Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Solomon Grundy type of relationship

Solomon Grundy, born on Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday,
And that was the end of Solomon Grundy.

I thought of that verse as descriptive of my latest dating foray. I'll call him Lloyd Dobler, or Lloyd, since his screenname is taken from a line in the movie "Say Anything," one of the most romantic movies ever made.

Anyway, I was on Frumster (my first mistake) last Monday, after the acupuncture event, and I saw from the iconography that Lloyd and I had corresponded. I visited his profile but it didn't strike any familiar chords, even though we'd exchanged several emails. He was kind of cute, though, so I thought, "Why not send him an IM?"

Lloyd responded immediately and we started chatting. He explained the significance of his screenname, and I dutifully swooned. Born in England, he now resides in Staten Island. We chatted about our Pesach plans, and learned that we're both trivia whizzes. Then he said:

Lloyd: I am just re-reading our correspondence from two and a half years ago
Ayelet: u kept it? I honestly couldn't remember anything from it
Lloyd: I am a hoarder... I have four kids... and I think you must have thought that they lived near me....
Ayelet: they don't?
Lloyd: they live in London

I remember now. I thought four stepkids was too much to handle. But I'm older, and that much less fertile. More desperate, I suppose.

Ayelet: that must be so hard for u
Lloyd: it is the best situation actually but I miss them terribly; I go back every two months or so, when I say "best" I do not mean ideal, but just given the circumstances
Ayelet: y r u here when they're there?
Lloyd: again, a long story... but, I pay regularly, in case you might think otherwise (I have been asked if I am here to skip payments)
Ayelet: y would I think that? that's a horrible assumption
Lloyd: not everyone is nice
Ayelet: how old r they?
Lloyd 17, nearly 15, 11, nearly 7

That's quite a spread.

Ayelet: how long were u married?
Lloyd: I was married twice..... 9 years 90-99, 2 years 01-03

Wow. He might have more baggage than I do. But who am I to judge?

Ayelet: u r a true romantic
Lloyd: hopeful, not hopeless
Lloyd; it would have to be the right person for me to have another child
Ayelet: it would have to be the right person for u to get married again
Lloyd: I have learned a lot and improved myself tremendously since my earlier marriages... and I would rather be alone than make a mistake, although being alone sucks
Ayelet: that's y I never got married; being alone sucks, being in a bad marriage sucks more
Lloyd: and you gleaned that without the experience
Ayelet: I learn from others' mistakes more readily than from my own
Lloyd: well that should be everyone's preferred option
Ayelet: I'd kind of like to start learning from my own one of these days... since we both have early mornings tomorrow, maybe we should call it a night and take this up again later
Lloyd: would you like to speak tomorrow evening?
Ayelet: sure, although I don't get home till close to 9 p.m.; I work late Tuesdays, u can call and leave a message if I'm not home yet
Lloyd: ok

He ended up calling at close to 10 p.m., but we chatted amiably, and he asked if I wanted to get together on Wednesday. Sure, I don't have plans. He left the choice up to me: coffee, drinks, or dinner. After work, I'm hungry, and I didn't want to be up too late, or keep him in Manhattan too late since he has to drive all the way back to Staten Island. So I opted for dinner at Darna.

And... I don't know what happened. Lloyd seemed enthusiastic when he picked me up; his cologne almost knocked me out of the car. He told me that he was teaching a class in microeconomics and looking for a full-time job; he used to be an investment banker, until August 2008, when the financial world imploded. A real disappointment, since he'd only just got his MBA in 2006 and MFA in 2007.

"I spent all this time preparing myself for a career that just went up in smoke," he said.

"What were you before you were an investment banker?" I asked.

"Oh, I did several things. I was an engineer, I was a brand manager, I was a small business owner..." Lloyd said, and gave me some details. I tried to ignore my uneasiness. Again: who am I to say this guy sounds unstable? I tried to kill myself less than 10 years ago!

Maybe I was unsuccessful at concealing my concern. The date... just fizzled. Lloyd seemed less and less interested as dinner wore on. I honestly don't know why. Maybe I talked too much about work, but I also tried to ask him questions about himself that he wouldn't find threatening to answer. At least I thought they weren't threatening.

But by the end of dinner, I could tell his heart wasn't into it. His responses were polite and perfunctory.

"It's getting late," I said, "and you have a long drive home." He drove me home and promised to call. He hasn't, but I have seen him surfing Frumster since we went out. Maybe he'll call, maybe he won't. To be fair, he knew I was going away for Shabbat.

I guess it's no great loss, but I would love to know how I lost him. Something I said? Something I did? Should I have worn red instead of peach?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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