Friday, December 13, 2013

The Armenian Pianist

Time for a little follow up on my earlier December blog, The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

I met #12 - The Armenian Pianist on OkCupid, like the majority of my online dates.
Pros: He sent me a message that was smart, funny, insightful, and showed that he had actually taken the time to read my profile. He was thoughtful and sweet and complimentary - all the things a man should be.
Cons: He's younger than me, shorter than me, not the best looking guy I've ever seen, and he lives in New Jersey. can't win them all.

Still the Armenian Pianist was determined to win me over and after several long emails back and forth (a good sign), he told me that he would really like to get to know me better and could we please talk on the phone (another good sign.) When I messaged him back with my phone number, he called right away.

Let me take a moment to explain to anyone who isn't familiar with online dating etiquette. You never call first. Everyone goes from emailing to texting to calling to actual in person dating. He skipped a vital in between step! I was comfortable hiding behind my computer screen but he wanted to skip the phone screen and go straight to voice? I panicked, but I answered.

The Armenian Pianist has a higher voice than I do. Sigh...

It turns out that he was just as sweet on the phone as he was online, almost too much so. The Pianist was so very happy to talk to me that he wanted to talk to me all the time. I'm not kidding. ALL the time. After the first phone call, he texted incessantly and worried if I didn't respond right away. He called and if I didn't pick up, he would leave a voicemail asking if everything was ok. He freaked out if he thought that I didn't want to talk to him, that I was mad at him, that we weren't going to date after all. He hated that I couldn't meet up right away. I explained that I have a broken foot and can't walk or drive on it yet. He asked if I really had a broken foot, or if that was just an excuse because I had no intention of meeting him.

Dude. Calm your shit down!

After hearing his stories about relationships gone wrong, I realized that the poor kid was just nervous. I've had my heart handed to me in a trash bag before, with a note that says "I ran over this with a Mack truck. Good luck putting the pieces back together." I'm exaggerating slightly here but you get my point. He just didn't want to get hurt again and if anyone understands that, it's me.

The Pianist traveled from New Jersey to Long Island by train to have brunch with me on a Sunday as he was nervous about driving someplace he's never been to before. Also, he doesn't like bridges or tunnels. (You're living in the wrong area, buddy!) Besides, he didn't know how long it would take him to get here and he didn't want to be late. So instead he walked to the bus stop, took a bus across town, walked to the subway, took a subway downtown, got lost in Penn Station, and took a train out to me. He was over an hour late. Oh the irony!

As soon as we met, I realized that these nerves of his wormed their way through every part of the Pianist's life. Sure, everybody gets the jitters before a first date, but he truly obsesses over everything. His work, his family, the cut on his pinky finger, the static on the radio station, whether the scarf he's wearing makes him look fashionable or gay, if he's been eating too much cheesecake lately, what his plans will be for the holidays, how much sleep he's getting, how much water he's drinking, what movie he's going to watch tonight... The list goes on and on. He's a worrier. He's a panicker. He's an overthinker. And he's starting to grate on my nerves.

I met the Pianist at the train station and we wandered over to the Cheesecake Factory to lunch. The five modes of transportation he took to get out to me plus the hour he got lost in Penn Station meant that their brunch menu was over, which was our original plan. Instead, we chose tapas - appetizers and small plates to share - where he admitted to despising the Cheesecake Factory.

There are thirty million other restaurants we could have gone to! I offered him oodles of choices, but he told me that whatever I wanted was fine. Why did he let me pick the one place he "hates more than all over chain restaurants combined?!?!" Because "it's not about where we go or what we do or what we eat. I'm just happy to be sitting across from a woman who's so much more beautiful in person that she is in her pictures," he said. I was about to say "Awww, that's so sweet" when he followed up with "Seriously. It's distracting." And looked away.

Shaking my head.

Thankfully the very cute waiter came over to take our order at that moment. He gave us a bread basket (oh carbs how I love you!) and said "Hi, my name is Josh and I'll be taking care of you today." Josh had the kind of smile that young guys auditioning for the part of an extra on a daytime soap opera flash at a casting agent and the demeanor of a Southern gentleman. This is precisely how I like my waiters. Attractive, attentive, and polite. Before I could say anything, the Pianist grumbled the dishes we'd chosen at him, thrust the menu into poor Josh's hands, and dismissed him. What the hell was up with that?

"Oh I'm sorry," he snarled at me, "Are you sad that Josh is gone? Do you want me to get him back here so you can flirt with him some more?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" I stared at him quizzically. "All I did was smile at him!"

