The first email BizWiz sent me was short. "Intrigued . . . ." That was it. He wasn't much more expressive in his profile—one short paragraph in which he indicated his belief that romance should be a part of everyday life, that he respected honest and trustworthy people and was looking for "Ms. Right." His only photo was his primary one, but it was a good one. Dressed in a white, button down dress shirt and pretty purple tie, he stood in front of a blue wall. His shoulders looked broad. On the wall to his left I could see the corner of what looked like a framed travel poster. He was clean shaven, smiling slightly and his blue eyes looked directly into the camera. His salt and pepper hair was short. I found him handsome and distinguished looking and thought he was definitely worth responding to. But what could I possibly say in response to a one word email?
I wrote back, thanked him for his interest and told him that I liked what he had said in his profile about honest and trustworthy people. He responded by quoting a portion of my profile that he said he especially liked, and wrote, "I believe you live with zest and love with all of your heart . . . I have been searching for someone who shares that philosophy . . . and likes to exercise." He put a happy face at the end of the sentence.
I read this part again: "you live with zest and love with all of your heart . . . I have been searching for someone." I loved the way that sounded. Now I was intrigued.
Unlike many men I've met on Match.com, BizWiz didn't immediately ask for my phone number or, unsolicited, send me his. He didn't ask when we could meet. He also didn't write long, intense emails revealing his innermost thoughts. But he did write often, several times a day, and if we were both online at the same time, we'd instant message and carry on computer conversations, sometimes until late at night. I looked forward to our online chats and found myself disappointed if I logged on and he wasn't there.
We wrote a lot about our children who were at the same stages in life (high school and college), our common interest in exercise and how staying in shape at our ages (late forties for me, early fifties for him) was a priority. BizWiz said he found "a woman who works out very alluring."
His words made me feel alluring.
We had been corresponding for a few weeks when I started to wonder if BizWiz would ever want to chat with me over the phone or eventually meet. I mean, that was the ultimate goal, wasn't it? He had said in an email, "I always will be very selective in who I meet . . . I don't date much and although I do email women on Match, few catch my interest . . . my life is hectic, my priorities my children, family and work." I decided to wait a bit longer to see if he'd initiate a phone call.
Before BizWiz first contacted me I'd been online dating for over a year but hadn't been successful in finding "the one" or, for that matter, anyone whose interest in me was mutual. I'd started to wonder if there was something wrong with me, if I was too picky.
I came across an online article one day written by a relationship expert who said that the problem with really smart, accomplished women (a category into which I'd put myself—maybe that was part of the problem!) was that, although men may be in awe of them, they wanted to hire them, not date them.
Just as I was pondering the meaning of what I had read, BizWiz sent me an instant message. He wrote, "I'm having creative thoughts." Whoa, that totally surprised me, especially since our conversations up until then had been pretty innocent.
I typed back, "I'm tempted to ask specifics, but I know I shouldn't."
I found it ironic that he said "smart woman" when I was just reading and thinking about how being smart could be some kind of turn off to men. I felt I was just handed the perfect opportunity to play that topic out.
I wrote, "I am smart. Can you handle that? Most men can't."
He replied quickly. "Yes. And I am sensual. Can you handle that?"
I felt myself blush and was glad he wasn't there to see me. With shaky fingers, I typed back, "Oh, yes . . ." I paused after typing the word "yes" and purposely added the ellipses. Then I hit "send."
"Smiling," he responded.
And everything changed.
The late night emails and instant messages we shared online became more playful and intimate.
"I'm in bed," BizWiz typed, "with my laptop and you."
"That's romantic," I responded.
"What are you wearing to bed?" BizWiz wrote (a question he'd ask every night).
Even if I wasn't dressed for bed yet, or was wearing a pair of old sweat pants and a baggy tee shirt, I'd make sure I described something sexy.
"I'm wearing a thin white tee shirt with nothing underneath except a pair of bikini panties."
Or, I'd tell him I had on "a see-through lace teddy from Victoria's Secret."
He'd type, "Want you."
When I teased him about being a man of few words, he wrote, "I am quite expressive in person . . . maybe you will find out."
"Maybe" I would find out. What did that mean? Was I wasting my time with someone who had no intention of meeting me in person? I started to wonder—who was this person anyway? It finally dawned on me that BizWiz could be anyone, not necessarily the man in the photo on his profile. Just because he said he respected honest and trustworthy people didn't mean he was one of them—he could be eighty years old, he could be fifteen years old, he could be . . .
"Are you married?" I typed.
"What is your phone number?"
I typed my number and my phone rang immediately.
