine, look pretty good for 52, and the complete lack of desperation allows me to be choosy.

So, there’s the “diamond merchant” and the “architect in Dubai with a helicopter” and I cannot for the life of me figure out how they intend to keep up that facade if we were to ever meet in real life.  So. Men. If you’re reading this…Tell the truth and back it up with pictures.  Please?

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