Discerning Likes

My first week on Match.com is an awkward, bumpy ride, not unlike junior high school. I get some likes. I like one guy back.  I like two people, without them liking me first. One guy, I message. He’s into fishing, so trying to be funny, I tell him I’ve only been fishing once, many, many years ago. I stood up in the boat, causing my friend’s brand-new fishing pole to fall, irretrievably, to the bottom of a deep and muddy lake. The friend forgave me and now we laugh about it. 

The fisherman on match does not message me back. Maybe he thinks I’m a ditz. Maybe I’m too old. 

In the meantime, another guy messages me. “Hello. How was your weekend?” Not particularly creative, but what the hell. I reply that my weekend was fantastic, raving about the Tucson Botanical Gardens’ Day of the Dead Exhibit. He responds the next day. He likes the butterfly exhibit at the Gardens. I reply, probably too eagerly, and agree, you can’t go wrong with butterflies.  I look at his profile again and discover he lives two hours away, in Phoenix. I hate Phoenix.  I let this one go. 

I make a phone date with a guy from another country. His message to me is kind.  He gives me his phone number and when I call him at the agreed-upon time, he doesn’t answer. I do not leave a message and decide to give him ten minutes to call me back.

His English is so-so and the only word of his language I speak is the capital city of his country, which probably is pronounced differently than I think it is. Still, I agree to go to coffee. He shows up ten minutes late for that.  As he walks towards me, the doubts are mounting that this anything close to a match. He’s tall, which I like, but also at least forty pounds overweight. The flip-flops with the flannel shirt are a strange combination. He sort of looks like he just crawled out of bed, not in a sexy way.

He is looking for a woman “where our thoughts are in harmony.” He asks if I believe in God and how long it’s been since I’ve dated, and looks shocked when I tell him it’s been years.  “Are you conservative?” He doesn’t mean politically conservative. I suspect he thinks I may be a prude. 

Mostly he talks about growing up in his country and coming to the U.S. knowing very little English and no people.  His parents were farmers. They raised ten children; this guy is smack dab in the middle of the pecking order. His dream was always to come to the United States.

There is not one ounce of chemistry between us. 

However, I’m wary of too much shared chemistry, like with David, also the name of my first three boyfriends. This fourth David looks very interesting. His profile says he was raised by a single mom (a smart Southern woman), wolves, and his grandparents. He’s looking for a “sun goddess,” which I’m pretty sure I’m not, even though I love the sun.  There’s also the little red flag of his description himself as a wild ride, which my inner teenager feels quite ready for. 

I message him, something clever about wolves being better at raising their young than humans are.  I tell him I’m less bohemian than he’s looking for but I could be described as having “sixties” sensibilities.  He messages me back right away.  He likes me already (!), based on my profile . A jolt of electricity goes through me, seeing the exclamation point and his phone number. It’s the same feeling I’ve gotten before, when someone isn’t the least bit available emotionally. Ken Page, author of Deeper Dating, calls this an “attraction of deprivation.” But I’m keeping an open mind, and damn, it feels good to be liked so quickly.     

I go back to look at David the Fourth’s profile that night, to read it more closely before I call him in a few days. It’s been taken down. There could be multiple reasons for this but my intuition is screaming, “Don’t call this guy.” 

I listen to that voice now. There are other fish in the vast sea of match.com — a whole lot of them of different stripes and sizes. I’m in no hurry to catch “the right one.” For the time being, it’s all about discernment and practice.    

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