Writing left handed

Trouble in Camelot

"The Man from Marshalls doth vex me..."

I’ve reached the five-date mark with the Man from Marshalls and despite the fairy-tale encounter that gave birth to our relationship, there’s trouble in Camelot.  I won’t go into the details (at last not all of them, seeing as there’s an actual human being on the end of this equation who may or may not be reading) but we’ve somehow skipped right through the honeymoon phase and into the Danger Zone, in which two people with little more in common than their Sou’ Philly zip codes must determine whether or not a mutual admiration for Vietnamese coffee is enough to sustain a relationship.

Don’t get me wrong: if there is any coffee capable of bringing two such disparate souls together, it’s the French stuff made with sweetened condensed milk that they serve at the Vietnamese restaurant on Washington Ave., but what if the restaurant were to close?  What if I were to overdose on condensed milk?  What if one of us was to develop diabetes or discover we were lactose intolerant?  Or worse still: what if we became vegan?  Considering all of the potential caffeine-related catastrophes that could befall the Man from Marshalls and me, I’m not sure that coffee is the greatest foundation.

My previous field work (conducted this past summer with Date #4) would suggest that the fifth date is the point at which the relationship is either made or broken.  By a fifth date, both parties have become somewhat comfortable with one another, so much so that they’re no longer on their best behavior, and the truth starts to come out.  My fifth date with Date #4 ended rather poorly (by which I mean I stomped off as conspicuously as my flat sandals could carry me) and my fifth date with the Man from Marshalls nearly suffered the same fate.

Fortunately he had the good sense to follow me, but still: do I really want to spend the rest of my life stomping off to prove my point?

I’ve been so wrapped up in the ongoing drama of my love life (and you can’t get more dramatic than meeting a stranger in a strip mall parking lot) that I’ve failed to consider how spending time with the Man from Marshalls makes me feel. Sure he’s gorgeous (and he’s asked me to tell you all that he didn’t really spend an hour changing his shoes.  He claims that he was gone for thirty minutes at most, whereas I maintain the Criminal Minds, plus Jeopardy plus Seinfeld equals more than thirty minutes, but who knows; there are two sides to every story) and he’s very intelligent.  I fear, however, that my happily ever after tendencies may have clouded my judgment—and that real life never works out quite as well as it does in the movies.

(And stomping off is never quite as fun as it looks.)

The good thing about taking the “quantity, not quality” approach to dating is that it leaves very little time for self doubt.  In the past, when faced with road bumps in my romantic relationships, I’ve generally descended into a self-indulgent mourning period in which I convinced myself that it really was okay to eat frozen cookie dough by the spoonful because, Can’t you see I’m grieving here, people?!?

(Just ask my college roommates if you don’t believe me.  I should have bought stock in Pillsbury long ago.)

But Match.com has sent a little silver lining my way: Date #17.  His profile came up in a post-Date #9 search and we’ve actually been corresponding for several weeks now.  When I started spending more and more time with the Man from Marshalls, I fell behind on my emails to Date #17 but he kept right on writing, with the same wit and sarcasm that had originally caught my eye in his profile.  He invited me to meet him for dinner at Alma de Cuba in Center City and we’re meeting later tonight so get ready folks: I’m back on the horse.

19 Responses to “Trouble in Camelot”

  1. An Observant Mind

    I like you being back on the horse! My apprehension has not culminated in me thinking you should move on, but it is still very real apprehension. I think the PERFECT solution for right now is to gone on another date! yay! Besides, it gives me something more to look forward to with the morning coffee over here.

    • Kat Richter

      Haha, I think my new motto is going to be: When in doubt, date! But only to provide you with something to accompany your morning cuppa, of course 🙂

  2. Rachel

    What happened on dates four and five with the Man from Marshalls? Even if you don’t share all the dirty details, your “public” would like to know if you had more coffee, watched another Phillies game, listened to jazz, or went bowling again! 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      Fair enough 🙂 Our fourth date took place over drinks and nachos at what might be considered a sports bar but it was during a Yankees game so baseball talk was kept to a minimum. The fifth involved a leisurely drive to Fairmount Park, a stroll along the Wissahicken and a picnic for which I actually made cookies, packed into a proper picnic basket and everything. Am I not the best quasi-girlfriend ever? 😉

  3. Zak

    My dad likes to tell me a story about my mom dating several guys at once – presumably like you right now – and finally at one point, told her it’s him and only him or she can kiss him goodbye. Clearly we know how that worked out.

    My point is that anyone who is interested enough in you after a few dates should clearly state as much, and indicate that they’d like you to become less “social experiment”-y and more “exclusive”-y.

    As for the comment, “The good thing about taking the “quantity, not quality” approach to dating is that it leaves very little time for self doubt,” I couldn’t agree more. I’m having similar issues myself.

    • Kat Richter

      Similar issues? Do tell! I’m dying for a male perspective on serial dating. I’m starting to feel a bit guilty over my lack of emotional commitment but then again, it’s not as though anyone has asked me to become their girlfriend. And until that happens, I like to think that dating several people at once keeps me from getting overly hung up on any one of them. I don’t know about you but I’ve made a career of obsessing over the opposite sex 😦

      • Zak

        My 2nd date with my date #13 went really well, ending the night with a simple goodnight kiss… but when I called her about going out this weekend, all I got back was a text informing me she “had plans” already. So, of course, I immediately started to think every bad thought and worry about all the reasons she doesn’t want to go out again. Funny how we do that to ourselves, eh?

