To Thine Own Self, Be True

TruthBook

Honesty online is the best policy

The Internet is no longer a novelty; it’s an integral part of modern life. Over the last 20 years, the majority of people over 40 have become well acquainted with the ins and outs of sharing information on the Web. We all know that you should take just about everything you see online with the proverbial grain of salt – especially in online dating. But, when you’re presenting yourself in that world, it’s to your advantage to be as honest and straightforward as you can possibly be.

I don’t mean that you should spill your guts on your profile or even when you’re on your first date (I’ll post an entry about that later). You simply cannot have an honest relationship without being honest about yourself. And that begins by being honest with yourself.

Yes – we all want to look a little younger, be a little more athletic, or, if you’re married, see what it’s like on the other side of the fence. But, lying about those critical facts is not worth it. You end up in a much worse situation than if you had been honest at the start.

Submitting accurate details – age, marital status, body type, orientation, etc. – is a no brainer, and there is absolutely no excuse to lie about those very basic stats. You might get to a certain point by fibbing, but eventually, being untruthful will result in pain and disappointment for all parties involved.

I won’t turn this into a sermon – the gods know I’ve been a little less than truthful on a number of occasions. But, being on the receiving end of these lies, fibs and half-truths, I can tell you that it it hurts when the lie is discovered.

Even fudging on body type or height can make things really awkward. Nowadays, online dating sites are sensitive enough to not ask for specific numbers, but there is a place for general body type: thin, average, athletic, a little extra, big and tall, BBW, etc. The only site I know of that doesn’t even ask for that information is eHarmony. And I’m not really sure why. So, I put my body type – a little extra – elsewhere in the body of my profile.

BE HONEST. You might be able to fudge a little on weight and height – I don’t know of anyone who brings a measuring tape to a date – but, be as accurate as possible. A first date with a guy who says he’s 5’10” is going to start off badly if you are able look at him eye-to-eye with your 5’6″ self. As far as weight goes, men are just as bad as women when it comes to disclosing one’s body type. I’ve seen a number of profiles of guys who disclose that they are of ‘average’ or even ‘athletic’ body type, but you can tell in the photos (if they’re recent), that ain’t accurate.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that it’s okay to fib, because once he or she gets to know you, they will come to really like you, despite the deception. Au contraire, mon ami! It’s likely that body type isn’t as important to your potential date as you think it is. But being truthful is. I don’t mind a certain amount of extra weight on a guy. But, I do mind if he lies about it.

There are other details you really can’t avoid disclosing without extreme awkwardness. A real-life example is Mark (not his real name). On the profile he seemed like a nice guy. Fairly attractive from what I could tell in the photos, we talked on the phone a few times before deciding to meet. At no time prior to my laying eyes on him, did he mention the small matter of him being an amputee.

I watched as he went from his car to the restaurant door with a walker. It was all I could do to not let the shock show on my face, although I certainly felt the blood drain from it.

FYI: I have gone on dates with guys in wheelchairs. I have no prejudice toward the disabled. But, at this point in my life, I need someone who can keep up with me. But, the fact that he withheld that information guaranteed that there would be no second date.

I didn’t want to make a scene, and a part of me wanted to understand his reasons behind hiding that little fact from me. I wanted to give him a chance to redeem himself. His justification for hiding his disability was simple, but misguided. “I am not my disability,” Mark said. “It is not who I am.”

While that is true in a very broad sense, it is not true in the context of a relationship. A disability is ever-present. It may not be all of who one is, but it is part of who one is.

It’s hard to look at yourself and be brutally honest. Believe me, I know! The common excuse is, “but I’ll never meet anyone if I tell them that I’m (insert unappealing statistic here)!” I’ve had long arguments with myself about that very thing.

But, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true, especially with those who do not have an unreasonable laundry list of desired attributes. We tend to hate that part of ourselves so much, that we start out by lying about ourselves online. But you might find, as I did, that that once you let go of that laundry list, you may become more accepting of yourself.

The benefits of being honest are palpable. You don’t have to keep track of the truth. The smile on the face of your date when you first meet will be genuine, not forced – or worse, absent. You can relax instead of worrying what he or she is thinking now that the deception is over.

