OMFG He’s F’ing Nuts

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“I’m not over my ex-wife. She left me!” Jason said, sobbing into the phone.

“The divorce was final a year ago in August, right?” I asked.

“Yes, she left me two years ago. I fought for her—for our marriage. I’m sorry. I quit taking my antidepressants recently and I thought that I was ready to date.” He sniffled.

OMFG what?! I was silently freaking out. I thought this guy had it all together. I thought that enough time had passed that he was over his ex. One of the rules is “Don’t Date a Guy Within a Year of His Divorce,” to avoid situations like this. WTH?! “I see. I guess you’re not ready to date, then,” I said, hoping that would be the end of the conversation.

But no, he had more to say.

“You’re the first person that I’ve dated since the divorce,” he told me.

Uh oh. Two years later, I’m the rebound girl? SERIOUSLY? For clarification, this was his 2nd divorce. Isn’t the second one usually easier than the first?

He continued, “I put clues in my Match profile. The caption on my profile picture is All the Kings’ Men. That’s a reference to Humpty Dumpty. See, when my wife left me, my son asked what divorce meant. I went to Goodwill and bought a cheap coffee mug that said Love on it.   We took it to the garage and smashed it.   Then we smashed it again. We gathered up the pieces and tried to glue it back together. My son said, Daddy, there’s a piece missing.” Jason’s voice broke, and he sobbed again.

Oh brother! Melodramatic much? I wonder if a teenager would understand the subtly of the metaphor. I’m relatively certain that a 10 year old wouldn’t. And I would bet good money that his three-year-old son had NO IDEA what his daddy was trying to convey. Seriously, his child is 5 today, so 2 years ago, he would have been 3. This man is insane if he thinks a broken mug explains divorce to a toddler.

I had to say something, so in the interest of ending the call, I said, “And there will always be a piece missing. Well, sorry to hear that. I had fun.” I wasn’t sure what else to say.

“I had fun, too,” he said. “This sucks. I’ve been messed up since 1992.”

1992 was the year that I graduated high school; he’s a year younger, so it was the year his junior year ended. I debated. Should I ask why, or just hang up? Curiosity got the better of me. I asked, “1992? What happened?”

“I loved a girl, and when she broke up with me, she broke my heart. I thought that I’d never love again. I settled for a friend, we got married, and I cheated on her when another girl came along. And then another, and another…” Jason said.

OMFG. Is this a See You Later phone call or a therapy session?! “Um, how long were you married, that first time?” I asked. I couldn’t help it; I wanted to know the whole story.

“Ten years,” he croaked between sobs.

Wow. He not only cheated on her, but he cheated on her for a decade?! I had no words.

He continued, “I still carry a lot of guilt, even though she’s forgiven me. We’re friends, and I still apologize, but she says she’s forgiven me,” he paused to take a breath. Then he whispered, “I didn’t cheat on my second wife. The divorce went on, for over a year, and I wouldn’t date. I made a promise.

Again, wow. He is seriously messed up. He cheated on his first wife repeatedly, for a decade, but wouldn’t date anyone for over a year after his second divorce?! I heard my mom’s voice in the back of the head, from years ago when I was in a similar situation. Her advice had been, “You aren’t his therapist. Don’t try to be; you’re not qualified. You’re looking for a life partner, not a patient.” My mom was trained as a therapist, and had counseled many people, so she knew what she was talking about.

I asked him, gently and with concern, “Are you still seeing your therapist?”

“Yes,” he said, voice still cracking. “And my sister acts like my therapist; my sister who shares your name.” That was an attempt at a joke.

I said, “Ha.” I didn’t have the heart to really laugh. “What can I do for you?” I asked with an even tone, honestly wanting to know the answer. I may have sounded cold; that was the best that I could do. I wasn’t cussing (at least, not out loud), or yelling, or freaking out (again, not out loud).

“Nothing,” he said.

I took a deep breath. “Well, ok, I hope you talk to your therapist, or your sister, soon. Take care, Jason.”

Holy Shit! Not only was this guy in therapy, he was also previously on antidepressants and a cheater! I respect people who admit their mistakes, and I understand that going to therapy or being on antidepressants doesn’t define a person. I encourage people to get help if they need it. In fact, I have close relatives who benefit from therapy.

HOWEVER, crying on the phone to a woman that you’re dating, about your ex-wife who left you TWO YEARS AGO—that’s cray cray.

My son Jack told me, “Better to find out sooner rather than later.”

“Ya,” I responded, still freaking out. “But really, I soooooo did not see this coming.”

“People with depression are good at hiding it,” he said, “Like your cousin that you told me about. I didn’t see it, either. Really, it’s better that you found out this early in the relationship.”

I support having a therapist. I visit mine as often as possible. Of course, I call them “friends” and my appointments are over “happy hour.”

