So after my post it note epiphany, I’m in the process of shutting down my profiles. I go through this on again/off again thing with online dating. Well I should call it online fucking because let’s face it, when it’s guys, it’s a hook up site. And I don’t ever seem to manage much of that with online, so really it’s online mass procrastination.
Anyway, I have this one profile up on the worst of the worst sites, bigmusclebears.com. I hate this site. I hate that I am on this site. I am not a bear, I’m not a gym whore, so I know I don’t fit the bill. And a few of the members of the site are kind enough to remind me of this.
I don’t even like that kind of looking guy either. Dating someone who’s 5’9″ tall and 5’9″ across the shoulders is not my thing. I admire the effort it takes to amass that kind of a body, but in my experience that much muscle is usually worn like armor.
I’m there because I like the guys who used to look like that, but then stopped going to the gym and returned to a bulkier but more natural looking body. But who still keep those old gymmed up photos front and center because they have no idea that someone like me is out there trying to find them. A tip: if you do have online profiles, put in photos that look exactly like you. Someone is looking everywhere for you and you’re making yourself very difficult to find.
Anyway, so I find there is a message there from some guy called WestwoodBear. Hmm, I know this guy. I know this guy very well.
I don’t know his name, but I’ve had my eye on him for years. Thousands of photos come across your desktop in three years, but there’s something about this guy that I’ve always remembered. Not the gym photos but the smile. That’s a nice smile.
We speak every year at least; I would drop him a line, see how he is. He was with a guy. I don’t have a problem with men in open relationships but there was something about him that always made me feel that I’d like him too much. And I don’t wreck homes and steal men. So I never met him. I’ll wait I thought. There may be a time when this is right.
But I’d think about him sometimes. At the oddest times. Like in a supermarket. I’d wonder what it would be like buying groceries together. When I really like someone, this is usually where my mind wanders to. There is nothing sexy about this and I’m not going to pretend that there is. But once you’ve been through the inevitable clothes off imaginings and the holidays you might take together, I usually wonder what it’s like to buy apples and dishwashing liquid with them.
I’ve always thought that supermarkets are like the acid test. You see people as they really are, buying the things that they need that get hidden in the back of cupboards where company is never supposed to see. This activity usually takes place in track suit pants. Nothing sexy, just real life.
Then I remind myself that I don’t even know his name, I know nothing about him.
But there he is, in my inbox. So we begin to talk. He’s single now. Was in a relationship for ten years that just ended. And his name is Paul.
Well, well. I often wondered if this day was going to come and here it is. We chat back and forth for a while. Phone numbers are swapped and eventually we are chatting on the phone. Nice voice. That’s a relief. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a big beautiful man with a voice like David Beckham’s.
So we make a date. April 28th, Soleil Restaurant in Westwood.
I never really have much problem deciding what to wear on a date. I know a lot of people vacillate over this for hours, but not me. Black jeans, white t-shirt, black suit jacket, black brogues. Done. It’s my first date uniform. The perfect balance of casual yet I made an effort. And if it looks odd to the prospective date, the fact that I’m Australian buys me some leeway; I guess that’s what they wear over there.
So I’m in KITT and driving to Soleil and I’m really starting to wonder why I’m here. Didn’t we just decide that we’ve got to a happy place? Why put yourself out here again? I’m wondering about this as I drive past a 7-Eleven near the restaurant. Then I see Him.
I see this guy. He walks out to the curb, he looks up to the right, his profile almost causes me to rear end the car in front of me. This man is truly beautiful. More than that, captivating.
I am wrestling with a dilemma now; do I give this guy my number as I’m on my way to meet Paul? It’s totally skeevy. I mean, really, if I heard of someone doing it I’d think that was pretty low.
But then fuck it, I don’t know this Paul guy. And this is LA. It could be the last time I ever see Mr 7-Eleven. I have to do this. So I go to park.
Then I keep driving; no I can’t be one of those guys. That’s too gross.
Then I decide, no wait, I can be one of those guy. Call it gross if we must, but screw it. Nice guys finish last as I have continually learned in LA.
I continue this mental wrestling bout till I finally give in to my better self. My annoying better self. And I keep driving on.
Now I’m annoyed. I let a wonderous chance pass through my fingers, out of some misplaced nobility to some guy I don’t know. And I’m an ass because I’ll be sitting in through this date, alternating between pretending to listen to this Paul guy, and kicking myself for not jumping on an opportunity.
As the good angel and the bad angel put each other in headlocks in my mind, the universe decided to grant me a reprieve. Walking up the street comes Mr 7-Eleven and he’s going to walk right past me as I wait outside the restaurant for Paul.
Is this a reprieve or is this going to be a final confirmation that I’ve become as LA as I fear?
Oh shit, 7-Eleven is looking at me.
Me: Um, yes.
7-Eleven: It’s Paul. Hi.
This is a strange feeling. One of thanks, one of having got away with murder and one of knowing your dodginess remains a secret. And of course stupidity. how could I not have realized that this was the same guy.
Me: You look better than your photos.
That was definitely the truth. Paul was without a doubt, the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Now I was nervous. I was worried that I was going to say something stupid.
Me: You’re not going to believe this but I nearly picked you up on the way here.
And then I proceeded to tell him the whole story of what I nearly did. The words tumbled out of my mouth. I was like a leaking dike, no actually more like an exploding dam. This is about the dumbest thing that I can remember around that time. I tell myself that it was because I was having a brutal honesty phase, but I think it was the self saboteur in me working over time.
Inside, all I can hear is, “Shut up Karl. Shut up Karl. Shut up Karl.”
Paul seemed to find this amusing. Which is lucky, in hindsight. As we dined on French food, I gradually stopped listening to my own internal dialogue dissecting what a moron I had been and I gradually began to listen to what Paul had to say instead of just watching his lips move.
And then it began to sadly dawn on me. Paul was ridiculously sexy, super well read, intelligent, worldly and very, very me. Except for one small problem. He wasn’t funny.
Everything that came out of his mouth was incredibly fascinating. But decidedly serious. And he talked a lot. Very seriously. And not funny is a deal breaker for me. I can look over a lot of things if someone makes me laugh. So picking up on the tone of the evening, I become very serious as well. And the whole of the date becomes a bit more like a study night and sort of knocks any romance out of it.
By the time we got to dessert, I had decided that this Paul chap was probably not the guy that I was looking for. I had also decided that I really needed to read more. Smart people annoy me a bit, because they show up my low knowledge of current affairs nicely.
We decide that we are going to meet again. He could turn into a nice friend maybe.
So I climbed into KITT and drove home thinking that it’s a shame that God didn’t give Paul more of a funny bone. Everything else about him is perfect. And it’s a shame he didn’t give me more of an analytical mind.
But the next morning I find myself thinking of Paul. If we’re going to meet again, I need to buy a newspaper.