On Dating – Part 1

Photo by YADU KRISHNAN K S on Unsplash

Part of me wants to have someone in my life; part of me wants to remain single. Here’s the thing: I’ve been in several bad relationships in my lifetime – mostly when I was much younger, but – there were a lot. So I know pretty well now what I don’t want. And I’ve got a pretty good thing going right now. I’ve got a home that I love, two dogs that make me smile every day, and friends to spend time with – responsibly, of course. 

In this time of social distancing, I feel pretty good. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, which is what I prefer to do anyway. Another benefit to COVID: Now I don’t need to feel guilty for choosing a night at home over a friend’s invitation. Please don’t get me wrong. I know COVID is a terrible thing and my soul hurts for those who have been negatively affected by it. But…I see a silver lining.

The problem, of course, is that this is not a good environment for meeting eligible single men. There are multitudinous dating apps out there, and I’ve been on many of them, with little success. 

I found my last relationship online in 2007. Three years later it ended because he had an addiction that I couldn’t live with. Turns out, he couldn’t live with it either. He passed away two years ago. There’s a lot more to that story, but not here. I’ll just say that that experience soured me a bit, and I’m now very cautious about who I spend my time with and I’m protective of my personal space. One or twice a year, though, I sign up on a dating site, pay the money (because that’s the only way you can actually communicate with a person), and then immediately feel buyers remorse. If only the IRS allowed deductions for donations to dating sites. Unfortunately, the same story repeats. 

The typical scenario is either:

  1. I message someone I’ve been matched with and never hear back. They disappear from my list of matches (meaning they have quietly removed themselves…shh…step…away).
  2. I receive a message from someone I have no interest in and try to find the kindest way to say, no thank you.

So essentially, I’m not really matching with anyone. I have occasionally had success getting over the first threshold and on to messaging within the app, but it generally doesn’t take long to figure out the guy is either:

  1. a scammer 
  2. a perv

On rare occasions, I get to the phone call stage, where I’m likely to find out they’re either:

  1. a bad fit (uneducated, strong opinions that do not fit my view of life) 
  2. a perv

On even more rare occasions, I get to meet the person. Here are the typical outcomes:

  1. Misrepresentation (nothing like their photos, not in the job/profession they stated)
  2. Bad fit (self-absorbed, rude, no chemistry) 
  3. Perv

As you can see, as the prospects progress through the funnel, the outcomes do not tend to improve.

What I’ve found over the years is, like me, many people are on several different apps and return to them as they move out of relationships. Each time I renew on an app I see profiles of people I’ve seen before. Some are even using the same photos they used ten years ago! That in itself is a “big red flag”, to quote my second husband, who himself was the embodiment of a big red flag, or, to say it differently, there were so many big red flags I should have seen early on in that relationship that I was clearly in a bad place when I married him. Another story for another time. 

I’m not asking for much, really. I just want someone who is interested in getting to know me a little before jumping into bed. I want to have conversations, not listen to someone tell stories about themselves. I want to see evidence of character: kindness, strength, humility. I want to see how they dance in the cacophony of this crazy world. 

So many times, I’ve read in a profile or been told by a prospect that they want to get to know someone first, then “see what happens”. What that means is, on the first date he’ll try to get a kiss from you – just to check things out. On the second date he’ll try to feel you up. 

I long for an age of patience, anticipation, and respectfulness, where we get to know someone before getting into the groping and sweating. Maybe a chance encounter that turns into a friendship…and then, one day, a spontaneous, mutual agreement to grope and sweat. I know what you’re thinking, but, no, I’m not into romantic chick flicks. They’re the same story told over and over, and we all know those things don’t really happen. But now that I’ve written this, it does sound like that’s what I’m asking for. 

So what other options are available now outside of online dating sites? Volunteering used to be an option, but that’s not safe at the moment. And I’ve volunteered many times and never even made a female friend, let alone a potential male companion. 

