The Lowdown on Ben

It just occurred to me that I never wrapped up the sordid Ben saga, that situation coming to a head and completely disintegrating around Thanksgiving.

Because it was a couple of days beforehand that I tried to make conversation and he responded with telling me that the girl he is seeing is in town. Ugh. Admittedly, I was the slightest bit jealous because I kind of liked him, but I couldn’t really be mad because I knew he was seeing someone and thought that he was trying to be the tiniest bit honest at least.

Or not really.

Because shit ended up hitting the fan the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when I hit him up again, thinking perhaps maybe the coast was clear after she came to spend Thanksgiving with him or whatever. All I did was send him a message saying his name: “Ben…”

He responded back abruptly and bizarrely saying that he thinks its best if we cut off contact because he wants to be respectful to her. And then he promptly blocked me. Yikes. I was a little bit blown but I figured he was right…maybe it’s all for the best…

But then an hour later, I’m getting FB messages from a random girl asking me about the nature of my relationship with Ben. This person turns out to be a good friend of Ben’s girlfriend and she informs me that Ben and his girlfriend are currently embroiled in a huge fight over me because she saw my message to him. Ben was trying to play me off as just a “friend” but I quickly inform Ms. BFF that that is not at all the case.

The gist of the situation was that Ben and his girlfriend had been dating for about a year and a half. They had broken up over the summer because of his habitual cheating, but then she took him back some time around late August. The BFF was trying to establish whether or not Ben and I had had sexual contact since then and I informed her that we definitely did, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Eventually the GF herself starts messaging me for more details about the exact timeline. Because not only had they gotten back together, but they had been discussing marriage and she noted that one of our hookups occurred within days of them ring shopping. Yikes.

Other notable facts I found out over the course of our conversation, which extended into the next day: Ben gave her chlamydia the first month they started dating. Ben has literally NEVER been faithful to her – the first time she caught him cheating was the previous October when they had only been together for several months. Ben might be a little bit of an alcoholic. Ben might be a little bit of a racist. Ben is broke. Sex with Ben is boring (I disagreed there – I thought it was great). Her family doesn’t like Ben. She was in the habit of combing through Ben’s apartment whenever she visited looking for traces of other women – how romantic!

I felt bad for her, really, and tried to be as helpful as I could with details and screenshots showing the depths of his depravity. I was definitely done with Ben at that point – I only sent a text the next day to tell him I felt bad for the way everything went down (which he did not answer) – but was just maybe sort of hoping she would wise up and get away from him because he really made a fool out of her.

I didn’t really care either way though – I had washed my hands of the situation and moved on with my life. Until a week and a half later when I woke up one morning to find a FB message from Ben. He had taken the time out to unblock me and send a message about how there are “no hard feelings” and how he realized how much pain he had caused to his “future wife”…and then reblocked me again.

WHAT? First off…no hard feelings? LOL. Why the fuck would there be any towards me when he’s the one who was the complete liar the whole time!? Yet he had the nerve to come at me as if he’s blessing me with the gift of forgiveness over a situation that he brought on himself. Wow. Okay, buddy. Then secondly, I was a little flabbergasted that his GF actually took him back after alllllll that trash she talked about him. I just found something really pathetic and corny about that. Then I guess ultimately it just rubbed me the wrong way because it felt like he was pretty much just trying to rub it in my face that he had salvaged his relationship when I would’ve been just as content never hearing from him again. I kind of took as a “Fuck you.” Alrighty then…

So, I decided to drive the point home about how much of a psychotic, cheating bastard Ben is and how pitiful the GF is by creating an Instagram account of nothing but screenshots of exchanges between Ben and I which pretty much drove the point home about how devious, dishonest, and how much of a complete hound he is.

I tagged her, the BFF, and as many friends of hers as I could muster up. She blocked me right away; it took the BFF a little more time. Everyone else I’m sure did as well but I stopped caring to log into the account after amusing myself with it for a few days.

So after I wore myself out with that, I left it alone and forgot about the situation. Until this past Saturday when I received not one, but 2 “Heys” from Ben via text. I figured out it was his number almost immediately, but he never responded. After a few hours I asked him wtf he was texting me for. He said he had noticed my number on his “blocked list” and wanted to know who it was before realizing it was me. Uh…what?!

Yeah, okay buddy. So you felt the need to text a number you allegedly blocked for what reason? That didn’t really make any sense and I told him so. He stopped answering after I pretty much called him on his nonsense. I think he knows it was me and was trying to put out a feeler of some sort. No thanks.

Bachelor #2 (Or maybe the ONLY at this point…)

Bachelor #2 is a a handsome airline pilot I matched with on Tinder a few days before Christmas. Let us call him Dale.

Dale had a blurb in his profile about possibly needing a date to a concert in late January, and I opened up conversation by declaring that I would in fact be his date. He affirmed and we both agreed we were glad that that was settled. All in facetiousness, of course.

