The Friend Zone Episode 21: Dating in the Time of Covid

With all the sorrow in the world, it’s hard to write a selfish blog about my stupid dating life. There are Americans and our allies trapped in Afghanistan while our government makes deals with roving bands of terrorist, rapist, pedophiles, who are displacing innocents and stealing children over the age of 12. MSNBC is out there trying to make this sound palatable to the masses. And look, I’m leftist, liberal, and progressive as fuck, but how is this any different than Fox News defending all of Trump’s actions?

Besides that nonsense, we have a conservative Supreme Court attempting to systematically dismantle a woman’s right to choose; then there’s the hurricanes and floods pummeling our coasts, Russian gangs invading computers, guns, theft, social injustice, political unrest, racism, sexism, Trumpism, and now…fucking MURDER hornets. That’s right, there’s a goddamned bug with the word ‘MURDER’ as part of its name. That’s just…that’s just fucked up. While we’re all trying like hell to oppress one another, the MURDER hornets are murdering people indiscriminately; we should all band together as human beings, like the space marines in “Aliens”, and fight the fucking MURDER hornets to usher in a new age of peace and equality for all. I’m not going to stop saying MURDER hornets.

Anyway, these are the fucking end times and I’m here whining about not having anyone to go see “The Green Knight” with. I make me sick to my stomach.

Just watching OTHER people seemingly having such a great summer with their significant others, is really pissing me off. I don’t know WHY, I mean, I should say “AH SULUTE! Good for that couple! They found or maintained love in the time of Covid!” but it would be disingenuous if I said that because fuck all of you happy lovestruck sons-a-bitches. Where’s MY ‘love’? Where’s MY holding hands and smiling knowingly at one another on a sunny walk through the park? Where’s MY laughing over wine or craft beer at a nice restaurant? Why is finding a woman who doesn’t make me want to staple bagels to my face, seem like such a fucking impossibility? I mean, obviously just from what you’ve read so far, you can see that I’m a pleasant, well adjusted, kind, focused adult man with none, if not MINIMAL, mental health problems, right? RIGHT?

Look, I’ve been trying hard. I’ve been putting in the time and the effort, going on date after date. And I’m willing to admit that maybe it’s my approach. I work in mental health so I know that if something isn’t working, you have to change your approach to get the result you seek. So I try to change my approach, to evolve.

My problem is that I tend to date women who are above my aesthetic paygrade. I like beautiful women, Ok? Sorry, not sorry. I learned a long time ago that personality goes a long way. I’ve had long term relationships with women who were so far out of my league that them being seen in public with me was like framing a fart and hanging it in the Louvre (I’m the fart in that metaphor.) I I’ve ruined some absolutely phenomenal relationships in my youth, and I’m probably chasing that glory now.

Some people are willing to ‘settle’, to be with someone who doesn’t check all their boxes, whatever they may be, in pursuit of not being alone, and good for them…no judgement from me; it’s an admirable thing to be able to take a risk and commit yourself to another. But the divorce rate in this country is more than 50%…just saying. 

I see people holding hands, pushing baby strollers together, every restaurant is filled with couples, every concert is filled with the same; I feel like I’m the only single fucker out here. I’m the only person left without a chair when the music stops and I don’t get it! I’m not THAT bad; I don’t stink, I practice good hygiene, and in today’s world, I would think that’s the bare minimum to earn me a date. That’s the bar: don’t be stinky. (**Sniff-sniff**…oh my God…am I stinky?)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Women have a lot of wants and I’ll get there in my next blog. This blog is about the past year and a half.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my dating life. 2020 was a busy year. My girlfriend and I had broken up in November of 2019. I put a lot of effort into focusing on myself after that break up. I lost weight, took a course in transcendental meditation and by the time March 2020 rolled around, I’d just started feeling up for dating again, but the thought of it didn’t consume me. My friends were taking me to see live music shows at blues clubs, The Green Mill Lounge, and Fitzgerald’s; I was beginning to meet new people and widen my circle of friends and I was making plans for vacations over the next year…then Covid hit and brought the world to a fucking halt.

