Dad vs. The Gopher

No, The Gopher isn’t one of my Match.com dates. I’m talking about that “Caddyshack” acting, scene-stealing, menacing, rabid rodent:

"How you doin'?" Caddyshack (1980), Orion Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

“How you doin’?”
Caddyshack (1980), Orion Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

Actually, he doesn’t look that rabid. If I remember correctly, he was a pretty good dancer. Hm – he’s kind of cute. Almost…attractive. And speaking of, whatever happened to Michael O’Keefe? I developed a crush on him when I first saw him in “The Great Santini”. But I don’t want to look him up. I’d probably end up adding him to my “Back in the Day, but Not Today” list of actors. Nick Nolte is on that list. I know what you’re thinking, but he was really hot in “The Deep”:

"How you doin'?" The Deep (1977), Columbia Pictures

“How you doin’?”
The Deep (1977), Columbia Pictures

He soo rocked that mustache. I must have had been going through a blonde, surfer-phase back then. I also crushed on a young Michael Biehn and John Baldwin, with whom I went to high school (Baldwin, not Biehn). He had white-blonde hair. Sigh.

Back to the furry animal. My dad is obsessed with gophers. Unlike me, he does not find them attractive. At all. They are eating the product of all his hard work in the garden.

About 10 years ago, Dad learned how to use a computer. Now at the age of 90, he finds himself trusting Google’s advice more than his own children’s: “It’s amazing how much Google knows!” He loves Amazon, too. When a 5-lb. bag of cayenne pepper arrived at our door, I thought he was losing it. Then he explained that the Internet told him it worked to keep garden pests away. Okay, but 5-lbs.? Why not buy a small sample and test it out first? Dad? Are you listening to me? Internet, you stupid favorite child. My mom and I were afraid he was going to accidentally inhale the stuff and then we’d discover him collapsed on top of all the fava beans.

The pepper didn’t work. At least not on the gophers. The jury is still out on keeping squirrels and pooping cats out of their yard.

“He must be dragging them home to his family.” Dad opines after telling us that half his planting of burdock root have completely disappeared, leaves and all.

I decide not to point out that it could be a female gopher bringing home the burdock bacon to her family.

“I bet the kids are thinking, ‘Burdock root again?! We’re tired of burdock root!’” I say in a high-pitched tone.

‘Yah! We want something goodie!’” My mom chimes in in her broken English.

We both start laughing. But my dad is not amused. He is deep in thought, blocking us out like he has been doing it for the past 50 years. I guess that’s why he’s so good at it.

“Google also said that Juicyfruit gum works.” He says suddenly. “You have to find their main tunnel and drop the gum inside, still in its wrapper. They eat it and choke to death.”

The thought of those poor gophers meeting their deaths due to Juicyfruit was so strangely horrifying that I couldn’t come up with anything to say in response. If the  gum doesn’t work, he’ll be resorting to THE TRAP. I don’t want to know what this is – it sounds so final. At least with the gum, there’s a chance for the Heimlich maneuver to be applied in an emergency.

All I can say is, Gopher, give my dad a break. He’s paid his dues; his garden is his pride and joy. What could it hurt to go easy on the destruction and decimation of his veggies?

And, oh yeah – run for your lives.

Different but the Same Match #2: The Motorcycle Chef

I know. I was beginning to exit through the dating door and leave The Chef behind because I didn’t think he was attracted to me. I swear to you, he had given me no signs whatsoever on our first date. No obvious body language, no touching me anywhere (I actually wanted him to touch my elbow), no walking me to my car. The last time I heard from him was through a late-night text apologizing for not calling. All I thought was, oh, he didn’t have to do that – he could have simply faded quietly away into the woodwork. Four days after the text, I got a phone call and we set up Date #2. I can’t believe I made #2! (this poo poo joke is dedicated to my more sophisticated reader. I love you bunches, you one person reading this post.) Two days after that, I got another call to change the time of our date. We ended up talking for over an hour. But I’m hesitant to take this as a sign. I think we just get along, you know, buddybuddy-like. It’s not my place to understand the minds of men, so I’m not even going to try. I say that, but since I’m a woman, the urge to know what they’re thinking is incredibly seductive.

“How about a hike?” He asks after telling me he can’t get together for dinner.

“Hiking makes me grumpy.” Every hike I’ve been on has been hot, dusty, and strenuous.

“How about a walk in the woods?”

I take this as a completely different suggestion and happily say yes. He laughs. Wait – did he just trick me?

“Or we could go for a ride.” He offers.

“Ride?”

“On my motorcycle.”

“M-motorcycle?” My voice cracks. YesNoYesNoYesNo! Good Japanese girls don’t get on the backs of motorcycles! 

But I’m not a girl anymore and good is a relative term, isn’t it?

