The New M.E. Generation

After my last attempts to meet guys online (please see The Swipe), I did take a break from my search. As much as I know that ‘mejor sola que mal acompañada’ (better alone than in bad company), it’s still bothersome after all these years not having experienced a serious relationship.

Yes, it hit me hard, and got me down for many days. Even having conversations with my bff’s only helped temporarily. Bottom line is, I envisioned my present in a much different way.

For that I’ve tried to keep myself busy so I don’t think about it. And started doing something new to approach what I was feeling.

It was the start of a work week and the traffic was somewhat congested. Every time I hit a red light, I looked around people in their vehicles to check out what they were doing.

There’s always some woman putting her makeup on, another was still wearing her curlers, and a guy was using an electric shaver for at least 3 lights long.

Others were obviously looking at the phone talking or texting, all totally unaware of their surroundings. I did a small experiment of making funny faces, even doing my version of carpool karaoke, and nobody noticed. It was so bad the disconnect they had with the world, I bet you had I done something politically incorrect through the window, still no one would have paid attention.

All I could was laugh, which was good, and congratulate myself for not being co-dependant on a device of any kind.

As my drive continued, I looked around at the sky, train, stores, and other things we all take for granted, and actually appreciated them.

I then said to myself, “I will give thanks for all the good I have: my job, family, home, health, those people who give me so much. Even the ones who were present for the time that they had to, I’m also grateful. Last, but not least, whoever falls under my ‘persona non grata’ list, I release you.”

Yes, I do believe that when some people (can be male friends, besties, love interests, etc.) are no longer with you in whatever capacity, is because they were meant to be when you needed the most. Sometimes they go into another direction for reasons that have nothing to do with you; sometimes what you had together has run its course and there’s not much in common any more; sometimes it’s us who realize that as much as we may appreciate the other person, it’s best that we step away for own good, and hopefully for the other one as well.

Those in ‘the list’ range from anyone who have used or hurt me, to those that is better not even thinking about them at all.

You can say my thoughts were a ‘waiting to exhale’ moment, but they did wonders to my commute that morning.

If I’m not laughing at people, I then look at license plates with a coded message and try to decipher them. If I like it, I take a photo and share it on my profile. Some are pretty straight forward; others not even my social media friends can figure out.

It was on a Tuesday morning when I did the above-mentioned exercise again; it gave me some relief, but was still feeling down. I then looked up and thought, ‘would it be too much to ask for a little divine intervention on this matter?’

About 10 minutes went by, when I was driving on the middle lane and notice a familiar plate: LED ZEP1. ‘OMG, there it is!’, I thought to myself.

This was like the third time I’ve seen it. On the first one, the car was to my left, and every time I tried to take a photo, the light turned green.

When I was almost side by side with the vehicle, I notice a man with white hair inside smiling at me. He was probably laughing at my attempts to take a photo at such a limited visual angle. I kept trying, but wasn’t working.

The guy kept looking at me. He seemed way older than me, so I thought maybe he was one of the band members? I mean, it’s a known fact that there’s many celebrities living in my city.

In spite of getting a semi-descent shot, I gave the guy a smile back and said ‘thank you’.

Second time I was again in the center lane and LZ1 got right in front of me. ‘Yes! Got the shot!’

And now, I wanted to say hi to the guy and hopefully even strike a conversation. Who knows, maybe I’ve been riding next to a music legend and didn’t even know it. Hit it!




{October 24, 2016}   The Swipe 5 – I’m the expert

In spite of the disappointment with Fish, I decided to give the app another try. It was the first experience I had using it, so I thought it was too early to give up on it just yet.

I have to admit my hopes were not that good. After having almost no worthy memories about dating (meeting online or in the real), keeping your interest going becomes a challenge. It gets to a point you basically don’t want to do it any more.

What I decided was instead to leave the app alone for a few days, until I felt I was ready to approach it with somewhat the same enthusiasm I did the first time around. Yes, I was skeptical, but I thought to myself that it’s either this or nothing.

I approached the second attempt like before of reading all information in the profiles, swiping left for those out of my area, not appealing to me at all, having no info besides a first name and age, showing no clear location, or supposedly living locally when in fact the profile states another one (don’t understand why this happens).

I knew I had to continue being open to all possibilities, but opted to being picky by listening more to my inner guts, so hopefully that would get me better results.

