A Chat with Gabriella

Shortly after I had begun my online dating journey, I connected with a woman named Gabriella on Plenty of Fish. She was an attractive brunette with light brown eyes. I have a weakness for women whose names end in a’s. Subconsciously, I think I’m attracted to darker women, probably a reaction against my own Irish features. They seem exotic to me, their accents sensual. Through chatting with her on the app, I discovered she was Colombian and was on the tail end of a long vacation in the States. At that point of time, she was staying with cousins about 25 miles away from me.

It was apparent quickly she had very little English and my Spanish was limited to counting to 29 and discussing whose casa it was. The Google translate app solved that problem. And we merrily messaged back and forth, traded g-rated pics, and discussed getting together. She insisted she wanted to get together, but always seemed to have plans and the time grew shorter with each passing day.

Also, with each passing day, her pictures became less g-rated. We exchanged phone numbers and moved onto WhatsApp, which allowed video chats with nearly simultaneous translation, which were often nonsensical. We’d wait for each sentence to translate, laugh, and then try again. Soon, our video chats became more visual and less oral. The last several days of her stay, she would call me in the morning while I was at work. She’d still be in bed, a blanket hiked up to her chin. Slowly the blanket would be pushed aside and it all became very American Pie-ish. She’d ask me to tell her what to do, which I would, but as discretely as possible, as I was at work. Needless to say, I became very desirous of her, practically begging to see her. And the days slipped away. Three days left, then two.

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#love #sex

#autobiography #memories #writing

#columbia #humor

What a Gullibull!*

I work in construction in NYC, almost always with all men, most of whom are looking for a cheap laugh usually at someone else’s expense. Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to the usual gags and perpetrated some myself. Oftentimes, we will ask a brand new apprentice to go and ask around for something that doesn’t exist like a sky hook or a bucket of steam. I once sent a gullible young man to the union hall to get a column stretcher. And don’t come back until they give it to you, I admonished. It’s akin to sending a first day freshman to the phantom pool on the third floor of the high school.

Yesterday, I got off two jokes on the assistant super, an unusual feat. Neither joke is mine, but I’ve used them many times over the years. He’s a young fellow, not new to the business, and apparently more innocent than most. We were talking for a bit among a bunch of my crew when I asked him, Do you know where they put the henway?

Huh?

The henway, the henway. What have they done with it? I insisted.

What’s a hen weigh? He fell neatly in my trap.

About 5 pounds, I replied, straightfaced. My men laughed.

Sensing I might get away with it, I got him with the second joke: Jeez, I said. You’re a bit of a rube. You never heard that one before? Here’s a second one; you can use it yourself some day.

Go ahead!

How do you keep an idiot in suspense? I asked, turning to walk away.

I dunno, how?

I kept walking.

*As bugs bunny would say.

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#love #sex

#autobiography #memories #writing

#bugsbunny

#joke #funny

Valentine’s Day

I have a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. The day brings a feeling of dread each year, which can probably be traced back to my high school years. In grade school things were easy, I gave and received cards from all the boys and girls in my classroom. The teachers had a rule, if you planned on giving any cards, you had to give them to everyone. The least liked child got as many cheesy heart cards as the most liked. Nobody was left out. This probably ended in third grade or so. Then we basically ignored the holiday for several years.

In high school, Valentine’s Day got harder. I was an under-the-radar sort of guy, which was fine by me. I didn’t really get bullied, but neither was I in with the cool crowd. I could never work up the nerve to ask a pretty girl to dance. The term wallflower may have been invented with me in mind.

As a freshman, I was introduced to a school tradition. A week before Valentine’s Day, one of school clubs sold single roses to be distributed on February 14th. You could send them as a secret admirer or with a note proclaiming your everlasting love. Boys sent them to girls; girls sent them to boys. I suspect some people sent them to themselves. As the school day started, Cupid’s helpers would rush through each homeroom bestowing roses. Most got one, some of the popular kids got several. If you got a dozen you were a valentine prince or princess. In four years, I never got a single rose, but neither did I ever send one. I’d just shrink at my desk, waiting for first period to start.

Almost 40 years later now, I trepedatiously open up my mailboxes, both virtual and real. Has anyone thought to wish me happiness and love today?

Wait! Nevermind me, I wish any who might read this a joyful day full of chocolates, roses, love and lust. We all deserve it.

#valentinesday #highschool

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#love #sex

#autobiography #memories #writing

When the Wheels Come Off

When the wheels start to come off, take your foot off the gas pedal. It’s a great piece of advice, come to think of it, and so I took my foot off the gas pedal. I switched it to the brake, but found it depressed right down to the floor with no corresponding decrease in speed. I was careening, heading towards a crash.