Seriously, though, if you’re depressed, seek help. Therapy works! Medication helps! And, for God’s sake, STAY OFF DATING WEBSITES!!

Cheers!

How Jason Measures Up

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Jason and I are getting serious. So serious, that he met my son Jack last night. Jack approved of him! Yay!

Time to revisit the list of qualities that I want in a man, as listed in my book. How does Jason measure up?

  1. Good Communicator (one-on-one especially; similar but separate from no. 5). (ch. 1, 4, 11)  He’s a very good communicator. We talk, we text, and he teaches.  He creates multi-media art, too, so he communicates in more than one language.
  2. Intelligent (preferably college educated). (ch. 1, 9, 12) Check.
  3. Over 1 year since last major breakup (including, but not limited to, divorce) or >1 month since minor break up (relationships lasting <6 months). (ch. 2, 10, 11) Check, divorce was 1 year ago in August, so 1.5 years ago.
  4. Mentally healthy (read: no history of chronic depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mood/insane diagnosis). (ch. 2, 16)  Well, I didn’t ask him this question yet. Maybe I can bring it up at dinner.
  5. Personable (charming but not a charmer; fun to be around; makes me laugh). (ch. 3, 4, 5, 10) Check! His Match profile made me laugh and I giggle every time we talk/text!
  6. Good with kids, but doesn’t want biological (more) children. (ch. 5) Check.
  7. Athletic (or at the very least in good shape). (ch. 6, 9, 12) Doublecheck! Mmm, biceps…
  8. Nonsmoker, no drugs. (ch. 6, 15) Check.
  9. Willing to live in or within 30 minutes drive of my house. (ch. 6) Not so much; he lives 40 minutes away. However, it’s only 5 minutes from the university.
  10. Truthful. (ch. 8) So far, so good!
  11. Handsome (I’m beautiful, I deserve an attractive man). (ch. 9, 12) Check.
  12. Financial well off and frugal (with in reason; willing to spend money to go out to eat occasionally and puts money in savings regularly). (ch. 9, 12) Unknown.
  13. My age ±5 years. (ch. 9) He’s 7 months and 5 days younger than me. I’m a cradle robber! Hee hee hee.
  14. Calls me every night, or at least every other night. (ch. 9) We’ve texted every single day.
  15. A guy who considers every day with me a special occasion. (ch. 12) He brought Nothing But Bundt Cake to my house last night. Did you know they have gluten free chocolate chip cakes?! Sooooo good.
  16. Chemistry. (ch. 13, 15) Check. Triple check!!!
  17. Never been to jail. (ch. 15) Hmmm, another thing I need to confirm. I assume that his record is mostly clean, since he’s a teacher.  Is that a bad assumption?
  18. Employed. (ch. 16) Check!

That makes a total of 3 unknown, 1 no, and 14 yes. That’s 78%, which is a passing score. Whoo hoo! If he gets the 3 unknowns, his score may be as high as 94%!!

Movie night went well last night. So well, in fact, that he’s cooking me dinner tonight. I have a major crush on him and I’m looking forward to seeing him again. Shit, I have a goofy grin on my face. I have a feeling that it will get worse when I see him. Judging by the way he drug his feet when he left last night, I think that he likes my goofy face!

Cheers!

His Giant Love Sack

Jason paused the movie and kissed me passionately. “More wine?” he asked.

His was silhouetted against the TV, where a humanoid raccoon held a gun-like weapon. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was one of his favorite movies. This was my first time watching it.

“Yes, please,” I responded breathlessly, shifting myself on his giant beanbag. The “Lovesack” was in the middle of the room; the couch was off to the side. The tag on the giant beanbag actually read, “Lovesac.”  I laughed every time I saw it. “I’m sitting on your giant lovesack,” I said out loud.

“Ya you are!” Jason replied. “I can’t get my five-year-old to call it that. He still refers to it as the couch.

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He brought me another glass of Educated Guess Cabernet. He had purchased it because the bottle was cool; he’s a beer drinker. It has scientific equations scribbled on it in white ink on a black bottle, making it look like chalk on a blackboard. It was totally what a teacher should buy. Well, that, or Liberty School. “I bought Algorithm for my software engineer friends. They didn’t even care how it tasted; they just loved the bottle,” I said.

“I agree! That sounds cool!” he said. He really had a problem confusing nerdy with cool. I didn’t correct him.  He sipped his beer.  “My favorite microwave popcorn got a D- from the food rating app,” Jason said. “So I bought this Stir Crazy popcorn popper and coconut oil. Do you want me to put butter on the top and let it melt? It’s a really cool feature of this machine.”

He was so sweet to go through the trouble of buying the machine that I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had bought the same machine over five years ago. Its features were no longer novel to me. “No, please – I’ll explain why that’s evil, but only if you want me to. It may sound a little crazy,” I said. I was aware that my aversion to certain foods might get tiresome.