Maybe there’s still hope. Or maybe I’ve had my share of companions. Maybe I used up my quota when I was younger. In the end, I know I’m okay. I’m happy with who I am and where I am. But once in a while, as I sit on my deck gazing into the starry night, I think: Wouldn’t it be nice to find my person so we could enjoy this together?

Coming Back Around To Letting Go

I never want to hurt anyone – even those who have hurt me. That’s not to say that I never do hurt anyone – only that it is never my intention to do so.

This is one of the reasons I am coming back around to letting go. Also:

  1. We’re not going anywhere
  2. I’m not “all in” – not fair to you
  3. I’ve been physically sick in some manner ever since I opened that door a crack (for the second time I might add) and you began wedging your foot into it, pushing sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully, trying to “gain purchase” into my life again. I said over and over “there won’t be a ’round three’,” and then I opened the door a crack.

It’s going to hurt for a minute – maybe longer – but I’ll be unwedging your foot now. It’s getting cold in here.

Repressed Grief

Watching the movie P.S. I Love You on TV.  About 40 minutes in I break into a major crying jag. First, the movie is really, really, sad. It’s about a young couple who have been married 9 years when the man gets a brain tumor and dies.  Shortly after, on the woman’s 30th birthday, she learns that her dead husband has arranged for her to receive letters from him at various intervals for the foreseeable future.

It was at the memorial service scene where I broke down. Nobody close to me as died recently, so why did it affect me so strongly?  I felt the pain and emptiness that comes with the loss of – someone in my life. It doesn’t take a death to cause that feeling. There are many losses that can hurt just as deeply.

I watched the movie the day after I had been locked out of my apartment because of an apartment fire in another unit in the building. I had not been home at the time of the fire and by the time I got home the fire had been put out and all emergency personnel had left the scene. I didn’t have any idea anything had happened while I was away. There were no notices posted anywhere and I had not received a phone call or an email. I had no clue. I found out about the fire because my garage door wouldn’t open.  I keep the privacy lock on at my front door because I always come and go through my garage. My apartment was locked down from the inside. I called the after hours maintenance contact, who filled me in about the fire and said that power had been cut off to my garage. Nice.

To top it off, instead of coming out to take care of my issue, Maintenance Guy sent an office resource to handle the job, and after an hour and a half, Office Boy had made no progress and had headed off to some undisclosed location to get something, and after ten minutes had not returned. So I called the after hours number again and left the message that it was after midnight so I was getting myself a hotel room and would present them with the invoice in the morning.

At around 7 a.m. the next morning I drove back to my apartment to see if they had by some miracle figured out how to open my garage door. They hadn’t. The leasing office at my complex normally opens at 9:00 a.m. during the week. I stopped by the leasing office to see if someone may have come in early to manage my issue. Nope. I drove back to my hotel, had breakfast, and then left a message with the leasing office asking that they call me as they are in so they could share with me their plan of action. Nobody called.

I drove back to the office at 9. When one of the other office staff members greeted me at the door I stated my name and apartment number. No recognition. I explained that I had been locked out of my apartment all night and stayed in a hotel. I handed her the invoice. Across the room I saw Office Boy. He clearly had not told anyone what had happened the night before.  Neither had Maintenance Guy. Really?

I was told I would have to wait to see the Office Manager because she was currently speaking with another tenant who had been affected by the fire. The tenant lived in the apartment below the unit where the fire occurred. She had experienced water damage. But she had still been able to get into her apartment and sleep in her own bed.

When I was ushered over to Office Manager, I shoved the hotel invoice at her and told her my story. She apologized profusely. She had had no idea this had happened. Clearly, but there was no excuse for that. She offered to have the amount of my hotel stay deducted from my next month’s rent. “Not acceptable,” I told her. I had just paid my rent for the month and wasn’t interested in waiting around for a month to get my money back. She said she would have to call “Corporate” and she would do her best to get me what I wanted.

