Once again, I am supposed to be writing a screenplay and I am blogging instead. (Check out “How I Stumbled My Way Into A Screenplay...”) The problem is, the screen play is about dating in today’s world at a “certain age.” It was the idea of the leader of my screenwriter’s group, Austin Writers’ Workshop, because, hey, he is IN a relationship, so what does he know? Technically he just wanted me to write a movie that would appeal to our age group. And, since I happen to be currently on one of my periodic dating sprees, it seemed like a good idea to write about that.
There are complications with writing about one’s own experience in a screenplay. You have to know and portray what the protagonist wants, what stands in the way of them getting it, and what happens if they do or do not get it. In real life, I only know that I want a relationship. The rest is a mystery. So, the following is a smattering of my digital experiences with men, just to prime the pump for the screenplay I hope will come. (So many double entendres in that sentence).
An early encounter from EHarmony forgot my name AFTER our dinner date. He was proud of not knowing anything about wine, and thought our small town upbringing made us compatible because he was a “country boy.” I’m a city girl who ran from the small town to the city a LONG time ago. I could teach a wine class. But he thought we were soul mates, even though he couldn’t remember my name.
Then there was the martial artist with his own dojo. I am a martial artist. Check. He told me he was recovering from two recent heart attacks. No worries. He seemed healthy and strong. He then ordered all fried food for dinner.
The financial planner from New York City was my dream come true. He lived in a renovated Brownstone in Harlem. He went to the opera and symphony. He served on non-profit boards. We talked often and had great rapport. He arranged to visit me in Texas. He never showed up. (He does still hit me up on Facebook Messenger).
A recent OKCupid date met me downtown at the Firehouse, a “secret” speakeasy type bar. I ordered a margarita. They charged him $10 for it. I am now the punch line in his act about the date who orders a $10 drink in a dive bar. (He also thought that deserved a BJ in the alley. I told him I was worth WAY more than that. And no. And goodbye.)
I met a guy for drinks who is a musician and a Virgo. We Virgos generally like each other. He talked about himself for TWO HOURS, asked me no questions, and then texted me he didn’t feel a romantic connection. Duh.
There was the guy who asked me to meet at his house before going to dinner. I gave his name, address and phone number to several friends in case I went missing. When I arrived, he had cooked dinner, so we ate there. He showed me around. On a mantel were photos of his ex-wife and SEVERAL more women he had dated. The mantel was full. When I went to the bathroom and came out, he was in his bed waiting for me. I went home.
Another man my age, divorced for 10 years, thought my being a sex positive psychotherapist meant I would be willing to be his “guide” in the bigger world of sex, which I gathered mostly meant other women. Nope.
And then there is my favorite. The Bread Crumber. We met and had instant chemistry. Fireworks, lightening strikes, the whole shebang. We dated for six months, with him driving the hour and a half both ways to see me every week. He told me he loved me. He would never let me come to his house. When I asked for more, he broke it off. And yet….he continued to text and call and express hope for a future, as long as I didn’t come to his house. For nine months more.
In my profile, I state I am looking for a relationship, that I don’t have to go online to find sex, and that I am politically liberal. I suspect men don’t read profiles. I have been contacted by men who ONLY want sex, who do NOT want relationships, or who say they do but really don’t, and one who sent me a photo of himself with a Confederate flag on the wall behind him. One of my profile photos clearly shows me with my son, who is half Black. So maybe he didn’t look any further than my first photo, much less read the profile. And then he wanted to argue politics.
I draw no conclusions about either men or online dating from these experiences, other than that men are visual creatures who scan photos and then reach out with nothing else to go on.
When you are a writer of fictional characters, your characters often seem to take on lives of their own, and lead you to write them into and out of certain situations. They may take you down surprising roads, and express emotions and abilities you didn’t foresee. It is my hope that my screenplay protagonist will light the way for me with her goals and what will happen if she does or does not achieve her goals. I can provide her with the obstacles in the form of amusing and unfortunate encounters.
So, once again, I am going to return to the real world, to chance meetings, groups with like interests, and friends of friends. I am giving the finger to digital dating. At least for now and until I write the damned screenplay.