About four years ago, my marriage of 20 years broke up. Yes, a sad, tragic story, and I’m sure I am not the only one this has happened to. But there I was, a 43-year-old woman who woke up and thought “Now what?”
I had no clue how to get out there again.
At first my friends thought I was jumping back into the dating scene too soon. I begged to differ. My husband had made me feel worthless, like the gum on the bottom of your shoe. I wanted, no, needed to feel alive again and not wallow in self-pity.
I found a bunch of dating sites online: Plenty of Fish, Cupid, Zoosk, It’s Just Lunch, the list goes on and on. I chose match.com. I decided to see where a 30-day membership could take me.
I had about five dates in a two-week period. Some were meet-ups at Starbucks, but one date was at Disneyland. I had an annual pass and so did my “match.” His profile said he was 51. OK, that was a little older than I wanted, but I was dating, not looking to get married. So we planned to meet.
On the day of the date, he called me: “There’s something I need to tell you about me. … I’m not really 51. I’m 57.”
I replied “Hey, I’m just looking to meet some nice people. If you’re still interested in hanging out at Disney, we can still meet up.”
I arrived at 5:30 p.m. and texted him. And suddenly, coming my way, was a guy with a really bad toupee. The dude wasn’t 57 ... he looked more like 75!
We shook hands and he said, “How about going on a ride?” He then suggested “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.” (Uhhhh, that’s not a ride!?!)
While we waited for the next show, we chatted about how he used to work at Disneyland and he knew a lot about the Lincoln “ride.” (Meanwhile, I was thinking, “How was it, working with Walt Disney himself?”)
Later, I said I was hungry. He replied he’d already eaten his dinner. At 3 p.m.
Well, I had had a long day. By then, it was 6:30 p.m. and I was starving. He bought himself water and an apple. I bought some fried chicken and a coke, and we sat down. He kept eyeing my food. I finally offered him a piece. He ate the drumstick and then tossed the chicken bone, and his leftover apple core, onto my tray. Ew!
We chatted about mundane things, like how his mother was ill in the hospital. (I almost blurted out, “Your mom is still alive?!?”) He said his mom was upset because he didn’t visit enough. I used that cue to say, “Why don’t we call it a night so you can visit your mom?”
He was a bit taken aback, but agreed to end the date.
Well, that was several hours I’d never get back.
I was about to give up on this online dating thing, and my match.com membership was just hours from expiring, when I came across Astroman68.
There was something about this guy and his profile that caught my eye.
He was so different than someone I would normally date.
To start off, his profile said he was German. Very German. I pictured his family wearing lederhosen! Also, he was a science guy. I’m a liberal arts person. What could we possibly talk about? I envisioned trying to talk to Raj from “The Big Bang Theory.”
I didn’t exactly match his profile request. For one, he said he was looking to date someone within a 10-mile radius. He lived in Los Angeles, and I live in Orange County.
I emailed him anyway.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained right?
We exchanged some basic information over a few emails, and talked on the phone a few times. I told him that I grew up in Los Angeles not far from where he lived. That meant that, technically, he would be dating someone from within the specified 10-mile radius.
We decided to meet for coffee or a bite to eat. I let him pick and we ended up meeting halfway, at Porto’s in Downey.
Our so-called lunch ended up lasting four hours!
We had plenty to talk about, although on paper we seemingly had nothing in common.
I guess opposites really do attract, eh?
I’m pleased to say that after the first successful date, we ended up going out a few more times ... and it’s now been almost four years. Stephen likes to say the best way to meet a girl in L.A. is to buy her a Porto’s Cuban sandwich.
We still have our own places because he still works as a computer programmer in Westwood and I’m an administrator in Anaheim. On weekends, we take turns traveling to the other’s place. I even converted him into being an Anaheim Ducks hockey fan.
The moral of this story for online dating is: Be patient and keep your options open.
L.A. Affairs chronicles the dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments, or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.