I left the office still angry and feeling patronized…but also feeling something else. Helplessness…neglect. I had showered at the hotel, but had had to dress in the same clothes from the day before – don’t ask about my underwear. I couldn’t go to work that way. What was I supposed to do?

I drove to the parking garage at my job, turned off my car and sat for a minute. My phone rang. It was Office Manager. Did I know my garage door was open, she asked? Had I gone over that way when I left the leasing office? “No,” I told her. “You said your maintenance supervisor was just on his way over.” “Well, the door is open already,” she said. “You can get into your apartment now.”

Fast forward to the end of the day. I spoke with a lawyer who said I should take the offer to credit the hotel bill against my next month’s rent.  Sigh. But, good news (relatively speaking), I have a brand new garage door opener (something about “the  event” had damaged the wiring in the previous opener). And the leasing office’s Corporate office approved an immediate refund of my hotel expense. Vindication.

Back to the movie which I’m watching at the end of a day of feeling angry, patronized, frustrated and…helpless. So of course I would be a little extra emotional watching a very sad movie. But it’s more than that. What had this story of loss triggered inside of me? Which wound had it ripped open, jagged edges inflamed and leaking fresh blood? The feeling was so familiar.

It was the sense of helplessness on being locked out of my home twice while living with my alcoholic boyfriend because he was passed out drunk inside and had locked the house from the inside. Both times there was nothing I could do to get in except break a window, which would have wakened the neighborhood, or call the police (which would also wake the neighborhood and also intensify the sense of humiliation associated with the situation.)  I chose to find another place to spend the night.

It was the hurt of knowing that no matter how much love I showed my boyfriend and how genuinely loving and caring he was toward me when he was sober, he was still willing to lie to me when he was drunk. He would lie about being drunk and never lost his determination to defend himself against all reason. It felt insulting to me.

It was also the sense of loss I felt after finally leaving my alcoholic boyfriend and then attempting to remain friends with him so I can support him through his journey to sobriety…something he wasn’t willing to do while I was still the romantic interest in his life. There is still a big hole in my soul for losing my best friend to alcohol. It’s a hole I’ve been reluctant to try to fill again. I have had one date in the year and a half since I moved out. I just don’t have it in me to go another round.  I guess I have some work to do myself.

Incense and Magic and Witches – Oh, my!

I had an interesting (and slightly weird) day today. Let me start by pointing out that the Law of Attraction tells us that the Universe brings to us that which we are a vibrational match to.

For the benefit of this article, I will translate that into an explanation of why it sometimes seems that when you start thinking about something new you will suddenly begin to notice lots of little things that you never saw or heard before even though those little things have probably been there all along. But now that you’re thinking about this new thing, they are right in front of you, very clear and very obvious (to you). Case in point: I am suddenly noticing references to witches and magic, and information related to same is appearing in front of me as if by…(I have to say it)…magic!

Here’s how this idea started for me today. First, I’ve been thinking about Sage for awhile now. About a year ago I watched a “healer” at a metaphysical fair perform a ritual on someone using smoke from a bundle of dried sage. At the time I didn’t understand the purpose of the ritual, but it was something curious and slightly interesting to me, so I made a mental note to myself to learn more about it at some point.

For reasons I cannot explain, “some point” appears to be now. So this morning I find myself searching online for information about the ritual. According to the website I found, sage can be used for “personal cleansing when your energy is low, you feel depressed and out of sorts, or if you have been around negative people in a negative situation.” It also goes on to say that you can use it before bed to clean away the physical and emotional grime and stress of the day.

For those who are not familiar, you don’t actually wash with it. What you do is light a bundle of dried sage, blow out the flames and use the smoke to “sweep away” all that negative energy you’ve been collecting throughout the day. Why this ritual sounds fascinating to me, I cannot tell you. But it does. I also remembered that I kind of liked the smell of the burning sage when I saw it used at the metaphysical fair, so I decided I would try it. (In case you’re curious, the smell of the smoke reminds me a bit of a certain smokable herb…but we won’t go there in this blog.)