"Well I'm your date, you should be smiling at me, not flirting with the waiter. Unless you like him more than me. Do you want me to leave?"

"I smile at everyone!" I beamed back at him, trying to turn the situation around. "That's just who I am. I'm a nice person to everyone. Besides, I think it's extra important to be kind to the person who is serving us food, don't you???"

The Pianist bowed his head a little, clearly shamed by my Pollyanna approach to the world. He apologized, claimed to be teasing me and asked if we could start over.

He wanted to know everything about everything. My whole life story. What I do for work, what my family is like, what my past relationships have been. Normally, I have no problem sharing. In fact, I've been accused of being an oversharer (Guilty as charged. See also: this blog!) but the way he was asking seemed scrutinizing instead of caring. Like when he asked about my divorce, I told him that it was an amicable split after several tough years together and he responded "Your voice got quiet when you talked about your ex husband. Why is that? Do you still see him? Talk to him? Have feelings for him?" (Answers: No one has ever told me I'm quiet, no, no and no.) Or when I was talking about the difficulties of ordering food in other languages while living in Europe, and making sure that in Italy, I got peaches instead of fish (peche versus pesce), he asked if I could please be less adorable. (Answer: No, I cannot.)

In our three hour lunch together, the Pianist seemed uncomfortable, fidgety, ants-in-his-pantsy. The worst part though may have been every single time he brought up points. Such as, he's never seen Roman Holiday, my favorite Audrey Hepburn film. "Uh oh, do I get minus points for that?" Or when I complimented his sweater and he replied "Should I have worn a button down instead? Minus points?" Or when he told me how to survive on his music career as a piano player, he subsidized income with teaching piano lessons and working at a grocery store. "So now you know, I worked at a supermarket until this summer. Minus a lot of points?"


Dating is not about points or keeping score. If any grade was given, it would be on a curve. We are all nervous, we are all learning. We are all trying to make the best of an awkward situation. The only thing you can do is acknowledge that it's weird and crazy at times and try to laugh at yourself and each other. But please, for the love of all things holy, stop expecting to be handed a report card at the end of the evening!

I give this one a B flat.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

I've been posting several cryptic status updates on Facebook recently about the numerous suitors in my crazy dating life. Since going back online, I've had some super weird horror stories (which I'll save for a later entry) but for now, I thought you'd enjoy a more in depth description of the men I'm talking to.

I use the term "men" rather loosely!

Suitor #1:
Name: JJ
Height: 6'3
Job: Engineer
Lives: Long Island
OkCupid Match:a disappointing 69%
We shall call him JJ, mostly because that's the nickname only his sister is allowed to use. From anyone else, he hates it. Kinda like me with Kimmy. You can call me Kim, Kimberly, or Kimba, but for the love of all things holy, PLEASE do not call me Kimmy. (Unless you're my little brother. He calls me Timmy. Cutest thing ever!)
JJ and I have been dating for several months. We met online and his writing hooked me above anything else. He's extremely intelligent, dedicated to his work, well read, super nerdy, and very tall. Our dates have included pizza and Man of Steel, a day at the beach, and a swanky dinner with his friends among countless others. We are so very good together. I knew I loved him fairly early on, and would happily give up my single girl status for a real relationship with JJ. Since he isn't "ready" to be exclusive / committed to me, he said that he's "totally ok" with me talking to other guys. I happen to know that he is NOT ok with this, but if that's what he wants me to do, than I'll do it. Enter the rest of the Suitors.

Suitor #2:
Name: My Colleague's Father's Business Partner's Son --- you may have already read about him in the earlier blog entry, My Future Husband.
Age: 29
Height: 6'0
Job: Construction worker
Lives: owns his own home on Long Island
OkCupid match: No clue, although I would love to find out!
My teammate at work wanted to set me up with #2 over a year ago, and through a series of circumstances, we never met. He finally got my number and we've been texting for several weeks. We've had a few good phone calls, but the most disappointing thing was that he was a smoker. Instant deal breaker for me. I thought that my teammate would have known that, but he offered to quit after talking to me one time. He said that it was a bad habit he was looking for a reason to get rid of anyway, and he really liked me. If he quit on the spot, would I be willing to give him a chance? He asked her for my address and sent the most beautiful bouquet of pink flowers I've ever seen. Roses and lilies and daisies - all my favorites! There was a huge box of Harry London chocolate truffles along with the flowers, and the card read "Just wanted to make you smile, the way you make me smile every day."
Status: ACTIVE

