In watching TV there has been a tidal wave of ads for an internet "matching" service. This service via the internet will ask you questions and create a "profile" and then match you with prospective people that are compatible to you. When these ads appear I say a silent prayer that goes like this..."I thank you Lord for the fact that I am not having to date anymore!" To me that is the biggest positive point in staying married. Not having to date. The other one is not having to worry about your figure. Well now I know that should still be a concern even when one is married but hey...I threw caution and my thongs to the wind along with that bridal bouquet to those single gals. There was a time though before I was married that I too was one of the lonely...just like in a Roy Orbison song. After a break up of a year and a half relationship I was mid thirties and pretty disgusted with the whole dating process. I was not into the "meat market"..a.k.a. bar baiting. For one thing mid thirties was scary but I was really looking forward to seeing mid seventies so trolling for Mr. Goodbar was not an option. On a suggestion from a friend and also from my counselor...oh yeah...did I mention that.
Yes...therapy needed after the last break up. Diagnosis.... severe self-esteem problem. I was striving to be perfect...felt someone would love me that way. Whoa did I ever get cured....perfection is flying way out the window now! Back to the counselor. He suggested a dating service. I went to the service that everyone recognized in that day. They even had International in their name...that had to be good. You enrolled for different plans. Yep...you had the Volkswagen plan...a few referrals but you probably would really only get in the groove of things when your options run out. You had the Olds sedan plan. More referrals than the "down and dirty basic plan" but I was assured that someone of my vivacious personality would think this plan a mere appetizer. O.K. they set the hook and were reelin' me in without a fight. The Cadillac school bus plan for me! Twenty-five referrals that I could use for the rest of my life or if I got married I could pass them on to a friend. What a deal. For a sum that would nearly buy a Cadillac I could be one of the happy enjoying dating the way it was really intended. Now this service did not make a video, they did not show a picture even to prospective dates. You filled out a profile questionnaire (pretty extensive) and they would provide this profile to your mystery date. The date would then get your phone number only and they could call you and you took it from there. Now I was not fashion model material but I would say I wasn't bad. Anyway I was really for the dating service a good bone to throw out to new clients. I was in my thirties...no kids...never been married...no baggage.
My first referral had been in the system for a while...nice enough fellow but looking back on it now after watching all the decorating shows on TV, I think he was really probably gay and trying to come to terms with his sexuality. The next fellow was told to me (by the agency) to favor Tom Selleck. Well let me tell you the old fantasy mode kicked in before our meeting. There wasn't a lust novel on the shelf to compare with the scenario I had played out in my mind. I would resist his advances...until we got in the car...then he would be ravaged like a Porterhouse by a pit bull. Well the term "favored Tom Selleck" must have meant that he had hair on his legs. Not even. HIn addition he really had some issues shall we say with the ex-wife...Next..... The next fellow was an insurance broker. When he called me the first words out of his mouth were "what is your dress size?" I should have asked him "before or after Mammy laces up my corset honey chile." Anyway I met him for lunch. Just as exciting as reading a policy endorsement for flood insurance...Next.
Now, the faint of heart might begin to wonder...am I really getting my money's worth here...but I answer... life's an adventure and I was out there to give it the gusto! All this time I am going to my china painting classes on Monday nights. I am the only single gal there. These married girls can't wait to hear the latest installment in my dating chronicle and then what my counselor had to say about the last looser. I mentioned previously that this particular service had "International" in their name. Well now my next referral was very interesting for a country girl. He was an Egyptian microbiologist. When the service called and asked if they could give him my number I said "sure" why not. I wanted to be free thinking and expand my horizons a little. This is the part of the movie when the anxious music starts. You then tell the heroine...No don't do it! I meet this fellow for coffee during the daytime. When he arrives his son leaves with the car because he had to attend a wedding. I have never really been exposed to other cultures so it was somewhat interesting at first to talk with him. His first marriage was arranged by his family. This did not work out after he brought her to the states while he did his graduate work. He was a champion cyclist in Egypt and still rode competitively here. He had taught previously at the university in town but had since gone to work for the government at the naval installment in the next county. All he could say was that he was studying components and how they affected the human body.