“Ever been on one?”

Now I have.  

I didn’t become Asian roadkill like I thought I would. Images of me tumbling off the back of his bike flashed through my mind during the first few 45 minutes of the ride, and I wondered if I would be able to tumble onto concrete skillfully enough to survive. He told me I could hold on to the rack behind me or hold on to him. Uh, yeah, like I’m going to sit away from you and reach back to hold on to two skinny little handles while we’re going 50 mph? I prefer to hold on to your handles, thank you very much. As soon as we sped up the hill from his place, I was like a suckerfish. A suckerfish using a Thighmaster. I haven’t been that scared since…well, I can’t remember. I don’t verbally freak out when I get frightened. I get quiet. And I was very quiet.

After a while, I realized that it seemed wrong goodjapanesegirl to be clinging to him like a baby chimp. My thighs and crotchal-area had become way too neighborly with this new man’s behind. I didn’t even know his last name. But what a thrilling, beautiful ride. We had a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe with a spectacular view, and we lingered there for a few hours before we had to head back. I was much better on the ride back. Less chimp-like, but my legs refused to stop clamping on to his no matter how much I told them to relax. I proudly call this “survival flirting”. Did I see any signs from him? No, unless I’m incredibly dense. I clung to him like brown on rice and he didn’t touch me once, although I suppose I did enough touching for the both of us. No flirting from him, no innuendo, nada. I thought I felt him looking at me when I was glancing at the menu, but he could have been looking at my chin hairs or thinking about Chihuahuas. How am I to know? And how can I compete with an adorable Chihuahua??!!

When we got back to his place, we stood on the sidewalk talking. I told him that I had to go to the local farmers’ market for work the next day and he said he would drop by. We made more small talk, and I started to get the distinct feeling that we were eyeing each other like two gun slingers – who was going to move first? How were we going to end this date? I finally went in for a hug, he kissed my cheek, and then HE over hugged ME.

Finally. A sign I can sink my teeth into. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Postscript: I texted him from the farmers’ market. He wasn’t coming. He didn’t want to fight the cold, windy weather to get there.

I’m beginning to hate signs.

“Dear Mr. Golden Heart…”

Im nice person dear, golden heart and generous. Im confident can be good friends. It would be honor. Please can you respond me if interested? All the best

Uh oh.

I’m not sure if he’s calling me dear or himself. No matter, because I don’t have the confidence that he has in our future friendship. By the way, that’s the second email he’s written to me. The first one was also grammar-challenged and equally troubling. I had taken a friend’s advice with his first email:  “If you’re not interested at all, don’t write back. Even a friendly rejection could give him some hope.” But maybe saying nothing still leaves the door open?

I’ve learned something from my date with The Chef. I think my nervous energy took over and I tried too hard. I really just need to calm the hell down. Perhaps I will meditate before my next date, assuming there will be another one. With someone. Anyone. During my post-date analysis, I thought about the fact that even if I had been the perfect amount of me, it still doesn’t mean The Chef would have been attracted to me.

Dating sure can play with your self-confidence. No wonder those Bachelorettes weep, go mad, turn on each other. They’re like lab rats in a Hollywood maze designed to make their insecurities bubble and rise to the surface. I’m surprised they don’t eat each others’ faces off. In my own very quiet reality, I tell myself that I have to learn from whatever I experience and keep moving. Besides, The Chef isn’t the only Bachelor out there to show interest in me. There is a guy in Chicago who has contacted me. That’s not too far from CA, right? I’m perfect for him because I fit into the age range of women he’s searching:  21-63 years old.

My love affair with Match isn’t looking so good.

Match #1: The Chef

I’m in love!!!  

Not really.  I haven’t been on the date yet.  This is the pre-date portion of the program (I’ll be adding my post-date thoughts below).  I wanted to know what it felt like to be one of those women – I’m convinced they’re a different species – on “The Bachelor”.  You know, already in love with the idea of falling in love and then getting their heart broken by a guy they hardly know.  I loved him and I thought he kinda liked me!weep, weep, feelings of despair…  Girl, get it together.  He’s dumber than a rock.  Join me on Match.com – we’ll find a guy for you that’s as smart as or even smarter than a rock!

You know, maybe I should get a job counseling these women.  Or work as a Marketing Strategist for Match.  I’ve found my new careers.

This is my first date through Match.  I’m trying to be optimistic by starting a numbering system, but that didn’t seem to work too well with Wine Guy.  One date, the possibility of another, and then he fell into the Bermuda Triangle of Missing/Non-Responsive Men.

