When I was on Match for those five days, Pat was one of the photoless guys who winked at me. (Some of you know that I once dated a guy named Pat. This is not him.) I can't remember what I wrote back. I forgot to click the cc: button. But Pat replied, "I think you are beautiful and brilliant" (aw!) and sent along two pictures, one of him and two of his kids and a dog, and one of him finishing his second Ironman triathalon. Oh, hello! The man competes in triathalons.
So we e-mailed back and forth and he asked, "May I call you sometime?" May I? Very nice. Grammar points for Pat! Pat's good instincts prevented him from calling that night because it was kinda late. But he called the next night. That was the 83-minute laugh fest I referenced in my last post. He read it the next day, and was good-naturedly miffed that that's all the mention he warranted. I told him that I didn't sense he was very keen on being flaunted in my blog. But then, male egos being what they are, I realized that was silly. Of course he wants me to write about him. Boys like attention as much as the next person.
Only he's not a boy. Pat, in keeping with my attraction trend, is 50. Or is he 52? In one of his notes, he mentioned that he's going to be 51, which would make him 50. But the link to his wink, his opening salvo, says he's 52. Hmm.
So in trading e-mails on Friday, addressing the blog issue, he suggested that I chronicle our goings-on under the title "the Beth and Pat Encounters."
"B.A.P.E.," I replied.
And here we are.
For as much as a yuk-a-thon as Thursday's call was, last night's call, while I drove home from dinner and he drove to another state to see his kids, was much more grown up. This morning, he wrote and said, "I can't tell you how nice it is to meet someone with whom I can have an intelligent conversation. OK... I CAN tell you how nice it is to meet someone with whom I can have an intelligent conversation. It's nice."
We traded more e-mails today. He's a Blackberry addict. "Guilty as charged," he wrote, briefly, as Blackberry users do.
"Are you thinking about me?" he asked at the end of one missive. "I'm thinking about you."
Turns out, I was thinking about him. But his note set me to thinking that there's a dangerous aspect to online dating: You can start to feel things for someone before you even meet them. Not that that's a bad thing, but the corporeal dating realm forces you to assess reality. The virtual world is very much different. Even though we've already moved into phone calls, and phone calls reveal a lot about the other person (Do they have a nice voice? Can they hold up their end of the conversation? Are they funny? Are they profane? Do they like to use 50-cent words? Does their mother keep interrupting them?), the theoretical nature of the relationship makes us vulnerable. We can too easily let our imaginations run away with us.
So it's important to shore up the virtual fantasy with a concrete encounter.
Home from running many errands today, I discovered my season tickets to The Goodman Theater in my mailbox. The first performance is September 22. I invited Pat. He accepted. That's nearly three weeks from now.
I wonder what will happen in the meantime.