And I hate to say this, considering how much damage Covid has done…but it actually was good for me in some ways. First and foremost, my commute went from a two-hour drive home, to a forty-minute drive home. I remember feeling guilty that I was so happy about that. I work in a hospital, and my overtime skyrocketed. I made more money than I ever have in my life, and on top of my financial security at work, I started a small business that became fairly successful. Because the comic book conventions stopped and I have connections in the industry, I’ve been able to mail books to creators for thier signature, have those books professionally graded, and then sell them to collectors who are missing out on getting autographs at conventions.

But then there were the parts of Covid that hit a lot of us hard…the loneliness. I was doing great monetarily, but I didn’t have anyone to share it with. I lost two dogs in 2020 and that was rough (no pun intended.) Really hit me hard. My ex took one with her, and the one who stayed with me had to be put down due to a degenerative nerve disorder. That was the hardest decision I’d ever had to make in my life and I had to do it alone. To make it worse, the vet didn’t want to let me in the hospital to sit with her as they put her to sleep. I insisted…strongly.

My animal hospital was in the midst of a restoration when Covid hit, so their front lobby didn’t have any lights and the pine skeleton of half-built walls created a brazen maze that screamed of claustrophobia. They wouldn’t let me into the exam rooms, so they wheeled Blue out on a cart and hooked her up to the fluids that would end her life. I cried like an infant as I held her paw alone in the dark, and watched the light go out of her eyes, creating pitch black in the wasteland of that half-finished lobby. I walked out of the animal hospital lonelier than I’d ever been in my life; not looking back fondly on our 13 years together, but thinking that at the end…those years were now gone and could never be replicated. No matter how many dogs might be in my future, an empty space would forever remain where Blu would no longer pant happily in her excitement to see me. I was full of regret…regret that I wasn’t in a relationship, regret that I’d ruined my last one and because of that my dog had to die alone, without the people she loved; just me and I didn’t feel that I was enough.

I vowed to myself that night, that I was going to find something real; something to last. I wanted to meet a woman who I could be there for, and who would be there for me, goddamnit. Enough already; I’m a smart educated man who can fly airplanes, has a great job, and makes a LOT of money. Plus, I have no erectile dysfunctions or mommy issues (REALLY hope my therapist doesn’t read this…). Why the fuck am I single? So, I pulled myself out of my post break-up funk and started dating again. These are some of the results of that fruitless fucking search over the past year…

Part one:

Let me start with some Mia-culpa. One of the greatest benefits of working in a hospital, is that I was tested weekly; at first with the long test that took a few days, then with the rapid test that took 15 minutes. Every date I went on after March, was done carefully, observing social distancing while wearing masks, until things became intimate. In some instances, I even produced that card I was given, showing my negative test results. Who’d have thought that would ever be a thing necessary for a date to progress to making out? I’m a monogamous guy in any case, but I made it clear to any partner I was with, that monogamy was a necessity in order for the intimacy to continue. Gotta create that bubble, yo.

When the vaccines came out in Feb 2021, I was one of the first to get the shots. After the whole hospital was given the vaccine, we were allowed to bring in friends and relatives to get vaccinated, which I did. even bringing in my girlfriend at the time, and her folks. I figured “Who breaks up with a guy that gets you and your whole family vaccinated from a deadly disease? I GOT this, son!” Well, apparently that ex does, that’s who.

Another thing I’d like to bring up is that I say ‘fuck’ a lot here, when discussing sex. We’re all adults, I think we can handle the word, and if you’ve read my blog, you know I can be explicit when talking about sex, but let me just talk about that word for a moment. I don’t use the word ‘fuck’ to be frivolous, or because I don’t take the act of ‘fucking’ seriously. I do. And there are categories within the realm of ‘fuck’; it means different things to different people in different situations.