So as I am swiping left for the majority of the profiles, I see one of a guy who I will call Bert, which sounds like ‘burp’, because it’s one of those people you look at and you can’t decide either to go for it or not. It’s like gas stuck within you that you don’t know how to get rid of or when it will finally come out.

This guy wasn’t totally bad looking for my taste, but wasn’t cute either. It was more like average. He didn’t appear to be trashy either, but there was something about him I couldn’t figure out.

He had several photos and one showed him wearing a suit and tie, making me understand that he probably worked in a professional environment that required that, like law or accounting.

I looked at his face again and now felt he looked semi-nerd, which matched his appearance. I personally prefer corporate looking guys, since I’ve always worked in this type of environment. But my preference is for those who are creatives since I work in a related field, and this made me wonder if this was the reason why this guy wasn’t really clicking with me.

I thought to myself that his appearance might not be what I like, but maybe his intelligence could. Maybe he’s someone who could grow on you after getting to know him more. He’s one of those you just have to search beyond the surface to finally figure them out and decide if worth the effort.

Before swiping right, I believe I first used my photo identification app. If people have a professional media profile, most likely the work photos will give you a search result, which in this case it did, including a full name.

After finding his credentials, which were very impressive, I learned that he had been in the military and was experienced in special ops and high risk activities. He now owned a company specializing in something related to business data security and management.

I had never come across a profile like this. It was of those where the face doesn’t match the experience at all. He was definitely a ‘brain’ and far off to what a former army guy is supposed to look like. In fact, he seemed too well put together.

What I remember happening afterwards is that I swiped right and he had done the same, so were now connected to chat.

I don’t recall if we chatted for long (as in days), but I do remember asking him, ‘So what’s your story? Divorced? Kids? Dating anyone?, to which he replied, ‘My story? A good guy looking to meet a nice woman.’

What’s wrong with this picture? He didn’t answer my question. People, this is a huge red flag. If they’re avoiding providing some basic answers or information that confirms who they are, either they’re a fake user or are hiding something.

Also, be aware of people listing careers to which there’s no market for where you live, or list a company that doesn’t exist or has no offices in your area. And if they state they work ‘independently’, even worse. It makes no sense living at one place when the opportunities are somewhere else, even if you work in a contractual basis.

Another red flag is when you see profiles that repeat similar career fields and their college is from an institution that’s based abroad. I’m not saying that there can’t be foreigners in your city, but when the title seems too big for your location, take note of that as well.

With this guy, because I confirmed he was the real deal and told me the area he lived at, I thought there was no further ‘threats’ here to consider. I overlooked his lack of a complete response (when I should know better already to not do this) and decided to move to the next step of suggesting meeting somewhere (‘Sounds good. Maybe we could meet sometime? I live around your area.’), to which he agreed (‘We’re not too far away. It would be nice to meet you.’).

But, there was still this burp in me that wouldn’t go away, so I decided to do an extra ‘security check’. Because I had his full name, I searched for his social media profile.

And I didn’t liked what I found. Bitch Bert had a profile picture with a woman, his girlfriend. There were these photos of them very cozy together and professing their love for each other.

Not only did my burp finally come out, now I had one filled with the anger of the lie this guy was trying to pull off. He may be a security expert, but I deciphered the truth with a simple app.

So how do you strike back? Easy. I took a screen shot of the conversation where he didn’t answer my question about his status and that he agreed to meet with me, went to his girlfriend’s profile and sent it to her with the message: “I know this is none of my business, but your man has a profile in a dating site and had agreed to go out with me on a date.”

Afterwards, I texted this guy again, telling him the meeting wasn’t going forward, followed by “who is the woman in the picture?”

The next day his profile and conversation were deleted.

Boom goes the dynamite!! Who’s the military expert now?? This girl is!!

I waited about a week later to visit that dating site Ivan talked to me about.

As with any other I’ve used or considered previously, I took the time to read what they had to offer and decide if it was worth my time.

It had the basic features of any other; you had to create a profile and add pictures to it. What caught my attention was how they would find matches for you; it was all determined using math calculations.

They have these questions for you to answer that covered many subjects. The minimum to do is 100, so the more answered, the better your chances of getting compatible matches.

The other aspect that I liked about the site was that they featured all persons working on the site and explained how the software calculated the matches.

Hate to admit, I’ve never been good at math, but if others have taken the time to explain how the science behind this madness works, then they do know what they’re doing.

