Recently I heard from a guy named Tommy. He seemed normal, and in his written profile was clever and pun-ny. He lived in my neighborhood, and was good looking without being overly groomed. He seemed interested, and I’m a sucker for flattery.
One of the problems with online dating is that it quickly subjects you to someone’s literary skills. Despite the service I use having spell check, the spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors other people make are completely out of control. Since there is a uniform template that people fill out, it’s also easy to tell which people are fans of proper capitalizations. I might see three men with the same name, but one says “Jason,” the other “jason,” and the other “JASON.” I always pick “Jason.” I liked that, despite Tommy’s name was “Tommy” (which I thought odd for a man of 32), his capitalizations were sound.
I agreed to meet Tommy at a neighborhood bar. We were meeting on a Saturday night; just late enough to be considered trendy, and early enough to not feel seedy. After dinner on Saturday I began prepping. This involved a showering, exfoliating, blow-drying, nail painting, and ironing.
After prepping, I zipped up to the bar and waited for Tommy. Tommy strolled in; bumbling away, in what I thought was a little uncomfortable chatter. As it turned out, this is just the way Tommy spoke. We were meeting a little late because he coached youth hockey, which I thought was charming. He spoke in short sentences, and smiled frequently, forcing me to wonder if Tommy blew through life a little on the high side.
Despite the fact we knew a few of the same people, hung out at the same places, and lived on the same street, we were running out of things to talk about rather quickly. So, I brought up work. He was in marketing. This is not a field I understand, so I asked what aspect. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Ya know, marketing.” I moved on to other conversational topics. It was becoming obvious that we had little in common.
Then I said something about night classes at Wayne State. Tommy’s eyes lit up. A talk about college days sparked something in Tommy. A 32-year-old man getting that excited about college was a little different. Tommy’s eyes danced and he formed run-on sentences about people named Tubs, Donnanatrix, and Dan-Ahrrea. He started talking about drunken evenings in small towns, and I came to the conclusion that Tommy was not simply nostalgic about college. If he could have blinked an eye and landed in Mount Pleasant at that moment, I’m sure I would have found myself alone very quickly.
Tommy was on a roll, and I had been tuning out, trying to flag the waitress down, and dreaming of liquor. While waving my arm, nodding, smiling, and pretending to listen, I kept hearing one word over and over again. The key word was “boobs.” This, too, seemed a little odd.
My cocktail made it to the table, and I was trying to look intrigued and figure out where this “boobs” conversation was going. All of the sudden, Tommy was talking about his Mom. There was still talk about the boobs.
I wanted to flee.
I chugged my cocktail, ice cubes smashing into my teeth, threatening to smack me in the forehead and smudge my make up.
“…But Boobs just lives with my Moms now…”
All of the sudden, I flashed back five minutes to frat boys, and realized that Boobs was a dog. Boobs had been adopted by Tommy to be his frat’s mascot, and he had bragged, “The idiots at the shelter just let me take ‘er.” Boobs was kind of a pain, and believe it or not, never properly trained, so now she lived with Tommy’s mom. I’m sorry, his “Moms.” Boobs had been there since the end of Tommy’s senior year, since he never really wanted a dog, and he was graduating soon, and all those parties and things were happening.
I’m a dog person. I have a dog that I picked up from the Humane Society. She sleeps in my bed, has a better balanced diet than I do, and is always up-to-date on her shots. I have taken in pit bulls I found in the ‘hood, and a Chihuahua abandoned by its owner. I’ve fed kittens formula with an eyedropper. A guinea pig made its home in my bathroom for a few days, a few summers ago. I am a softie, and I could never obtain an animal and give it away, because it was inconvenient to my summertime activities.
I didn’t like Tommy.
This was an odd feeling. Being the nerdy kid my entire life, I was used to attaching to anyone who glanced in my direction. Here I was, with someone decent looking, jovial, and who had more than half-a-brain…but was just about the farthest thing from “my type” as one could get. I didn’t have to be sitting at a bar, and I didn’t want to be.
Tommy was talking about going elsewhere. I had no idea whether or not these plans included me. Tommy had returned to his smiley, short sentences. I found him hard to follow. Throwing $15 on the table to cover beverages, which he insisted was unnecessary (he was polite), I quickly left.
I left feeling ambivalent. Ambivalence felt delightful.
Ambivalence got me home with time to watch the news with the dog. Without hard feelings, I was back to life-as-I-know-it. I was content, and I wasn’t going to spend time thinking about Tommy. There would be no “will he EVER call?” moments. It was just done, as easily as it had begun.