Introducing Bella (my stylist, first offline date)

Many sayings could apply here. Sometimes you have to go off the grid. OR Sometimes you have to get back to the basics. No matter what it is, it’s ironic.

I say it’s ironic, because after all the money I’ve spent online dating, it seems meeting someone the old-fashioned way (flirting and talking with someone in public) works just as well, if not better than online.

So let’s start at the beginning. Bella is my hair stylist, my exclusive stylist. She’s also the only one my son let’s cut his hair. I can’t tell you how long it has been, definitely more than a year now, maybe close to two years.

We’ve always had good rapport and find it real easy to talk to each other. My son always walks out of the salon saying “You guys are hysterical together.” He even suggested several times that her and I date.

But there’s a problem, OK, maybe two problems. First, I have a strict policy about trying to pick up waitresses, bartenders (i.e. Zoey), Hooters girls, strippers, or any woman who makes her money interacting with men for tips – especially at her workplace. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve dated all of the above at one time or another, but I’ve never picked them up at their work. I’ve met them outside of work and found out they were a bartender or waitress. Well, except for strippers, I met them at the club. So sue me.

The second issue is I’m 42 and she’s 25 (birthday in June). I’m 16.5 years older than she is and she’s barely 7 years older than my older son.

But she’s funny, smart, in shape, and absolutely beautiful. And we connect so well. She also has two little boys (4 and 14 months) and is divorced.

However, back in the Summer I decided to step up my conversations with her. I made them more flirty, playful, with several comments that – even though were fairly innocent – had plenty of built-in innuendo for someone who’s looking for sexually charged comments. And that’s precisely when I also noticed her demeanor changed toward me.

Without going into too much detail (yes, this is the abridged version), we made a bet on the World Series in November. When we made the bet, she asked what she would get if she won, I said “Anything you want.” And I confirmed that several times with her during the conversation. All of this took place while she was cutting my hair. Then, when I went to pay, I asked her what I would get if I won the bet, she replied with the same thing, “Anything you want.”

It was on! I knew right there what my “prize” was going to be. I was going to have her go on a date with me.

I won the bet. We had seen each other a few times at the salon after the bet and had talked about settling it, but I was too reluctant to tell her what I wanted, for fear she would reject it. I tried getting her to tell me what she would have picked if she had won, and she wouldn’t tell me.

Then came my birthday, last month. I was in getting my haircut on my birthday, as was my son. But we were on a time crunch. Remember, that was also the night of my first date with Ariel. And Bella always has a long wait-list of guys waiting just to have her cut their hair. So I just took the first girl who was available. When I sat down in Andrea’s chair, Bella was cleaning her station and started making comments like I was cheating on her and such. I retorted with comments like clearly I wasn’t a priority in her life, etc. She saw my son there and grabbed his ticket and began cutting his hair.

We talked back and forth across the salon the entire time. Andrea and the two other stylists were getting a kick out the banter back and forth. We went into the back to wash my hair, and Bella and my son soon followed. We continued the conversations )and flirting).

When I was done getting my hair washed, Andrea noticed my tattoos on my arm which I had recently had done. She was admiring them, so I was pulling up my sleeve to show all the work that goes up my arm and onto my chest. After that, we went back to finish up in the salon. Shortly after, my son took his seat back in Bella’s chair.

He tells me that she got his shirt wet. I asked how. He said she was distracted looking at my tattoos when I was showing them to Andrea and wasn’t paying attention and got water all over the front of his shirt. So across the salon, I said (loud enough for all to hear), “Oh, so you were checking me out, huh?” She turned 50 shades of red and had to turn away to hide her face she was blushing and so embarrassed.

Right then I knew I had her. So after we were all done, I was at the counter paying Andrea for both haircuts. When we were finished, Bella already had a new client in her chair. I walked back into the salon and from across the room said, “I’m not done with you yet,” and we walked out.