Suitor #3:
Name: Dan
Age: 38
Height: 6'0
Job: IT for a legal firm in NYC
Lives: Astoria
OkCupid Match: 82%
Dan and I were talking earlier this summer, before I got scared of men (which really means I just didn't want to get hurt again!) He sent great messages, full of witty remarks and insightful humor. He's smart and easy to talk to and made me feel instantly comfortable. Before I took my profile down for several months, I sent Dan this message: "Hey, I've got some personal stuff going on right now, so am taking my profile down for a while. If you're still on here when I reactivate it (which for your sake I hope you're not), you'll be the first person I message." Wouldn't you know it, a few months later I updated my profile and within 24 hours of logging on, Dan wrote to me. He said, "Hey, I really hope that you took the time that you needed to sort everything out. I checked every couple of days to see if you were online again. I missed talking to you. Welcome back." And just like that, Dan and I started communicating every day. He's even easier to talk to now that I know him better. We share loves of bacon, jazz, Cards Against Humanity, New York City, farmer's markets, and country music. Dan and I take pictures of our food and text them to each other all the time. He calls me from the grocery store to say things like "I have pasta and eggs at home...what can I make with that?" and I talk him through the aisles to create something delicious. Our first phone call was while he was wandering the supermarket, and it felt so normal. It felt like us.
Status: ACTIVE

Suitor #4:
Name: Steve
Age: 32
Height: 5'11
Job: Gas fireplace repairman
Lives: Long Island (way out east)
OkCupid Match: 89%
Steve and I started talking about our shared love of tea. The first time he texted me, we had both just sat down to a hot cup of Trader Joe's Pomegranate White Tea! Of all the teas in the world to be drinking at that moment, fate threw us into the same steamy cup. I took this as a good sign, and we had quite a few hour-long phone calls. Steve gave me his last name so of course I facebook stalked him. (Sorry people but it's 2013 --- knowledge is power!) There were several photos of him with a small child, but he'd never mentioned a kid before. His twitter handle was on there, so I looked that up too. The most recent tweet was "My crazy bitch of an ex wife who hates me with the fire of a thousand suns is stalking my twitter feed. Go fucking figure!" There were a few other explicit tweets about only getting 4 hours a week with his son, her being psycho, the world generally sucking ass... I try not to judge anyone based on their social media, but that seems like too much baggage for me to handle right off the bat. Sorry, Steve.

Suitor #5:
Name: Mike
Age: 36
Height: 5'11
Job: Printer
Lives: Long Island
OkCupid Match: 73%
What I like the most about Mike is that he's one of eight children. He has fourteen nieces and nephews. He knows all their names, all their birthdays, and is incredibly close with his family. Mike is looking for a woman who fits in with their Irish clan, wants babies, and (he admitted) is insanely beautiful. He is excited about being a husband and a father, and works two jobs to save up to buy a house soon. Mike is a planner, living for his future. I worry that he wants to skip over the present part of life, like dating and courtship and head straight into choosing curtains together. Honestly, this is usually where I start out too, but I'm at the point where I want to get to know someone, *really* get to know them before picking out china patterns and baby names together.

Suitor #6:
Name: Chad
Age: 35
Height: 5'7
Job: Something with computers I think
Lives: Owns his own home on Long Island's North Shore
OkCupid Match: 75%
Chad is a hard core nerd who loves superhero movies, comic books, and gaming. He has all the newest electronic equipment, fixates over advances in technology, and loves playing with cool gadgets. Basically, Chad is right up my geeky alley! I've dated this kind of guy before with mixed results. Sometimes they know how to talk to girls, sometimes they don't. Chad wants to be in a relationship though, and he knows when it is time to focus on a girl and not on a game. He has a lot of potential, and I'm oddly optimistic about him!
Status: ACTIVE

Suitor #7:
Name: Peter
Age: Old
Height: Tall
Job: Banker
Lives: In Brooklyn
OkCupid Match: I don't remember. I already blocked his profile
Peter from Brooklyn started off so sweetly. He would send messages like "Hey beautiful, how's your day?" *Note: I am a sucker for any guy who calls me beautiful, sweetie, cuteness, sexy, etc* He commented on the section of my profile warning guys not to "hit me up for casual sex" because I will not respond. He likes that I was brave enough to put it out there. I seem like a woman who demands and deserves respect. He is very impressed by me. After giving Peter my number, we texted for a day or so and then he called. At midnight. Why are you calling me at midnight??? I didn't answer. The next day, same thing, except that he called me at 1 am. What the fuck? You don't know me that well, dude. Peter begins texting me every day, telling me that he misses me, he can't wait to see me, he feels really close to me, he wants to be with me... I had to block his number.