I’m demisexual. I have that listed on my dating profile and a lot of women have asked me “What is demisexual?”. Well, that doesn’t mean that I have sex with demons, it means that I only have sex with Demi Moore. Kidding, no, I like to…no, probably ‘NEED’ to have a connection with a woman before I fuck her. I’ve used terms like ‘making love’ and ‘sleeping with’ and ‘having sex’, but ‘fuck’ just sums it all up so much more succinctly, don’t you think? My most recent ex, yelled at me once when I said jokingly in a Don Juan accent “I want to make sweet, sweet LOVE on top of you.”; she replied with “DON’T CALL IT THAT! WE FUCK!” (Probably one of the reasons that one didn’t work out, and maybe a bad example, but you get my meaning.) All of the women I mention below, I felt a connection with to some extent.

Lastly, please keep in mind that my end goal is to be in a relationship; I’m not just looking to fuck…but I’m not dead either.

1: The One Night Stand

This is NOT who I am. First of all, I’m not good looking enough to have a one-night stand, nor am I mustachioed with an exorbitant number of lubes and fancy silk kimonos (I don’t know why my fantasy of this guy is from the 70’s.). Besides this one instance, I’ve had three potential one-night stands in my life. I’ll discuss one here, but in all three instances, I couldn’t get hard. And the first two were when I was young and had to hold my hard-ons back with a chair and a whip while wearing a pith helmet. Performance anxiety? Maybe. I’m pretty sure that it was because there just wasn’t a connection to the person first.

So, I’d been talking to someone on the Facebook Dating App. Not thinking much of it. It was New Year’s Eve 2019, and I’d only been single for a month and a half; but it was just after the holidays and I was feeling a tad lonely. The girl I was talking with mentioned that she wasn’t doing anything that night, so I invited her over. Why not; sometimes you have to take a shot. So, she came over.

Twenty-seven, beautiful, one kid, lived at home with her mother and worked in retail. Ok, so she wasn’t a stunning conversationalist, but she was nice. One thing led to another, and we fucked. It was the first time I’d been with someone besides the ex in seven years, AND the first time I’d been with ANYONE in more than two years. (Yep. The ex and I hadn’t fucked in more than two years.)

The odd thing about that night, and what kind of made me not call her after, was that she was allergic to latex. That in itself isn’t concerning, no big deal. But, when I brought out a latex condom, she told me to grab a sheep skin one from her coat pocket; her mom put some in there before she left. Oofa.

If I’m being honest, I just needed to be with someone to get my confidence back after the break up; I wasn’t ready to ‘date’ anyone in any case. For those thinking of doing the same? Didn’t help or solve a goddamned thing; still felt like shit afterwards.

2: Buttercup

In Feb. of 2020, I met a librarian. 36, Tattoos, hair dyed green, granny glasses and a real punk rock look. I like that look a lot. The irony is that I look like such a bore, that it’s really difficult for me to attract that kind of woman. I’ve thought of getting a tattoo sleeve or a barbell through my cock, but the truth is, that type of woman is typically attracted to 95-pound meth-heads named Stoner Rick or Skateboard Steve, who have a flag-pole sized cock. So, when I can latch on to one, I like to impress.

Talking on the phone, I learned that she had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and she was on meds. I like when women tell me this up front, and maybe it’s because I work in mental health, but It’s not really a stigma to me. I feel like we all have mental health issues and I like when a person can recognize it and is self-aware enough to seek treatment, while being honest enough to discuss it before dating someone.

I took her to a “Princess Bride” pop up bar in the city, where she proceeded to drink a lot, and argue with me angrily on the SIDE of Bill Cosby. And no, I tend not to bring up celebrity rapists on a date. We were having an innocuous conversation about TV theme songs. She mentioned that the theme to ‘The Cosby Show’ was her favorite. I started to steer the conversation away from ‘The Cosby Show’ by pointing out that a favorite TV theme song should have words (Look, we can argue THAT logic on a date if you want, but for now, just go with it.), but she took the wheel and made a hard swerve back into the Cosby lane. She started getting pissed “I don’t see why I can’t watch ‘The Cosby Show’ anymore, just because he was ACCUSED.” She said, angrily staring at the table.

Not wanting to get drawn in, but at the same time not completely able to let that go, I said under my breath “Weeeeeell, it was 47 women, and he wasn’t ‘accused’, he was convicted.”

