This post is radically different from what it was a few days ago. I was going to do a date post using the real first name of a man I was with. I also had photos. I thought it was a cool idea, different than anything I’d done before and would be easy to write. The pics would tell the story; I wouldn’t have to work as hard. My date agreed and then changed his mind a few days ago. He was concerned that if his daughters somehow read it they might be upset. This new version and his anonymity does allow this to be more than just a record of the obvious and in this instance I think that’s a good thing.
BUT, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s start at the beginning.
On March 27th, The Huffington Post published a piece I wrote on Brazilian waxing. At the end of the article I asked that both men and women weigh in. There are now over 1200 comments so I guess I got what I asked for. Besides the comments, I received many email messages from readers who went from the piece to my blog and then reached out. I even had a few who began following me on Twitter. Jack was one of them.
After a few days of back and forth tweets the tone began to change. I don’t know if you’ve seen the photos on Twitter, but they’re small. He seemed attractive and I could tell he had a dimple, but the thing that was most intriguing was that he was funny. I enjoyed our banter and then it got flirty. So flirtatious that my older daughter sent me the following email message:
Seriously, Mom? The tweets between you and @[redacted] are ridiculous! You know you’re on a public site, right?
Do you see why I refer to her as The Chronic Cramp-er Of My Style?
OK, perhaps we were crossing the line and I’ll admit that he had my attention. I guess some might say that when I tweeted, I need to write but I’m distracted by thoughts of strangers with dimples, I wasn’t exactly being coy.
I sent Jack a direct message:
Are we flirting? Maybe we should take this off Twitter. Here’s my email address: [redacted].
He sent a message right away, told me a little about himself and attached a couple of photos. He lived in Newport Beach, California and said he’d joined Twitter only to communicate with me.
I opened the attachment.
I almost fell out of my chair. Staring back at me in the photo was a man so beautiful I gasped. That’s why I wanted to include the actual photos because I’m not going to be able to do him justice, but I’ll give it a shot.
How about Chris Noth at his peak on Sex and the City?
Nope, Jack was better looking.
George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven?
Naw, not even close.
This guy was drop dead gorgeous. Scary good looking.
Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black kind of handsome.
Oliver Martinez in Unfaithful sort of perfect.
AND, he was 49 years old. I should also mention that he was 6’2” with a body that only an Abercrombie & Fitch boy should have.
Yep, he sent a beach shot.
After a few email exchanges we began talking on the phone. I hoped he had a weird voice—something that was an equalizer. Not to be. His voice matched his looks and he was as funny on the phone as he was in his tweets. He told me about his three daughters—two almost grown and one in middle school. He talked about his family and was very close to all of his nine brothers and sisters. He even sent me photos of the brood. Each one was as beautiful as the next. What must his parents look like to create an entire herd of gene pool rock stars?
In the beginning I had a hard time being myself on the phone. His face kept popping up in my mind, but gradually I began to forget as we talked more frequently. I think it’s rather like when talking to someone with an accent. In the beginning you hear it clearly but after several conversations it seems to disappear.
Jack always made me laugh. It seemed that no matter when he called I was on my way to a date. He’d ask about each guy and I was honest. I also told him he could read about it on my blog. He told me he quit reading the blog.
“When I read about you with other guys it almost feels like you’re cheating on me.”
I was disappointed that he didn’t follow the blog but I understood. It must’ve been strange to talk to me almost daily while knowing I was going on dates with other men—and writing about it. An odd dynamic for sure.
Jack asked if I would come to California to see him. I said I would eventually be returning to Las Vegas, planned to visit an old friend in California (Jill) and would love to meet him for a drink.
He didn’t like that.
“A drink? I want to see you for more than a drink.”
Now before you scream at me through your computer, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” Here’s the deal. When Jack and I talked the conversation never went beyond the superficial. Each time I tried to steer it towards a deeper subject—one where I would learn about who he really was—he brought it back to easy breezy, surface stuff.
That just can’t work for me long term.
I need a man who’ll let me in. Open up in the most fearless of ways and Jack just wasn’t having it.
He also spent lots of time talking about his divorce. We had several conversations where I barely said a word, just listened as he rambled on and on about his situation. I know how consuming that sort of trauma can be but I wasn’t in the midst of it and frankly, it was beginning to bore me. I even went so far as to say, “Let’s make a deal. I won’t talk about the blog if you won’t talk about your divorce.” He agreed but then would start in again during the next conversation.
Jack asked me to meet him in Charlotte where he was going for business. I declined. My friends (who saw his photo) thought I was crazy. “Get your ass on the next plane to see this guy,” said Christy, as she looked at the photo I’d pulled up on my phone.
