First published online on April 19, 2010
In this quest of mine, to reel in the “Beeeg One,” one must catch and release a few fish. As you already know, I have only been casting my line for the last couple of months, but I already have a few interesting stories to tell. My fishing holes of choice at this point are two online dating sites. One of them is a free site, and the other one is a subscription site. Both of them seem to have a great variety of fish, and I have seen some of the same fish swimming in the same waters, per say, so it is interesting to see how the profiles differ on the free site from the subscription site. It is equally interesting to see the difference in the quality of fish from one site to another.
I had a very straight forward and whimsical profile on the free site, and I was getting a lot of bites out of that one; but I came across a very interesting fish profile that showed a great deal of thought and substance that made me take a second look at mine because it seemed rather shallow after reading his. So, I reworked my profile on the free service and waited to see what kind of bites I got out of version two. In the meantime, my profile on the subscription site was a work in progress. It had most of the information of the free site, but it had a more serious tone. That profile has had revisions on almost a daily basis. It did a tad better than the free one. I feel the fish biting on that one are a bit more sophisticated since it is a subscription site.
The nice thing about both services is that you can block anyone you want. You can block them from finding you, seeing you or emailing you. This would put any of your would be stalkers on ice. But, hey, putting them on ice means that they would be out on the fish market for consumption if I am to carry on with the metaphors. One of my online acquaintances suggested “Catch, Kill and Release” since I would not want some of them breeding. I thought a better category would be the Catch, kill and feed-to-the-birds as I figured that some of them are not, even, suitable for human consumption!
The fish biting were from all over the country and not just the local waters. There was one fish with a PhD in Psychology from Southern California, and his musings were so random, I was convinced he was bi-polar. Or maybe he was experimenting with prescriptions drugs. So, bi-polar fish went to the blocked list or what I call now the catch, kill and FTTB’s (Feed To The Birds) list.
There was this one fish who claimed to be from Colorado. He said he was a widowed Italian-American who owned a jewelry and antique store. He also said he was traveling through Africa, buying some antiques and jewelry for his store. After a few days of chatting online and learning about each other, he claimed to have been mugged while taking delivery of some antiques, and was in the hospital where his son was waiting to get some needed brain surgery. He said his son had been hit in the head by one of his assailants and was in a coma. The assailants also took his cell phone, his passport and all of his money. So, he needed my help. He asked me to wire him $400 immediately to save his son’s life since the hospital refused to perform the surgery without proof of insurance or payment. I did not know what to make of it, but my instincts told me that it sounded very much like a scam. I pressed him to provide a name, addresses or phone numbers of –any- of his relatives or in-laws in the states that could help him. I may have sounded heartless at the time, but after pressing him a few times, he could not. Yes, it was a scam alright. After I told him in no uncertain terms I would not be sending any money, he stopped chatting. So, the scamming fish went to the FTTB’s list as well.
Then, there is the one fish that I should have paid close attention to the clues in his email:
Seems like I have seen you around before. Don’t recall where. You seem nice w/a good profile & never been married & no kids like me is something I like. Should we talk things over?
What things should we be talking over? That should have been the question I should have asked myself. But I had already decided when I started this journey that I needed to be an equal opportunity dater. LOL! Smart or no smarts, rich or poor, tall or short, chubby or athletic, I was going to go fish! Seriously, now, I needed to have some face to face time before I decided to cut the line or not. But I should have –also- paid close attention to the clues in his profile:
A happy healthy positive attitude proactive man 50, who is tolerant and open minded. Loves nature from the mountains to the bottom of the sea. I love to be physically and mentally active whether hiking in the woods sailing, surfing on the waves or the internet. Progressive minded, successful, improvisational, a high mechanical aptitude, and with an intellectual capacity as well. I love meaningful conversation and sharing thoughts with others as well. Weekend get a ways [sic] and trips up and down the coast, a movie or even a quiet night in, is more than enough to enjoy a special womans [sic] company. Love to share music, entertainment, attraction, romance and quality time is most desirable. I am blessed in living a fortunate and privalige [sic] life of good health and mental well being that I would like to share with a SF. I am well liked by friends and would love to have a female companion in my sphere of influence.
If anyone needs to point out that he has “intellectual capacity” and “living a privalige [sic] life of good health and mental well being,” I need to drink very strong coffee when I read my emails first thing in the morning! I was so uncomfortable after the first five minutes of meeting him that I felt it should be in the FTTB’s list without a doubt because I felt very strongly, it should not be spawning. But I am getting ahead of myself. So, after his first email, I responded; and after a few notes back and forth, we agreed that we should meet on a Monday at 4 pm at the Starbucks in the downtown Center in San Luis Obispo.
Monday comes around, I get to the Starbucks, and I was able to spot him right away. He looked like he carried a few more pounds than his photo, and his hair was thinning a lot more, but hey, I needed to find out whether I needed to cut the line at some point or not. He was drinking a Perrier (at a coffee place?). I ordered my drink, and after I got it, I rejoined him at the bar facing the outside windows. After a few greetings, he asked me where I worked and what I did for a living and I started to tell him a little about my consulting business. He gets this half glazed (baked) look in his eyes and utters quietly, “Ohhhh, you are –really- smart.” At that point I knew we were not a match. I sort of started to look around to see if there were any hungry seagulls nearby that I could feed that fish to. I asked him a few more questions to make sure I was right in my assessment. As he began to describe himself, his job, his siblings and his place in the birth order, I realized his jacket was soiled as if he had come from a construction site, his hair needed a haircut badly; and I could not put aside the fact that his pupils had been reduced to tiny pinholes in his eyes, and he seemed to pause an awful long time to complete his sentences.
He indicated he was hungry and wanted to eat something light. He asked me if I wanted to grab a bite to eat, and I agreed to have a couple of tacos at Chino’s, the Mexican place right there at the downtown center in San Luis Obispo, only because it was right across from the Starbucks where we had met, and only because I did not want to be so obvious I wanted to sprint all the way back to my car parked around the corner!
We walked across the little plaza, got in line and placed our orders. He never offered to pay for my $1.79 tacos. In all fairness, as a modern woman, I did not offer to pay for his either. We sat down, and made some more small talk while he would stare mainly at the large TV screen on the wall while continuing to make long pauses in between words. The food finally came, and I ate my tacos as reasonably fast as I could without being obvious I wanted to sprint all the way back to my car parked around the corner. Yes, that was all that was on my mind at that point, but I could not help myself but be nice. I can be a smart ass, but I am kind to my fish even if I have a strong urge to… sprint all the way back to my car parked around the corner! I guess, my lesson from this particular fishing excursion was that of self discovery: I do care about people’s feelings, and would put myself out a bit to protect the innocent or the -clueless- as in this particular case.
I finally, was able to excuse myself by saying “It’s getting late and I need to wrap up a project tonight. It was very nice meeting you.” He answered, “Yes, same here. And if you want to get together again, feel free to email me.” “OK. I will,” I said. As soon as I got home he was placed on my feed-to-the-birds list. I have no plans to email him again, but I just did not see the need to hurt his feelings at all.
So there you have it. Yes, I am a nice person after all, even if I feel you should be in the catch, kill and feed-to-the-birds category.
Next: The Puffer Fish.