Truth, as we all should know, is the foundation of trust. And trust is the foundation of a good relationship.

And that’s why we’re all here, right?

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Are We Too Picky?

Check list

Got a laundry list of requirements? Toss it!

At the risk of sounding trite, online dating is like shopping. We go to the “store” and “choose” those profiles we’re interested in. Sometimes, we’re faced with an abundance of attractive profiles; other times, we leave the site in disgust, lamenting that there aren’t any ‘good’ men.

I often fight with myself about this. I’m not going to settle on just anyone. But, at what point am I being too picky?

We all have a mental image of who our ideal mate might be. But are you willing to accept someone who might lack in certain areas so that you can have the best total package? Most of us say yes, but our actions seem to betray our intentions.

People are an amalgamation of attributes, both internal and external. It’s hard to not focus on the physical ones because we don’t have a lot of insight as to the personality or psychological makeup of the people whose profiles we’re viewing online. So we make snap judgments about them by what we see in the photos. Any who are not deemed attractive – or those who don’t have a photo – usually get a pass without a second glance.

We’re doing ourselves a terrible disservice that way. It’s fine to have preferences, but don’t lock yourself in. Don’t become a slave to a laundry list of what you’re looking for.

I don’t mean to say that you should completely ignore the physical – all of us, but men, especially, are visual creatures. That is a critical part of attraction. But, if we rely too much on what we see with our eyes, we miss out on getting to know some really fantastic people. We may also pass on the one person who might rock our respective worlds.

I see online dating as a negotiation of sorts. You come to the table with everything you want, and leave, hopefully, with what you’re willing to accept. Stubbornly adhering to a list of requirements will ensure that you will never find anyone.

Let go of it.

Not so easy, is it? It frustrates me sometimes that I have to consciously stop myself from summarily dismissing a profile based on what the pictures portray. I have preferences, it’s true, but if I only dated men over six feet in height with a full head of hair and straight, pearly-white teeth, I’d be overlooking all those great guys with the heart and soul I need who just happen to be 5′ 9”, slightly balding with a quirky smile. To be honest, I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about a guy I can look directly in the eye while standing toe to toe, but I have to remind myself that it’s the content of the character that is critically important in a guy, not how tall, short, thin, fat, bald or hirsute, or whatever.

I’ve gone out with a number of men who I did not think were attractive in the least. For the most part, I had a great time with them. I even fell for a couple of them. This proves to me without a shadow of doubt that you really don’t know who you will fall for until you actually try to know them. Unless, of course, you’re painfully shallow.

So, forget the laundry list of attributes that you think you want. Throw that list out! Give the guy a chance. Talk to him. Let him take you out. Get to know who he really is, and not focus on what he looks like.

That’s the only way to know.

A Toad in Prince’s Clothing

Sociopath: noun – a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

Ceramic mask

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/audfriday13

It’s taken me almost two years to be able to write this. Partly because I so desperately wanted to be done with all this dating shit and hoped to find someone else to erase the memory of my latest mistake. Partly because I wanted to give up on dating completely – or at least blogging about dating. But mostly it’s because I feel like a fool. I was duped. Duped by my “prince,” but also by my own desires. I wanted so desperately to believe that he was the one that I overlooked all of the red flags. And once I could no longer overlook them, extricating myself would not be easy. I won’t go into any gory details here, but to say that I had well and truly fooled myself would be pretty accurate.

Wisdom is something that eludes us all from time to time, no matter how much we think we should know better. In a nutshell, my “prince” is a sociopath, well skilled in showing people only what he wanted them to see. For almost six months, I was completely fooled. He was charming, solicitous, saying the right things at the right time. When I finally got an idea of who he really was, it was too late. I spent the rest of our time together trying to figure out what went wrong, and worked feverishly to bring things back to the way it was before. But, a sociopath knows how to manipulate his or her victim’s emotions and behavior by changing masks in a split second. First wonderful and loving, then horrible and frightening, then back so quickly, you begin to question what is real.

