Based Loaded

The baseball is the most fundamental piece of ...

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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.

9 Responses to “Based Loaded”

  1. Christina V

    KUDOS to the Man from Marshalls. HE CALLED during a sporting event. Now he could use some coaching on how to better disguise the obvious attempt at multi-tasking. But in my humble opinion… HE CALLED to talk to you during something that most men consider sacred no talking time. And having too many guy friends to count a number of them have a passion for one sports team or another. And when they are in that mode of devote attention and focus, I let them have it. If I want to be with them (that would be MY NEED) then I accept the fact that I must sacrifice my NEED to have meaningful deep real conversations at this given moment and just watch the game. Whether I like it or not, just enjoy being with them and let their enthusiasm make up for my lack.

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there things that you do or enjoy with passionate devotion to, that a guy (EVEN said fictional Sir Darcy) are not going to like or enjoy? While some women still want the man there, sometimes the smart guys are just going to do it cuz they KNOW it makes us happy. Some men have to get married first and realize this is what makes a happy wife :). So why do we expect men to do these sacrifical things for us… but we are not willing to sit in a sports bar, sprawl on the sport couch, or watch playoffs because it does not fullfill us or isn’t what we like? (just a thought)

    My 2 cents… because that what blogs are all about right? Man from Marshalls seems to be making an effort: calls, texts, dates, etc but just because he hasn’t figured you out enough to know when to speak, when to listen, when to read your mind, and when to call… doesn’t mean he isn’t a keeper. And my observations have taught me that guys don’t make an effort if they don’t like you… so there is like there. Question is are you willing to work through hiccups to find out who he is at his core, which is where the REAL decisions are made?

    Love the posts as always.

    Reply
    • Christina

      PS I might recommend the movie Fever Pitch… While overly dramatic and CRAZY obsessive, a funny picture about a woman a guy and baseball. 😉

      Reply
      • Kat Richter

        Very true, and I’m always eager to hear other people’s “two cents” so thanks for posting. I’ll have to check out Fever Pitch. And in the meantime I’ll work on being content to watch baseball once in a while 🙂

        Reply
  2. robfreund

    Okay, so I know like, nothing about relationships – by no means am I an expert. I am however, a hopeless romantic and a scientist, so I want to point out a couple of things. First off, I’m a little concerned about your preoccupation with the experiment. It’s not like you’re going to be publishing an article in a journal (though I suppose you might be able to work up some sort of anthropological piece when all is said and done if you really wanted to); you’re dealing with the affairs of the heart. Your own heart in particular. It’s not like you’re going all Margaret Mead on internet dating and just recording what’s happening to other people. I’m sensing a bit of a struggle for you to choose between the thrill of empiricism in action and where you may be wanting (needing even) to deviate from said thrill. As a result, I get the impression that your perspective about what’s going on with T.M.F.M could potentially be skewed by not only this (experiment thrill), but also a couple other things.

    The first is that, settling with T.M.F.M. would mean an end to blogging about the dating stuff, which would result in a decline in the attention your blog has been garnering. As someone who flips out with excitement when I have five new visits to my sites, I can appreciate this. Ideally, this all ends happily, a-la Julie & Julia template – and I’m personally hoping it does – you’re a great writer who can shed some light on the ‘modern age’ of dating. Not going with T.M.F.M. would mean that this experiment could continue, have some sharp hairpin turns or even (perhaps) a sequel, which would mean more stuff to write about, and more potential attention.

    The second thing to be careful of is that you’ve got a long list of men to wink at/be winked at by online, sending you emails, have profiles for you to check out, or are even contacting you because you shared one/several dates already. It seems like you could have so many options at your fingertips that you either don’t explore a particular option to it’s full depth, or could be more willing to give up on a prospective boyfriend than you might normally be because there are so many other options out there.

    I’m not saying that these traps/pitfalls have or even will happen to you. But I’m thinking about the nature of this endeavor, and these came to mind. I chose to write them because, frankly, I feel like T.M.F.M. is a good guy. He’s such a good guy that he was willing to accept the fact that your love life is 100% more public than a normal girl he might meet at Marshalls, and was also willing to go after you when you had to stomp away. That takes guts on his part. He’s also good enough to realize that perhaps he wasn’t in the right, and is pursuing you – very doggedly, by the sound of what you’ve written. So, don’t write him off just because you’ve got tons of options right now, and something that he says or does could drive you into the (potentially willing) arms of Date #17. And don’t settle for him just because you need a quasi-boyfriend to meet your Thanksgiving deadline. Perhaps taking a hiatus from this experiment would allow you some clarity and pressure free dating with TMFM? I don’t think anyone would fault you for it – I certainly wouldn’t!

    Here’s hoping for the best, and that the best happens to you. Forgive me if I came across too strong or too bold in my statements; I obviously don’t know you from Eve, and don’t have any authority to comment on your love life!

    Reply
    • Kat Richter

      Well Rob… where to start? You’re absolutely right about the potential stickiness of my “experiment.” I am not Margaret Mead, nor do I think she’d take terribly kindly to the fact that I’ve been referring to my love life as an “anthropological” endeavor. (Anthropologists, for example, don’t actually conduct experiments nowadays… and if they did you can be sure that they wouldn’t be turning up for their fieldwork in stilettos!). The one way in which my experiment does bear a slight resemblance to anthropology is in the practice of reflexivity. (For those of you who somehow managed to make it this far in your lives without a postgraduate degree in Dance Anthropology, the term “reflexivity” refers to the self-consciousness of the researcher, i.e. “Hmmm, this particular African tribe didn’t grow lettuce before I arrived to document their practices. I wonder I’ve gone and screwed up their diet/ecosystem/traditional methods of cooking now?”) Although I try to keep my reflexive ramblings to a minimum (they tend to sound rather boring), I have already considered most all of the issues you’ve raised: I’ve definitely missed out on exploring the possibilities with Date #7, I’m most certainly in danger of losing perspective over Date #16, aka the Man from Marshalls, and my self-imposed Thanksgiving deadline may force me to settle simple to have someone to drink martinis with.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know what to do about it at this point! I’m just hoping that the men I’ve dated/am dating will continue to bear with me until the end of the month, at which point I’ve promised to renounce my serial dater tendencies.

      Thanks for your comment- I greatly appreciate a male perspective on my futile attempts to maintain perspective. Happy writing!

      Reply
  3. jswesner

    Please don’t stop blogging about this when the month is up. I am really enjoying this.
    Why in the heck did you stay on the phone? I can’t stand to stay on the line when someone is multitasking. 🙂

    Reply
      • Kat Richter

        PS: The idea of a blogging hiatus at the end of the month is mighty tempting… especially as I’m not sure how much longer the men in my life are going to put up with it! Or how much longer I can keep serial dating. But I’ll do my best to come to some sort of acceptable compromise 🙂

        Reply

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