All right, let’s begin. Started completing the general part of the profile and decided to leave the questions for another day.

Then comes the real deal; what you like and dislike, what you want from the other person, etc.

This is the tricky part. I know what I want from a guy, but, how much am I really willing to disclose publicly to get that?

And regarding the photos, will I post current or past ones? When men see them, what image or perception am I hoping to project?

In other words, how far will I really go with this?

I stared at the screen and became worried. It has been quite many years since I’ve given another dating site a try.

When I started on this, I just wanted to find someone, fast. Now I’m questioning what my current needs are and how much another person will add on to my total life equation?

Would it be a ‘+’, ‘-‘, or ‘+/-‘?

It surely was Alex sitting at the window table. “Hi, so glad we finally meet,” said I with sort of a hurried voice due to my fast walking. He looked fine and very similar in person as he does in his profile pictures, which is good to me. No surprises here, which I honestly don’t want at this time.

When he saw me coming in, he had a face of ‘wow,’ but I couldn’t decipher what he was expressing. It was a cross between ‘damn, she’s cute’ and ‘damn, she doesn’t look at all like the person in her profile.’ Hmm, maybe he’s just trying to show that he’s ‘under control,’ like me.

I sat down and quickly apologized for my delay. I don’t think I was that late, but I thought it was the right thing to do. I told him about me walking right by the location and finding myself completely ‘lost in space.’ I had a legitimate reason for what happened, but also thought making fun of my mistakes could ‘break the ice,’ and it did.

Alex totally understood me, as he had a share of unexpected situations in other online dates he previously had, which, according to him, were worse. He didn’t disclose those details at that moment (good move from his part), and I only hoped that I don’t make more and become another one of his dating ‘casualties.’

I slowly, but surely, settled down and started enjoying myself. The conversation continued very easily about our online experiences, followed by more personal subjects, like divorce.

I know this was a topic not to be touched so quickly, but both having experienced so much, the tone did not feel negative or out of place. It actually made us closer together as people.

He and I took advantage of the restaurant promo, which turned out to be great. I was now more concentrated on showing my best table manners and etiquette possible. At moments I thought to myself I was being hard with myself, but I just wanted to get it right, for once.

After dinner, Alex suggested having another drink at a bar about a block away from the restaurant. Good thing to suggest because the night was going well, but bad for my feet as they were still aching.

I think I can walk and sustain the pain for a few minutes. Then, when I get to the bar, find a chair to sit at. If  there’s only one available, he will let me take it. That’s if, he is a true gentleman.

We’ll find out soon enough.

After the Ivan incident, I decided to take a very long break from online dating. I know he was the first and only date, but the experience left me even more frustrated about love.

It had such an effect on me that I just ‘retreated’ from going out all together. My outings became very limited to just meeting up with Dina and her friends for drinks or dinner.

The rest of the time I stayed home and watched a movie or TV, or simply hanged out by myself. My free time during the weekend was devoted to running errands or just sleeping as much as I could. Talking about getting a lot of ‘beauty sleep.’

But, again, after a while, the lack of social interaction started to make me feel lonely again. Weekends became very long and my space felt very big.

So what’s the next big thing for me? Give online dating another shot? Hmm, I’ve tried everything I could think about. Are there any more choices for me? Not more that I knew of.

All right, this is what I’ll do. I’ll glance over the pictures at the dating website and if one (yes, one) really gets my attention, I will contact that person.

And if anything evolves eventually, like meeting in person, etc., I will do so first as a friend and let things happen very slowly. What I’m trying to say is that, if all else fails, if at least I gain a new friend, I will be fine with that.

Wait! Being friends with a guy I just date? Well, that’s something worth giving it a try.

“Hey, what’s up?” asked I to Ivan.

“Working, working. It’s non-stop,” said he in his usual exhausted tone of voice.

“Whatever…Hey I get it. You don’t have space in your life for me or I’m not the one for you. I’ll be fine. You’re not the first guy that has been in my life and disappeared for some reason. Online dating or not, it had the same result.”

I started talking too much and my emotions came afloat, and almost started crying while talking to him. This is exactly what I did not want to happen.

“Emma, I hear you. I’ve been in your shoes too. But you know it is not that I have no interest in you. It’s my job. I promise I will make an effort to call you.”

You promise? Yeah, right! I nodded my head side to side and sighed in frustration because I knew it was not going to happen.

