Cheap Thrills
Cheap Thrills

Happy New Year dear readers! I assume this finds you, like me, breaking resolutions right and left as we stumble into 2019 praying that by the end of the year, the Dems can pull their shit together and find some suitable candidates who can end the Grand Blowhard’s dream of a second term. While that occupies some of my daily thoughts, I also came into the year thinking I had a good boyfriend candidate on the string–only to find out there were too many strings attached to make it work.

Exactly one year since ending a relationship with a guy whose ice-clinking during our nightly phone calls hinted at a problem with a certain spirited beverage, I swiped right on a guy who wanted to meet because the dating profile picture of me literally mid-air, jumping for joy for a photography project, “made him smile.” And his photos–and him in the flesh upon our first coffee date–certainly made me smile: Tall, muscular and boyishly cute, he has good skin with nary a pore visible on that sweet face, eyes the color of Colombian coffee, plus he’s a true artist both in vocation and avocation. The nuts ‘n bolts girl that I am, he’s the first creative dude I think I’ve dated and surprise, surprise, I was a smitten kitten from the first time we made out in a parking lot downtown as we said goodnight after a cozy dinner at a Belgian restaurant that he chose after I mentioned I liked their mussels in white wine.

It also helped that he’s eight years younger than me, seemed financially viable as the owner of two homes, and hadn’t developed the old man stoop and shuffle that some of the guys in my dating pool exhibit. This guy would never, as one of my dates did about a year after my divorce, roll up his pant leg to show me the wound that was left after a GP scraped some skin cancer off his shiny white shin.

Note to him: If skin and cancer are part of your diagnosis, see a dermatologist, not a GP!! I digress.

This new chemistry that bubbled up immediately with mr. boyish was mutual–as we continued to see one another, he sent me flirty texts about the spark he felt–and for the first time in a long time, I saw that the kind of connection I’m seeking may exist, a chemistry and conversation combo. Now, dear readers, I’m old enough and smart enough to know that physical sizzle can’t carry a relationship forever, but when he took my face in his hands before he kissed me, and then I leaned into his chest to feel his arms pull me in closer, his body hard against mine–now that’s what I call a good start to–something.

But along the way in this new digital dating world, you have to learn to read cues and step around land mines. Another guy a few months ago took me to a mountaintop resort for drinks–there’s not a more romantic spot you can ask for within 20 miles. We had some things in common, he checked the box for intelligence, conversation was easy, and laughter plentiful. He texted afterwards that he was traveling and would call me upon his return, thanking me for the date and adding, “You’re a high quality individual.” Kiss. Of. Death.

My gay bff JP said, “Well you won’t hear from him again,” and I’m thinking, “Why the hell not?? He thinks I’m a high quality individual!”

“Trust me,” JP lamented, “I may be gay, but I know that’s not a line you use if you’re hot for somebody. He just let you down easy.”

And therein lies the problem–it’s a rare man who will honestly say, “You may be nice, but I’m just not that into you.” We can take it guys! You don’t even have to say it in person–whip out that phone you’re so fond of and text or email that you don’t feel the spark. We won’t collapse from grief–really. After all, a quick text is a guy’s preference over phone calls anyway–but it’s not a substitute for voice communication for me or most of the women I know. When I hear the inflection in your voice, I can read your meaning far better than deciphering some cryptic shorthand on the face of my phone.

I immediately thought back three years to the sexy silver-haired guy, hair swept back like Paul McCartney’s and just long enough to brush his shirt collar. We went out for a season, and one of our most romantic dates was at that same mountaintop resort where I recently met the “high quality” guy. As magenta shadows layered the patio and tiny white lights began to flicker around the infinity pool just below us, he asked me, “What are you looking for, Linda?” I was still so wounded then from the end of a 30-year relationship with mr. invisible, battling to find my center, and completely alone with my feelings for the first time in decades. “I want to find my person,” I blurted out, and a glass and a half of rose into the conversation, tears may have slipped down both cheeks, but by this time it was too dark for him to see them from across the table. He took my hand and said he was looking, too–but he forgot to say he was looking in every neighborhood and at every blonde from here to Minnesota.

I admit that I made a mistake with this latest man-boy who is, bar none, the best kisser I’ve had since a guy I dated when Carole King was on a turntable and not the Broadway stage. So mesmerized I was by his lips on mine and his hands moving slowly up and down my back, we never had the, “What are you looking for?” talk. But if he had asked, I’ve now lived in my single skin long enough to have the answer that fits me like the body-hugging dress I just bought that’s waiting to go out on a spin with a guy who appreciates what he’s got right in front of him. I would raise my left eyebrow like I do when I’m really sure about something and tell him this: “After five years, I found my person–and she’s been right here with me all along.”

Click to read the next post: “Righteous Indignation”
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