I wasn’t willing to make a special trip yet. I needed to know that he was more than just, well, a pretty face. I’ve been there before with someone else—my first husband. He too was an incredibly good-looking man but there was a lack of depth to his personality that was disappointing and utterly unfulfilling.
The result of marrying much too young.
“Are you sure you want to get divorced? You make such a beautiful couple,” said my attorney. I assured him that although we looked great on Christmas cards, it was the most we had.
Jack also had something else in common with my first husband. He was a college football player and he even played briefly in the pros. I’m not sure if it is part of the makeup of a successful athlete but for many I’ve met, the personality development seems to have taken a backseat to the advancement of their athletic prowess. Not the “dumb jock” thing. Most athletes I’ve met are smart. I just mean when you’re good at something and are told frequently and also have crowds cheering—there’s seems to be a lack of necessity to hone the skills the average person might need to develop. Many former athletes also spend lots of time talking about their past, and Jack did that a bit too. My second husband Neal, played both football and baseball in college, and rarely mentioned his time on the field. He was named one of the 100 All-Time Best Athletes at his University but I didn’t learn that until after his death. For him it was just a way to get an education and move on to the real world.
SO, I waited for Jack to show me who he was, we continued talking and the conversation occasionally went from the superficial to deeper things—but it was rare.
“I’m going to be your last story,” he said, referring to the end of my year of blogging. “You’ll tell the world that we end up together.”
I wasn’t convinced of that outcome but his sureness made me smile.
Last week I made a trip home to Las Vegas. I had some things to handle there and as you know (if you read the previous post) I went to L.A. to visit an old friend. I told Jack I was coming and asked if he would like to meet for a drink. He said he’d love to.
After spending time with Jill, I drove to Laguna Beach on Saturday afternoon and checked in to a hotel. I’ve spent lots of time in Laguna—many summers of my childhood and many visits as an adult. It is my favorite place in Southern California and I know it well.
I wasn’t nervous as I dressed, applied make-up and dried my hair. I was hopeful. Perhaps I would finally get to know who Jack was. He arrived early and was waiting in the lobby. When I first saw him he was just as beautiful as his photos. It did stop me momentarily and when he hugged me his scent was intoxicating.
He decided we’d go to Las Brisas for drinks on the patio overlooking the ocean—a perfect choice.
As he drove and we chatted I stared at his profile. He was comfortable knowing I was watching. He put on Classic R & B and sang to me.
It was a cool evening and we sat in two seats next to a fire pit. Between the sound of the surf, the fire and strong Margaritas—romance was on the menu.
Jack leaned in and kissed me twice during our conversation. He said I had the softest lips. He didn’t talk about his divorce as I feared he would and he also gave me glimpses of what I thought might be depth. Sure, there was also the superficial small talk that one makes on a first date, but I kind of hoped we were beyond that. After a couple of drinks we walked down the stairs to the ocean and that was where he really kissed me.
There was no doubt I was physically attracted to him.
My body responded to that kiss as did his.
Jack drove me back to the hotel and came inside. What happened after that is, well, private, but before you make any assumptions, I slept alone that night and when Jack left I was ready for him to go.
As I always do following any date, I sent him a text message the next day thanking him for a nice evening. In his response he asked that I not include the photos we’d taken the night before. It seems he was, once again, in the midst of divorce drama and was worried about his daughters.
It’s the perfect storm right now, his text read.
As I drove back to Las Vegas that morning I had ample time to think. That’s what I love most about a solitary road trip. Lots can be resolved.
Here’s what I figured out.
I don’t want to be with Jack. At least not who he’s shown me to be thus far.
I am one hundred percent certain he’s never had to try with a woman. Never had to be romantic, complimentary, or even concerned about their sexual satisfaction. All he’s ever had to do was show up. The pleasure of his company is all he’s needed to provide.
I’ve never claimed to have simple relationship needs–I’m a pain in the ass–I want so much more.
I do think there’s something deeper—I’ve seen flashes. I’m just not convinced Jack is willing to explore that part. Why put that much effort into the inside when the outside’s always been enough? Why expose himself, be vulnerable?
And maybe he’s just wounded from the divorce and the superficial persona is self-protection. That could certainly be the case and I hope so. I also hope that if Jack has more to give and is interested, he’ll show me.
If not, I wish him well. No question there will be a never-ending supply of women happy to be with him exactly as he is.
I’m just not one of them.
If it turns out that he is simply that exquisitely wrapped present that disappoints once the paper and ribbons are removed, that would be a shame. Because as much as I think we’d look good on Christmas cards, I’ve opened that gift before.
”The first time you buy a house you see how pretty the paint is and buy it. The second time you look to see if the basement has termites. It’s the same with men.” Lupe Velez