Suitor #8:
Name: Jon
Age: 34
Height: 5'3
Job: Court clerk
Lives: Long Island
OkCupid Match: 84%
Jon sent such nice messages about country music, the League (find it on Netflix - it's hilarious!) and the Mets that I must have overlooked that small detail about his height when reviewing his profile online. He's 5'3!!! I'm 5'9. I think I may have to give him the super polite brush off... Tall girl problems!

Suitor #9:
Name: Darren
Age: 29
Height: 5'7
Job: Not sure he has one
Lives: Somewhere
OkCupid Match: Whatever they gave us was too high
Darren started out so witty, so funny, so promising. We only exchanged a few emails before moving on to text and then a phone call. Poor kid didn't stand a chance. He said things like "So on our two online personality tests, we got the exact match. You're my exact counterpart. You're exactly who I'm supposed to be with." I was shocked that he had taken the same personality tests as I had (part of the OkCupid site) and he responded that he had actually taken twelve or more personality tests, but on the two that I took, we were an exact match! EXACT! He then went on to ask me what country London was in (England) and if England was part of Europe (yes) and was Europe, just like, one big country then? (Ummm, no.) Also, did I ever think about if the South had won the Civil War? Would we still be the United States of America, or would we all be Southern? Would the Southern states each be their own country, like Texas?

Suitor #10:
Name: Andrew
Age: 36
Height: 6'3
Job: Banker
Lives: Long Island
OkCupid Match: 91%
On the outside, Andrew looked like a gentleman. He wore a suit and tie to work at a respectable location, he had good family values, and made excellent conversation. Until he got my phone number and began texting me pictures (or as he called them "reasons") I should want to be with him. There was only one reason, and I guarantee you, as impressive as that reason might be, I am going on the assumption that I am not the only girl he was sending those photos to.

Suitor #11:
Name: Jonathan
Age: 33
Height: 5'10
Job: Movie theater manager
Lives: Long Island
OkCupid Match: 89%
Jonathan seems really sweet, but he's kind of quiet and hard to get to know. I can't tell you too much other than he travels to see his family on holidays, he worked his way up at the movie theater from usher to shift supervisor to manager, and he loves to walk.

Suitor #12:
Name: The Pianist
Age: 31
Height: 6'0
Job: Concert Pianist and Piano Teacher
Lives: New Jersey (ugh)
OkCupid Match: 93%
The Pianist is incredibly accomplished, educated, cultured, well read, and well traveled. He spends most of his time in Manhattan and chose to live in New Jersey for the view of NYC. He could've lived in Brooklyn for the views of our fair skyline, but he prefers the illusion of suburbia amidst the big city. He is also a fan of cheap gas, low taxes, and a wide variety of malls. He plays piano at everything from corporate events to private parties to concert halls. He teaches students from the youngest protege to the collegiate elite. He's kind and thoughtful and keeps in contact just enough so that I know he's thinking of me, but not so much as to scare me away. He's Armenian, which I knew nothing about except that the Kardashians are Armenian. (I apologize in advance to the entire country of Armenia that the Kardashian clan is the only thing we know about your country! Actually, I didn't even know that much. The Pianist told me!) He's wonderful so far and I am very excited to get to know him better.
Status: ACTIVE

Suitor #13:
Name: Nick the Dick
Age: an overgrown adolescent
Height: gutter
Job: annoying people
Lives: in a dark and dirty place
OkCupid Match: this is just ridiculous
Alright, I know that I said there were twelve dates of Christmas, but I had to throw this one on for good measure. Poor, unlucky thirteen. Nick was charming enough online but as the saying goes, "Good on paper, shit in real life." Nick skipped over the texting part of the online dating progression and called me as soon as he got my number. He was very talkative (too much so!) and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. He told me that he doesn't believe in love being all "doves and butterflies and singing and shit. Love isn't like that. It's crap most of the time. You've just got to find someone you can tolerate." He also said that when raising children, "it's best to just put a sack over their heads sometimes so they shut up and listen. You know what they say about violence: if it's not working, you're not using enough of it!" And finally, when he asked what my weirdest online dating experience has been, I told him about the guy last week who wanted to pee on (with?) me. Nick's response was "so I guess letting me take a shit on you is out of the question, cause you're a prude?"