One August morning in 2012 I opened my email to find a message that would change the course of my life:
“Well you said in your post you would like a man to make the first contact…here goes. My name is Alex. I am a forester and I contract my service to Energy Corporations. I have two wonderful girls (13 and 11) and two crazy dogs (3 and 3). My neighbor has a wiener dog that pees on your foot because she is so excited to see you! My other neighbor’s daughter rides a golf cart around their yard in the morning and sings at the top of her lungs! How about you?”
I know what you’re thinking. What’s so significant about that? There’s nothing profound or unusual about this note; nothing flashy or remarkable. There are no bells and whistles, no extra frills. It’s only one paragraph long. And that was exactly what made it stand out to me. It was so refreshingly ordinary. Here was a guy who wasn’t being pretentious.
I had been doing the online dating thing for over five months when this message came my way. My subscription to the dating service was going to expire soon, and I was not planning to renew. Although I had been having loads of fun, I needed a break from some of the weirdness.
My foray into the online dating world produced some interesting stories to be sure. My very first date was with a fellow from a neighboring county. We had exchanged a few emails, talked by phone a couple of times, and decided to meet at Cracker Barrel (I had listed on my profile that Cracker Barrel was my favorite restaurant, so that’s where nearly everyone ended up taking me!)
My initial meeting with *Brewsky was pretty run of the mill. We smiled, shook hands, and proceeded to order dinner. The meal was rather uneventful, until Brewsky decided to spill his whole history. Turned out his wife had tried to kill him, and was now serving a prison term for the attempted murder! He sat there crying, telling me the awful story, and my heart broke for him. While I had large amounts of sympathy for the man, I also didn’t want to see him again. Divulging that kind of information is not what I would consider first date protocol. It made me wonder if there was something about him that caused his wife to want to kill him?! I had enough issues of my own without adding that level of baggage to my relationship load.
Also, there was just no attraction. I wasn’t trying to be shallow, but I knew if I was going to end up in a dating relationship, there would have to be some sparks. So, no second date for Brewsky.
Then there was *Jonan, who lived in Georgia. After I found out his location I figured it was pointless to even talk with him, but he wanted to prove me wrong and decided to drive all the way from Atlanta to Kentucky to take me out. How could I say no to that? Jonan and I hit it off on the phone, and had a couple of good conversations before our date was to take place. He seemed dedicated in his faith, and sounded like a lot of fun. However, he talked about himself quite a bit, to the point of bragging. That usually turns me off but I thought maybe he was just nervous.
On the day appointed, we met at Cracker Barrel. I could tell within five minutes that this was not going to work out. Jonan was a nice guy, but he was goofy. It wasn’t something I could catch over the phone, but it was definitely something I found out right away in person. He was silly as in sixth-grade-silly. And that tendency to talk about himself? It was twice as bad when face to face. That’s all he wanted to talk about, so I let him! Thanks for the rainbow trout and fried okra. Have a safe trip back to Atlanta.
That wasn’t the worst of it. The following day I got an email from Jonan that was a cross between stalker-psycho and corny. He said he was in love and would follow me to the ends of the earth. He had prayed about it and was sure I was the one for him. So…I took extra measures and blocked him from my account. Goodbye Jonan.
Oh, and to say there was no attraction would be an understatement. Not only were there no fireworks, I couldn’t even locate a fireworks stand!
The award for the date who took the cake goes to *Mr. Purrfectt. Purrfectt and I had talked quite a bit on the phone. I was getting smarter, and asking the harder questions on the front end. Purrfectt sounded just about perfect, yes he did. He loved kids, had volunteered in youth ministries, spent a year in China doing missions work, and had read many of my favorite books. He didn’t just say he read them, we discussed them at length. I was impressed. He had a charming sense of humor, and professed a deep love for God. He sounded like someone I could enjoy spending time with.
Purrfectt and I met, you guessed it, at Cracker Barrel. When we sat down to dinner I stared into his sparkly blue eyes and thought now here’s a guy that appears normal; likeable even. I think I could enjoy a second date with him!
The date went off without a hitch until near the end. He told me he was from Florida, and I asked him how he ended up in Kentucky. “Oh, I was in a serious relationship with this woman, and we moved in together. She had family here, and got a job transfer, so I moved up here with her. We actually just broke up a couple of weeks ago. I still live with her because I haven’t found another place to live yet.”
Pick. Jaw. Up. Off. Floor.
“You still live with her??? And you’re on a date with me???” Evidently my shock and incredulity didn’t register because he just sat there nodding and smiling. The audacity!
Just to recap in case you missed it the first time, THE GUY WAS LIVING WITH HIS EX!!!
After that you can see why I might’ve been ready to call it quits. In all fairness, I did have a few normal dates with a few normal guys along the way. Nothing ever really clicked, though. I had started to wonder if something was wrong with me. Maybe my “attractor” was broken and I had lost my ability to connect with anyone.
That was not the case, however. Thankfully, I had asked God for help and he saw fit to deliver via that little email in August. Behind that ordinary note was an extraordinary man, and I can’t wait to tell you next week how all of that unfolded.
There have been many times in my life when I’ve been ready to call it quits, or already given up on something, only to have God step in at the last minute with a big “ta-da!.” Has this ever happened to you? I would love to hear your story of how God has changed your life through something that, at first, seemed small; or how he stepped in at the point where you were ready to give up. Drop me a line and share your story!
*names have been changed to screen names to protect the privacy of those involved