And from there, we just haven’t stopped talking yet, although meeting in person is still a vague concept for the time being. It turns out he lives 850 miles away; we surmised that we must’ve matched when he was on an overnight trip nearby at some point. Drats.

Yet, I don’t know…it doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker for him. He’s not fond of the dating prospects in his area because under-educated working class single mothers are ubiquitous and he prefers more education in his women. And he doesn’t have a lot of time to waste with people between work and his 6-year-old son (he’s divorced). But he’s stuck there for the time being because of his son.

And it’s not so much a deal breaker for me either, honestly. It’s not ideal, of course, but he’s an airline pilot so even if we leaved near each other we would regularly be “long distance” due to the nature of his work.

And most importantly, we just seem to click. We have talked on a daily basis for the most part since December 22. And while we have maintained a mutual PG-ish flirtatiousness, he has not at any time been sleazy or crass or tried to solicit anything out of me of a sexual nature.

There was a time a couple of weeks ago when I thought it was probably done for, but that turned out to be a false alarm. Shortly after we first started talking, Dale explained that he liked his current airline, which he has been with since the summer (after retiring from the Marine Corps), but that he has to commute to the main hub several states away when his work periods start, and that can be physically taxing and also takes away from time with his son. Delta is his dream job, but it just happened to be that his current airline called him for an interview first so that’s where he ended up.

But it so happened a couple of weeks ago that Delta finally called him to schedule an interview and he is really excited about it. But it will take a lot of preparation and studying on his part because Delta is apparently known for having a very intense/difficult interview process. As he was telling me all this, I surmised that he was pretty much trying to say that between work, his kid, and now the upcoming interview, I probably would not hear from him as much, and so I just went ahead and threw that out there, and he concurred.

Bummer. Best case scenario: he was being genuine and would just have too much going on to give any attention to some girl he has never met. Worst case scenario: he was just trying to blow me off and this was a convenient excuse.

But that’s just how these things go sometimes so I couldn’t be mad, especially with him taking the time to warn me. I told him I understood and that I had enjoyed talking to him, and he agreed. He then advised that he didn’t plan to be totally off the radar, so that kind of made me feel better.

He seemed astonished at my understanding tone, because he asked “How are you so reasonable?” I replied that I can appreciate the fact that he has a lot going on right now, and that I am a proponent of the philosophy that if it is meant to be, then it will be in time.

He never responded that night (a Thursday), and then I didn’t hear from him at all on Friday. So I wasn’t sure if this was the beginning of the “prep period” limited contact phase or if maybe I had laid it on too thick with the “meant to be” stuff and he somehow was put off by that – like maybe I was thinking way too much into this or something.

But that Saturday morning he texted me again and our contact since really hasn’t seemed to dissipate much since, despite his warning. And the way he texts sometimes is almost along the lines of “checking in” – like, just to show me pictures of whatever he and his son are up to at the moment, or to regale me with tales of how he is at dinner with the rest of the flight crew, who are all elderly, and they are conversing about other people they know around their age that have died. Whatever the subject matter may be, it’s like sometimes he is just thinking of me and wanting to reach out – it’s cute.

But I’m like 0 and 22 with pilots though, so…

Bachelor #1

As of now, I have two gents in the running for…exactly what, I don’t know, but so far they’ve both seemed to have stuck around for a bit so we will see what happens.

The first, I shall refer to as Wojo. Wojo is a handsome, late-20s Navy officer who lives fairly close to me by way of being stationed in the area over the summer. We matched on Tinder in mid-December and had immediate conversational chemistry. We exchanged numbers within some days and from there managed to have one phone conversation in the week before Christmas where we scheduled to meet on December 27.

December 27 comes and we agree on 6:30 PM. Yet maybe around 5:30, not long before I was going to get on the road to go meet him, he relays that he might be late – his building’s water is off and he is sweaty from the gym. The gym shower was not an option because it’s connected to his building and the issue is affecting the whole block. He doesn’t know when it will be back on.

So at that point, knowing that sudden excuses like these when you’re dealing with Tinder folk should be taken with a grain of salt, I suggest that we just postpone the date. In my mind, if he’s bullshitting me, then he can go to hell and it doesn’t matter anyway. And if he’s NOT bullshitting me, I’m not going to hold my whole night in the balance waiting for this issue to resolve since he has no idea of knowing when it will.

So we cancel the date and in my mind I’m throwing him halfway into the “discard” pile because I can’t be sure if the story is true or not and hadn’t yet met him anyway so I really don’t care. He informs me maybe an hour later that his water is back on. I offer a curt response but not much else.

