I have found through my years of online dating that I have deal-breakers (Republican, crazy religious, homophobic, smoker) and then I have huge-issues-that-don’t-necessarily- spell- disaster (not yet divorced, more than one kid, vegan, soccer fan) that I can maybe, just maybe, work with. It takes awhile to figure out what you can and cannot tolerate in a significant other and with my next date, Sean, he had so many nice qualities that it took me some time to figure out that they could not possibly outweigh the sheer number of things that were just not going to work.
Sean emailed me first and , even though his profile was really well written and funny and witty, the one picture he had on his profile gave absolutely no indication what he actually looked like. I said as much in my response and, like a gentleman, Sean sent several other pictures that were a nice surprise. He was cute – really, really cute. Why he did not put those pictures up I did not know but, in the end, it worked out for me. We emailed back and forth a few times and finally decided to meet on a Friday night for a drink. I don’t usually like to meet on a weekend night for the first date because it puts extra pressure on the meeting but Sean seemed laid-back so I went for it.
I arrived first, ordered a drink and waited for Sean. I had recently taken an online dating sabbatical so I was a little nervous. Did I mention how attractive he was? A few minutes later Sean slid into the seat next to me and, man, his pictures did not lie. He was very good-looking, nicely dressed but not crazy formal, with nice teeth and hair and, when we shook hands, I got some goose bumps from his touch. Not bad for the first minute, not bad at all. My nervousness was quickly starting to change to excitement.
We had not been talking for five minutes when Sean caused me to almost choke on my drink. He had already told me he had a kid so I was not surprised about him mentioning her. I was asking about where he lived and he said he had just moved to a town north of Seattle. Innocently enough, I asked where he had resided before that. “Oh, I was in Oregon for three years but not by my own choice. I was in prison.” I started to laugh because, obviously, he had to be joking. Right? Right?!?!?! Oh, but he was not! Would it be bad form to put my head in my hands and sob?
I will give Sean props because he let me grill him about everything that had landed him in a minimum-security facility, or ‘Camp Cupcake’ as he called it. Apparently Sean had grown and sold a large quantity of marijuana. That was fine except that his neighbors ratted him out and, when the Feds came to search his place, a friend happened to be staying with him and had in his possession a few firearms. I hate it when that happens. So, off to prison went Sean.
For the love of mankind – I was on a date with a man that had been behind bars. This was definitely a first. I really didn’t know what to say but Sean was pretty laid-back and was laughing about it. He did say that his daughter’s mom was going to be moving out of state and, when she did, Sean would leave, too, since he had already missed three years of his kid’s life. I couldn’t fault him but now I was on a date with a criminal that was also going to be skipping town in short order.
It says a lot about Sean that, even though he was dropping bombs left and right, I still had a really fun night with him. He tended to talk a lot but he was funny and smart and, damn it all, I was having a great time. I even invited him back to my apartment for a nightcap, something I never, ever, ever do. I had been saving that opportunity for a felon, it seems. Standards? What standards?
That whole weekend after our date my stomach was in knots. I hadn’t had so much fun on a date in a long, long time but he was a convicted criminal! That was moving any minute! Sean worked on Sundays at a popular bar in Seattle so, at his insistence, I went and said hello to him. He kissed me and made me drinks and introduced me to all of his co-workers and friends at the bar – he was making it really hard to be a good girl and forget about him.
I didn’t talk to Sean for a few days after that because I needed time. I don’t have anything against marijuana – was it that big of a deal that he grew and sold it? Was time behind bars one of my new deal-breakers? I was still mulling it all over when I had to call in sick from work. Sean called and asked if he could bring me over some tea and soup. My first thought was to say no, no, no but, what the hell? If Sean wanted to be nice to me maybe I should just give it a chance so I told him to come over.
Sean texted me when he got to my building and I had to take the elevator down to let him in. I got to the first floor, the doors opened and there was Sean along with, it seemed pretty safe to say, his daughter. I was momentarily speechless. We had barely even started dating and he brought his kid to my house unannounced? I was pretty furious but what could I do? I invited them up and they stayed for a very uncomfortable ten minutes.
His daughter was very cool and mature and she had a blast playing with my cats and even tried to ‘take’ one of them with her when they left. Even still, I was extremely irritated that Sean would pull that surprise on me, especially when I was sick and not in top form. He texted me after they left and apologized but said he didn’t say anything because he knew I would have told him not to come. No sh*t, Sherlock. We hardly know each other and you just randomly bring your daughter to my house? So, so not cool.
After that debacle I didn’t talk to Sean for a few days. I needed to take a few steps back and reassess exactly what I was getting myself into. Four days later, I got a text from Sean that said, “I need to talk to you about something important.” Damn, damn. It seemed that Sean wanted to have ‘the talk’ and I was already thinking I was just going to have to tell him it was not going to work out. My stomach hurt at the thought but delaying the inevitable didn’t make sense so I immediately gave him a ring.
Sean answered and asked how I was doing, how was work and then said, “I need your advice on something.” Advice?? On my not liking him? But, oh no, that wasn’t what he wanted to discuss. Sean knew I had a blog on online dating so proceeded to tell me a ten-minute story about a girl he had met and wanted to take on a date but she had admitted she was depressed and she had four kids and she worked three jobs and she kept making plans with Sean and canceling them and… Was he serious?? Really?? I just held the phone away from my ear and waited for him to quit talking, which he finally, blessedly, did. I told him that I only had one piece of advice and that was to never, ever, ever call a girl that you are supposedly interested in and ask her to help you hook up with another lady. Ever.
Sean kind of sputtered and said something about me being an expert in that stuff and I hadn’t called him so he knew we were just friends and on and on but I just told him good luck and that I wished him well. I could only shake my head. A convicted felon was one thing – I could possibly, maybe deal with that – but couple that with complete emotional cluelessness and boundary issues? Thanks but no thanks. I am only one girl.
Sean texted me with an apology and, this last Christmas, we met up for a drink and he even brought holiday gifts for my kitties so things did end on a good note. I found out that he is in a relationship with an older woman he met online so maybe I was really being too picky and I needed to lower my standards. But, actually, I think I like them just where they are, up nice and high, even if it means I am weeding out all of the felons and criminals. I am pretty sure I am ok with that.