A couple of months ago, my friend Rick asked if I would help him with his online dating profile. He was single again—he and his girlfriend had broken up. He wanted to get a woman’s perspective–what a woman wanted to see.
I was happy to assist, as I certainly knew what I looked for when perusing the dating sites.
Rick is a great guy. He’s the whole package. Decent, kind, successful, and hold your stomach and scream, “NO MORE,” funny.
We’ve been close friends for over thirty years. We met in college.
Actually, we were engaged.
We were so young that marriage would’ve been a disaster, but our friendship has been a rousing success.
Rick has also been good to my daughters. He’s been present at all the big events. He coached my younger daughter’s softball team when she was nine years old (league champs, by the way), was there at most of my oldest daughter’s high school games, showed up for graduations—even when they were on the opposite side of the country. Rick was the father they always hoped for–theirs was not around much.
He never had kids. I’ve always thought that was a big shame. Anyone who knows him has probably had similar thoughts. His former wife didn’t want children. He was caught up in loving her and felt he would be OK with it. He had a vasectomy. Oddly, his first didn’t work and he had to have a second. The details of how he discovered the initial surgery failed are private but I swear it was the Universe telling him he should be a father. His marriage didn’t last and he was left with what a doctor told him was almost zero chance of reversal.
While never relinquishing his desire to have children, as he got older he just didn’t think it was his time anymore. He accepted that he would be childless and he’s never remarried.
In April 2011, I was in Las Vegas for a visit. Rick sits on the board of directors for several charities. He’s always inviting me to events and did so while I was home. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go but this time he was rather pushy.
“I want you to meet someone I’m dating. She just might be it.”
Rick never says that sort of thing and when I met Ashley I understood why she was different.
Rick is a rescuer and his relationship roster is filled with women he’s white horsed into a better life. Ashley didn’t seem to want or need him to climb the tower. She was her own person–held her own with him, and he’s certainly a big personality.
I liked her immediately.
Their relationship progressed and my friend was happier than I’d seen him in ages. He said she felt the same.
Then the problems began.
Ashley was in her late thirties and had never married. She wanted children. Since Rick was fifty-one he felt his time had passed but instead of telling Ashley exactly that, he hedged. He said he’d consider it and their relationship continued. Ashley began feeling resentful of Rick’s inability to make a commitment either way.
“In the beginning of our relationship he often said he had always wanted kids and yet there I was, right in front of him wanting to have a child and he wouldn’t even talk about the possibility.”
“I didn’t want to disappoint her and I sure as hell wasn’t going to bring it up.” He realized one of the differences between many men and women. In this instance, her position was, “Let’s talk about it no matter what,” and his was “Why talk about something when the answer hasn’t changed? You will only get upset.”
Ashley was hurt and angry. It was one of those slow break ups. Neither truly wanted it to happen.
Two months later, Rick was dipping his toe back in the water. I helped him put together a rockin’ profile and he began meeting a slew of great women.
But none made him feel the way Ashley did.
We had many conversations about his dates. They always ended with, “I don’t know, Mel. I can’t quit thinking about her.”
I felt awful for him but saw no way to get beyond their differences.
BUT, after some soul searching, Rick did.
A week ago he asked Ashley to dinner. Given that they had not spoken a word in nearly four months, she arrived figuring he wanted to put the anger behind them and be friends.
Here’s what happened.
He told Ashley he’d consulted a doctor who educated him as to the possibilities around testicular sperm extraction (TSE) or “save the swimmers” in laymen’s terms.
He said he’s willing to try to have a baby and ready to start immediately.
He asked her to move in.
She was understandably in shock and tried to grasp it all.
Can you imagine getting every single thing you’ve always wanted all at once?
He asked if he was blowing her mind, she said, “DUH.” He then asked her if she thought he could blow her mind any further, she said, “NO.” He then got up and walked to her side of the table, got down on one knee, pulled out a ring and proposed.
I guess he finally knew what he wanted.
Ashley was justifiably shocked.
She wouldn’t look at him or the box.
“I told him to get up and go back to his seat. It was everything I’d always dreamed of but it was also sensory overload. I needed a minute to process it all.”
Rick went back to his seat and Ashley took it all in. Of course, tears followed–happy tears. Once she gained a little composure he returned to her side and got down on one knee again.
This time she was ready.
Slight glitch. The ring didn’t fit.
“I don’t know if it was the alcohol, the heat or what but she was OJ and Johnny Cochran with those fucking black gloves,” Rick told me.
Maybe it was just too much all at once because the next morning it slid effortlessly onto her finger.
I’m very happy for my friend and thrilled that he didn’t need that online profile. No matter whom he might’ve met online his heart was always somewhere else.
Jeez, my single friends are dropping like flies. Maybe it’s the year we all find love.
Update on date number two with Mr. Normal coming on Thursday.
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Theodore M. Hesburgh