Within a couple of months of joining Plenty of Fish, I had managed to complicate what should have been a fairly simple endeavor: find an attractive woman who found me attractive in turn. And by attractive, I don’t just mean physically, but in the myriad of ways we humans entwine our romantic selves with our mates, whether you think it’s chemical, electrical or our very souls.

I had gone out on several dates with women I had considered pretty from what I saw in their pictures. I dated one I wasn’t at all attracted to physically, but who just seemed so happy and robust I wanted to see if I could set aside the physical and be subsumed by her sheer joyfulness (I could not).

Online dating can become a sort of addiction. I’ve read quite a bit about this; I’m not alone in falling into this trap. I was messaging multiple women, literally texting down a list, trying to keep the names straight. I’d sometimes have to ask for a picture to be sent because I could no longer remember which Kathy from POF I was messaging. God forbid, I gave a woman my number and she’d text some time later without telling me who it was. I’d have to try and draw out personal information surreptitiously and go back to the dating site and try to cross-reference. Sometimes, I’d get it wrong and be called out on it: “Um, you’re confusing me with one of your other women.”

It was exciting at first. I found affirmation there. Maybe I’m better looking than I thought, more interesting, funnier. Let me introduce myself, I thought, get to know each other. With time and better acquaintance, I figured most would see through me. What I found was the addiction became all-consuming. It took all my time, all my thought. And really, it didn’t make me feel better. But when you’re speeding down a hill in a car and the wheels start to fall off, there’s only one thing to do. Crash.

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#love #sex

#autobiography #memories #writing

The Rightest Wrong One

Of the many men she liked

She liked me the most

Not to say she liked me lots

Just a bit more than those

She looked to the east

When the sun set west

And said, I love you some

But could not love you any less

Of an evening, I’d go for a kiss

She’d turn and offer her cheek

But hug me so tight and warm

I thought maybe I could speak

Of love, but stood in hush’d confusion

As I was only the rightest wrong one

for ML

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#poetry

#autobiography #memories #writing

The Shortest Day

From sunrise to sunset, today is the shortest day of the year. We’re having torrential rains today so the day will seem even shorter. Despite the gloominess, it always brings to my mind a question my father would ask each year of my uncle. My father was and remains a man of very dry humor. He rarely laughed when a small smile or slight chuckle would suffice, but that was not to say he didn’t find many things funny. His blue eyes twinkled with mirth, even as he suppressed all other outward signs.

My Uncle Bob, on the other hand, found almost everything funny. He grinned and smiled and laughed out loud. He was wonderfully bald like a medieval monk and had a thick mustache beneath his wide nose, which curled up at the ends when he smiled. Now my Uncle Bob was not really my uncle; him and his wife were just very dear friends of my parents and I grew up calling them aunt and uncle. Their children were like cousins to me, at least until I realized I was terribly attracted to one of the daughters (a story for another time perhaps). Their house in my hometown was the neighborhood clubhouse. Everyone was welcome there.

My father and Uncle Bob were work partners in construction. Each day for decades, Bob would drive to my house and they would alternately drive into Manhattan, where they would work all day together on various construction sites. They spent more conscious time with each other than they ever did with their wives. They did this for decades. For their last several years, I joined them. They listened to the oldies station day after day. They discussed the Mets or the football Giants, depending on the season.

Bob was a fully functional alcoholic. I suspect he’d take a few heavy pulls of vodka before leaving his house each morning. My father and I ignored the smell of it, as he got into the car. One day he had a case of the delirium tremens as he was parking the car and hit the gas pedal when he was trying for the brake and vice versa. He had to go to rehab once or twice in those years. He’d come out 30 days later as cheerful as ever and start drinking again soon after. My Aunt Peggy, his wife, had an uncanny ability to find out whatever bar he spent his after work hours in. All in the days before cell phones and laptop computers. I was there once when the bartender -in a city saloon we just happened to choose- picked up the phone, listened briefly, and asked out loud, Is there a Bobby **** here? Bob took his turn listening, hung up, and said like a chastened child, I have to go home now.

Every year, on the day after the Winter solstice, my father and I (me in the back seat of the car) would wait patiently for Bob to arrive and settle himself in the front passenger seat. We’d drive a bit and my father would inevitably turn towards Bob and ask him in all seriousness, Is it me or are the days getting longer? Bob would just smile, having heard it dozens of times before, and its vernal equinox equivalent (Is it me or are the days getting shorter?)

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#wintersolstice #vernalequinox

#autobiography #memories #writing