Monday, May 4, 2009


In my 58th year – and, in my apparent never-ending quest for that elusive “LOVE” to rock my world – I recently joined yet another online dating site. This one is called Plenty of Fish – and yes, there truly are.

In the first few days after uploading my photo and 200 words encapsulating my best character and personality traits, likes, dislikes, life story line, ideal man of my dreams, perfect first date, favorite movies, foods and reality shows – I received quite a few emails from other fish floating around in these stale and murky waters. Two or three of them seemed almost promising – at least, enough so for me to consider giving one my phone # (he lives in Rochester, so a phone chat or two would be required to inspire -- or not -- a desire to move forward), and making a loose-ended agreement with another to work out details to try to meet soon (he lives in Hudson NY). A third fish – a musician from the Rhinebeck area, was also on my growing ‘maybe’ list.

And, then…I got an email from Rick. His profile didn’t say a whole lot about him, just something about his proudest moment being the time he did some kind of small environmental clean-up project in Vermont. Well, that’s kinda’ cool. But, it was his photo that really appealed to me. I’m not proud to say this– but, I never move on to reading the profile if the photo doesn’t first capture my attention. Plus, he lives right here in Woodstock. We exchanged a couple more brief emails, and agreed to meet on Thursday at the Muddy Cup in Saugerties.

“You’re pretty” were his first words.

“Well, you’re really cute. You kinda’ look like Marlon Brando in his thin period. But, ya’ know, you’re dangerous for me…I have a weakness for good-looking guys,” I told him, flashing back on that near-decade of my life -- in my forties -- a period I’m still struggling to understand ten years later -- of my out-of-control psycho-sexual obsessional attachment to the dashing, elusive, some-might-say emotionally sadistic Englishman, David.

“Oh, really, do I make you weak?” he grinned.

“Yes, you do.”

We sat down with our coffees on 2 brown leather chairs and he gave me the 5-minute version of his life story and I did the same. I divulged my real age to him -- as opposed to my online age. Acknowledging our 10-year age difference, he says, “You’re a little older than me, but I like you.”

“I like you too…will you be my boy toy?”

He’s from this area originally, but has been living for several years in a small, rustic cabin in Vermont that he built with some friends, ever since IBM transferred him there, and staying after the company offered him some kind of early retirement deal. His step-father recently died, and he’s back here for awhile to be close to his mother. He also spends a few months each year in the Florida Keys, where he has a boat he’d like to convert to a live-aboard. He says he’s kind of a nature boy who likes to live close to the earth. “Will you ride on the back of my motorcycle with me and hold my hand?” (“You bet!” I thought.)

“Hold your hand while you’re driving!?” I said.

“I’m a very safe driver.”

He told me that he had scheduled another appointment to help out a friend in New Paltz, so he couldn’t stay long at the coffee shop with me, but he’d like to see me again and will call tomorrow. I gave him my card and he gave me his: it was a 4x6” flyer-of-sorts, with his name, cell phone and Vermont land line numbers, that indicated he was a responsible, motivated individual seeking a house-sitting or caretaker situation in the Woodstock area.

The next day was Friday, and Rick called as he said he would. He told me he was thinking of taking a Tai Chi class with some friends from Phoenicia that evening; I told him I was going to a political meeting in Kingston, so I wouldn’t be able to join him.

On Saturday, Rick called in the early afternoon. He asked what I was doing. “Not much….just got home from my writing class.”

“Can I come over…see your place and meet your dogs?”

“Well, I guess so.”

“What should I bring?...need milk or something?”


He parked near my red barn and peaked inside. For a few minutes, he took in the steep rock outcroppings bordering one side of my property and then the deeply recessed gully bordering the other side. I gave him the requisite tour of the small 1800s house I had restored a few years ago. He loves old houses, too. He admired the old wooden ceiling beams running throughout the first floor. He liked my kitchen table made of 3 long pine planks, and told me he’s made several similar tables, even sold one or two. Hmmm…I’ve also liked a man with carpentry skills.

We sat on my couch. I asked if I could read him one my essays from writing class. He said he’d like to hear it. I read. He was an attentive audience. Later, he was still on the couch. “Come over here. Give me a kiss.”

“No, not today. Don’t be a bad boy. Don’t tempt me to be a bad girl. Behave yourself.” But, of course, he didn’t. And, alas, neither did I. Kissing him was delicious. But, he’s making me delirious. Feelings reminiscent of those I had with the Englishman. We escalated from kissing…but, stopped way short of…well, you know. Yeah, this guy can rock my world.

