It’s Monday, October 25th. This means that I am exactly one week away from the end of my Match.com experiment. As I’ve no plans to renew my subscription (who knew dating 17 different men could be so exhausting?), I have just seven days in which to find myself a date to the Annual Hooper’s Island Black Friday Martini Bar Soiree. Considering that a weekend in the middle of nowhere with a girl’s immediate family is probably not the average American male’s idea of fun, I’m going to have to find someone who cares enough about me to endure post-Thanksgiving festivities with my folks—someone vaguely resembling a boyfriend.
Or someone who just really likes martinis (but I’ve never been all that keen on becoming a Bond girl).
My folks are cool, don’t get me wrong (and even if they weren’t, they keep a well stocked liquor cabinet), but rare indeed is the man willing to accompany a woman to her parent’s house on the Eastern Shore, especially when he’s going to be banished to the guest bedroom upon arrival. So the stakes have been raised: I don’t just need a thirtieth date; I need an actual boyfriend.
You may recall that I was supposed to go out with the Man from Marshall’s on Friday night, thereby positioning myself to kill two birds with one stone (Experiment completed? Check! Boyfriend acquired? Check!), but in an unusual turn of event, I cancelled on him.
I blame my recent induction to the ranks of the gainfully employed. I start work at 8:30am on Fridays now and don’t finish until 8:00pm. By the time I get home, having spent my morning yelling at toddlers and my evening yelling at teenagers, I’m exhausted. And the thought of spending my thirtieth date in some sort of lame Sou’ Philly locale, too knackered to even slip into a pair of heels, was too pitiful (not to mention anticlimactic) for me to stomach. I intend to go out with a bang. I mean—well not that kind of a “bang;” perhaps I should have said “flourish.” Yes, I intend to go out with a flourish.
Anyway, to my great surprise, the Man from Marshalls, aka Date #16, actually called me during last week’s Phillies game. Now, the fact that he called was nothing unusual; ever since last Sunday’s disagreement, which I’ve dubbed The Fairmount Park incident, he’s been attempting to make amends. He emailed me with a bunch of photos from our afternoon in Fairmount, he started sending me cute little text messages on my way into work each morning and he began asking me out with a regularity that I found, to put it frankly, rather comforting. After nearly three months of weekly rejections— granted, I was generally the one doing the rejecting— it was nice to know that if I wanted a date for Friday night, I had one.
The fact that he called during the Phillies game, however, left me scrambling for my lap top to fire off an urgent email to all of my important media contacts: Hold the Front Page! Man calls Possible-Girlfriend to talk about her FEELINGS During Game Four of the NLCS! Actually, I don’t have any truly important media contacts in my address book—not yet (unless you count the travel editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who has, for whatever reason, taken me under his wing) but the point I’m trying to make is that a call of this nature was definitely newsworthy. Especially seeing as I could have just as easily of dubbed the Man from Marshalls “The Man in the Phillies Cap.”
We spent the next forty minutes discussing our relationship. Considering the number of times he exclaimed “Yeah!” and “Alright!” during the course of our conversation, I figured he was really into it. As such, I thought it best to capitalize on his obvious enthusiasm and launched into a full-blown lecture: his rather rudimentary communication skills, his issues with my blog and our abject inability to have a civil conversation about politics or current events.
I should pause here to point out that I was not watching the Phillies game. As such, I didn’t realize that his enthusiastic shouts of approval kept coinciding with base hits and RBIs. Nor did I suspect that they were actually inspired by these base hits and RBIs, and not my little State of the Union address. I thought he was just really excited about making our relationship work but it turns out that he was simply cheering for the Phillies the whole time.
“Why the heck did he call me during the game if he was more interested in watching baseball than talking to me?” I whined to my dad the next morning. (Yes, I talk relationships with my dad and yes I know this is a bit weird but I keep hoping that sooner or later he’ll say something really profound that will allow me to finally penetrate the male psyche.)
“The same reason I call your mom during baseball games,” my dad explained. “I enjoy watching baseball and the only thing that would make the experience more enjoyable would be if I could talk to your mom during the game.”
Hmm. So now I’m left wondering does calling during game four of the NLDS mean that the Man from Marshalls actually likes me? Maybe I need to reconsider how my emotionally unavailable Sou’ Philly suitor chooses to demonstrate his affection—maybe calling during the baseball game is emotional availability in his book?
His concern over my recent escapades (“So what’s with this Date #17 guy? Do you like him?”) lends further credibility to the “He likes me!” hypothesis (because jealousy, of course, is the very picture of a healthy relationship) but one mustn’t count her chickens before they hatch.
Long story short, our conversation left me confused. And my feelings for Date #17 (feelings such as “Gee, I hope he asks me out on a second date!”) only served to further complicate matters. I’ve been deleting text messages from the Man from Marshalls on a daily basis, and swearing that I am (and I quote) “Done with him!” but the Man in the Phillies Cap always manages to do something—just a little something—to worm his way back into my heart… or at the very least, into my blog, my cell phone and my social calendar.