It’s still very painful to think about. The worst part of it was that very few of my friends even knew anything was amiss. My Facebook posts showed nothing of this. At the time I was suffering the most, I got a new puppy. I had posted incessantly about her, bubbling over with descriptions of her antics. But in reality, I was miserable. And I was being watched. Very closely. I could say nothing to anyone without him knowing about it. During a particularly nasty argument he threatened to punch my teeth in, I knew then that I was in far deeper than was healthy for me, and I spent the rest of our relationship trying to find a way out.

Several months later, I got my chance, when his threat was so sinister, so malevolent, I feared for my safety and that of my pets. I called the police to escort him out. That was the last time I saw him, but not the last time I heard from him. I could go on about this mistake and subsequent others in my blog – and perhaps I will touch on parts of them from time to time. But that’s not where I want to go. The first part of my blog is fodder enough for a nice little fictional novel, and I suppose I’ll be writing that up sometime. I think that this part of my blog will be more along the lines of offering insight in addition to talking about my exploits. They will be more randomly listed – I’ve gone well into the double digits of frogs, and it’s just too much trouble to try to list them out chronologically. So, with all that said, I’m still single. Still looking for someone who I can tolerate and who can tolerate me.

So, here we go again. Lily

Give and take: Frog Prince proves himself

Golden Crown Credit: digitalartLife is all about give and take. We give to others and we take from them. This is just human nature – we go back and forth between the two extremes and hopefully in the end, it pretty much balances out. However, some folks are more one than the other concerning certain things. This can be a source of contention in some relationships, but it can also serve to create balance.

I find myself in constant amazement – and admiration – of FP’s desire to give so much in contribution to the relationship. In a candid assessment of myself (and something I’ve long known), I can be more of the taker variety when it comes to some things. Let’s face it – I can be a bit on the selfish side in certain situations. A lifetime of surviving by my wits, along with a stubborn refusal to admit defeat even when it was staring me in the face, has instilled in me a certain protectiveness when it comes to what I have achieved. An attitude of, “I got mine – go get your own” became part of my nature.

However, I am not an altogether selfish person, although some might think differently. What folks don’t seem to understand is that my experiences have also instilled in me a sense of fair play – a lack of sense of entitlement, if you will. I have paid my way through life – sometimes, the hard way. Everything I have in my life, I have earned myself.

As for Frog Prince, he seems to be more of the giver variety – at least where relationships are concerned. Or, more precisely, our relationship. He loves massaging my feet for some reason. Not to any fetish, but he says he appreciates pretty feet and says that I have the prettiest feet he’s ever seen. I don’t believe that, but I’ll accept it. We’re not talking just running his hands on my feet – he is very good at foot massage, having learned a bit of reflexology some years ago. He will rub my feet at almost any opportunity. Which is often. When we’re watching TV at my house, it’s almost a given. He once did it while we were having coffee at a Starbucks (I was wearing my mules)! He seems to get just as much enjoyment giving as I do receiving.

He does other things, as well. He comes over nearly every day, and if I’m writing to meet a deadline, he will busy himself with – get this – washing dishes or cleaning the yard. He also takes me out to meals. Not high-dollar places all the time, but he does make an effort to get me out of the house. Sometimes, it’s just a trip to Wendy’s or Subway. Being a freelancer keeps me glued to the computer all day (and sometimes into the night), so I don’t get out much anymore. If I cook dinner, he steps up and washes the dishes. I have tried telling him not to do it, but that has fallen on deaf ears, so I’ve stopped trying. He brings filtered water to me, so I don’t have to go out and buy it (the municipal water here is horrible!). He surprises me with little things, bringing treats like dark Belgian chocolate (he loves it, too). He will call and ask if I need anything at the store before he comes over. He is amazingly supportive of my desire to work full time as a freelancer, and says he is willing to do what is necessary to support me in my choice. He loves the dogs and has proven it without a doubt in my mind.

In a very recent event, one of my dogs had a bout of diarrhea. FP was in another part of the house when she had an accident in the living room. I witnessed her ‘assume the position’ and lay waste all over the floor. All I could do was hold her tail up off the liquid mess and try to keep her from pooping on the dog beds nearby while she finished her bid’ness. FP did not hesitate when he heard my distress. I asked him to take the dog outside so I could clean up the mess. He shocked me by saying that I should take her out so he could clean it up. I only protested briefly – there was a dog in distress – and at his insistence, I did as he bid. Since he’d been helping me out in cleaning on occasion, he knew where the cleaning supplies were. He cleaned up her mess without flinching or getting grossed out – how cool is that?