“Please, enlighten me,” he said.

“Well, the butter sits on a plastic (polymer) bowl with holes in the bottom. The butter melts as the hot steam flows up from the cooking popcorn, and flows through the holes to drip onto the popcorn. Well, polymers are made with fire retardant chemicals. When hot fluid (butter) flows through the polymer, it picks up some of the chemicals, which then get deposited on our food.” I paused to gage his reaction. He seemed to be thinking about what I’d just said. “I still drink out of plastic bottles, I just don’t like cooking with plastic. Hot fluids tend to pick up more chemicals, you know.”

“That’s not crazy at all. It’s SCIENCE!” Jason replied.

I smiled. He kinda gets me.

At the end of the night, he said, “I have my son this weekend. Would you like to do something with us?”

“No,” I said quickly, before my wine- and kiss-addled brain could process the question. “I can’t meet your son for at least six months! It’s a rule!” Somewhere inside me, Sober Julie did a face palm. She said, “You could have said, ‘No thank you.’ You could have been nicer. But no, you just blurt out something about the RULES!!”

He took it well. “Ok, I’ll miss you this week, then.”

A few more kisses and I was out the door.

The next day, sober once more, I was talking to my son Jack about the date. “He kinda reminds me of one of the Mikes, but I’m hoping that he doesn’t have Mike’s flaws,” I said.

“Ya, Mike was a womanizer,” Jack said. “Why don’t you invite him over here, and I’ll talk to him? I’ll tell you if he’s a player.”

“OHHHH! Good idea!” I said. So I texted Jason, “Movie night at my house next week? You can meet Jack (the 6-month rule doesn’t apply to adult children).”

He responded, “To quote some dumbass, perhaps Ricard Burton, ‘No rule is so general as to admit not one exception.’”

I looked at the message. It was non-committal. Hmmm, guess I have to ask again. “True. So you wanna?”

He texted at the same time, “And by that I mean of course I’ll come.”

I smiled at the phone. I texted back, “Awesome. BYOB. I’m not even gonna try to pick out a drink for a beer snob like you.”

“Smart and funny!” he replied.

I’m looking forward to next week!  Although, I don’t have a giant love sack. Sigh, the movie won’t be the same without it.

Cheers!

Hot for Teacher

“My tie was an official Warner Brothers Harry Potter product, as obtained at Party City. I have the glasses and wand, too. Uh, and perhaps a scarf. But I’m not obsessed or anything,” Jason texted to me.

That was in response to my text, “Fun fact: my friend is upset that your tie was purple and gold. She insists that it should be burgundy.”

I’m not a Harry Potter lover, so I went with a more general comment. “It’s not the size of the wand, it’s the magic that you make with it.”

“That’s usually what a guy would say while the girls in the room are secretly disagreeing,” Jason responded.

“Tsk, the answer that we were looking for was, I’ve got your magic right here, baby!” I responded with heavy sarcasm.

“You should never be afraid of the loud one, whose braggadocio exceeds his capabilities. Instead, fear the quiet one, who is confident in his abilities with a wand, a fist, a word, his mouth, his hands, who doesn’t need to make proclamations. His wand work will speak for itself,” Jason texted.

Very nice, I thought.

“Or something like that,” he texted to lighten the mood. “Also, Expelliarmus.”

Ok, I didn’t know what that meant. Maybe it’s a Harry Potter spell word? So I responded in Latin with Buyer Beware, “Caveat emptor?”

“As a fellow capitalist, always,” Jason agreed.

About an hour later, I asked, “Do you play quidich?” I didn’t really care one way or the other; I was curious.

“Yes, I’m a beater,” came the response.

I shrugged at the phone and walked away, curiosity satisfied.

He must have been staring at his phone, waiting for a response, because 59 minutes later he texted, “(Psst, Jason, saying you’re a beater was absolutely the wrong thing to say. You could have Keeper or Seeker, both with pleasant connotations. But Beater? Just creepy, man.)”

So I responded in kind, “(Psst, talking to yourself in the third person is even weirder than playing quidich.)” Then, to give the guy a break, I added, “Hey, did I ever tell you how much I love white, skinny, nerdy guys? ESPECIALLY ones whose names start with J.”

“No, I don’t think you did,” he texted.

“The nerdier the better. Knowledge of Robert Jordan is a plus,” I sent.

“Also, I’m okay with weird, but I want to avoid creepy,” he told me.

“Me too. Don’t grow a mustache or offer me candy while calling me a little girl,” I said.

He stepped up his game, big time. “And what about the combination of Adams, Jordan, Martin, Rowling, and Tolkein?”

Wow. I answered honestly, “I got tingles all over. Add Asimov, and I might faint.” It was getting hot and heavy, nerd style.

