See part one here: :Mel: the Pipes Are Calling Despite Mel not being quite what I favor physically, her profile drew me towards her. This is not to say she was ugly, she certainly was not. She was an attractive woman, just not my type. Her hair looked salon styled, her fingernails manicured, her surroundings elegant. And I thought I was mature enough to see beyond my own particular visual cues. Keep in mind, I’m under no misapprehension that I am a Greek god walking amongst mere mortals less gifted in physical beauty. I am not. I am well into my middle years, a few extra pounds, and balding, but generally have a pleasant look about myself that some women like and some don’t. As I said, the bagpipes were enough of a draw. She was several years younger than me, but not, let us say, creepily so. On Plenty of Fish, either person can send a message right away and so I did.
We chatted on Plenty of Fish for awhile and eventually musical tastes entered the list of topics and I mentioned I was a big fan of ska music, particularly second wave. Second wave ska mostly originated in Great Britain, rather than its birthplace, Jamaica. Ska was a precursor to reggae music. I know there’s a whole musical formula to it, but I can’t explain it. Like pornography, which is defined by knowing it when you see it,I know ska when I hear it,I don’t know how I came across it in 1979-1980 suburban New Jersey, but I did. Just me. I was alone in my devotion for ska.I remember going out to buy my first Specials album, bringing it home and putting it on the turntable so my friends could listen to it too. Unfortunately, I was so unaware, I had bought a 38 Specials album and “HoldOn Loosely” bounced off the walls. So did the album shortly after I realized my mistake. Honestly, my friends were more likely to prefer 38 Special than the Specials. They really thought Eric Clapton was God. Meanwhile, I had my doubts and I had the Clash and the Special spinning on my turntable. I was an outlier, for sure.
When I mention ska as one of my favorite musical genres, no one ever says, “Oh yeah? Me too.” No, usually I get a blank expression (there’s an Easter egg) in return. When I told Mel, she said she had been in a ska band in her college years. There were even recordings of her band on Spotify. Lord! Bagpipes and ska. Was this fate lending love a hand or just all the cylinders lining up coincidentally?
Whatever it was, it was enough for me. I liked her look, I liked her musical tastes, I liked her banter. And after all, banter is all you have at first, besides looks. And looks are dependent on filters. She was smart. I could tell that right from our first exchanges. Like I said, she was several years younger than me, but she had managed to advance herself into an upper mid level position with a major tech giant. Her department handled company news and since the company was composed of tens of thousands employees worldwide, it was a pretty prestigious job, especially considering she was a musical theory major at university. She was whip smart. The world was her oyster and I was just a cracker.
I don’t have a super power, but I do have an above average power. I have one thing I do better than most people. I’m not one of the best; I’m not elite; I’m just this side of better than most, slightly better than let’s say 75% of the male population. I banter pretty well, especially in the written form. And quite a few women write well too, so we tend to get along famously. So with Mel, we messaged back and forth joyfully. We were like two odd shapes that had found our slots. I still had this blog linked to my dating app and she loved it. She read it and gave me pointers on how to make it better. If I made grammatical mistakes, she offered corrections. She said she liked my writing and encouraged me to write more. Wasn’t this basis enough for me to fall in love?
Not long into our conversation, I went away for several prearranged days at the New Jersey shore, made famous in the songs of Bruce Springsteen. We had not been on a date yet. We had not even talked with one another on the phone. I stay at my sister’s House on Long Beach island, a barrier strip betweenthe Atlantic Ocean and New Jersey proper. I went down with my son, but towards the end of the week he decided to go home, so I was looking at a weekend alone in a house at the beach. I told Mel all about it. “ I have thoughts about that,” she said. So do I, I told her.”What are your thoughts?” she asked. I was thinking you should come down and alleviate my loneliness. She said those were her thoughts too. She decided to come down. We had all the appropriate discussions: too early, I don’t know you well enough, I may not like you in person, etc. I said, Listen, come down. Have a glass of wine. Kiss me. There are empty rooms here with doors that lock. You’re welcome to your own decisions the whole night and I’ll respect them. You can say no at any point.
And she said, “And so can you.”
I liked that. I thought I was being a true gentleman, but she was saying, “No, you’re just being human.”
She came down. I met her in person for the first time I opened a bottle of wine and we drank it on a couch by open windows conveying the roar of the waves on the beach a couple of hundred yards away, She was everything her profile and messages promised: a good looking woman of intellect, humor and refinement. We spent the night together. It was lovely. We spent the next day on the beach…in sunshine.
#rutgers #jerseyshore #tinder #onlinedating #ska #38specisl #thespecials #dannyboy
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