Mrs. Understanding

Doc never responded that Sunday to my wedding picture, which didn’t immediately put me off because I know how busy he typically is. However when I didn’t hear anything Monday or Tuesday regarding either the picture or his schedule, as I was also still waiting on word of a second date, I sent a follow-up text on Wednesday just to remind him of my existence.

When he hadn’t answered THAT by Thursday morning, I started feeling a certain type of way and so I texted him to say in so many words that I’m taking his neglect at answering my recent texts and poor efforts at attempting to align our schedules for a second date as a lack of interest, and wished him well.

That obviously lit a fire under his behind because he wrote back immediately to say he couldn’t make the wine festival this weekend, but that he was free on the 18th. And thus this past Wednesday evening ended up being our second rendezvous. I didn’t apologize for my previous comments, per se, but I did retract them since he did actually respond favorably.

We decided on sushi in a town that’s a close mid-point between our respective residences. It was the perfect meeting of minds because when he mentioned the town in question, it turned out that I had been thinking the exact same one, and sushi was exactly what I wanted as well. Fate? Maybe so. Probably not. In any case, after work that day I headed down and hung out at the mall for an hour or so since our date wasn’t until 7 p.m. That gave me a perfect opportunity to refresh my makeup at Sephora and to browse around and purchase lip gloss I don’t need before making my way to the restaurant to meet him.

I arrived about 15 minutes before 7 and got seated at a table to wait. I was badly craving a glass of wine but I decided to be patient and wait until he got there. He arrived punctually looking every bit as handsome as I remember him – maybe even more so. I stood up to hug him and then we settled in for some great sushi and conversation. Same as last time: effortless interaction.

He asked what I wanted to do afterward, once again indicating that he enjoyed my company enough to extend our time together. He mentioned maybe a wine bar, but given it was a work night I really didn’t want the temptation of possibly getting intoxicated and being hung over, and I told him so, so then he suggested a movie. The theater was at the mall a half mile up the street; he looked up movies and times and we decided on a 9:20 p.m. showing of Money Monster, which gave us about an hour to kill when dinner was done.

The sushi spot happened to be adjacent to an idyllic lake, so he suggested we take a walk around it. We didn’t make it too far before the hordes of gnats made it cumbersome and it was a little too chilly for my taste anyway (but he was perfectly fine, being Minnesota-bred), so we reversed course and stopped at another nearby restaurant for a quick drink at the bar.

It was there after he promptly slapped his credit card down to pay once again that I figured it was time for me to step up and offer up my wallet (genuinely) for something, so I offered to pay for the movie. He wouldn’t hear of it. He said I deserve it all and besides, he’s a bit of a jerk.

I hitched a ride from him to the movie theater up the street, during which he asked to see my hand and gave it a tender kiss. What a sweetheart! He bought the movie tickets and snacks, and we proceeded into the sparsely-populated theater where I’d eventually end up falling asleep during some parts of the movie because I was already worn down and the alcohol on top of things made me drowsy, and a dark theater was just the icing on the cake. But some of the times I was awake, we kind of snuggled up a bit.

Once the movie was over, he drove me back to my car, and there I was at the tail end of yet another fantastic date with a handsome guy who I liked spending time with. A tall, intelligent, interesting gentleman who treats me like a princess? There’s gotta be a catch somewhere.

And there was. As it turns out, Doc is married.

And I actually knew this from the beginning of the date. When he entered the sushi restaurant and sat down, I immediately happened to glance at his hand and spy a shiny, round object on one of his fingers that couldn’t possibly be a wedding band, as the man I am out with had indicated he was single. So I thought perhaps I was seeing things or mistaking hands or miscounting fingers. But nope, we were facing each other and the hand in question was directly opposite my right hand, so it had to be his left. And no, that wasn’t the middle finger it was on, it was definitely the ring finger.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

But, no, of course not. My romantic life would not be the ridiculous disaster that I know and love if this very thing was not occurring.

But, you know…I’d already driven out of my way and I was feeling pretty hungry and I didn’t really feel like turning it into a “thing” at the moment, so I didn’t address it right away. I acted like I didn’t see it. In my career, in my life, and especially with men, I’ve pretty much seen it all, so nothing ever really shocks me anymore. I didn’t even feel angry. I was more so disappointed. In him, and in myself. I believed him when he said he was soooooo busy, but as I even said in the entry about our first date, if a guy is SO busy that he can only see you every few weeks, there’s probably something else going on. And unfortunately, that held true.

