Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THE SHAKY FOUNDATION

I’ve gone on so many coffee dates. 

You’d think by now I’d switch to tea. Or vodka. 

But I still like my coffee. The dates? Not so much.

Many guys don’t call them dates. In the past, I’ve referred to them as “go-sees”, like the models who make the rounds on “America’s Next Top Model”. Show up, even though most of them aren’t going anywhere. It’s what you gotta do.

So, yeah, another coffee interaction a few days ago. For some reason, I woke up feeling exhausted and especially anxious. Part of it, no doubt, had to do with the fact my mouth throbbed for hours in the night. My dentist did some work recently and noted that I might have nerve damage that might require a root canal. I don’t like the sound of that. Particularly because, when he did the most recent dental procedure, the freezing didn’t work. Well, it froze my lip but not much else. I squirmed and flopped about like a fish on the deck of a boat. I’m pretending my teeth are fine, eating on one side of my mouth, hoping the pain will get bored and go away. Because that’s how dentistry works, right?

Okay, I’ve meandered from the main topic. The coffee date. It’s sad when a possible root canal is more exciting. As I was saying, I woke up with high anxiety. Possible root canal and coffee go-see notwithstanding, I’ve been experiencing lots of anxiety in recent months. It ambushes me and sweeps over me every time. 

I still had three hours before meeting Mick. I tried to fall back asleep. Not a chance. I got up, showered and walked to the store to get The New York Times. Figured a few articles about how messed up things are with U.S. politics would settle me. (Ha! And I think I’ve got it bad!)Alas, I mainly read headlines and flipped pages. I could have just done that with USA Today

I scrubbed the tub. And the toilet. Swept, mopped, checked the expiry dates on the items in the back of my refrigerator. (Sorry, red pepper hummus.) 

Still anxious. I thought of canceling, but I didn’t want to be a flake. I checked online, hoping he’d flake first. Nothing. I mindlessly surfed the web. (Yes, sometimes Facebook has a purpose.) I changed clothes three times. Anxiety produces pit stains.

Now let me clarify, there was nothing about Mick’s profile that had me in some state of heightened expectations. There was no he-could-be-The-One spark toying with my brain. A guy. A coffee. Go. See. Go home. Nothing to be anxious about. But still anxious.

I arrived a little early, with The New York Times in hand. Figured I could give reading another try. I had already browsed any and every possible site and app on my phone. As I read about Wimbledon, a body slid into the seat across from me. I looked up.

“Mick?”

Yep. The nod said so, even if the face and body didn’t. Dammit. I blogged about this last month. The mathematical deceivers. He was at least a dozen years older than what he stated on his profile. The photos? Well, I don’t even know if they were of him. Not from this decade, maybe not from this century.

Normally on these coffee “dates”—yeah, now I really need to throw quotes around the word—I can have a pleasant enough conversation with a guy, even if it’s clear from the start that we’re not a match. Be civil, maybe even enjoy meeting someone before we wish one another a pleasant life. It often goes on for forty-five minutes to an hour and before the best wishes, take care and all that.

I couldn’t do it this time. I was peeved. I’d gotten all anxious for this?! He’d misrepresented himself. Lied! Pinocchio! Pants on fire! When he said he needed to re-park the car in a free parking lot instead of at a meter, I stuttered and lowered my head, unable to be frank. But it worked. “I think I’m going to go now,” he said, and he slipped away as stealthily as he’d arrived. 

Phew!

I forced myself to sip my coffee and finish reading the article. Yes, I can have my own experience at this café. I’m fine with the empty seat across from me.

But still, as I walked home, I felt like the bad guy. He was the one with the dishonest dating profile and yet I felt shallow to dismiss him so quickly. 

My anxiety skyrocketed anew and rattled me for the rest of the day to the point where my heart seemed to race, I developed a fever and got chills. Summertime and I was wrapped in a blanket whenever I wasn’t flopped out on my bed, wishing to sleep off the agitation. I tried crosswords, TV and more cleaning (there’s always more!). I cooked (but didn’t eat). I bargained with myself to go exercise, but I couldn’t leave my condo. It took almost eleven hours to calm down. (Thank you, Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck”. You had me at, well,…the title.)

This morning, I went back on the dating site. I clicked on a few profiles. Two out of three had photos that seemed to span two decades of the guy’s life, the amount of hair decreasing as the body weight increased. What’s going on, guys? Save your “Throwback Thursday” pics for Facebook. Please, oh please, just show your current photos. From the last year or two. Keep it updated. It’ll make coffee so much more palatable.

1 comment:

Rick Modien said...

As always, RG, love the post, especially the Pinocchio and pants on fire references. Made me laugh out loud.
And, believe me, I really, REALLY understand the anxiety stuff. Totally get it.
But here's a thought: Regarding Mick, were you too distracted by the fact he'd lied about his age, etc., to give him a chance? I mean, you know, upon looking at someone the first time, whether you're attracted to him, right?
Or do you?
I don't know if it's always that easy.
Was Chris my physical ideal when we first met? Nope. Not at all. I had a type, as most gay men do, and Chris wasn't it––not even close.
Was I distracted by his being about ten years younger than me? Hell yeah. But, in the end, I was open to it––as I was to him.
You met Mick. You know better than I do. But there are so many lonely people out there, gay or straight, and, in general, it seems to me there's more of an inclination to find things wrong with people than to find things right with them. Just a thought.
Don't mean to add to your anxiety.
Really, I don't.
Take or leave what I've written. Up to you.