As I settled in on the trip, I realized it was time to stretch my wings and start dating. Of my many principles, a big one was “make your mistakes out-of-town”. I have a habit of doing everything wrong the first time and I really seem to only learn through hands-on mistakes. I didn’t want a reputation locally for being clumsy, ham-handed, shy or rude. My goal was to come home confident and socially skilled. I needed to get through a couple of on-line meetings and first dates to even figure out what I didn’t know, then refine a plan from there. Once I got through the first couple busy weeks, I started in on this project.
Internet flirting, with a stranger, is an involved process. It takes time to introduce and find things in common. It culminates in a “cup of coffee” to size each other up which is far worse than any job interview. I had not been on a date like this since high school. I would need to find a woman who was available and looking, but would be kind and gentle.
The night before I left on the trip, I wrote a note to “kitten”, the NYC nurse I had been following on FetLife for almost a year. A couple of days later, I received the sweetest reply, thanking me for thinking of her, and giving me reassurance and encouragement to help get me through my emotional time. Her reply was open-ended, neither encouraging or discouraging me to follow-up contact. And that was that while I ran from fire to fire … until Buffalo.
So with time to compose my thoughts, I wrote her again. It was a long note and I explained myself this way. Please don’t think of me as a stalker, think of me as a man who sat on a park bench, every day, minding his own business, reading his newspaper or feeding the pigeons. At first I just overheard you casually, reading your kind replies to others’ concerns. Then I became interested and eventually fascinated by your words and knowledge. At that time I was married, and living in Florida with you in NYC. There was no reason for me to contact you, and my only goal was to enjoy the heartwarming posts. I took time to list things we had in common (including being divorced with one grown son still at home) and how we shared many interests.
She wrote back “My, what a surprise.” and “Tell me more about yourself”
So I wrote to her, and she wrote back, from Buffalo, and Columbus, and Cincinnati, and Knoxville, and Pigeon Forge and on and on. And I talked about her to everybody that would listen. Mostly I asked about how one makes a connection with a woman. Like everything else this summer, and in life, I went at this like another engineering project.
How do you present yourself, what do you ask, what do you say and do. Everybody was thrilled when I said that I intended to meet her when I finally made it to NYC. I was growing into my new self, more dominant, determined, taking control and responsibility for my presence and my essence. I was gaining self-confidence, although with no earthly reason or any feedback to justify that. But I had read, and I knew, that it’s all about how you carry yourself. Just like a shark can smell blood, a woman can smell fear. I decided it was time to be somebody new, somebody able to directly go after what he wants.