So…I eventually head out to Cosmic Connections, my favorite little metaphysical store here in Nashville, with the intention of purchasing some sage. As I browse, I am sidetracked by a clearance shelf full of various types of incense. There is a particular brand I find interesting. It is called “Feng Shui Incense.” It comes in several blends, named things like “Journey,” “Health,” “Recognition” and “Love.” I read the label for each blend and am excited about each of them…except the “Love” blend. As much as I would like to experience an incense designed to open my “Chi” for Love, I’m just not a fan of Patchouli, which is an ingredient in this blend. But…I do pick out one tube of each of the other blends and a very cool looking incense smoker.

Having said that, I feel I must now say that, typically, when I walk into a store that sells incense I am not drawn to purchase it. These types of stores tend to have a smell about them that I find less than appealing. (maybe it’s the Patchouli?) I will very often experience headaches that will only subside once I leave the building. So why I was drawn to purchase incense to burn in my home is a mystery to me.

Finally, after speaking with the storeowner about the various Sage options available, I select a bundle to use in my yoga/meditation room (I call it that, but it’s really just an empty bedroom I haven’t done anything with yet). I leave the store feeling very happy and content with my purchases and anxious to experiment with my new “toys.”

Later that day I have a conversation with someone I’ve met only recently. He asks me about my day. I tell him I went to Cosmic Connections. He’s not familiar with the store. I explain that it is a metaphysical store. He asks if I am into that stuff. (Um…no…I just like the purple sign out front so every once in awhile I stop in to visit it.) He says he’s fine with that sort of thing as long as something doesn’t come crawling out of my eyeballs while we’re together. I laugh it off, saying that no, I’m not into *those* sorts of things. (That call ended badly.)

Shortly after dinner I decide it is “time.” I don’t want to do the Sage thing tonight, but I’d like to try some incense. I dig out my little bag of goodies and re-read the labels on the three tubes. I decide “Recognition” will be my scent of the night. The label indicates it supports “harmonious Chi (energy) in the fame section of your home.” I’m not sure where the “fame” section of my home would be, but I decide the living room will have to do, as I am also looking forward to watching a movie. This blend includes the ingredients “MYRRH~success, dissolves disturbing influences” (I’ve had lots of those lately, so this sounds good to me); it also includes “COSTUS~harmonizing; CASSIA~good luck, relaxing; SANDALWOOD~protection guidance.” Sounds good. I light a stick and put it in my new incense smoker.

Next I grab the last of the three videos I checked out of the library a few days ago. It’s an oldie called “Bell, Book and Candle,” starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. I’ve forgotten the story line, so I re-read the back of the box. It’s about a witch (Novak) who finds herself intrigued by her upstairs neighbor (Stewart). On the eve of his wedding (the same night she meets him) she casts a spell over him, causing him to ditch his fiance and fall in love with her. Hmmm…Interesting choice.

I begin watching the movie and I’m suddenly consumed with the urge to write something for my blog. (Has the incense influenced this desire?) But it’s such a nice night…first I want to drive somewhere. (I know none of this makes sense. That’s my point.)

Where should I go? There’s a little liquor store down the street. Maybe something…different. There’s a Chai liqueor that I really like, so I grab my keys and head out the door. I get in the car and flip on the radio. About half way to the liquor store I realize I’m singing along to “Black Magic Woman.” Wait, what?

So what does all this mean? Am I destined to find myself bent over a cauldron stirring a steaming mixture of bat’s blood and dragon cuticles anytime soon? Not likely. But I believe this is a pretty good example of how Law of Attraction works. Granted, in this example a random thought process yielded irratic results. But it also raises the question, (to me, at least) of what I could manifest for myself if I were to really focus…

Adventures in Online Dating…What the @$#%!

Not much going on this weekend. I’ll be honest…I was hoping to have plans for a date with…someone…at some point this weekend, but it appears that isn’t going to happen.

