Kissing Lots of Frogs

The First Essential Scary Truth


Back in June, I finally decided to have my shoulder fixed after ignoring the degeneration of an old high school wrestling injury.  I figured any real man would forget the pain after the second beer, so I went about doing just that for 23 years.  When I could barely lift my left arm above my head to hang up my pants, it became utterly obvious that the bourbon I added to my self medication just wasn’t working.  The time for being a stubborn bastard was at an end.


During the course of getting second and third opinions on whether surgery was my only medical option, my mother made me an offer I wanted to refuse.  “I will pay for the parts of the surgery Blue Cross doesn’t pick up IF you go on JDate,” she offered.


JDate is a dating website dedicated to the prospect of helping nice Jewish boys and girls find each other.  Like my late father, I had always shied away from Jewish women.  Dad was worried the Jewish women of Detroit wouldn’t find him educated enough for husband material.  Although sharing the Old Man’s distaste, my reasons came about from what I thought was a more practical rationale: I lived with a Princess in the early ‘90’s.  When the relationship ended, I wondered openly whose wrists I should cut, Rachel’s or mine.    


Usually, when Mother attempted to broach the subject of dating a Jewish girl, I laughed it off.  She would persist and I would get annoyed. “Did you get that in the book they gave you on how to be a Jewish mother when you converted,” would be my usual smart assed reply.   


This time, she had me at a disadvantage.  Six months earlier, my last girl friend had broken up with my voice mail.  Recently, I had taken to sleeping on the couch, not so much out of loneliness or desperation but out of sheer ennui.  I seem to be waiting for something to happen or for someone to show up, preferably in a short skirt, high heels with dark hair, olive skin and eye bulging accessories. However, I will be content as long as it’s not a process server banging on my door.


It seems everybody is getting some these days except me.  The hookers are back at Ave. B. and East 4th Street offering an ‘around the world’ for the cut rate price of $80.  An essential service in these tough times for the broke Wall Streeter who can’t get his girlfriend to put out because he is literally broke.  However, that nagging issue of wanting an actual emotional connection has kept me from just going to a bar and hooking up.  It’s actually quite bothersome, realizing I’m not 25 anymore and human interaction is important.


Internet Dating is one of the last of the new frontiers for the 35-50 set who seem to have missed out on meeting that special someone earlier in our adult lives.  Those of us looking for a possible significant other online aren’t like Lewis and Clark, rather we are the new 49ers, following the lead of the Generation Y pioneers.  We heard amazing stories, real or imagined, about the wealth of available ‘not insane’ singles on these dating websites and made the beeline to find our prize: grandchildren for the parents. 


Of course, that means faux pas, mistakes and just flat out bad decisions are being made by those of us posting.  Deb, a fellow online dater, told a mutual friend how, on the second e-mail, her potential suitor asked if she squirted during sex. It seems this guy has some very interesting fetish porn lying around the house. Obviously, the etiquette of courtship seems to be lost when it comes to having the computer as the intermediary for introductions.    


However, I wouldn’t be in this situation if I had any luck or charm in the dating pool.  So I swallowed my cranky cynicism and took Mother’s deal.  I’m a little over 60 days away from being 40 and it’s not like some hot 21 year old with a Brazilian wax or laser pubic hair removal is going to throw herself at me on the street, demanding I take her home and engage in all sorts of odd, occasionally demeaning, sexual acts.  If you want a partner, you have to go and look for a partner.  “Just be prepared to kiss a lot of frogs,” Mom counseled.  “Remember to leave some mystery and, beneath all the New York bohemian angst, you are just a nice Jewish boy from Bloomfield Hills.”  She sounded very pleased with herself; I knew she was enjoying the whole tableau of watching me go online to find a nice Jewish girl.


With great trepidation, I logged on to JDate and actually followed directions. I wrote up what I thought was a rather quick and witty profile, posted the damn thing and waited, not knowing what was going to happen although I was looking forward to who I might meet. 


The first woman I met for a date was the archetype Long Island JAP, who decided to get up and leave the bar we were in as I was paying the bill.  It seemed she couldn’t get away from me fast enough.  Maybe the hour I spent trying to draw her out seemed like a Guantanemo interrogation. 


The next lady and I agreed to chat on the phone after a lengthy but enjoyable game of e-mail tag.  She called me at 9, I said hello and she hung up by 9:06 after saying few words, including the closing salutation of “I said I’d call and I did.”


These two women had to be the exceptions to the rule.  These were the frogs I had to kiss.  The next few e-mails elicited one response from a fellow writer.  Her reply to my hello was this:


How can you survive in New York on $XXk a year?


Apparently, she never got the memo that snarky was declared so 2005 in 2006.  Even I saw that one.


Mother, of course, wants to know what I’m doing wrong.  She can’t seem to understand why I’m kissing toads, not frogs.

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