Where Is My Professor Bhaer?

Meet and Greet

I saved the hair. It was passable and didn’t look like a botched home experiment like I feared it would. I noticed a difference in how people reacted to me around town that first day. Blondes are considered fun-loving and approachable. Strangers smiled more readily at me. When I’m sporting any other color, I blend into the crowd. Funny how that is. But, back to Mr India. I was at the coffee shop waiting for him to arrive. He told me he’d phone between four and six pm. He finally called at five after six, just when I’d given up and about to turn my phone off. He called and said he was on his way over.

The first meeting can be a bit nerve racking. I didn’t wear my gym clothes this time. I was dressed to please. I took time with my makeup, hair and clothing choices. I changed three times. There’s always that shred of hope that maybe this is the right guy. I took the time to look my best and that’s saying something. A couple can email, IM, text and talk on the phone for hours, but you have to meet face-to-face to know how you really feel: attraction or not.

It would only take twenty or so minutes for him to arrive and I sat there typing madly. There was a regular who spotted me, plunked himself down and kept trying to engage me in conversation. I answered politely, but wished he’d wander away. I felt a bit nervous about this ‘date.’ Not like me at all. At any given time at any given coffee shop, couples are meeting. It is the number one place to meet and greet from the internet dating sites.

Vodka Nights

It may be that I am too soon into the fire with this one, this Jay from India. I admit to being a bit nervous before he arrived at the coffee shop, but I don’t think it was because I harbored romantic feelings for him. No, it was the expectations that I felt he had having spent all that money to fly here to meet me just on five pictures, a few emails and phone calls. That was the reason I panic-streaked my hair. I warned him right in the beginning that I recently cut my hair short, after he mentioned that he hoped I looked just like my pictures. I figured I’d better at least have it the same blonde shade as in the photos. Men are such visual creatures. Women are notorious for posting pics that are a decade or more old, lying about their age and often are way too anxious and needy for a guy to move in and take care of all their problems. When men want to talk about their experiences with online dating, I listen intently and it’s always the same complaints. Or they tell me about young women with children wanting a ‘sugar daddy.’ Men have their challenges too.

He calls himself ‘The Barracuda’ online. He comes across as  very confident, bordering aggressive, on the phone. But, in person, he’s a pussycat. A nervous pussycat. We drove down to the beach to go for that ‘walk.’ I stood outside his rent-a-car while he rummaged in the backseat for something.  I heard ice tinkling.

“What are you doing, Jay?”

“Oh, damn. The ice spilt. I have a bottle of vodka here and I’m going to mix myself a drink for the walk. You don’t mind, do you?”

Now that’s a first!

‘Yes! Yes, I do! You don’t need that. Come on, Jay, I’ll be your drink…”

Vodka Boy reluctantly placed his drinking materials back under the seat and ventured into the unknown with me. It was dark and drizzly. Few people out that night. It was beautiful to me, with the sound of the surf, the tide rolling in making white curls on top the black water.

His voice was sing-song, a little difficult for me to decipher, but soon I became accustomed to it. Small talk. We went on to a candlelit restaurant that I frequent, the same one I bring most of my internet victims to. My usual waiter wasn’t working that night. He’s always fun, knowing me and how I always bring someone new. We sat by the fireplace and he immediately ordered a double vodka on ice.

I smiled indulgently and he back at me, apologetically.

Half an hour later, he ordered a single.

Half an hour later, another single.

And then he drove.

“Don’t write him off, Adrienne. He’s on vacation. I drink when I’m on vacation. He was probably really nervous. Give him a chance,” my roommate urged me, having heard the vodka story.

The following day he wanted to cook dinner for me in his motel where he had cooking facilities. Well, he had a hot plate. I agreed. I went on my intuition that he’s not going to try anything even though he mentioned he had a black belt in Karate. He also has two grown daughters. It balances, for me, on the side that he’s not going to do anything I don’t want him to. I wanted to watch him cook and learn how to prepare rotis and butter chicken.

He watched me eat as he poured his first drink of the evening.

“My first drink today,” Vodka Boy said to me holding it up in front of his face. “I don’t drink too much when I am in Toronto taking my courses. I have to study.”

I finished my dinner and noticed the time was nearly eleven. I thanked him for the wonderful meal and for going to the trouble of shopping and cooking it for me. He packed leftovers to take home and then gave me a hug and a kiss. I gently broke away and said goodbye. He asked me to call him when I arrived back home. He mentioned again he wanted to extend his visit by six days so we could get to know each other. I nodded, but knew I didn’t want to see him again.

I don’t want someone who has to drink to be happy. As I drove home I reflected on the conversation during our first meeting at the restaurant.

“Alcohol makes me depressed, Jay. I feel a bit of a spike, but then my mood just sinks. It’s not worth it for me. Besides I really don’t like the taste,” I explained during our first meeting, as he sipped his double vodka, the firelight warming my face.

“When I drink, I feel happy,” was his response.

I know enough to realize I can’t change anyone. I can’t make someone stop drinking or doing drugs. That is their love in life and I will always come in second. He interested me enough to go out with him a couple of times. He’s a go-getter in many ways. He’s a retired engineer and now he is going to school to acquire various trade tickets. He has seven of them so far. He has a business with his brother repairing appliances and they want to open numerous locations across Canada. He fields business calls throughout the day. He drives a Humer. He flew here spur of the moment and I love spontaneity in people. Up and do it, excites me. But, after spending two evenings with him, I realized we have so little in common. He truly was an internet rebound relationship.

I’m pretty certain I’ll never find the man I want.  This internet dating is more like play, enter someone else’s world briefly and get a feel for who they are and their reality. It is interesting. I don’t think the man for me is on the internet. I imagine him to be highly intelligent, possessing a sarcastic, killer sense of humor. He would be someone who knows when I’m full of crap and would tell me so. He broods from time to time as I do. Life doesn’t always make sense to him and that would cause him to seek his cave for a while. I would bring him chai tea, set it on his desk and leave him be.

Little Women was a novel read to my sister and I by my mother on cold winter nights. We loved the story about life in the ‘olden days.’ I loved Jo and my mother often told me she was so much like me, a tomboy, creative and prone to sudden bursts of passionate energy. She turned down the handsome rich boy living next door. She broke his heart and pursued, instead, the path of a writer, an uncommon pursuit in her day. She met a man older than she, a gruff German, a bear of a man. But, he believed in her and encouraged her to write from her heart, not what society expected a woman to write. I fell in love with him.


Little Women 1994 Columbia Pictures

Where is my Professor Bhaer?

I think it’s time to take a much deserved break and focus on what I’ve learned and where I’m going next with this. Time to enter my cave and write it all out and not log into the dating sites for a while. I need to prove to myself that this hasn’t become some kind of addiction.

I’ll just check my inbox one last time…

This is Adrienne back from the field, in one piece, but slightly jaded.


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