About a week later, I got a weird Facebook friend request. I didn’t recognize the name or the small picture on my phone, and we had no friends in common. So I didn’t open it right away. Later that night I finally got around to opening it. Then it hit me! It was her! Bella from the salon.

She stalked me – it was so sweet. She went into her work system and pulled out my full name and looked me up on Facebook. (Now I know she debated for days whether to send me something or not.) We chatted on Messenger for a few days before exchanging numbers. We’ve talked everyday since, and I mean we’ve talked a lot.

And yes, this was all overlapping my time with Ariel. But I wasn’t sure Bella was really serious about me, or us for that matter. But then last week, with Ariel pulling away and something clearly being wrong, and Bella obviously showing showing interest in me, I started to play along with the conversation as it escalated.

It was just talking and I was fully reserving my time for Ariel, if that is what worked out. Well, coincidentally or ironically or however you want to put it, Bella said she wanted to see me this weekend yesterday – just ask Ariel was preparing to have the break-up talk with me. So we made plans. She wanted to see me for breakfast Friday, Friday night as well as Saturday night. I committed to Friday plans, holding back on Saturday until I heard from Ariel.  Obviously, I committed to Saturday once things with Ariel fell through.

We had breakfast late this morning in between her time at the gym and before she had to go to work. It was really fun, friendly and flirty. She was nervous the whole place was listening to our conversations about the bet, guys flirting with her at work, and other such nonsense. We also discussed plans for the evening. She gets off work late and has to work all day Saturday, so she wants to just chill and watch a movie at her place.

I walked her to her car and we lingered chatting for a few minutes. A nearby was getting ready to pull out of the lot. As soon as it did, I pulled her close me and we embraced at first, holding each other tighter and tighter. I released a little, allowing her to pull back just enough to make room to kiss her. It wasn’t your typical first date kiss. She even grabbed my face as we kissed for a couple of minutes, even though it seemed so much longer.

So things definitely look promising, and I will – of course – update you on the rest of our weekend together.

And as always, thanks for reading!

Introducing Ariel

To say that 2016 has started off poorly, is a grand understatement. January has been pretty much the worst month I can remember in a very long time. Not only the way it started with Zoey, but also many personal issues which you’re not interested in hearing here.

But things are hopefully starting to pick up.

I had been following through with my vow to not get back on Match until February, in order to avoid the Valentine’s Day new-relationship awkwardness. But last weekend I was updating my profile for when I decided to get back into the swing of the online dating game. You’d think I was new to this, because I didn’t realize that editing my profile made it “live” after months of having it hidden. I didn’t realize it until the flood of winks and notifications came in. Most of them completely bogus – thank you Match.

But there were a few “live ones” on there. So I decided to just give it a shot since my profile was public and ladies were checking it out.

That’s where Ariel came in. Her profile was very much what I was looking for. She’s tall enough (my perfect girl is about 5’8″-5’9″ because I’m 6’2″), active enough (she likes to run 5/10Ks and works out almost everyday), likes my kind of music, and even commented on looking good in a ballcap and formal dress. I once had a line almost exactly like that about wanting someone who looks good both in a ballcap and LBD.

So I messaged her. After about two days, we both decided to take the conversation off Match. I originally set up a date for us to get together this weekend (Saturday). But a friend of mine offered to watch my son on my birthday (Thursday) if I wanted to go out and do something for my birthday. So I asked Ariel if she was free and wanted to go out Thursday. She accepted.

A little about Ariel. She has one child, an 18 year old son who is a freshman in college, just like my oldest. She is only six months younger than me and works in the financial department of a very cool non-profit. And has the biggest, most intoxicating smile.

Ariel was mentioned numerous times that she felt very special that I chose to spend my birthday with her, and make that our first date. We met at the restaurant, and she arrived with a gift. I was very surprised she brought me a gift. It wasn’t much, just a gourmet cupcake and a very sweet card. The conversation was great and there was a lot of laughing. Always a good sign.