“If you say so,” I concluded.

And as usual, the conversation didn’t last very long. There was a dinner being held at his employer’s residence and he was in charge of the whole event. Meaning, this day was to end very late into the night, like so many others for him.

The phone call ended and I was very sad. I had a feeling this was the last time we would speak on the phone, and probably the end of whatever we shared.

Should I give him a last chance to prove himself wrong?

Between you and me, no, I don’t think he will.

‘It’s not that,’ responded Ivan to my text, ‘I just have a lot of work.’

‘Whatever,’ I responded.

I didn’t care at that point that I never spoke, saw or had any contact of him. It has been one disappointing experience with men right after the other and just wanted to get over it.

I was trying not to get mad or anything, at him or this first online date. I just wanted to end it quickly without much thought.

Maybe if I pretended this whole meeting never happened or moved on right away, I would not get any emotional unrest.

In a certain manner that’s what happened. After knowing so many guys that, in the end, turned into nothing, it doesn’t get to hurt you anymore nor take it personally.

Is it they or me that is doing something wrong here? I’m not dwelling on it. It’s time to live and learn, and keep going forward.

And just when I was doing a mental ‘wrap up’ of Ivan, unbelievably, but yes, he called.

Wow, never thought that such a short, no-nonsense, to the point text message would have such an effect on him. And for someone who never contacted me for anything, this sure is a first.

Ivan took me to a small but modern-looking bar. Because it was so early in the evening, we were the only ones there.

We ordered drinks and picked up the conversation from the one we had over the phone. We went over again on our reasons for giving online dating a try. It pretty much boiled down that finding a mate has been unsuccessful, and this was the only other option that will hopefully ‘save the day.’

I confessed to him that I was surprised he approached me. I asked him what made him do that.

“I was impressed by your beauty, and then after by your profile,” said he.

I was very flattered by his comment that he found me pretty. I know other guys have said this to me before. But, with him, it felt that he meant it.

“What was about my profile that you liked?” asked I.

“I’m not sure. I guess it was your honesty. All I know is that I wanted to meet you,” said he. “What about you? What made you reply to my email?”

“You know what? I’m not quite sure myself. There was something about your smile, the relaxed way that you looked seated in the stairs with your flip-flops that gave me a good vibe.”

We kept looking at each other and couldn’t stop smiling. After a while we were both at ease and enjoying our date. I was feeling that there was even chemistry between us.

I can’t deny that I felt an attraction to him from the moment I saw his pictures and in person. I really wanted to kiss him or get kissed by him. I even wanted to touch him or get closer to him somehow.

But I was scared that if I took the first step, he would take it the wrong way. I wanted to show him that he had made an impression on me, but not too obvious. I just did not want to mess up this date.

Hmm, wonder if he feels the same. I think he does.

I did call Ivan a few hours later around 7pm. The call was not answered and I got an electronic recording that ‘the person for this number was not available’ and to ‘leave a message at the sound of the tone.’

I got nervous because I wasn’t sure if I had dialed the number correctly. I checked the email and it was, but still was unsure so I sent him a text message instead.

‘Hi, this is Emma from the dating site. If this is Ivan, please call me back at my number. Tried calling you a few minutes ago.’

About 20 minutes later, he returned my call. “Sorry I didn’t answer; I’m working.”

“And what type of work do you do that extends until the evening hours?” asked I.

“I’m the personal assistant for a prominent family.”

(Uu, I hope it is a celebrity like a movie star.) “What family, if I may ask?”

“I can’t really say.”

(Oh, great. He works for a Russian mob family. Not liking this mystery very much.) “Well, I hope they treat you well.”

Ivan laughs. “They do. Don’t worry it’s a wealthy family that is well known in the community. They’re not into anything illegal.” (Hey, why don’t we play some ‘Russian roulette’ and bet on it?) “It has to do with real estate.” (In this economy? If you say so…)

He and I then shifted the conversation towards the expected questions. Have you ever done online dating before? If yes, how was your previous experience? What do you want to get out from this time around?

The conversation was brief, but I felt that a good ‘connection’ was made. After we had ran out of things to say, don’t remember who asked, but the most important issue was presented, ‘Do you want to meet?’ (Yes, I do.)

Because of his extended working hours, Ivan said he would call me to let me know when he had a break to meet with me. I hope that he keeps his word and that I am available when he calls.

Between you and me, yes, I think he will.

et cetera