Now, since FP has been so giving in many things, it makes me feel a tad guilty when it comes to what I am able to do for him. To be honest, it’s not out of any selfishness. Since I am pinching pennies, I can’t take him out to nice dinners (which I have done for the beaus of my past), or go places, so I do my best to cook nice meals for him. I try to get him to bring his laundry here so I could do it for him, and he’s recently taken me up on it. I want him to feel as though my home is a haven for him, so I rent movies that he likes. Being the caretaker for his dying mother is no doubt extremely stressful, and I want him to feel comfortable and at ease here. Just recently, we were discussing my ability (rather, my inability) to do for him the number of good turns he’s done for me. He seems to think that it’s all equal; that I do for him as well as he does for me. I feel incredibly fortunate to have met someone like him. He indulges me like no one has before. I will proudly accept that I am spoiled. Hopefully, I will never get to the rotten level of being spoiled, and continue to deserve his indulgences.

Things are heading in a direction that indicates that FP is in for the long haul. I believe that I am ready for that. In a few weeks, 100 days will have passed since our first meeting. If things go in the direction I believe they will go, I will declare FP my Prince. This is why I started this whole crazy thing, isn’t it?

Baggage, Idiosyncrasies and Personality Defects

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Boxing Gloves (courtesy xedos4)

The honeymoon is officially over. We had our first serious disagreement. It could have been tragic, had things not turned around.

Things had been going well between Frog Prince and me. When things go well, it’s, as some might say, nothing to write home about. So, I haven’t been blogging. Who wants to read about all hearts and flowers? Boring!!

I’m blogging now because things have just gotten interesting.

FP and I were in what people call the ‘honeymoon’ phase of our new relationship. We got along well, were really into each other and the hormones kicked in. Perfectly natural. But, this is not to say that I have been ignoring my gut when noticing things that may indicate FP’s suitability as a good match. And, I have discovered a few things. We do ourselves a favor by not having blinders on when entering into a new relationship. When a red flag comes up, pay attention to it!

I have a saying I like to use often: We all have baggage; it’s all in how you carry it. Everyone has personality defects and idiosyncrasies; it’s a matter of how they match up – or not – with a potential partner. I am in constant observation of FP’s idiosyncrasies and personality defects as well as attempting to understand what his emotional capacity is in terms of previous relationships (aka, baggage). Up until the last few weeks, I’ve found no flaws. To be honest, I was somewhat relived to find that FP wasn’t perfect. This was a way to know that I wasn’t dreaming or blinded by emotions.

My desire to be with FP practically overrode everything else in my life. We had been seeing each other nearly every day. My stress at having to scramble to find work and his stress at having to care for his dying mother conspired to draw us both together, desperately grasping at each other in an attempt to confirm that there was something in this world other than our own troubles. I felt like a drowning person, holding on for dear life.

FP had been absolutely wonderful to me. He’s been great with the dogs, takes me out to dinner and does a lot of little things that show me he cares. He is very communicative about the state of our relationship, quite the opposite of most men. FP is also a great story-teller. He can weave a trip to the dentist into an entertaining story, full of adventure. He is an observer of people, and absorbs information about someone that most people would just forget. Mannerisms, accents, facial expressions – he gets a kick out of playing the weaving and bobbing movements of Captain Jack Sparrow in public, just to see me react. He can read my face in an instant, detecting the slightest mood change.

Early on, he expressed his concern about my safety, being a single woman in a small town. He would ensure that I kept my deadbolts locked, etc. Knowing I have two big black dogs that, despite looking big and scary, would rather greet an intruder than bite him or her, he offered me one of his pistols to keep at home just for protection. I had been raised in a family of police officers (father, uncle and grandfather and almost became one myself) and know my way around just about any firearm, but initially, I balked at this. It took a bit of cajoling on his part to get me to accept his assistance.