My profile had been public for a few days when I was IM’ed by The Chef.  I was on the site, trying to figure out how to edit something in my profile:  how do you…but I just changed it…let me try!!PING!! [IM window popping up]ack!!  what the hell?!  I nearly jumped out of my skin.  When I peered at the small message box, I recognized the photo that came along with it.  He had viewed my profile earlier.  I thought he was kind of cute and more importantly, he appeared to be normal.  With shaking hands (I know, pathetic), I decided to respond.  And what do you know…our senses of humor were kind of the same.  Sarcastic?  Check.  Self-deprecating?  Check.  Age?  Oops.  He’s 41 years old.  I’m…older.  But that’s the good thing about Match.  He knew my age, height and hm, what else could have scared him off – oh, yes, the profile itself.  He read it and still contacted me.  He’s a brave man.  I have no idea what other women are writing, but I started my profile with sarcasm.  Isn’t that the way to a man’s heart?

Post-date Analysis  

Great date.  Fun, relaxed (well, he was), easy.  A guy’s guy, not a dude.  There’s a difference.  My ex was overly sensitive and emotional, so it was nice to be with someone who seemed at ease with himself and his guyness.  Not only is he a chef, he’s an Executive Chef, which I have to admit is kinda sexy.  Not the title itself, but the fact that he is in charge and has to know how to manage people.  Our sensibilities and senses of humor matched, and I thought he was cute, so I would definitely go out with him again.  The mystery question is whether he was attracted to me or not.  I have absolutely no idea, which is probably not a good sign.  I can’t think of anything positive said in my direction except he said I was tiny, he liked my boots, and that I eat slowly, which is the healthy way.  Like I said, nothing to go on.  I made him laugh, but so could a Chihuahua with an underbite, so that doesn’t say much either.  We hugged at the end of the date – don’t worry, I didn’t overhug him – and he said he would call me.  My first generic “I’ll call you”!!  I’ve officially joined the ranks of the dating masses!

By the way, I guess the sarcasm in my profile is not the way to a man’s heart like I thought.  I was talking about my profile when The Chef said, “Guys just look at the pictures.”  But I put a lot of thought into my profile and – “We’re guys – we just look at the pictures.”  Oh.  So much for that ‘A’ I was going for in creative writing.

I sent him a message today thanking him for the date.  If I don’t hear from him again I’ll have to chalk it up to his non-attraction of my 3-D self.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  I’ll simply have to go on *weep weep despair* and try to find a date that finds me more funny and charming than that damn Chihuahua.

I Am Cougar, Hear Me Roar

I’ve been on Match.com for exactly one week.

It’s early yet, but I’m beginning to think that it might be the perfect vehicle for someone like me.  It’s either that or I’m just fascinated by the whole social psychology aspect.  Maybe both.  I hardly ever get approached out in the every day world, so online dating is proving to be a good way to be seen, yet remain somewhat anonymous.  Shopping for men from the comfort of my home is what I love about the Internet.

Match forces you to look at people.  That’s to my advantage.  I wouldn’t call myself “first glance” pretty.  If you look real hard, I’m decent-looking from certain angles and when the wind is coming in from the SW at 8 mph.  I’m like one of those 3D graphic prints that you have to stare at until the other, secret picture appears.  Most people can’t see it right away; some people never see it.  Which is fine, because my secret picture isn’t for everyone.  On the Match site, I included a photo of myself right before I ran a 5K.  No makeup.  Hey, it’s how I look!  Like it or leave it.  Just stop staring at it – it isn’t going to get any better.  And I tried to convey my personality into my profile, not just a list of things I like and what I’m looking for.  I’ve read some guys’ profiles and they are so generic that I don’t get any sense of who they are.  They love food and walking on the beach?  Me, too!!  I’ve finally found my soulmate!!  All I can say is, if a guy contacts me after looking at my photos and profile, I’m assuming he has a sense of what he’s getting into.

I’ve been contacted by some guys, and a few of them have commented on my appearance.  I suppose it’s flattering, but for some reason I feel like it’s a red flag.  Maybe I’m just not the type to be won over by compliments, especially if I’ve never even met you.  One of my friends told me that she doesn’t respond to any kind of contact unless she’s interested.  Apparently, even a rejection email can open the door to unwanted attention.  I decided that I would only ignore someone if I found them especially creepy, but I could change my mind.  It’s only been a week – I could change my mind about this whole thing tomorrow.

I might go on my first Match date this week.  He’s young, but at least he’s over 40.  I’m a little hesitant because I’m tiptoeing into Cougar territory; he’s several years younger than the age range I had posted, but then the last few guys that have contacted me have been around the same age (including Wine Guy).  I’m open to dating someone older than me, but I don’t think I ever have.  Maybe this is my problem?  Whatever the case –  AAAAAAAA!!!!!!  My eardrums just burst.  Women everywhere screamed at me to shut up and go for it.  Well, there it is.  If there’s one thing I can’t do, that’s let womankind down.  Time to get to work.