Candy Store of Love

 

He’s right—online dating is like being in a candy store. Alan, aka Candy_Man, has mentioned this to me numerous times and although we had a really strong connection on the phone, the truth is, he’s in the Sweet Shop and not ready to leave yet.

At the end of my work day, I drove out of town to meet him at a remote, little eatery—off the highway. My usual MO is to arrive first and scope out the prospect. He was already there, so I knew he had to opportunity to see the vehicle I was driving, my attire, and if he was perceptive, my mood. For instance, am I nervous, confident, nonchalant, unsure? So much can be gleaned from a restaurant table, back to the wall, like a lion on a ridge on watching for its prey.

I entered and within seconds saw him at the end table, smiling at me.

My first impression? His smile isn’t what I thought it would be. I had a picture of him from the site, but you know how those self-portraits look? He’s sitting at his computer, probably hand held the digital camera and he’s staring at it, eyes unfocused. Smiling at nothing is never a true depiction of yourself. Not a bad shot, but now here he was in real life, grinning at me, and it’s not the genuine, warm smile that I expected to see.

His last email to me:

My hooks are sharp. Lots of tie ups, got my best rod with lot of fresh line. Reel is checked and maintained, using heavy line: I don’t want to lose a trophy. I’m patient, excited and determined. The reel is singing with the line peeling out. Love that sound! It puts a smile on my face every time. When you jump you light up the sky. What a beauty! The other fishermen can’t help but be enthralled by the sights and sounds. All fishermen will go home happy and satisfied. But some will be thrilled.

He probably wears that same expression when he’s caught the ‘big one.’

But, I know men are hunters. That’s what they do. In the social/romantic arena they hunt *ahem* us. I faintly recall Deer-Hunter-Man and he was the same way. I’m not sure I like being prey to anyone, but I shook the image of me hooked, sat down, and smiled back at him.

He had his divorce workbook at the side of the table. He explained he arrived early and did some ‘homework.’ Funny, how as we conversed about our day, I didn’t feel that same strong connection that I felt when we talked for hours on the phone. Maybe the masks were on, the walls up high. Maybe that social networking (the cell phone) made it easy to be ourselves and be vulnerable. One of the first things he said to me put a moat around his castle.

“I went on a date last night,” Candy-Man beamed at me, like he was holding a Dolly Varden for his buddies to admire. “It was great. I like her a lot!” I imagined him placing the catch into his pouch. “And I’m going out on another one on Saturday.” And with that statement, a self-satisfied grin.

“I’ll be meeting someone too,” I sipped my decaf and looked at him over the lip of the mug. “On Thursday we’re going for dinner together,” I revealed and watched for his expression to change.

It did. He looked away.

“I just feel like I’m at a candy store, Adrienne,” he gushed with his eyes wide with excitement.

“I know you do, Alan. And maybe you’re never going to want to leave. You might not! A lot of people stay there and date one after the other. Serial daters they’re called. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe you’ll get your house sold, and get a smaller place that you love, and you buy all the furnishings that suit you, and you’ll think, ‘I like this. I like being single and sampling a new treat from the store every weekend!’ ”

“I don’t know about that. But, I do know this is so much fun. I’m wondering about a girl that I met while I was courting my wife back when I was only 19. She liked me and I met up with her a couple times. I’ll never forget her arm touching mine. She was tactile. I couldn’t see her again—my future wife got very angry when she saw us… I wonder what that girl’s doing now?” he looked at me dreamily, and I know his thoughts had gone back to when he was a young man and the world was full of possibilities, the biggest candy store of all.

My hopes for this one shattered within a half an hour. I’m not willing to wait around while he’s shopping, trying all the new flavors. I do know that things are not as they appear when a person is first released from years of committed service in a marriage. When I suggested that he may never want to leave the Candy Store, he looked a bit stricken. For a moment he let his barriers down and I saw what underlies all that giddy emotion: fear.

I’m meeting Mr. Tango tonight. I’ll report back back from the field.

As always,

Adrienne.

 

The Candy Store of Love © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read the first installment here.Read the latest Adrienne exploit on Now.readthisplease.

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2 Responses to “Candy Store of Love”
  1. JKefoury says:

    Brilliant writing Adrienne, I love all of your stories and make sure to always keep up to date. Can’t wait to see how the date with Mr Tango went. ;)

  2. Adrienne says:

    Thanks for reading and responding, J! I really appreciate it.

    ~Adrienne

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