He would call before coming over to see if there was anything he could pick up at the store for me. He would often show up with a bag of goodies – wine, bottled water, rice (we both go through a lot of rice, and I cook it often for us), etc. He went over my yard with weed killer over a few weeks, because I got hit with a nasty case of poison oak rash. He would take out my trash. On the surface, this was wonderful, and I really appreciated it. But, over time, I began to feel resentful.

Even as I desired to be with FP, I became short of temper. His visits were tolerated; his stories became tedious and I would tell him to get to the point. He would ask me what I thought of this or that, and I would snap out an impatient – and often negative – answer. I became argumentative and contrary – it seemed to him that he could not say anything or do anything to make me happy. And, he was right. When he left after his visits, I would feel sullen and angry. I’m sure he felt confused as all hell.

One evening, we were sitting on the sofa, and after I had bitten his head off for an innocent question, he came right out and said, “I don’t like what’s happened recently and I don’t like the direction that this relationship is going. If you want out, just say so.”

{Insert sound effect of vinyl record being badly scratched}

Oh, my God! I thought to myself. What am I doing? I’m watching this man get ready to walk out the door and not come back. Guilt and shame burning on my face, I had to take a deep breath – and look inside me for the answer.

He wasn’t doing anything wrong, per se. But, my reactions to his actions needed defining. I had to understand what was going on in my head to figure out how to fix this.

I realize now that it was my sense of independence that felt threatened.

About independence: I am fiercely independent, and since I was a kid, prided myself on being able to pick myself up by my bootstraps without anyone’s assistance, no matter the obstacle. This is a philosophy ingrained in me over a period of decades, so it’s not easy to relinquish any part of that to accept help from anyone. Although an admirable quality, you can call this a character flaw, because it can serve as a barrier in a relationship, as well.

I also tend to be impatient when exchanging information. After so many years on computers, I have come to understand that I am like one in some ways. I process information much faster than some (including FP), and I get frustrated when someone takes too long to get to the point. Another personality defect – potentially very damaging.

I had been subscribing to newsletters from a number of relationship experts, including Rori Raye, who has published a number of books and videos on making relationships work. I even purchased one of her videos, Modern Siren (I recommend at least getting her emails and/or reading her blog). I hadn’t looked at the video since my parting of ways with Frog Two, but I realized at that moment, as FP was looking at me with a mixture of hurt and anger on his face, that I needed to quickly dive into the knowledge I gained from those DVDs. If I did not resolve this, I was looking at yet another failed relationship.

It seemed like an eternity, but in the space of just a few seconds, I was able to figure out what was bothering me. I needed to tell FP in a way that was non-confrontational, yet expressed my feelings. I placed my hand over my heart, to ensure that I was speaking from my heart without accusing or blaming FP for anything, and taking a deep breath, I spoke.

I realized that I was beginning to feel stifled, smothered, I told him. His presence, although I felt I could not go without it, was beginning to feel suffocating. Unconsciously, I was pushing him away. I expressed my feelings, and tried to help him understand my own fierce sense of independence.

To my intense relief, he countered with an admission that he thought he might be smothering me a bit, but felt he could not help himself and wanted to do everything he could to help me. He wanted to be involved in the relationship. His first marriage encouraged that kind of ‘take charge’ behavior from him, as well as the caretaking of his mother. He said that it was like second nature to him to just do what he felt needed doing. And, his desire to see me overrode his thoughts that he might be smothering me.

Wow – a breakthrough, and it took almost no effort! He understood! He promised that he would back off on the smothering and automatically doing things for me. I promised that I would be more upfront about feeling smothered and have more patience with him telling stories.

But sometimes, information needs sharing – and without all the trips down interesting, yet unimportant side roads. Sometimes, he’ll go off in a direction that has nothing to do with what he was speaking about, and my patience (or lack thereof) in obtaining important information when necessary, gets a workout. He admitted that he tends to wander off on a tangent sometimes. I explained that it was like asking him to paint a door, but then he ends up painting the entire neighborhood. So, we have devised a loving way to get him back on track, if needed: “Paint the door, honey,” is all I need to say in order to get him back on point – and it works beautifully!

Since that day, we have gotten back on track in our relationship, and I’m feeling good about the direction we’re going. So does FP. I expect that there will be more disagreements, maybe a rehashing about being smothering or my impatience at getting to the point. But, I believe we have the tools to address issues such as this in a way that is not accusing or hurtful – if I can just keep myself from blurting my thoughts without thinking and feeling first.

