Just to give you more insight… in my mid-20’s I started a list of “screening” questions which, I kid you not, I would ask on the first 1-2 dates with any prospect. All of these questions came about from real experiences that had happened to me. Here is a sampling of some of the questions:
1. Can you dismantle and reassemble an automatic weapon (high school boyfriend – saw him do this to a “toy” gun)?
2. Are you legally allowed in the United States (at least 2 men from my early 20s)?
3. Is English your first language (almost every man after college)?
4. Are you an alcoholic (the re-appearing college man)?
5. Will your religion interfere with our ability to have a relationship (I can think of 3 right off the bat)?
And as I said, this is just a sampling. By the time I was 27, the list had about 20 questions. I was weary of asking them face-to-face and looking for an alternative. So, one night I was sitting around my condo, probably drinking a glass of wine, and decided that I would join match.com (if you think this was an abrupt decision, look at my previous post on my aversion to planning). I sat down, filled out the information, and paid to join for 6 months. I figured this would at least allow me to ask the questions electronically before I even got to the date stage.
The outcome? A date with a man so boring I spent most of the night talking to the bartender. Another date with a guy who explained to me he had a foot fetish and wanted to know if I wore pantyhose and owned boots (more power to the fetishists out there, just not my cup of tea). A date with a man whose baby’s momma (I didn’t know about the baby or the momma) called during our dinner to find out why he was out with me. This date ended with me asking him not to contact me again and him calling me for weeks and even proposing marriage on my messages. Moral of the story – I was 4 months in and my dating karma had not improved online. I was willing to ride out the 6 months and then accept my destiny as the single cat woman of Haddonfield. And then came Bubs.
Labor Day weekend, 2002, I was helping a friend move to New York City. While at her new apartment, I checked my match.com account and had an email from Nomadic_Man. He was intrigued by my love of “The Simpsons” and he told me all about himself – he was working (earner), getting his PhD (smart), was already very well published (ambitious), and liked to do things outdoors (totally a lie but I fell for it). The only downfall was that he didn’t have a profile picture. I reminded myself that I wasn’t shallow (again – proven by some of the men I dated) and figured I would go for it.
We emailed back and forth for a week or two (and I still have all the emails to prove it) and then we moved to the phone. Turns out Nomadic_Man was named Brian and we could talk for hours (which is impressive because I hate the phone). I never got bored of him and he could make me laugh – in that way where your belly hurts and you wet your pants a little bit. It was good. It was very very good. And then we decided we had to meet. Don’t blink, or you will miss the rest of our courtship.
Brian lived in Tom’s River, NJ and I was in Cherry Hill so we decided to meet somewhere in the middle – Atlantic City – the romance capital of NJ (that would be sarcasm dripping from my words). To Jersey-ify this even more, we both decided we would goomba out at much as possible – all in black, big hair for me, and bling on both sides. And, to help me out, Brian explained that the way I would recognize him was that he looked like a cross between John Goodman and Drew Carey.
And I almost didn’t go – what a terrifying description. But, I decided our conversations were worth it so I told a friend where we were meeting, his screen name, and the telephone numbers he had given me (I may be daring but I’m not reckless) and I was off to AC.
It was October 25, 2002 and the entire ride down all I kept saying was “Just make me attracted to him” because that was the last step – if he was cute we were good to go. And my friends – he was C-U-T-E! I may have fallen in love with him that night. I was so enamored I was willing to overlook his kelly-green Camaro with a white convertible top. We were engaged by December 24, 2002 and married by May 1, 2004. I was sure that this was as good as it gets.