I had also caught wind of a possible red flag during our first date when we were discussing me getting home and he’d said he would drive me. We were about an hour south of my house and about 25 minutes south of his. So in lieu of him driving me all the way home, I had actually suggested going back to his place for a drink and because I wanted to meet his dachshund. Then I could just Uber from there and he wouldn’t have to go out of his way. But he declined that idea under the guise of not wanting to risk things going too far too soon or whatever, and opted to drive me home instead. Where he promptly asked if he could come in and we ended up making out. So since he suddenly had no problem with us spending time together behind closed doors at MY place instead of his, it was obvious that he just hadn’t wanted me at his own place for some reason. And now I knew why.

So it all made sense now. I had seen the signs but had tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and that was my own error. So I wasn’t angry. Just disappointed. Another one bites the dust. And I was totally incredulous that he had forgotten to take his ring off, actually. I kept stealing quick glances whenever he raised his left hand to see if he’d slip it off when it happened to be hidden from view under the table or something, but he didn’t. It was like infidelity amateur hour, which leads me to believe that perhaps he is not a habitual cheater, at least.

Yet, in the face of concrete prima facie evidence, I was STILL trying to create nonsensical rationalizations in my mind. Perhaps he wore it so women wouldn’t hit on him at work or something. Maybe he had just VERY RECENTLY gotten separated and so it was still a force of habit. Maybe this, maybe that. Or maybe he’s just married.

I excused myself to the restroom while he was paying the check. When I came back, I noticed it was gone. He had finally come to his senses.

So when he mentioned to me at the bar that he was a jerk, I knew why he was saying that, and I said so, but we still didn’t explicitly address the big elephant in the room. It wasn’t until the movie theater during the previews that I turned to him and asked – or told him, actually, as there was really nothing to question: “You’re married.” He reluctantly confirmed and said we’d have to have a discussion later. Um, yes. I’d say so.

As we were headed back to his car, he asked me if I was up for anything else. Keep in mind at this point it was approaching midnight. So…not really. I was blown and had to work in the morning and thus I wanted to go home. But since I napped a bit in the movie theater, I actually wasn’t too tired anymore. So, God knows why, but once we pulled up to my car I decided to be nice and invite him back to my place for a drink once again. I figured we could talk about things I guess. For what, I don’t know. He wasn’t up for driving to my place and suggested somewhere nearby, but I really didn’t want to risk getting too tipsy to drive home, so we just let that idea die and ended up staying in his truck awhile to talk.

One of his preliminary comments was that he wanted to continue to see how he and I progress. He went on to say how beautiful I am and how much he likes hanging out with me and blah, blah, blah. I rebutted that I don’t see how we can “progress” anywhere being as he’s married.

His sob story is that he’s been married for 3 years to the anesthesiologist he told me about on our first date. The one he said he had been dating but kind of faded away because their schedules were too hectic. Exact same story this time, except for the fact that nothing actually faded away because he’s married to her. But he’s not fulfilled emotionally or sexually and all the rest of that nonsense. They don’t have any kids (he claims…in married man speak that COULD mean that one is on the way, but since it’s “technically” not here yet, you know…), and they’ve had discussions about divorce because neither one is happy. He got on Tinder to sniff around some and see what’s out there, and got caught up in the fact that a girl as attractive as me was actually talking to him and so he decided to explore it.

So those were “all his cards on the table.” Better late than never, I guess. I asked when exactly he had planned on telling me. He didn’t know. Our first date took place in the city he works in and we gallivanted around to several places…what if someone he knew had seen us? He felt that there was little chance of that happening. I pointed out the fact that I STILL wouldn’t have known had he not inadvertently left his ring on. Scary.

It was a very civil discussion, given the subject matter. No raised voices or obscene language or insults or anything like that. Again, there was no part of me that was angry with him. Minus the secret wife, he’s done nothing but treat me like a princess, in all actuality. He’s treated me better than some single men have.

But…he’s a liar. And a cheater. And that’s just not what I’m looking for at this stage. Scout and I have our thing but I didn’t enter that under any false pretenses and it just ended up turning into a long-term thing and it works perfectly for both of us. I consider him a good friend and he’s special to me. But I’m not in the market to be a professional mistress.

I suggested to Doc that if she and he really aren’t happy this early on and don’t have any children or other ties, he may just want to bite the bullet and get divorced. In the meantime, I’m not keen on being his side action while he figures all of this out. Besides, given the sporadic intervals in which he is able to talk to me and see me as it is, I’m not sure that this would be enough to fulfill him anyway. Or me.

We left things on amicable terms. I even kissed him goodnight and texted him once I was home. He commented the next day that the night was “weird” and I sent him a link to a 5K I’m running in that he said he might be interested in. And that’s been it for now.

So…back to the drawing board.

Marathon Date

Some time in the beginning weeks of April, I matched with a gent on Tinder that I shall call Doc. Because he’s a physician and I am just so terribly creative.

