[Names and some other specifics changed to protect identities.]
Some time ago I met a man on a dating site. Let’s call him Walter. He was a teacher. We chatted on the phone, made a plan to meet at a local cafe, yada. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in person that he was a nice-looking guy who seemed smart, funny, etc. Then he looked out the window and said, “Hey, there’s my roommate!”
I saw an elderly lady walking slowly down the sidewalk. “Her?”
“Yeah, the old lady!” Walter laughed. “A couple years ago I answered her ad for a roomie because I didn’t have much money after my divorce. We hit it off and have been together ever since. This is our second apartment together.”
“Oo-kay.” The woman was probably around 80; Walter was my age, around 50. “Doesn’t that interfere with your social life?”
“Nah. We have our own rooms and bathrooms. Sometimes when I have a date we all watch TV together in the living room. It’s totally cool.”
Walter and I hung out for a while longer and I asked him why he broke up with his last girlfriend. “Skyler was a wealthy divorcee,” he told me. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day, but I had to work. Eventually she got really clingy and wanted me to move into her house.”
“But that seems ideal,” I said. “Or… didn’t you want to leave your roommate?”
He shrugged. “I like my life the way it is.”
Walter asked me out again, but his sitch with the roomie was just too weird and I declined. I didn’t understand what was going on there, plus Walter didn’t seem like he wanted any kind of serious relationship in the near future. I don’t like to date just to date. End of.
Around six months later I met a new man on a different dating site. Let’s call him Hank. I really liked this dude. We chatted, made plans, yada. In person, he was even better. Very smart, very funny. I had high hopes for this. We went to a nice sushi place for our first meeting, not a boring coffee date. It was all going really well, I thought. Then I asked him one of my standard questions: what happened with your last girlfriend.
“She was a wealthy divorcee,” Hank said. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day. That’s not really my lifestyle. We were together only a couple months.”
“That’s funny,” I said. “A guy I met a while back said the exact same thing. And she asked him to move in.”
“So did Skyler.”
“Oh, my God! It’s the same person!”
Hank stared at me. “The teacher who was living with the old lady?”
“She told you about him?”
“Yup. He was really weird.”
“Haha, I thought he was too. I only met him the once.” The conversation was so odd. Hank had dated, for a couple months, the woman that Walter had been with for a while. It was so bizarre that I’d picked both of them out of dating sites. Did they have a common quality that attracted Skyler and me, or was it all a logistical coincidence of ages and locations? I felt very awkward and uncomfortable for a few minutes, pondering this while keeping up normal chitchat.
But the rest of our date went fine, I thought. No problems. I had a good time. Hank seemed to as well. We hugged and said we’d stay in touch. And we did, a little. But he never asked me out again.
Time passed. Finally I emailed Hank and said hello bla bla and hey why hadn’t we gotten together again?
Hank said that was a good question and it deserved a thoughtful answer.
But I never received one. Or any answer at all.