I walked her to her car, and as you regular readers know, I’m not the best at judging the “first kiss” and often back out instead of face the possible rejection. But tonight was not one of those nights. It seemed very natural and easy. It was just a quick kiss, but there was nothing uncomfortable about it.

As we parted, I reminded her that we were still on for Saturday and she wasn’t getting out of it. She completely agreed.

Friday, we texted a bit in the morning. She told me she was informed that she was just officially offered a job at the non-profit she used to for prior to her current job. She was really looking forward to this opportunity. The weather had been in the 60’s recently and we were discussing how nice it was. So I suggested – half joking – that she skip out on the afternoon at work and we go celebrate the new of her new job. I fully expected her to decline my offer because of work. But she didn’t. She jumped at the invitation.

So, I picked her up at her office and we went to a nearby bar for drinks and appetizers. Again, the conversation was great. No awkward silences or moments, and there was even more laughter. She’s totally tuned into my sense of humor and I don’t have to explain my jokes to her. It is so nice.

As I returned from a bathroom break, I noticed a lounge area with couches and loveseats. When I got back to the table, I mentioned the couches and she said she totally forgot about them and that next time we’ll have to hit the couch area instead. I drove her back to her office, and in the car we kissed goodbye again. This time was a little more intense than the first time.

But before she got out of the car, she commented that Saturday night she promised to be more affectionate. I totally understood because we were saying goodbye in the parking lot of her work. I had not said anything or acted in any adverse way because the thought of something “more” in that situation had never crossed my mind. So I really took that comment as a very good sign.

Saturday night went just as well, if not better. Though I was more nervous Saturday than I was for either of the first two dates, combined. We went to a japanese steakhouse and had wine in the waiting area talking about karaoke because she admitted she was a closet karaoke singer. Then during dinner, we were having a great time “people watching.” There was a younger couple sitting across the hibachi from us who looked like they were having a miserable time. By the end of dinner, we had decided to ask them to join for the rest of the night to get their real story and maybe cheer them up. However, they vanished as soon as the check was paid and we never had the chance.

We went to a nearby big country bar after dinner for drinks. We were talking, laughing, dancing, singing, kissing, holding hands and each other, and lots more “people watching”.

It was probably the best date I’ve been on in a very long time. She parked right next to me in the parking garage because she pulled into the garage right behind me. Normally I would have picked her up, but she lives about 30 minutes North of downtown and I live about 30 minutes South of downtown, so we just met downtown. We walked back hand in hand and when we got to her car, the goodnight kiss was much more intense and lingered for quite a while. Unfortunately, I had to return home to relieve the babysitter even though every ounce of my body wanted to stay there with her all night.

Today, we talked a little this morning and she spends Sundays going to church and spending time with her family (sisters and parents). She was making Mardi Gras King Cakes with her sister. I asked how that was going and jokingly said she needed to make one for me. Again, she enthusiastically agreed to have one for me “the next time she sees me”.

So everything seems to be starting off well. But I am much more cautious this time around, for better or worse. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high, given the way recent dating experiences have gone. Though many of my friends are telling me to not worry about it so much. One big change I’ve made is dialing back the texting. I’ve heard more than one source cite too much texting as being a key problem to developing relationships. So I am trying to make sure I space things out and not send every text that comes to mind. Hopefully it all equates to a better result.

Again, thank you for reading. And if you have any further questions or comments, please let me know.

Until next time …

Next Post: Ariel: I Made Her BFF Cry

New 2016, Zoey, 2015 Wrap-up and more updates

Hello everyone.

Sorry it’s been so long since my last update. It was in October or something, right?

Well, things have been just crazy, in both my personal and dating life. So, in December, I shut down my Match profile and haven’t been on looking since. I needed to step away from the whole thing for a while. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, if I don’t have a girlfriend over the Holidays, then I stop dating until after Valentine’s Day.