I'm not sure what I expected BizWiz's voice to sound like, but for some reason I thought it would be different than it was. He had a deep voice which I liked, but he spoke fast and I had to concentrate in order to follow what he said. He seemed shocked and a bit offended that I would think he was married. He said that he spoke on the telephone all day for work and welcomed the opportunity to relax and email or instant message instead of talk.
I believed him.
So, after speaking on the phone for about half an hour, basically just clarifying that he was who he said he was and making a tentative date to actually meet in person, we hung up. Now that he had my phone number, in addition to email and instant message, BizWiz used texting as a way of communicating.
BizWiz was an early riser. Every morning at 5:30 a.m. he would text me "Good morning," or my favorite, "Morning, Sunshine." I'd usually respond via text message while getting ready for work. Many mornings I was late getting out of the house because our texting would interfere with my drying my hair or putting on my makeup. I'd become distracted when BizWiz would type, "what kind of underwear do you have on today?" I'd answer him with specifics: color (black, white, tan, pink); type of panty (bikini, thong, boy shorts); material (lace, cotton, satin); and whether or not the bra was a matching one. His response always started with his favorite line, "Want you."
Every night we'd get into bed together . . . no, that's not right . . . we weren't together—I was in my bed in my house and he was in his bed in his house and we each had our laptops or cell phones with us, not each other. We'd text or instant message or email if one of us wasn't available (where was he anyway?). Our cyber conversations were the conversations of lovers who were apart or lovers who were together at that moment. We'd cyber-chat until one of us was too tired to go on and we'd say "Goodnight."
But we hadn't yet met.
When BizWiz was traveling for business or was on a trip with his son I wouldn't hear from him for a few days. But I would still log onto Match.com and check my account. I'd look at his profile and when I'd see that he had been active on Match "within one hour" or, worse, if he was "online now," I'd feel like a jealous lover and wonder what he was doing, who he was emailing, if he was doing a search and if so, who he was searching for.
At one point I didn't hear from him for about two weeks. I wasn't sure why. He had been on a business trip, I knew, but should have been back. I had been waiting for him to contact me. One night I was logged onto Match and saw that he was too. I sent him an instant message to which he didn't respond.
Angry, I emailed him, asked why he had ignored my instant message, told him that I saw he had been on Match.com. In the morning, there was an email in response to mine. His subject line read, "You are wrong." Then he wrote, "Just woke up and read your message . . . was fast asleep last night after logging on . . . I would have spoken to you if I saw that you messaged me. I haven't been with anyone . . . figured you had moved on . . . I'm here if you want to talk."
I was confused and, in a text message, told him so. In response, BizWiz finally asked me out on a real date. We were going to meet in person and I was anxious and excited.
It happened on a week night. At an ice cream parlor, the last place I'd expect to meet a man who I'd shared sexy messages with. It seemed too wholesome a place to meet. I needed a drink. BizWiz liked ice cream, he said, and wanted to meet me there. So we did.
He looked just as he was supposed to. Handsome. Well built. Clean shaven. Well groomed. We sat with our ice cream cones (non-fat frozen yogurt for me) on a bench under a tree and had a lot to talk about, normal stuff, not sex. BizWiz didn't even ask what I was wearing underneath my clothes. We sat on our bench until the ice cream parlor was closed and there were no other patrons around. It had started raining but the tree we sat underneath kept us dry. When we started to feel the rain, we stood and agreed it was time to go. BizWiz kissed me. Passionately. He said he wanted to take me home.
I was torn. In one way, I had already been intimate with this man. But in another way I had just met him, hadn't I? I told him I had to go home, that I wasn't ready to see where he lived.
The next morning BizWiz was leaving for another business trip. He texted me on his way to the airport, "I want to kiss you again before I leave . . . meet me on my way to the airport."
I was still in bed. I needed a shower, my hair was dirty, I needed time to put on makeup and get dressed. He was already on his way to the airport. "I can't right now. I'm sorry."
BizWiz wasn't pleased.
When he returned from his trip, he instant messaged me one morning before work.
"You don't have time for a relationship," he wrote.
Huh? What was he talking about? Quickly, I typed back, "Yes I do."
"No, you don't."
He was breaking up with me. He was ending our relationship that wasn't really a relationship to begin with. He was ending our fantasy, ending our . . . something.
I was upset and started crying. I typed, "I cannot believe how much I am crying right now"
He responded, "Why are you crying . . . we only met once."
What was he saying? Why was I crying? What the hell was I doing? Had I lost touch with reality?
"Goodbye," I typed.
And then I went into my bathroom and got ready for work, tears streaming down my face.
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