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Shopping For A Man

Sheree Burlington2 Comments

About 18 months ago, I got the notion that I might like to spend some time with a man. Three years of flying solo had me romanticizing the whole relationship thing, again. Husband number one drank, hit & both entered & left my life when I was barely out of my teens. Husband number two showed up one day to build some shelves & spent the day playing on the floor with my three year old. He never left. He was one of the nicest guys in the world but was rendered helpless by his penis - the fricken thing dragged him around the landscape like a divining rod. While I was not in the market for husband number three, it occurred to me that the right combination of intelligence, language skills & testosterone could be a nice distraction.

Enter There is nothing more discouraging than sorting through hundreds of over-exposed images of men sitting on the couch with a camera in one hand and a beer in the other. WTF guys. Put on a clean shirt and go to the Sears portrait studio. Have one of your buddies catch you on their camera phone. Cut your old girlfriend/ex-wife/current wife out of a vacation photo and post that. A picture of you holding a fluffy white dog with a red bow on top of its head (seriously) is just poor marketing. A man who'd post a photo like that probably doesn’t even own a penis.

Within a month, I’d either spoken to or met a number of prospects. I learned quickly to detect the ones on an earnest search for a wife - Like, Right This Minute; Let down gently the ones for whom I had no curiosity; Roll my eyes at the idiots who were clearly suffering from blood loss to the brain. Powerless to stop themselves, they'd actually use the word "thong" in the first conversation. I tell you, it was a crap shoot.

Weeks pass (insert loud cricket chirping here.) Wait. This one is tall, seems intelligent, has varied interests and has the prerequisite handle on the English language. While I do find spelling errors in his profile (the kiss of death for me - I am a snob) I dismiss it to the fact that he's Irish. From Ireland,Irish. He's got a dog, but it's a huge black and grey husky (who probably sheds all over everything which means, crap, I'll have to vacuum every stinking day - this is where my mind goes.) We email. We talk. We decide to meet.

I like him the second I see him pull up in his truck, take the LAST fricken parking spot for blocks and lope across the street on impossibly long legs. I like him the whole time I'm giving him hell for taking the last spot. I like the way he looks at me like I've lost my mind as he takes my elbow and steers me into the restaurant.

Portsmouth, NH. Our third date. Apparently the second didn't go well, because when I called him, he said he never thought he'd hear from me again. Our last encounter, he said, “was like having lunch with a dead person." Apparently I was not on my best behavior. The second I think they like me more than I like them, I switch off. I become devoid of personality. I start planning my escape. The thing was that I actually liked this one.

Since I believe that the entire world population can be sorted into two categories, those you’d sleep with and those you wouldn’t, this presented a problem. I wanted to hang out with him. He was an unusual combination of handsome, funny and intelligent. His accent was completely charming, even if I didn’t always understand what he was saying. The problem was that I was feeling a northern rather than southern hemisphere attraction. So, in the middle of downtown Portsmouth, this comes out of my mouth: “I like you. I have fun with you. It’s just that I am not romantically attracted to you.” He stared down at me. “Oh. You mean you don’t want to have sex with me.” The tone of his voice made it clear that no other interpretation could exist. I rebutted, working the romance angle in a skilled and convoluted way. He was having none of it.

A few weeks ago, I dropped the L-Bomb. It wasn’t a brave, look him in the eye, bare my soul kind of I love you. It was a timid, muffled admission, whispered from the shadowy folds of his arms. may have to kiss a few frogs, but if you’re lucky, you might a tall, handsome man who makes you laugh, every day. It’s altogether grand.