Yet conversation picks back up in the ensuing days and we end up making a sushi date for that next Wednesday (January 3). As he lives in the city I work in, but I live in the nearby suburbs, and the restaurant was in the city, I just end up staying at my office in the interim between my work day and the date so as not to have to drive all the way home and come back. And thus, as I was bored out of my mind and restless eventually, I leave a little bit early and get there maybe 10 minutes before him. I grab a high-top table near the bar and let him know I’m there.

When he comes in, I know him immediately because he looks pretty much the same as in his pictures. We warm up to each other pretty immediately and are able to converse with ease. He had never been to that restaurant before, even though it’s a really popular sushi spot in the city, and he seemed impressed with it, so I felt good about my choice.

Wojo was tall, cute, and had nice teeth and great conversation. We seemed to connect. I was attracted to him. Only…when it came time for the check and I offered to split it, he ACCEPTED!!! Ugh.

I am pretty traditional when it comes to the first couple of dates – he should pay. And it’s not so much about the money itself (I have no problem paying my way whatsoever) as it is about what it symbolizes. It’s just hard for me not to assume that a man who lets me pay any part of the check, especially for a first date, is either not at all interested in me, and/or he is dating around so much that it’s fiscally burdensome for him to continuously cover everything, so he welcomes the assistance. Either way, not a good look in my eyes.

So that was a blower. However he did kind of redeem himself by walking me several blocks to my car, even though he had Ubered. It was bitterly cold out and I had half a mind to offer to drive him home since his place was on the way, but I resisted since I had already gotten the vibe, via the check split, that he just wasn’t into me. And thus once we got to my car I bade him goodbye and left him to his own devices.

I wasn’t even 5 minutes into my commute home before he texted me to tell me what a good time he had. Cool…me too, thanks. I purposely remained guarded because I wasn’t sure if he meant it or was just being polite.

Yet he hit me up the next day, when he could. He works at a highly sensitive facility where he can’t have access to his phone during his working day, so I had gotten used to not hearing from him until the evenings.

We were talking on Friday evening when he started throwing stronger hints that he was interested. I expressed surprise and he wondered why. I plainly explained my reasoning regarding the payment of the bill. He seemed taken aback by that and said that I seemed insistent and so he didn’t want to offend me. Okay…I could see how maybe I overdid it a little. I just really like to make a thorough effort to look like I’m serious about paying even though I’m really only half serious. Only a quarter serious, really. Maybe just an eighth.

I gave him that one, but then he went on to say that since I’m “older,” he just figured it was something I wanted to do to express my independence or something. Uh…NO! First of all, NEVER refer to me as “older” again!!! Second of all, NEVER refer to me as “older” again!!! There is in fact an 8-year age difference, but that is not something that ever requires any emphasis. Especially if it entails him singling me out for disparate treatment for as opposed to a woman his age. Anything you would do for a 20-something date, please feel free to do for me as well. Thanks.

All in all, we had a laugh about it and he was a good sport. He didn’t seem offended or to take it hard about me calling him out for not paying, and we scheduled a date for that coming Monday evening which we both knew would be on him.

There’s a restaurant that I hear about from time to time that I always wanted to try, and so I suggested it and he agreed. I knew it was more on the upscale side, but it wasn’t until I had already made us a reservation and went to explore the menu online that I realized just how upscale it was. There were no prices listed on the menu whatsoever, and from my ensuing research I realized that this is one of those really fancy places that specialize in multiple course meal “experiences” and all that jazz. We would not have gotten out of that restaurant for less than several hundred dollars. Reservation canceled.

Even ordinarily, I would not feel comfortable for someone of more modest means (he’s a military officer so I’m sure he’s doing well for himself, but it’s not like he’s a millionaire) to spring for such expensive dining for a second date. But then, on TOP of that, given that we had just had a discussion about how I expect men to pay on first dates and this was essentially his “make up” date, I felt like it would send the wrong message. I would definitely look like I’m a total gold digger and/or trying to take advantage by knowingly having him take me to a restaurant like that. It would just be super tacky.

I ended up explaining my inadvertent poor choice and then suggested another one I had in mind that is still nice, but definitely a couple notches down in price from the original pick. He was good with that. But then come Sunday I looked up the second place and discovered it wasn’t open on Mondays. I immediately informed Wojo and just told him to pick somewhere in his area. He lives in an popular yuppie-ish area that offers many different great places to eat.

We met out this past Monday night, in the middle of an ice storm. Dinner was lovely and conversation was just as great. And he paid, like a good boy.

After, even though we were only several blocks from his place, I drove him home because the sidewalks were downright dangerous to walk on. We – or he, rather – had several close calls on the way to my car.

When I pulled up near his place, we hugged goodbye and then he kissed me. A sweet, brief kiss. Apparently he got out and fell not so long after because he texted me as I was not even off the block yet to tell me hopes I did not just see that (I didn’t).

He’s been in contact since then and we have a date set up for next Tuesday.

Upcoming…bachelor #2…