Can you hear that noise....it is the alarm going off in my head. Cyclist...he should recognize back pedaling when he sees it. I now know that this is not for me. We were two completely different people. Shortly after this personal revelation he starts telling me that I can go with him back to Egypt in June to meet his family. I have only shared a coffee stir stick with him for God's sake! I won't have to worry about going through customs etc. because his brother-in-law is a general in the Egyptian army and he will just come aboard the plane and take us off. At this point my mind flashes to the movie starring Sally Field and her daughter is taken back to an Arab country and she has to try and get her back. I also by now have strangled on my latte and I am afraid that he will feel the need to employ some life saving maneuvers. I say it is getting late and really must go. He asks if I would be so kind as to drop him off at his house since his son has taken the car. O.K. I say. He lives in a nice neighborhood in a new house. His younger son is there when I drop him off. He wants to show me his new house. I try to be polite and decline but he and his son insist so I say that it must be brief because I really must go. The house is tastefully decorated. Except for the painting that hung in his bedroom with the nude woman with a snake draped over her shoulders! At this moment I am flying out of the house...my counselor said "apparently he has some issues with the role of women....totally subservient I would say!" And I am paying this guy for his professional opinion? To shorten this portion of the story known to my painting friends in china class as my "camel days" this fellow was almost a stalker. He kept calling me on and on until I finally had to report him to the dating service. They then told me they had not sent him a referral for 2 years....I asked them why...and they said because he was Muslim and women always declined. My counselor urged me to give it another try. So I accepted another "client". This fellow had a degree in criminology and worked for the probation office in the next county. He seemed sound enough over the phone so I agreed to meet him for dinner. That evening when I get home from work as I prepare for my date there is a terrible thunderstorm and the power goes off. Well out in the country the power goes off if someone in Washington D.C. turns on their heating pad so I was use to that...but you don't have any water out in the boon docks when that happens...so a shower was out...no chance of perking up the hair with a curling iron...so I'm like...O.K. buddy you are getting the real me! The restaurant where I was meeting him was a very popular place. Finding a parking space was a premium. It is raining and as I drive around the parking lot I see this fellow on the porch of the restaurant in a button down cardigan sweater carrying a yellow umbrella. First thing you should never do. Don't tell them what kind of car you drive. That way you can always leave after you case things out. Stupid me.. I had told him! Yellow umbrella bobbing aross the porch. What kind of guy buys a yellow umbrella? I am getting sick to my stomach. He was running around the porch as I drive to and fro trying to find a parking space. I'm the type of person that I don't pray for frivolous things but I was praying big time...."Lord you have time to change this.....please do not let this be him...I will make another pass around the parking lot for you to do your glorious work and change these events." I find a parking space and as I approach the restaurant I sort of look past this guy still hoping that fate will be kind. When has fate ever been kind! It was him. Better looking than Mr. Rogers but his outfit Bingo right down to the stiff crease in his trousers. I apologize and explain about my misfortune with the rural electric co-operative and we actually have a rather nice dinner. I did feel a bit like I was being interogated though. When I would go out on these "excursions via the dating service" I would always offer to pay for my meal or refreshment. I felt this gave me a little autonomy. All of the other gents even the camel sadist said "oh no!" Well this fellow said "O.K. you can pay for yours". That really wasn't what bothered me. I gave him cash for my meal as well as a tip. He pockets my cash then puts the bill and tip on his credit card and says..."I can write this off". He works for the probation dept. for God's sake. What does this fall under....take a sexual predator to dinner deduction? On the way home I make a vow to myself...no more dating service....I will not shoot my counselor as much as I would like to..and I will try to share this experience with any one of my single friends that don't believe my experiences by giving them remainder of my referrals.
It was a dark day in china painting class when I made the announcement that I was no longer accepting prospective opportunities from my dating service. Now that I am a married woman of nearly eight years I often wonder about my dating partners and where they are now. The "maybe gay" guy is he working the perfume counter or is he a hair styling salon mogul. The Tom Selleck almost...he is probably sitting in a "wife beater" tee shirt and shorts watching Nascar drinking whatever beer was on sale. The camel cyclist...I am afraid to even think about him. I may seem him on a episode of "Crocodile Hunter" since he has such an affinity for snakes. Then finally there is Mr. Rogers with the tax deduction. He is probably assaulting convicted felons with his yellow umbrella instead of a rubber hose. And I....I took the road less traveled by..and that has made all the difference!
(c) 2013 Ellen Wilson-Pruitt