We returned to the dining room/kitchen area. I show him the mock-up of the book I’m planning to write, focused largely around the Englishman. It’s tentatively called, “A Recipe for Obsession.” He noticed I had a carton of Cocoa Crispies on my fridge – you know the one with Fred Flintstone on the box. He said he loved those; I prepared a bowl for him that he devoured with the gusto of a trucker enjoying his Lumberjack breakfast special at Ihop after a 16-hour haul. Then he engaged my dogs in the best play date they’ve had since – well, probably ever. Rufus, the sweet Golden Retriever whose only demand in life is that you pet his head and never stop – was almost satiated with head pets. And Rick gave Otis, the funny little pugnacious pug, the lengthiest deep tissue all-body doggie massage he’s ever had, and surely ever will. Yes, Rick transported these guys directly to canine heaven.

Before he left my home late Saturday afternoon, Rick announced that he’d like to move into my barn. “ My barn?!? I know you like to live close to nature — on your boat, in your rustic Vermont cabin, but -- nobody can live in that barn. Except maybe the porcupine and the ground hog that make regular appearances out behind it.” Yeah, I thought -- there’s electricity in the barn, and my ex-boyfriend Bob used it as a seasonal office in the warmer months – but he wants to live in it?!

As I -- along with my dogs -- was by now completely smitten with this near-stranger who wanted to move onto my property, into my energy field, into my lonely life -- the part of me that was not incredulous was, well -- simply, elated.

On Sunday, Rick called and told me he’s going to build me a wood shed, using the wood planks I had stored in the barn. I had told him I had intended to have a shed built last year, but aborted the project. As he talked about pine boards, my hormones were raging like a teenage boy’s. I was now in a state of perpetual excitement, flying high.

It’s Monday. He calls. “Hi cutie” …the dogs really miss you. Me, too…shit, dammmmn,” I say.

“Ha,Ha” says he… “Isn’t that a good thing?”

“I dunno,” I say. “I’m in danger,” I think. He tells me he’s going to Vermont to meet with his accountant to settle his taxes. He’ll call again when he gets back into town.

“Hi, cutie pie,” he says, when he calls on Tuesday. It’s just after a power surge has corrupted my Vonage router and my internet service, which means that that I’ll be spending the better part of the day speaking with a tech support person from my cell phone. Ya’ know…the modern-day version of hell on earth.

He tells me that his trip to see the accountant in Vermont had been postponed. Can he come over and check out the barn -- ? I tell him of my descent into computer hell, and that I’m too frazzled today to deal with it (and him, I think) and that we should speak about the barn thing tomorrow.

He calls Wednesday early evening to tell me that he made the trip today to Vermont, saw the accountant. While in Vermont, he’s grabbing some photos of a wood shed he had built that’s similar to the one he’s planning to build for me. “Yeah, bring the photos. But, you know, we still have to talk about this. Like, the rent – you know it’s going to be $1200 a month, PLUS utilities,” I joke. (“Are you my boyfriend? Are we dating? Will you love me?,” I think.) “Let’s go out to dinner soon to talk about this.”

“Okay,” he agrees, and adds, “Tomorrow night.”

“Garden CafĂ©,” I suggest…“6:30.”

“Okay, get dolled up…me, too,” he says.

We don’t speak on the phone anytime Thursday. Neither of us calls to confirm. I wonder if he’s going to show up. He does.

We order dinner and wait for its arrival. He’s had a headache all day and has been feeling ‘frazzled.’ I give him an aspirin from my purse. He opens the manila envelope he had placed on the table and shows me its contents – photos of the wood shed in Vermont, of the slab wood tables he has built, one photo of him on his boat in the Florida Keys, another of a beautiful sunset from that locale.

And then -- I ask him the question – “Will…we…be...lovers -- ?”

His demeanor changes… dramatically. “Don’t make me feel boxed in. I don’t want to feel possessed.” And, then, he says...“I want to go.”

We ask the waitress to wrap up the dinners to go. She does. We leave. In the street, he’s silent, begins to drift away…”That’s it?! You don’t want to talk about this?” He stops, we talk. “You know, pretty boy, you don’t go onto a dating site to do a real estate transaction.”

“I’d be paying you some rent, and building the shed…and you couldn’t handle making love with me, anyway.” I know that last part is true, of course.

I knew I wouldn’t, couldn’t, really let this happen — open the floodgates and allow those feelings to spurt and clench me tight in their tentacles again… couldn’t allow that bottomless need and overpowering hunger to surface again, overtake my life – render me unfocused, incompetent, incapable of controlling my thoughts and my emotions –because all of these thoughts and emotions would be fixated on him...compulsively, frenetically. I have too much at stake -- my work that sustains me financially and mentally would be on the line; in dire jeopardy. I’m not a teenager now who can cast her fate to the wind.

I knew it was irrational, unhealthy, made no sense; I was being played by the male equivalent of Blanche DuBois, who went through life “always depending upon the kindness of strangers.” I guess I was being used by an emotional con man not lacking in charm – they never are. But, that’s his issue.

Me – I’ll be attending my first Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting with the other powerless love junkies any day now.