FAILING AT CHEMISTRY
In school, I was never any good at science. I did love Biology because it was truly fascinating to learn about the human body. But all the rest of it? Mixing beakers of chemicals, dissecting fetal pigs, and memorizing formulas for oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen? Who really cared?
But what does it feel like to fail at chemistry when it’s with another person? And what does it take to feel good chemistry? It’s like pornography. I can’t explain it, but I know it when I see and feel it.
Tonight, I was blown off by a man I’d met on Friday. We’d corresponded back and forth a few times prior to that on the personals website. Frankly, when I saw his picture, I didn’t think he’d be for me. From his photo, I thought someone should encourage him to rearrange his hairstyle and to find a new pair of more flattering eyeglasses.
We set a date to meet at the pier on Friday at 4:30 pm. I had little or no interest in the meeting because he seemed too “square” for me–too conservative, too Orange County-ish, even a bit too geeky. As I walked to our meeting place, I structured myself to stay open-minded and to consider the date as “practice.” Nothing ventured, nothing gained–or lost.
When I first laid eyes on him, I was pleasantly surprised. He had on sunglasses, had a nice physique for someone his age, and his hair looked a lot more attractive with the wind blowing through it. We hugged in greeting, but I felt like his hug was lackluster. Did I sense a lack of interest on his part? Stay present, I told myself. Be nice and pay attention.
As we strolled along the pier, the conversation focused mostly on my experiences trying to find my mother an assisted living home. He’d gone through something similar with his mother and had placed her somewhere where she’d stayed until her death. As an only child, he’d been in charge of her well-being and care. I gave him points for being a good son.
Red flags began to wave on the way back from the end of the pier as he explained how he’d never married and never had kids. His longest relationship lasted only 3 years. Pretty strange for a 60 year old man…but okay. No judgments on my part, but it did seem strange. Did he have commitment issues? I probed for answers in my typical “investigative” mode to see if I noticed anything making it obvious as to why he had never even lived with a woman.
Then the focus of our conversation switched to medical problems. He has a bad back, as do I. We empathized with each other about all the different pains that seem to come with age.
But were these the subjects of a man who was attracted to a woman? My gut instinct told me “no.”
We stopped and shared some soft drinks, continuing to chatter without lags in the conversation. I’ve always been a good conversationalist and can draw out even the most reluctant of people to share their whole lives with me, so that was no surprise. He revealed that a couple of women he’d met on this personals site had thrown themselves at him. One of them had invited him to her house for dinner and then had suggested they go upstairs to the bedroom.
“How weird!” I said. “Did you go?”
Yes, he said, he’d gone–but reluctantly–and then was unable to perform sexually. In her next contact with him by email, she told him they weren’t compatible. Another woman with whom he’d had his longest relationship of about 18 months, slipped him a note to tell him she wasn’t “into” him physically.
Still, I didn’t see it coming…
After watching the sun set, he asked me how we were doing. Did I want to join him in a casual restaurant for dinner? I said I thought we were doing fine, so I agreed to go to dinner. During dinner, I learned that he’d retired. He has almost no support system. His parents are dead, and he has no siblings. He does play a lot of golf with some guys, but they don’t really talk about personal things. He doesn’t really have a lot of interests, other than golf and skiing during the winter season.
So had he asked me to dinner because he just wanted some company? Is he so lonely and bored each day that he’d been pleased not to have to eat alone, for a change? Or was there some real interest???? I still couldn’t read him…
After dinner, he walked me to my car. He asked if he could see me again today, and I told him I’d have to get back to him as I had a lot to do.
He emailed me Friday night and told me what a great time he’d had. I fished around to see what he’d thought of me. Had he found me attractive? Did I misrepresent myself on my profile? I told him I’d actually found him quite handsome, a big surprise from what I’d surmised from his photo. We joked about his being a “geek” in his photos.
His response to my questions was sort of vague. Yes, he said, I’d appeared just as I’d promised in my ad. I have a huge smile and I’m easy to talk to. He enjoyed himself with me…and blah, blah blah..
I told him I wouldn’t be getting together with him today because I had a lot of stuff to do around the house. This was true. Then I put it out there, as specifically as I could. I asked him straight out if he thought we’d had chemistry. Was he attracted to me?
It was really hard for me to ask!!! I felt uncomfortable and didn’t want to appear to be begging for compliments. But I wanted a plain answer to my questions.
He responded by, yet again, being evasive. He admitted he had problems with E.D. (erectile dysfunction). He said he had “some” physical interest in me but wasn’t sure if he was keeping himself from feeling it to avoid possibly getting hurt. I responded by telling him we both face the possibility of rejection, but that’s the price of a new “relationship” if we were to pursue one. I also suggested he call his doctor and get more info about those blue pills!!!
He promised to call me tonight so we could talk further. Then, he called at six o’clock.
He admitted he’d been evasive with me about the issue of chemistry because…..well….if he was being honest, he thought of me more as a friend. And could I use another friend?
Thank you very much, I said, but no thanks. I have quite enough friends. I was looking for a romantic connection, and, frankly, it hurt that he didn’t feel anything for me romantically. STill, I realize that, if you don’t feel it at the very beginning, you don’t feel it–and you probably never will.
Shortly thereafter, I ended the conversation.
I don’t know what to make of being blown off by this guy!! It always comes down to my needing reassurance by some MAN that I’m still desirable. What does it mean that THIS man doesn’t find me desirable? Is it HIS problem? Was I too direct when I asked him if we had chemistry? Did I push too hard trying to get to the issue of attraction? Did I frighten him off with my level of intensity and honesty?
OTOH, what’s his trip? Why did he extend our first meeting to include dinner? Why did he ask me out today? Is he just lonely? That’s not good enough for me anymore. I want a REAL relationship built out of a commonality of interests and of beliefs. Just to be with someone instead of alone is not good enough..anymore.
You know, I’m surprised that I’m not more bummed about this. Frankly, I’m glad it came out early in the “relationship.” How would it be if I dated him for months or even years and he then slipped me a note admitting he’d never felt attracted to me? Better to rip the bandage off quickly than to develop feelings for him and to be kicked in the gut later.
I even feel a little relieved. I won’t have to worry about, and deal with, his ED. He can take his limp dick to someone else for the cure! I’ve never had to deal with that particular issue, and I don’t want to start now. Good riddance!!!
It helps that I have another date set up in a week and a half with a man who has texted me early each day and each night for the past week and a half with romantic screensaver messages. He says I seem like the “complete package” and he can’t wait to meet me. He has sent me numerous pictures of himself, and he looks absolutely adorable. All along, he’s been my favorite of the online profiles. The problem? He lives about two hours away…
But the truth is that, even if this other guy and I have no chemistry, I won’t be devastated. Nothing any of these guys can say or do to me will ruin my life anymore. They are all simply distractions, simply fun fantasies that last as long as they do. If they should develop into something more, cool. If not, I’ve enjoyed a few meals, had some pleasant and some not-so-pleasant encounters, and met lots of different people. In the meantime, I continue to live and deal with my very REAL life.
So I failed the chemistry test. I was never really good at, or interested in, science anyway. Writing was always was strong suit. I hope you all agree!