Doc initiated contact immediately upon matching, and pleasant, intermittent conversation ensued. We evolved to texting on April 17th, at which point he asked me out. Only he said he wasn’t free until April 30th, his explanation being that he works very long, varied hours. Whatever the case may be, the extended time frame until we’d be able to meet was a red flag. Setting a date so far in the future is frequently an indicator of some type of shadiness – having a lot of dates lined up already, being involved, or what else have you. Even if there really was nothing untoward going on and he actually was genuinely that busy with work,  there still remained the risk that one or both parties would lose interest beforehand. That’s just how these things go.

So I had  my reservations, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and went with it, in a grain-of-salt(ish) sense. I penciled it in on my calendar for the 30th and if we went out, we went out. If we didn’t, we didn’t. He wanted to take me to a jazz show…not usually my type of scene but I’m always open to stepping outside of the box.

In the meantime, I didn’t really bother getting my hopes up about this date occurring, because even after having made plans, I only heard from him sporadically. He let me know once he got the tickets for the show, which was encouraging because I figured he wouldn’t go through the trouble of buying tickets (or telling me he did) if he weren’t serious about meeting. A few days after that he asked me for a picture, I suppose to confirm I am who I say I am, which is fair. He reciprocated. And then on the preceding Monday night he called me out of the blue and we solidified the plans some more – we were going to meet up at 6 p.m. for dinner at an Italian spot and then head around the corner to the jazz joint for the 8 p.m. show. Cool.

My hopes started to wane some when I texted him that Wednesday and got no response. I was further discouraged when I texted him Friday evening to confirm the next day’s events and got no response. Again. Oh well, I figured. Worst case scenario,  I’ll just write it off and use the Saturday night to drink with my friends like I do most of the time. No love lost.

I was pleasantly surprised early Saturday morning when he texted me to let me know he’s very interested in meeting me and wanted to confirm that I’ll be able to make it. He said he’d make the reservation for the restaurant and we agreed to meet there. Date still on after all – sweet!

I headed out for the morning to get my hair done, and then in the afternoon came back home and started to prepare for the date in the couple of hours I had to spare. The only immediate downside was that it was taking place in a town about 50 minutes from me,  in an area with an especially precarious parking situation, and I was not in the mood for either driving that far, fumbling through a parking war zone, or having to worry about my alcohol intake. Not that I planned to get hammered, but you never know. So I decided to opt for an Uber. It cost me almost 70 bucks, but I got to nap a little bit along the way and it really is nice sometimes to get chauffeured around, so it was worth it.

I arrived to the restaurant about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and texted him to let him know. He had been heading to grab coffee, but said he’d abort that and head over since I was there.

About 7 minutes later he came walking in. I knew who he was right away – no surprises. He looks different from his pictures only in the normal sense that compacting a live, breathing, 3-D person into a 2-D photo makes people look slightly off in person, generally, but it was definitely him. Tall, blond-haired, and blue-eyed (he’s from the Midwest but is of Scandinavian descent). Cute. Dressed nicely for the occasion in a button-down shirt and slacks. So far, so good. He told me I looked wonderful, so I supposed he was pleased as well.

We got ourselves seated and the conversation commenced effortlessly, sans awkward lulls. We went through the gamut of appetizers, wine, entrees, and even dessert – a lovely meal with pleasant company. I was pretty pleased. When the check came he snatched it up so promptly and efficiently that I didn’t even have time to do the fake reaching into my purse under the guise of being amenable to splitting the tab.

We left to make our way toward the jazz club, which he assured me was within walking distance, though he was initially unsure of which direction to go in. That was slightly irritating only because it was drizzling out and my freshly done hair was not having it. Luckily he found his bearings quickly and we were at the door of the jazz club within 5 minutes.

He checked in and we got escorted to an 4-seat table that we shared with another twosome. Again, I’m not really into jazz music, but between the smooth sounds and the cozy, intimate atmosphere of the club, I really enjoyed it. I had to sidle my chair up next to Doc’s to get the best view, so it gave us the opportunity to sit really closely, and I wasn’t minding it. We had a couple rounds of drinks throughout the course of the show, which lasted about an hour.

A minor hiccup occurred when an elderly lady sitting nearby had some type of halfway fainting spell and caused a minor scene while the show was still going on. Lucky her to almost pass out in the vicinity of a doctor – Doc immediately went into doctor mode for a little bit and asked her pertinent questions to try to assess her situation. He determined that she was most likely just intoxicated and/or on some other type of substance.

I knew things were going well from both perspectives, so I wasn’t too surprised when Doc asked if I’d be up for grabbing drinks elsewhere after the show. It’s always a good sign when a date doesn’t take off running into the hills, and even wants to extend your time together.

We went to his car and he drove us to another nice area of town and decided on a swanky hotel bar. He was hungry again, so we ended up getting a table and ordering some sushi platters. Yum.