I’m trying to understand this. I’ve tried to be very direct about what I’m looking for, but I can’t seem to hold anyone’s interest long enough to actually get to meet them. I seem to get lots of initial interest, and sometimes we’ll get to a phone call, but then they say “I’ll call you again”…and they don’t. I’m not sure why it happens, but it happens consistently. It’s very frustrating.

I even had one guy call me, then the cell carrier dropped the line in the middle of our conversation. I tried to call him back but he was still out of range, I guess. So I sent him an email telling him we must have gotten cut off and asking him to call again when he could. I never heard from him again. He just disappeared…mid-sentence.

I have to wonder if there’s something I’m doing wrong…or not doing…that might be getting in the way of my goals. I’m just trying to meet some quality people, and hopefully in time one of them would be a good fit for a long term relationship.

The thing is, I am happy with my life. I enjoy my friends, have lots of interests, keep myself very busy…I’d like to share that with someone. But every time I put myself out there I end up feeling really bad about myself. Like there must be something wrong with me if no one can stay interested long enough to get to know me.

I dunno. I’m thinking I should give up on my idea that I’ll find someone who actually wants to date me. Apparently I’m supposed to be focusing my energies elsewhere at this time in my life. The problem is, “this time of my life” has been going on for a long time. I’m ready for a change.

I’m guess I’m a little negative tonight…I just got stood up.

Adventures in Online Dating – Bachelor #2

Okay, there was the kid thing. In the end it probably would have been a show stopper for me anyway. But he didn’t know about the kid thing because the first (and only) telephone conversation we had was “all about him.”

Of course, after exploring his blog, which he had directed me to do in his first email to me, there were certain questions I was going to have to ask…how old are your sons…how often do you see them…what is your relationship with your ex-wife…you know the drill. I needed to know these things so that I could get a sense of how “available” he would be for a relationship.

But I really had no problem allowing our first conversation to be all about him. We talked on his ride home from work one night, where he explained that one of his sons was waiting for him to arrive home because he needed help with his homework, (I thought that was sweet) so we would only be able to talk as long as he was driving (not a problem).

So by the time he arrived home I had learned several things about him, but we hadn’t talked much about me. (Again, that was fine with me. We could get to that later.) And although his living arrangements, as he described them, were a bit unconventional, I was able to buy into the rationale behind them.

In the end, it sounded to me like he really was interested in having a relationship with someone, and it also sounded like he might be at least somewhat interested in getting to know me.

But somehow that never happened. I never got to tell him about my two grown daughters and my two year old grand daughter. And we never discussed what dating a man with young kids would mean to me or what dating a woman with two grown children would mean to him.

Right about now you might be wondering, “What made you think he truly was interested in you?” Well, I guess it was the fact that he seemed genuinely concerned that I know he was “real” and honest and that I knew exactly what I was dealing with. That, and the lengthy email he sent me the next morning, explaining again why he had presented me with so much information on our call.

From my side, I felt that not only had I finally met someone capable of complex thought, but that someone also appeared kind, compassionate and responsible. It was so refreshing to experience this that I was willing to overlook the “kid thing” up front and allow myself to consider the whole package.

Through our emails and IMs I had come to the conclusion that we were fairly compatible in terms of our philosophies on life. Though we hadn’t talked about it specifically, I felt he may have studied Law of Attraction or would at least be in alignment with it, were he ever introduced to that philosophy.

So, what confuses me is…I’m not sure how we went from (he) “Let’s get into that topic of passion sometime, ok? :)” to…absolute and total silence. Was my comment “You sound pretty busy, so I’ll leave it up to you to call me when you’ve got time to talk” a signal to him that I was no longer interested? Did he feel that was his cue to disappear? (She thinks I’m too busy.) It was Friday and he had just sent me an email listing all the things he had to do that day, ending with “and kids tonight…” My intention had been to give him whatever level of space he needed.