That set her off; in fact, she got so angry and animated, raising her voice and waving her hands around (and keep in mind, I’m dressed like the Dread Pirate Roberts, and SHE’s dressed like Buttercup with green hair…), saying he didn’t do it, he’s America’s dad, it’s racism that they even accused him (“a lot of those women were black”, I interjected.), and on and on until the waitress came over and asked if everything was alright.

Yeah…that was an interesting one. We ended up fucking that night, and dating for a short time. Sorry, as much as I despise his actions, and as much as I believe his accusers…my convictions only go so far, especially during a global pandemic. When Covid became a serious concern in March, she broke it off. She didn’t want to be around anyone. She quit her job at the library and last I heard she turned into a hermit, never leaving her apartment, with an eviction looming over her, when that gets put back on the table. Fucking Covid.

3: The Lawyer

In June of 2020, I dated a lawyer for three months, who lived on the top floor of a high-rise condo in the Gold Coast. Her place had roof access and I remember thinking “This would be fantastic, if I were Spider-Man.” She was very confident in bed, which I like, but she had the BIGGEST black dildo I’d ever seen.

And I don’t mean ‘an African American’ dildo, I mean straight BLACK; (Can I get a drum snare after each of these?) I mean, this dick was so big that it doesn’t return Spielberg’s calls. There’s a Japanese movie called “Godzilla vs. This Big Black Dick.”; this dick was so big that I had to call it Mr. Dick in front of company; this dick was so big that it had an elevator and a lobby; this dick was so big that it was once overthrown by a military coup and is now known as the Democratic Republic of This Big Black Dick. You get the point; the shit was BIG. A lesser man might have been intimidated; ok, I was a tad intimidated.

She was nice and the sex was hot, even with “Shaq” (as she called it), being involved sometimes.

Unfortunately, at the end of August, she had a mental breakdown. I learned after that it wasn’t her first, but this one was caused after she’d lost both of her parents to Covid within two weeks of one another. It was pretty tragic and I tried to be there for her, but l lost touch with her when she went into a mental health facility for treatment. Covid reaches out and ruins lives in many different ways. GET. THE. VAX. for chrissake.

4: The Teacher

Next, I met a girl on OKCUPID who was a teacher. 32, fun, great sense of humor. We talked and immediately got along. Within a week we were meeting for a 4PM dinner and drinks after I’d gotten out of work. Just a first date, a meeting on a Monday night. No big deal.

We ended up getting along so well, and having so much fun, that before we knew it, it was 10PM. This was just supposed to be an hour-long date, but time just flew; that’s the mark of a really good date. We had the wait staff and bartenders doing shots with us, giving us free food, it was really a blast. She invited me back to her place so she could take her dog out. She didn’t want the night to end, so we drank, talked and shared our favorite YouTube clips with one another at her place; before we knew it, it was 4AM, we were both incredibly drunk, and we started making out.

There was a moment there…a split second where I said to myself…Mike, put an end to this now; walk away. It’s Monday night, you have to be at work in two hours, pick this up when you’re in a better place to do so. Get to know her better because this one could work out…

But she wanted to fuck and being a gentleman, I felt I could only oblige the lady. She began ripping clothes off, mine and hers, and I’m right there with her…in spirit.  But I was counting my chickens before they hatched, because my dick didn’t quite agree with this turn of events. Couldn’t get it up. I tried, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I was too drunk, too tired, I had to be at work in two hours, and her dog was yipping and jumping around the bed which was kinda weird.

The look of utter disappointment on her face…it’s hard to think of that look without shuddering a little. She was very nice, telling me it was ok and that she understood…wouldn’t return my calls or texts after. I was super humiliated for a minute, sure. But shit happens. I stand by my track record. I’ll say this though, I learned a valuable lesson that night. Sometimes you just have to walk away from the pussy. Live to fuck another day. (THERE’S my next tattoo! in cursive down my forearm.)

5: The Bee Date

Then there was the time I was attacked by bees while on a date in Andersonville.

I met a young lady in Andersonville on the Thursday night before Labor Day last year. Covid forced us into an outdoor restaurant, called Hamburger Mary’s. It was 101 degrees out. Hoping to reflect the sun while still maintaining a semblance of fashion sense, I wore a bright yellow shirt and yellow Adidas sneakers; I was looking the part, right? This look turned out to be a huge miscalculation.

