Nearly eighteen months ago a man sent me an email on a dating site where I wasn’t a member. Although he was in the right geographic, age and height range, his pictures showed an unsmiling, sunglasses-wearing, goatee-sporting man in a sports-team T-shirt holding up a newspaper with an unreadable headline. Huh? This is the best picture the man thought represented him to his future match?
Since I wasn’t a member of the site, I couldn’t read his email, but was allowed to send a site-generated “No thank you” response.
A year later he showed up on another site where I could see he’d looked at my profile several times. After several months of seeing his picture appear in my “who’s seen you list” I became curious. He’d posted a few more pictures on this site and he looked less off-putting than he did in the one pic on the previous site.
I finally joined the original site for a month to read messages from a few men who looked interesting. I read his old message and found it was articulate, romantic, sweet, charming. His writing style was far above nearly all others. It was specific to me and items in my profile, not pro-forma.
He’d included his Yahoo address, so I wrote a brief email saying “hi” — even after all these months. He enthusiastically replied, saying he had given up hope of ever meeting me and was excited I had reached out. We began a week-long phone and IM flirt that culminated in lunch.
He appeared at the restaurant in a cashmere polo shirt, nice jeans and good shoes. He was tall, neat, clean — and handsome! He had a muscled build, clearly chiseled from regular gym visits. He appeared younger than his 56 years. He looked like the men I covet — why didn’t he show this side in his pictures? I would have leapt on his email!
I was awaiting him in a reception chair outside the restaurant and waived as he approached. I rose to greet him, to which he said “Wait, wait, don’t move. I want to savor this moment.” Very sweet. After we hugged hello, he presented me with a gift bag of tulips, a stuffed bear, and a greeting card stating “Thinking of you,” along with a handwritten message. Wow!
He was charming, funny, intelligent, engaging and gentlemanly during lunch and afterward when we sat in his car listening to music while we continued our discussion. Even after being together 3 hours, we didn’t want to part, but I knew it best to not let a first encounter go on too long. He asked if he could see me again. Is the Pope Catholic? Of course! He was so much of what I’d been looking for, my heart was beginning to melt. We set a dinner date for the next night.
This was a good lesson for me. I have written before about how important good profile pictures are, as well as how photos are just a rough facsimile of the real thing. I have frequently dismissed approaches from men who have unappealing photos thinking if they aren’t smart enough to know the value of a photo on a first impression then they aren’t for me. However this man was so much better in person than his photo. His smile was so engaging, why wouldn’t he post a smiling pic? Or in nice clothes, rather than his around-the-house look? Who knows?
But I know I’m glad I gave this one a second chance. In fact, I now kick myself for missing out knowing him for 18 months. I console myself by knowing I’ve learned a lot about myself and men in the last 18 months and may not have been ready to receive him in my life at that time. If he continues to be the gem he appears to be, I am ready to receive him with open arms — for more of those yummy hugs he gave at lunch.