After three days of no email and no phone call, I realized I had been wrong. We clearly had been on very different pages. And though I was curious to know what had caused his change of heart, I decided that sending an email or calling at that point would come across as desperate.

I do have to wonder, though, how and/or why this sort of thing seems to happen with me, over and over again. I “meet” someone online, we email a few times, maybe we do a little IM-ing, then a phone call or two and then…(are those crickets I hear?)

If I allow myself to believe this is happening because I’m a bad person, I will only set myself back years in therapy, and in the end still won’t have resolved the issue. But there is another possiblity I could entertain.

According to the teachings of Abraham (Jerry & Esther Hicks – Law of Attraction) “Every being is always receiving that which is a vibrational match to whatever they are offering.” Excerpted from the workshop in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, October 15th, 1996 .

If I were to apply this philosophy to my current dating situation, I would have to conclude that I don’t really want to date. To illustrate, I have consistently thought to myself, and said repeatedly to many of my friends, that I’m very happy with my life now, and I couldn’t be sure I’d have time to date, should I have the opportunity. And besides, it would probably just mess things up anyway, so why would I want to introduce that into my life at this point? According to Abraham,that would be part of my truth. So for this area of my life, that is the vibration I am sending out into the Universe.

So why do I even bother putting myself out there on online dating sites? Well…I do occasionally feel…not lonely…and not really bored, because I do keep myself very busy, but every once in awhile I just feel like I’m missing something. (That’s not the same as being lonely, right?) It’s like I’m supposed to be sharing my life…my passions…my joy…with someone, so I need to do something about finding that someone. And, after all, I have friends who meet lots of men through dating sites, so why not me?

So about every six months…for one or two months because that’s all the frustration and disappointment I can take at one time…I’ll throw a profile out on a couple of sites and see what happens. Here’s how it typically goes:

I’ll sign up under some special offer, or find a “free” site to try out. I’ll experiment with different forms of content, sometimes being very specific, other times more vague; testing different photos – or refusing to post any photos at all.

I do all this in the hope that somehow I will come up with the perfect formula that will result in Mr. Right stumbling onto my profile…because I really don’t want to be doing this anyway, so I’d like to cut through the crap and just meet the guy.

In the beginning, I might send out some introduction emails to a few men whose profiles sound interesting to me, but I don’t usually get a reply. So then I just wait, and eventually someone will find me. Unfortunately, most of the men who find me can’t string together a sentence without snippets like “I done…(this or that)”, and they typically don’t have many teeth.

But every once in awhile I will “get lucky” and find an email in my Inbox from someone who comes across as genuine and intelligent. When I do finally get a hit from a gem like this, I will send a return email right away. Then we’ll email back and forth a few more times, maybe do a little IM-ing, and eventually move on to a phone call, and within a few days of meeting online – hopefully – we will set a date to meet in person.

Of course, this is the fantasy version of this story, where we hit it off in our first meeting; our lives lining up perfectly, each of us finding the perfect level of chemistry and requiring the same amount of individual space and cuddle time. And then, as the story goes…we live happily ever after.

What really happens is more like this:

Somewhere during the process of emailing, IM-ing and/or phone calling, something happens. There’s a blip in the signal or who knows what…and…poof! He’s gone! No explanation, he’s just gone. I might send an email asking if he’s still there, but I probably won’t get a response. And I’ll have no idea what happened.

I think that’s the difference between women and men. Women will typically let the guy know if they don’t feel a connection or have some other reason for not wanting to continue a conversation or have a second date. They may not be entirely honest in their explanation of why they feel this way, but they will at least offer an explanation. And often times they will want to leave the door open for a friendship. But I guess guys don’t work that way. They prefer to go silent.

But I digress. Back to my theory on my dating experiences via Law of Attraction.

The entire time I’m going through the process of editing profiles and searching for interesting men, I know in the back of my mind that “it’s just not gonna work.” Why? Because online dating doesn’t work for me. I don’t know why. I probably never will know why. If I think back to the last three or four guys I’ve dated, I met them either through some sort of social group or through a friend. I have never had an online dating experience that has lasted longer than a single meeting over a single a cup of coffee. That’s just the way it is for me.