You know how you hear people talk about saving the bees? Well, they saved them and moved them to Andersonville. Andersonville has ALL the bees.

The girl I met didn’t drink so I didn’t either. I ordered a glass of water and we began talking. As we were getting to know each other, the bees started in on me. One bee at my shoulder…then one at my forearm. I looked down and there were four buzzing around my shoes. Within minutes, there were seven bees hovering a quarter inch from my chest. I tried to remain calm, but the only thing in the world I’m allergic to…. are bee stings. My date kept saying “just stay still”, but they kept moving up toward my face. When this would happen, I had to jump out of my chair, mid-conversation and shuffle around with my arms tight to my sides like John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks (I didn’t want to swipe and piss them off, and I didn’t want to flail and make a bigger ass of myself in the packed streets of Andersonville, than I already was.) I did this about eight times. If I would have stayed still, I’m convinced that by the end of the date I would have had a beard made of bees, which probably would have put me in good standing in Andersonville, as I may have been the only beardless man there.

Three bees landed on the rim of my glass of water, so I couldn’t have a refreshing cool drink as nervous sweat poured down my face in the blaring afternoon sun. After one bite of my sandwich, bees descended on it making it inedible. I looked up and a swarm of bees had formed an arrow pointing directly at me like something in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I never wanted a Bloody Mary and air conditioning more in my life.

Anyway, I walked her back to her car, and we got pie along the way. The pie was the best part of that date through no fault of the young lady I went out with. Things didn’t work out in the end, through no fault of the bees.

6: And the rest

Then there was the time my date hit on and LEFT with a random stranger at a bar. Yup that happened. The time a girl broke up with me over chicken and waffles on a first date. Said it as if we’d been dating for months…”I don’t think we should see each other any more.” OK. The girl who could only fuck with Rick & Morty blasting on a nearby TV; the girl who broke down crying because something on the menu reminded her of her ex-boyfriend, and on and on and on….until I met Jordan.

I met Jordan in January of 2021. She has manic depressive and bipolar disorders. She was on meds, but they didn’t always work. She was constantly shifting them with her meds doctor. I liked Jordon a lot; we dated for six months and I was really committed, y’know? I fell hard for her and probably for all the wrong reasons; selfish reasons. I was lonely, the sex was great, she was vulnerable, which I find extremely attractive. But she was also very selfish, closed off, and frankly down right mean. That was the worst breakup I’ve ever gone through and if I’m being honest, I’m still recovering. Not emotionally, but she shook my confidence to the core. I could shrug off my flaccid one night stand, and laugh off women leaving with other guys while out with me, or breaking up with me even though we weren’t dating. I could deal with the many just flat out rejections I’d had in online dating. But Jordon said some pretty awful shit to me, and it came out of nowhere. Part of me knows that the things she said aren’t true, I know it was her disorder talking, but I can’t get them out of my head. It’s tough when someone you thought you you were falling in love with, destroys your ego like that.

I think the reason I’m able to connect with women is because I’m a confident and funny guy. I make women comfortable and I make women laugh. After Jordon though…I felt desperate…desperate to feel validated, and I think women could see that. There’s no bigger turn off than desperation. Time has scarred over that wound so I’m out here trying agian.

And don’t get me wrong, there were some great dates mixed in here that just didn’t go anywhere. Sometimes you have chemistry with a woman, sometimes you don’t. But I don’t WANT to be a serial dater. Of all the goals I’ve reached in my life, of all the obstacles that I’ve overcome…finding one person to date continuously…has been the biggest challenge.

I got a new dog in April, Max. I volunteer for a German Shepherd Rescue, and I met Max through that organization. He’s a great boy; off at boot camp right now. After having been abandoned in an apartment in NYC, Max was 61 pounds when I met him. He’s 110 now and a very happy boy. I hope that I can continue to make him happy, but I’d love for him to have a female influence in his life; I think every boy dog needs that. And if I don’t find you out there?

I blame the MURDER hornets.

Be a douchebag!

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