Kiss and Tell … Or Not?

The beginning was pretty exciting. After a decade-long hibernation from the dating world, I was completely new to online courtship or dating of any kind for that matter. I signed up for a few sites, downloaded some apps, created my profiles and I was off to start my new adventure.

My first encounter with a potential suitor was through Match.com. I have to say it may be the most well-known site out there but it definitely lacks in the action department. It seems like most people are there to write self-aggrandizing personal bios and not to actually meet anyone else. I learned a few things pretty quickly. Who knew? Apparently most single male 40-somethings like to travel and hike, stand up paddle board (SUP) and more often than not take selfies of themselves in public restrooms. I try to use that as a rule of thumb — no shirtless pics and no bathroom selfies. Swipe right!

Robert broke the ice for me. He had written me a very thoughtful message, clearly demonstrating that he hadn’t just copied and pasted a generic note that he used to woo all the ladies. He did not look like my type but his note was super nice and I had to start somewhere. Plus his profile said that he was almost 6 feet tall. (Through my adventures in online dating I have come to realize that I am a height-est. I only respond to guys that are on the tall side even though I am barely 5’5” myself.) I decided to give Robert a chance. Mind you at my age this whole process feels like trying to buy Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons at Target on the 23rd of December. All that is left is the stuff other people have picked through and rejected and the items that have been put out on the clearance rack.

Robert and I started a conversation online and then took the first step in online courtship, transitioning from communicating through the site to texting each other directly and thereby exchanging phone numbers. (Still not sure whether to delete these guys from my contacts or just let them build up). Our texting relationship lasted several weeks and it wasn’t until almost 5 weeks into knowing each other that we finally went out. I was so excited and nervous about our first date. He picked a gastro pub and I was waiting there when he got there. I recognized him right away. He was wearing jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket and hadn’t lied about his height. We hugged, which seemed pretty normal considering we had been talking to each other for over a month.

I was right he didn’t look like my type but he was cute enough. We had some good cocktails and shared a couple of small plates for dinner. The conversation was easy and he had some rather interesting first date questions, like “What is your favorite holiday?” About an hour and a half into the evening, when I was just getting over my nervousness, he paid the check and walked me to the valet to get my car. We hugged goodnight and that was it. I had fun and didn’t really want the night to end. In retrospect I think it was the fact that I was dressed up and out with a member of the opposite sex that I was excited about and not Robert himself.

Nonetheless, I was game to let this play out. We continued texting and talking. He took me out to nice dinners and drinks a few times before I had to ask the dreaded question. It was our 4th date and we had gone to a fab dinner and both had had a few cocktails. (He was wearing a long-sleeved jacket even though it was summertime). As soon as he paid the check he got on his phone to call himself an uber home — he was really into ubering and often paid for my ubers too, which I thought was very chivalrous. I almost instantly got upset. If he was getting an uber that meant there would be no goodnight kiss. I was pissed. Why was this guy taking me out to nice dinners, calling and texting me all the time but not making a move? I texted him almost as soon as he left. “I have a question to ask you. I’m not asking because I want to be flattered but I’m asking because I need to know. Are you attracted to me?”

He called me right away to tell me that of course he was attracted to me. He would not waste my time or his time if he wasn’t. However, he also said, “I do not kiss until the 7th date!!” WTF? What kind of rule was this? I was determined to find out. I knew he had a very Christian background so maybe there was a particular sect that preached that there was some significance to the 7th date. I googled it, I asked around and no one had ever heard of this rule. Phew! He was probably just being sarcastic with that comment.

I was content that there was nothing to worry about except for one minor thing. I had never seen his arms.

In the middle of summer he consistently wore long-sleeved shirts or jackets. What was he hiding? Did he have track marks, tats, scars or Ebola? I had to find out. Finally, the opportunity presented itself when he invited me to an outdoor concert in August. I had invested a bunch of time in this guy already and had a certifiable crush so I really needed his arms to be normal. “What are you wearing to the concert? It’s going to be so hot,” I said in a phone call the day before. Robert replied, “A shirt with the sleeves cut off.” This was perhaps the worst reply he could have given.

I reached out to my besties. “Have you ever heard of a shirt with the sleeves cut off? Do you think Robert is going to bust an 80s look with a hand cut tank top? That would be horrific.” It was a make or break issue for me. I took an uber to his place and regaled the driver with my tales about not kissing until the 7th date (this was our 6th, I believe) and the fact that I had never seen his arms. She and my girls, who I had queued up on a group text, were all waiting for the big reveal. He emerged and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. He was wearing a plain button down short-sleeved shirt. No mesh tank top, no hand cut muscle tee and his arms looked perfectly normal. Check. Now all we had to do was kiss and all would be good. I was sure this was the night it was going to happen.

To be continued …