So…is my lack of success with online dating due to inaccuracies in my profile…things I’ve said (or maybe implied) through emails or phone conversations…or for some other reason related to the online medium? Or is it true that what I am receiving is a vibrational match for me at this point? I guess the only way to test this is for me to turn my negative thoughts into positive ones, and, as Abraham teaches, focus on the “wants” instead of the “don’t wants.” I’ll let you know what I find out…

A Study in Gullability

On my way home from work tonight I find myself thinking of what I’d like to have for dinner and decide to stop at Compton’s Foodmart to pick up a few things. As I walk in I notice a slightly-attractive, confused-looking black man kind of backtracking, walking against the flow of traffic coming into the store. I thought he must have forgotten something and was headed back to his car to get it. I also notice he looks down frequently as he works his way backwards through the crowd, averting his eyes and looking at the floor if anyone happens to make eye contact with him.

I continue into the store and stop to scan the produce section when I notice the man has returned and is very timidly moving from one point to another in the general area where I’m browsing, but he stays just on the edge of my peripheral vision. I look around once or twice and notice he’s near me. Each time I look around he looks in my direction, hesitates for a second, and then moves away from me. Then, just as I’m sure he’s following me, he turns and takes off for the dairy aisle. I’m relieved, but my relief is shortlived, as I suddenly realize the item I came into the store to buy is…in the dairy aisle. “Nonsense,” I say to myself. “He’s not really stalking me. I’ll just go down there and get what I need and everything will be fine.”

But when I get about half way down the aisle – about half the distance from the end of the aisle to the sour cream I so desperately desire, there he is again, wandering back and forth in my general area. Now I begin to feel very uncomfortable, so I decide to concentrate on the plethora of salad dressings in front of me, giving him plenty of room and time to finish his browsing and move on. Finally, it appears he is going to leave, but as I turn back toward the sour cream he walks past me, looks me in the eye and mumbles something, to which I respond with a polite, “Excuse me?” (Wouldn’t want to appear rude, right?) He stops then, and says, “My best friend just painted her nails that color,” and he looks at my feet. I am appropriately confused by his interest in the color of the polish on my toe nails, and offer the snappy response, “Oh.”

Now this is where it starts to get really weird. The next thing he says is something like “Can you do this?,” and he holds out a hand, palm down, and spreads his fingers apart, splaying them flat out in the air in front of him. I cannot tell you why, but I hold my hand out in the air in front of me, palm down, and splay my fingers.

And it gets betters. He then says, “Can you do that with your toes?” In response, I obediently splay my toes on one foot. “Wow,” he says. “You can spread out your little toes, too. My friend can’t do that.” All at once I become very aware of how weird this is. I smile, turn, and walk away. Back to my search for sour cream.

I am sure he has gone on his way, but I decide to stick around and browse the cheese section to make sure he’s had plenty of time to get out of the store. I turn, and there he is again. He now has a bottle of salad dressing in his hand. He says, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you. I just…” to which I reply all too quickly, “That’s okay,” and retreat to the back of the store.

I spend the rest of my Compton’s visit inconspicuously scanning aisles and registers, hoping I will not run into this curious (and kind of scary) man again, and hoping even more strongly that I will not find him waiting for me in the parking lot, or tailing me on my short drive home. Thankfully, I do not.

Now here’s the really creepy (and stupid) part. Later this evening, I find myself thinking again about this strange encounter. In the back of my mind, the statement “My best friend just painted her nails that color,” runs through my mind. But here’s the problem. The vision in my head that goes along with the words is not of the encounter I experienced tonight. Instead, the image is of me and a strange man in the detergent aisle at Compton’s…last summer.

So my question is this: Should this guy get the award for dumbest pickup line? Or should I be acknowledged for my incredibly developed level of gullability?