Between the original dinner, the jazz show tickets and drinks there, and then our second round of eating and more drinks, I would hazard a guess that Doc spent a good chunk of change on our date – at least $250.00. The icing on the cake was when he offered to pay for my Uber back, or to drive me home himself. I insisted that he definitely didn’t have to pay for my Uber, but a ride wouldn’t be so bad if he were so inclined, even though it’d be quite a distance. He said he didn’t mind because he was so used to driving around for his various rotations that the distance to my house would be nothing for him. And then in actuality, we were both south of our respective residences (me more so than him), so since he had to head in the same direction to go home anyway, it wasn’t extremely out of his way.

We made our way back to his car and I gave him my address to plug into the GPS. I probably lasted about 15 minutes into the trip, and then it was lights out. I was already drowsy from the alcohol, but then being the passenger in a car on any extended trip has a good chance of putting me to sleep like a baby. So sleep I did. I woke up when we were about 5 minutes from my house, feeling a little bad that he drove a good portion of the trip by his lonesome. But at least he got the address before I fell asleep.

We pulled in to my cul-de-sac and I prepared to say goodbye and to make my way into my house, but it ended up not being goodbye because he asked if I’d mind if he came in for a drink. Sure…why not? He had treated me splendidly, I was attracted to him, and I was comfortable in my assessment that he was likely not a serial killer.

We made ourselves drinks from my stash and then settled in on the couch to watch whatever was on TV. He actually sat a ways away from me initially – I had to summon him to get closer. I suppose he was trying to be a gentleman, which is always nice.

But we did end up making out, of course,  with some light petting involved. He tried to coax me up into my room a couple of times, but he didn’t push it when I told him I didn’t think that was the best idea at this point. He actually agreed. I mean, I think he would’ve had sex with me if I had offered but I think he was pleased that I remained a good girl. He made it clear that he found me beautiful and sexy and fun and wanted to see me again once he could carve out some time in his schedule.

We were now getting into the wee hours of the morning. He could tell I was tired and wanted to get out of my way, but he was also tired and tipsy himself, so he asked if I minded if he waited a while before driving. I told him that was fine, so he set his phone alarm for about 45 minutes from then and we actually ended up snuggling up and sleeping (the literal kind) together on the couch. I didn’t hear the alarm go off, I only woke up when he was walking out of the front door to head home in the cold rain. I felt bad and offered him the couch to crash on if he wanted to wait some more, but he said he’d be okay. It was 3:30 in the morning by then, making this a 9-and-a-half hour marathon date when all was said and done.

Sunday afternoon, I texted him to make sure he made it in okay. He said he had and then described the night before as being weird, but fun. I told him I felt the same and then reiterated that I’d like to do it again, so he should consult his schedule and let me know a good time. This weekend was booked for me, as is the next one, but there’s a wine festival the weekend after next that I told him about and he said he’d be interested.  He said he’d have more details into his schedule on Monday, but I didn’t hear anything. I texted him Tuesday to see if he’d been able to look over his schedule yet. He wrote back early Wednesday to say that he’s on call for the next week and doesn’t know how the rest of the month is shaping up yet, but he’ll let me know by the end of the week.

Friday, as I headed out of state to a friend’s wedding, I texted him to let him know what I was up to and to wish him a good weekend. I also sent him a picture of me in my gown (it was black tie), which displayed my cleavage particularly poignantly. He commented that the dress was “dangerous.”

I sent him a picture earlier today of me and my friend, Carly, from the wedding. He hasn’t answered yet, which I’m not worried about because he doesn’t necessarily always answer me immediately, or even the same day  So unfortunately that’s just his traditional communication pattern.

So, I mean..I like him. I was attracted to him physically and mentally and he treated me superbly. He doesn’t strike me as a player or as the sleazy type. We touched on the topic of Tinder briefly and he said he hadn’t been using it long and there didn’t seem to be many women on there of the caliber that he was looking to meet. In the time before our date, even though we had exchanged numbers, I’d check his Tinder profile just to refresh my memory on what he looks like, and I’d notice he had rearranged his pictures a couple of times, and even pared them down some. He said he had been doing that because he was probably going to end up deleting it, which he apparently did at some point after our date, as he doesn’t show up in my matches anymore. Either that or he unmatched with me. I think it’s the former, personally.

As far as his dating situation goes, he said he had most recently been seeing an anesthesiologist but that it didn’t work out because of their schedules. He mentioned that it just kind of “faded,” so it didn’t really sound like anything that heavy.

He seems promising and I’d be open to spending some more time with him and getting to know him better, but given his demanding schedule, I can already tell that this is probably not something sustainable. 2 or 3 weeks between dates is not going to work.

At this point, I’m still waiting for him to yay-or-nay the wine festival the weekend after next, or at least to give me some insight into when he thinks he’ll be free if not for the wine festival.

But I got no patience. And I hate waiting.