“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” ~ John Buchan
Elusive, attainable and a perpetual series of occasions for hope - that pretty well sums up looking for that perfect woman. We all seek the catch of a lifetime. The catch that brings a smile to our face, makes our heart race and want to brag to the world about it. But, dating is very much like fishing. We have more failure than success and some of us have better luck than others.
Ironically, I joined a dating site called Plenty of Fish. I was skeptical about online dating because of the horror stories I heard about it. But since I work in a male-dominated industry, I'm not into the bar scene, and I didn't grow up here. I was limited in who I could meet. I sit down at the table and crack open a beer as I begin the process of making my sales pitch to the opposite sex. I start to wing it, jotting down random things about myself, interests and what type of woman I'm looking for. But like any good angler, I scout the waters and I select traits that I want
Athletic, thin and average
Between 40 and 50 years old
35 miles from home
With the click of a mouse, I see them and I squint. I chug my beer a little harder. I'm not impressed. I scroll down and my enthusiasm dampens. As scroll down and click on the pages, I mutter
"Athletic my ass"
"The dog looks better than her"
"She needs a makeover big time"
"Is this best Cleveland has to offer?"
"Just shoot me"
My problem is, I'm very picky. You have to look a certain way. I'm usually a sucker for blue eyed blondes, I prefer tall women and you have to be in great shape. After 20 pages, there are about 6 women that spark my interest and three of them I have nothing in common with. I go back to working on my profile and after 2 hours I'm finished. I put up about 6 photos of myself and go to bed. The next morning I check and I see about 20 women viewed my profile and I have 3 messages in my mailbox. I open it and all 3 of them are ugly and their message is basically "Hi" and "Hey There". Wow that's compelling. Sorry, but this fish isn't going to take the bait. I go back to under my log and sulk. For the next few weeks, I get random messages and all of them don't measure up to my standards, I won't budge from under my log. But I get the same treatment as I had a couple women reject my presentation. It's not fun having to watch a pretty trout turn up her nose at your offering. You have to reel in the line and move on to the next spot. Dating isn't for the faint of heart and there's plenty of other anglers vying for the same fish.
I do eventually meet one girl and we go on a couple of dates. On the second date, she pops a couple of red flags. I quickly toss the hook and head back under my log. I'm starting to get a little discouraged. One late evening, I'm looking at more profiles. Then I see one that catches my eye. She's not blonde, but a brunette. The last time I dated a brunette was way back in college. She has hazel eyes, is 5'9" and she's athletic. Even though she has one picture, I find her attractive and exotic looking. I read her profile and it's well thought out. At the end of it, I noticed she says extra bonus points for an accent or speaking another language. I see she's online and I write her a witty response.
"Would a Canadian accent count eh?"
I wait to see if she takes the bait. 15 minutes later, I get a response
Ah, a nibble. I write back and remind myself to exercise patience. We start to message one another for a couple of hours. Over the next week, we continue to talk to one another, but we haven't exchanged numbers. I cast back out with a new presentation and I offer to give out my number so we can talk. She writes back that's she reluctant to give out her number. I don't panic and play it cool. I write back no problem. She's wary but I have a feeling she won't bolt. After a couple more weeks, I dangle out an offer if she wants to meet. She accepts and we agree to meet at a local tavern on a Friday afternoon for a couple of hours.
I arrive and I see her waiting in the lobby. She's wearing a black dress and high heels. She looks stunning. I on the other hand look very casual as I'm wearing a black shirt, shorts, and flip flops. I'm a little concerned because first impressions are whether you make it to the second date. She stands up and she's almost as tall as me. We hug each other and head out to the patio for some drinks. We start off slowly talking about one another and our interests. I'm a little nervous and I come off as intense, but I can see she's a little nervous too. Dating and being an introvert can be difficult. I start to lose steam and I then I'm thinking what to do next. The couple of drinks I had started turning the wheels in my head.
"What do women love? Ice cream!"
I ask her and she smiles. We head across the street and order ice cream and sit out on the patio. The drinks have taken the edge off of me and I start to open up a little more. I'm feeling a little more confident and I ask if she wants to go for a walk in the metro park. She smiles and says yes. We take a long pleasant stroll and as we walk, I don't make any moves. Instead, I offer to carry her shoes as she walks barefoot. We gradually become more comfortable and talk in detail. When it's time to say goodbye, I give her a kiss and she doesn't pull back. I ask if she wants to go a second date and she says yes.
Over the next several weeks, we start dating more and we find out that we share a lot in common. We even joked that our backgrounds are similar. I thought she was Italian, only to find out she's Portuguese, French Canadian, Irish and Russian. She also thought I was Italian but was floored when I told her I was a mix of Chinese, Ukrainian, Scottish, and Welsh.
Despite being comfortable with one another, we continue to take it slow. I even suggest that she could casually date because we're not exclusive yet. It's a bold move, but I haven't got much to worry about because eventually, we became exclusive. We both deleted our profiles and said goodbye to the wacky world of online dating. She goes on to tell me what attracted her to me was I didn't pressure her or came on too fast. Too many guys scared her off because they were impatient. Patience was the key to her heart. Like an angler working the pool, the successful ones are patient, taking their time knowing eventually they'll have success.
It's been over six months since we meet on that day in August. During that time, we've gone to some of my favorite restaurants, celebrated my birthday, seen local bands, she picked out a suit for me, hikes through the parks, spent Christmas together, went to a club for Halloween and New Years, and of course taken her fishing. I've met her parents and eventually, I'll meet her two kids. I look back at the evening when I wrote that response to see if I would get a nibble and I got more than a nibble, she caught my heart.