But now to the updates …

Last I mentioned, I was looking into seeing Abigail again. Things seemed to be going very well, and I really opened myself up to try to make things work, since it was kind of my fault things ended up they way they did the first time. After a few weeks, she kind of disappeared on me. She said she had a lot going on, things were crazy at work and home and her father was even in the hospital. But everything just stopped. No explanation. No reason. And when I would hear from her, her explanations were cryptic and never explained anything, no matter how many questions I asked. So I finally sent her a message telling her that I was trying to be there for her but just ended up feeling like I was bother her, and that I was stepping away until I heard more from her. To date, I haven’t heard anything. So I guess that chapter is closed (again).

And I finally heard from Staci (everyone’s favorite question and topic) this weekend out of the blue. No, we’re not looking at getting back together or anything. She sent me a message explaining what happened with her ex-boyfriend. And I was right. That’s all that really matters (lol). They barely made it a month before they split again. I’m not one to say “I told you so,” but I told you so. lol

Then there was Zoey. Yes, you may have noticed I skipped a few names, but honestly I went on a number of dates since Wanda and really don’t feel like recapping them, so since Violet was the final girl of 2015 and makes for an easier transition (which I will explain later), I’m sticking with it. Deal with it.

Zoey and I met on Match shortly after Abigail and I ended. Things were hot and heavy for the first few weeks. We clicked and things were falling into place so well. Almost too well.

I had finally met her kids (a young daughter and son in high school) and we were waiting for my son to get back from a visit with his mom before I introduced him to her and her kids. I was out of town for  a few days before I picked him up. During that time, there was lots of conversation about how she missed me, couldn’t wait to see me, and such. I was gone for her birthday so I had flowers sent to her work, and she was telling me I was the best boyfriend, etc.

Then things seemed to change overnight. Literally, overnight. The night of her birthday, to be more precise. I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t there. All I know is she called me on her way home from work and we talked for nearly an hour. Then she said she had to go to have cake with her kids (at about 7 p.m.). Then about 9:30 p.m. she called again, heading home from the bar just down the street from her house. And she was tanked. I didn’t ask who she was with, probably because I didn’t want to know.

I returned home the next day and went over to her house. The whole time I was there, she hardly got close to me at any time, and hardly acted like she even wanted  me to be there. I brushed it off to the hangover she was dealing with following her birthday evening excursion. Then the next evening I went over to her house again, and it was more of the same. She didn’t seem interested in the fact that I was there. We had been apart for more than a week, and then when we were together, she didn’t seem interested at all. Then in a matter of days, things completely unraveled. I saw a whole new side to her that I had never seen before. And she started distancing herself from me more and more.

I remembered a conversation we had early on in the relationship about her mom grilling her about us and commenting how she was amazed she hadn’t “pulled a Zoey” by now. Which according her mom, means she finds some small stupid reason to push guys away and shut them out, then break up with them. She vowed to not do that with me, and said if I ever caught her doing that, to call her out on her so she would stop. Yet, when I did, she didn’t stop and it even drove her further away. And a matter of days later, we were done. Just like that. A complete 180-degree turn on a dime. And when I tried to find out what was going on, she wouldn’t explain and insisted we weren’t breaking up. And she finally took the immature route of ignoring me hoping I would just go away until I finally threw up my hands and send “I get the message, we’re done.”

That’s when I decided to take a break for a while. So my plan is to stay offline and out of the dating game until the beginning of February. It gives me time to regroup, re-evaluate my dating priorities, and take a break to ensure I don’t just rush into something. Plus, it keeps me from meeting someone requiring me to figure out a Valentine’s Day plan for a girl I just started dating.

So, I’m rewriting my profile and re-evaluating my search criteria, because whatever I have been doing hasn’t really been working. And I will officially start dating in 2016 on February 1.

I will also reset the naming process (beginning with A, again). I also plan to change how I talk about and relay dating experiences with all of you. If you have suggestions for what you would like to know about each date, or how you would like me to structure it, please comment below with your ideas. I want to tailor it to what you are more interested in reading.

I hope this catches all of you up on how things are going. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Until then,  thank you all for reading.