More later,

~SA

>100 Days

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(Editor’s note: This was originally posted in my journal on one of my dating sites on May 14, 2011. I didn’t post it here at that time, because of certain timeline issues, but now feel that it’s appropriate.  It’s been slightly edited for clarity. JR: I have you to thank for the song mentioned.)

I am learning a lot of things about myself in this most recent period of dating (since I moved to NC in January). Things I had not taken into consideration before, but had been patently obvious. I have read websites, books, blogs and articles on dating and relationships, and each has its advice and wisdom. Some things I don’t agree with, but some things I have come to realize the truth of. For example, it takes time to determine whether a certain individual will make good relationship material. On the surface, it seems like a “duh” statement – but, I’ve seen too many folks (including myself) jumping right into a committed relationship without really getting to know each other.
My fear (and in my experience, the reality) is that what was first full of chemistry and a whole lotta lust will dull – and perhaps sour – in short order. I would not wish this on anyone, but having experienced this very phenomenon so many times, I have determined that I will not skip down that road blindly again. It’s not easy to resist the temptation of putting one’s life on hold and making future plans concerning someone with whom after a few dates, seems so beautifully matched. But, recent experience tells me that I must resist. My heart is on the line, you see. This is why my Frog Prince will remain nameless until I am as sure as I can be concerning his long-term potential.
Some experts say that waiting at least 90 days or so before making a determination on the suitability of the object of your affection as a “keeper” may save one a great deal of pain and frustration. Which brings to mind a song I recently heard. Enjoy.