        But the part that’s keeping me sane is planning date #16 and #17 (maybe) out right now. And worry about what to wear when I meet date #15. And… exactly like you were saying, best to stay occupied than it is to worry incessantly.

        If you want a guy’s perspective, and not necessarily a guy perspective, I’d be happy to provide that.

        • Kat Richter

          Point taken: I won’t hold you accountable for the entire male sex 🙂 As for your Date #13: did she suggest an alternative time to meet? I’m no expert but having been through the whole “good first date, good second date, good goodnight kiss” scenario, only to be thwarted by the ominous “I have plans” a few days later, I think I can offer a bit of perspective. My Date #9 did the same thing and it has recently occurred to me that this wasn’t because he didn’t want to see me again (we ended up going on a third date a few days later). Rather, it was because he himself was a serial dater, so maybe your #13 is too and she’s waiting to see who else she can fit into her weekend before she gets back to you? Just a thought.

          In any case, I hereby order you to stop wondering why she doesn’t want to go out with you again 🙂 (Because if your picture is any indication, I’m sure it has nothing to do with your looks).

          Oh snap! Am I flirting in my comments box? I’d better stop… Date #17 might be watching 😉

  4. Debbie

    I told you I had my doubts! Leave it to the dark horse #17 to come in and save the day!

  5. wordofsoia

    Getting Back on the horse – I actually wrote about the same thing in my blog only a few days ago – But mine is getting back into the dating scene after being single for two months thanks to the cheating lyind cad that was my Ex-Boyfriend.
    (Just between you me and the interwebs you blog inspired me to “get back on the horse and into the dating scene” which in the town that I live in in Australia is a bit of a task as everyone somehow knows everyone else.)
    I think by date 5 the Man From Marshalls really should be lifting his game and at this point he doesnt appear to be. ( Did he at least remove the baseball cap on dates 4 and 5?)
    So therefore there is nothing wrong with Date 17.
    Also this means we get more awesome dating blogs from you 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      But Australians have such sexy accents! Then again, I guess they’re not quite as sexy if they’re what you’re used to 🙂 I’m flattered to hear that my “experiment” helped you decide to get back on the horse- good riddance to the lying cad and good luck with your new adventures! And yes, the Man from Marshalls did deign to remove his hat during portions of our last two dates…

  6. Catherine

    So here’s a question: if a guy says he doesn’t want you to write about him, you would definitely stop?

    This is something I’ve pondered. I think the conclusion I came to is if the guy would ask me to stop writing about him, he’s not the kind of guy I ultimately want to be with.

    My blog is not a dating blog, but I do discuss relationships a lot. It’s an important part of my life and my writing is my passion. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Kat Richter

      I honestly don’t know! It’s such a tricky question… I guess if I cared enough about the person who asked me to stop writing, I would consider it. For example, I sent Date #4 a draft post back in August, thinking I ought to at least grant him veto power. Even though he never expressly forbid me from posting it, he made it pretty clear that he was uncomfortable with my “experiment,” so I kept that post to myself in the end. (To his credit, he did suggest a few alternative ways I could continue to write about dating without jeopardizing my relationships, but I didn’t like any of them).

      Another of my dates (whom I’m not going to number since I’m going to briefly mention his career here) happened to do some freelance work on the side. He told me he read my blog when he first read my Match profile but decided not to make a habit of reading it because it made him uncomfortable. I really admired him for that; he didn’t ask me to stop writing and understood, as a writer, why I wrote the things I did (and he knew to take everything with a grain of salt!)

      Even though things didn’t work out between us, I’m hoping that whomever I end up with won’t make me chose between dating and writing… but I am of course will to find a new subject to write about if a particularly fabulous Prince Charming manages to sweep me off my feet!

  7. Landlord

    I think a sense of humor and a strong sense of self is something you want in your “dates” anyway…hopefully they will not only read the dating portions of this blog, go back and see how you dealt w/ working retail at the “shoppe”, and your humorous sidetrips about skincare…this is what you do, comedians talk about their families, writers often slip personal tidbits into their work, better to find out now if this is something they can take with a grain of salt or not? You are not “naming” them, so only “they” know who they are, to us they are just part of the larger story, you are really the main character. They can even comment if they want to–if they can match your humorous style, it would be very interesting 😉

    • Brazilian

      Landlord, I fully agree with you. I think that if the “prince charming” doesn’t want Kat to blog than it shows two character flaws on his”shinning armor”. 1- Insecurity, since Kat is not telling anything personal or private and certainly would not mention anything in a degrading fashion (even in a humorous manner) there would be no reason to stop her from writing about him. 2- Control freak: Asking her stop doing something she, apparently, enjoys doing could be construed as wanting to control her actions and this is something which I believe Kat would not tolerate. Besides, I would really be disappointed if these blogs were to end.
      She is a very talented young lady with a great head on her shoulders.


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