A picture of Asimov’s Guide to the Bible came through. One of Asimov’s books that I haven’t read! In hardcover! I swooned. I waited five full minutes then texted, “I just picked myself up off the floor.”

I texted him at the same time that he was texted me. The topic was the same: Doctor Who. So of course we had a lively conversation about which Doctor we’d rather travel with.

Finally, I told him, “I have to go. I’m falling asleep. All that fainting is hard work.”

We met tonight for dinner and drinks. The conversation was just as nerdy: Star Trek (Data versus Spock), Kurt Vonnegut, whether or not Tina Fey was in the last Muppet movie, etc. And less nerdy: whether we should have our next date at the used book store or back at his place. Either way, I’m looking forward to it, because the kiss at the end of the night: WOW. Definitely not nerdy.  I’m hot for teacher!

Cheers!

Math in the Museum

Jules_DMA_front2“Your tie is my favorite color. Did you plan that? No? Well, it’s purple and gold; add green and it’s Mardi Gras. Is it an LSU tie?” I asked Jason.

He looked a little sheepish when he said, “Gryffindor.”

We sat in the café in the Dallas Museum of Art. Jason has brown hair, brown eyes, and the pale skin of a scholar. I thought that it was sweet that he wore a tie; so few people dress up for dates these days.

“Speaking of books,” I said, “Did you finish Memory of Light?” I asked, referring to the Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson book that was listed on his Match profile as his last book read (though his note had said “in progress”).

“Yes, but truthfully, it was not a memorable ending. Seriously, I can’t remember how the book ended. After Sanderson took over the series, the style was so different, that I couldn’t really get into it,” he said.

Robert Jordan had died after book 10 and Brandon Sanderson had written books 11-13, so I knew what he meant. “I personally appreciated Brandon’s style. But the end of the series was crap!” I ranted on, and he nodded politely. We bonded over our dislike of the ending of this beloved series.

Then we moved on to talk about movies. “What is your favorite movie?” he asked.

“Wow, that’s so hard. Can I give you my favorites? The Princess Bride, Monty Python, The Thomas Crowne Affair…” I answered.

He interrupted, “Which Monty Python film?”

“Oh, Quest for the Holy Grail. Though The Life of Brian is good too,” I answered.

We debated that for a little while, then he moved back to The Thomas Crowne Affair. “Pierce Brosnan?” he asked.

“Yes, and Rene Russo. I’ve been told that I look like her,” I said, and winked. I never believe when people tell me that I look like a celebrity; I’ve heard Jennifer Gray (Dirty Dancing), Angelina Jolie, Courtney Love, Lisa Loeb, etc.

“I can see the resemblance,” he said politely.

We finished our veggie omelets while we chatted, then we meandered around to look at the paintings and sculptures.

Lady Godiva was one of our favorite sculptures. She was fully dressed, though in the process of taking off her belt. Her eyes were raised to the heavens, contemplating the ride that she was about to take. The sculpture was made of white marble and the face could have passed for that of a Greek Aphrodite.

“Oh, look, it’s a sculpture of me!” I said, gesturing to it.

“I’m pretty sure that’s Rene,” he responded.

I laughed! This guy cracked me up. I loved that he listened to what I said and could remember it.

“Do you paint?” he asked.

“I’ve dabbled,” I answered truthfully. “I’m not any good. My sketches all look flat. I paint with words. Writing is my medium.”

“Oh? Do tell – what do you write?” he asked.

Now was the moment of truth. How much do I tell him about my book and my blog? Thankfully, I’d already asked my friends and was prepared. Stephani and Laura had told me that allowing a guy to read my work would give him an unfair advantage, since I share so much of my thoughts and life in my writing, and I agree. So I answered truthfully, but guardedly, “I wrote a book and I’m working on volume 2. I also have a blog.”

“Interesting. What’s it about?” he asked.

Here’s where I stretched the truth just a little, “Funny stories about my life.” Specifically, funny dating stories. But he doesn’t need to know that detail right now, right?

“Oh, so it’s autobiographical. I write, too, but I write haikus,” he answered.

So we discussed publishing for a while, as we walked thru the halls of the DMA and critiqued the art.

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t…” I said.

“Teach. At least, that’s what I always heard,” said Jason the Math Teacher.

I laughed. I like a man who can make fun of himself. “Those who can’t, critique,” I finished.

“Really?” he sounded surprised.

I looked at my watch. (By that, I mean that I checked the time on my phone.) It was almost 2 pm! We had met at 11:20 (he was late), so we had been talking for almost 3 hours!! I was shocked. We’d broken my first date rule and I didn’t care; I had a great time!

We texted more after he got home. And yesterday evening. And more today. We have plans to get together on Monday. Not sure what yet; he said that he bought some Sharpies and implied that we could find a car to doodle on, so maybe the date will involve more art.

Cheers!

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