>The Frog who Could be Prince

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I am down to one current Pond resident. I had actually planned to slow the parade o’ frogs for a time, simply because dating in this way is exhausting and I just wanted to lay low for a while. Some folks have told me that as soon as one stops looking, the right one comes along. Who’d have thought that my experience would be that close to the mark? Who’d believe that this frog – the only remaining frog in my Pond – would just pop up on the radar by happenstance and actually end up with tons of Prince potential? Talk about serendipity!
Okay, so let me back up a little. Several weeks ago, on one of the online systems I use, this man had put my profile in his ‘favorites’ list. This is a common occurrence. Generally when that happens, most people once notified would simply not acknowledge it. My thinking is that the favorites setting isn’t just for the convenience of the person selecting the ‘favorite’ – it’s also for creating interest in the person having been selected as such. It can be used as a great opener for further communication. I choose to take advantage of such attention by checking out the man’s profile to see if there is some interest on my end. If I am interested (or even if I’m not), I will message the other person, thanking him for making my profile a ‘favorite.’
This was such a day. Once I was notified that my profile was selected as a favorite, I checked his profile. To be honest, I didn’t think we’d be such a match. His profile indicated that we had some things in common, but that there were some core differences. Plus, his profile said he was in the entertainment business and had been for more than 25 years. Nothing wrong with that, but what would I have in common with someone who does that sort of thing, I ask you? According to his pictures, he was very good-looking – almost too good-looking. My knee-jerk thought was, “Why the hell is he making my profile a favorite? He probably has tons of women groveling at his feet!” I initially had him pegged as a ‘player.’ Add to that, our philosophies seemed quite divergent. Oh, well, I thought to myself – I should at least be polite and acknowledge the action. So, I messaged him to say thank you. I do this for nearly everyone who makes my profile a ‘favorite,’ so this is not out of the ordinary. But, I don’t expect a reply. However, he did reply saying that he would love to meet up sometime. I replied positively in an non-committal way (I was truly getting tired of this string of “first-and-only” dates), but decided that if he openly asked for a meeting, I would comply. Well, sure enough, he did, and we communicated over the course of nearly a week to arrange a meeting over coffee.
I wasn’t optimistic in the least. To be honest, I determined that this frog would be the last to play in my pond for a while. I was simply tiring of playing this game and felt the need to hang up my lily pad to reset (perhaps just a couple of weeks, but I really needed a break). I had already hid some of my profiles on other systems in an effort to reduce the traffic of frogs jumping in and out of my pond. This particular system was to be among the last that on that list.
In a previous post, I had described my first date with Frog Eleven, and it was everything I claimed. We have since seen each other several times over the last month and it seems to be getting better and better. As it turns out, we have a lot of things in common, not the least of which is an affinity for dogs. And, those core things I thought were opposite of my own beliefs, turns out are not as far from my own philosophies, after all.
About Frog Eleven
Frog Eleven is polite, considerate and very, very charming. About 6’1” and 190 lbs, he is large and strong. In his prime he has weighed as much as 240 lbs, I’m told. A former owner of two fitness centers, he still has an athletic build, complete with broad shoulders and powerful arms and legs. His face shows a bit of careworn age, but when he smiles, the years seem to erase magically and a boyish look takes over. For an older man (he is almost 10 years my senior), I find him to be delightful eye candy. The hair on his head is not colored as I had once assumed; I noticed the gray sprinkled among the thick, sable brown locks once I got close enough. His strong Southern accent was difficult for me to adjust to at first, but has since grown on me. Bright blue, smiling eyes reflect his good humor. He has a calm demeanor that is somehow comforting when I am around him. He is friendly and social to everyone (from store clerk to maitre d’) he comes in contact with. He is an equal-opportunity charmer!
He speaks little of his career in the entertainment business, but what he has told me is rather interesting – but not all that impressive. He’s actually semi-retired, and since moving to NC to care for his mother, he’s not been doing much work. It’s really not a big deal – he is far from the glitz and glamour of those in the A-list, although he has been known to attend gatherings of those on that list. I liken his career to those of most people in the entertainment industry – I would guess that 90 percent of them are small-time. He is among that group. Celebrity, for the most part, has never impressed me anyway, so it doesn’t matter what he does, in my opinion. I’ve rubbed shoulders with many high-profile figures, celebrities and politicos in my time, and discovered that they’re all human – just like us. To his credit, Frog Eleven shows all of the charm – and none of the ego or haughtiness – of some in that field of work.
During his first marriage, he raised Bulldogs (back then, they were called English Bulldogs). He understands and loves dogs, although he hasn’t had any for some time. We have talked at great length about this common interest, and have found we share the same philosophy on health issues, care and training. Thank goodness, no issues there! He was curious about my dogs, and interested in hearing about my plans for the future concerning them. He looks forward to attending dog shows with me.
He was soon given the opportunity to prove his feelings and philosophies about dogs. A couple of weeks ago, Merlin, my dog, appeared to have a back issue. Frightened, I made a same-day appointment with the local vet, but I was concerned about how to get him in the car. I had thought to call my girlfriend, who is smaller than I am – we would have a very hard time trying to get a 140-lb dog into my little car if he could not get up on his own. I made the decision to call Frog Eleven for help. To my surprise, he finished what he was doing as soon as he was able, and made his way over to my house. As luck would have it, Merlin began to improve by the time we took him to the vet, so physical help was not needed. However, I was very worried, so Frog Eleven went with me for moral support. He was just what the doctor ordered! His calm presence, as well as his arm placed protectively around my shoulder, was a balm and kept me from freaking out. Thankfully, Merlin’s issue was not orthopedic; he had a urinary tract infection. Antibiotics were all that was needed. I was relieved and happy and got lots of hugs from Frog Eleven. Afterward, he had the chance to interact with both dogs at my home, and Boston, my girl, is quite taken with him. The feeling is mutual, by my observation. He loves the dogs and they completely return the favor.
Since that day, Frog Eleven and I have seen each other frequently. Since he was the only frog in the Pond at the time, we were exclusive by default. However, recently, we have made the conscious decision that exclusivity is what we both want, and so we are going forward with that in mind.
Going Forward
Here, one might think that I will have nothing more to blog about, now. Wrong! Although it would seem that I have met my Prince, I have told him that I will not consider ourselves as being in a committed relationship for at least three months, perhaps longer. So, until we pass that marker, I will be blogging occasionally about how our relationship is developing. I am cautiously optimistic, but cautious all the same. I can only be myself. And hope.
So, now comes the dilemma: What should I call him now? Is he still Frog Eleven? Or, is he Potential Prince? Your input is welcome.
I’ll keep you posted,
SA