The Red Truck Clue

I learned a long time ago that blind date meetings require some sort of physical cue.

My grandmother once tried to set me up with a grandson of a friend of hers. He wanted a picture before he would agree to come across town from Wests Side to East Side to meet me.

In 1988, that meant having a camera, taking a photo, having a picture made, putting it in an envelope, sending the envelope from NYC to Florida. I’m not sure what would have happened to the picture after that – maybe a hand-off to the other Grandma and a re-mail back to NYC?

I thought that was ridiculous, and said so. If he wanted to meet, we would – outside of the Museum of Modern Art on an evening I had an invitation to attend an opening, plus one. Height and brown hair was pretty much all I had to go on.

In a light drizzle, pressed up against the building under the tiniest of awnings, I waited. Because, I was early, of course.

A man in a smart trench with matching umbrella slid into the spot next to me and smiled. “Are you Rob,” I asked. “No,” he replied. “Sorry,” I said, “… blind date.” He laughed and said, “Me, too.” His date showed up, mine did not.

A few minutes more, and it was time to give up. Yeah, I was annoyed, so as I pulled open the entry door, and a guy is wet, disheveled tweed ran up and asked me if I was Jodi, I might have looked over my glasses and said, “Yeah,’” like are-you-seriously-showing-up-now?

As far as the rest of the evening, let’s just say I enjoyed the event, the hors devours, the beverages and the art, and leave it at that.

All of this reminiscing is just a lead-in for the fact that it’s very nice to be able to say I’ve actually learned from my experiences.

We needed recognizable tangibles.

Jeff’s was a red truck.

Mine was a home-made fabric flower pin.

Quote for the Week:

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links: 

Girls Like Guys Who Drive Trucks: http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2014/01/30/268853951/i-like-big-trucks-and-i-cannot-lie-cars-trucks-and-the-lady-brain

Trucks & Stars: http://tasteofcountry.com/country-stars-trucks/

F-150 Generations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_F-Series

Full Swing 11

Friday night, date night, arrived with all of the weariness of a work week behind it. I was feeling less than enthusiastic about presenting myself and all of the dating prep involved. Not personally toward Jeff, just the same natural tired and cranky most of us possess and present on Friday nights.

But, I started in, anyway. Brushed my teeth, curled my hair (yes, I had hair), put on the outfit I had planned on wearing and self-critiqued it with dismal results. I was staring into my closet when my doorbell rang. I suppose the look on my face when I opened the door gave me away, because she was eyeing me warily.

“I don’t like this outfit,” I reported without her having to ask. “I didn’t like this day, either. And, I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna like tonight.” Yep, my cranky-meter was full-swung to 11.

She thought my outfit was cute, but you know how it is when you’re just not feeling cute. You may have liked the ensemble at 8:00 AM in the morning, but dusk has turned it into over-trying costume.“Maybe I should try something else,” I sighed.  We took six short steps into my bedroom and collectively gazed at my choices. I tried a few more things on, while continuing to grumble unenthusiasm.

Me: I really don’t want to.

The voice of reason responded: You can’t cancel now.

Me: He might check his email before he leaves.

Her: You know he has to be on his way.

Me: I’m not in the mood for a get-to-know-you conversation.

Her: You’ll be eating. There won’t be that much talking.

Me: He’s probably some big ol’ Bubba missing his front tooth.

I put my original date-wear back on, finished tying my shortie boots, skeptically glanced up from under my eye lashes, and stood staring into the closet again.

Me: Will this purse work?

Her: He’s not gonna care about your purse.

Me: (laughing) Ok. Ok.

Her: (hug) I want a report when you get back.

Me: (hug) Absolutely.

No surprise, I got there early. Earlier than usual, even, because I had no idea long it would take me to get to Okemos on a Friday night.  I decided to sit for a spell, and check my make-up, because, as I mentioned, I was not feeling cute. I threw my anti-shine powder into my paisley purse, unbuckled my beat and sat back thinking I’ll go in in a few, talk to the hostess, and provide my normal this-is-weird-but-I’m-on-an-internet-date spiel.

I never got the chance.

Quote for the Week:

2015 10 20 always accept a dinner date jakorte102202015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

President Harding’s Impression: http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/09/05/how-important-is-your-first-impression-really/

First Impressions in Person vs Online: http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/02/15/the-power-of-a-first-impression/65944.html

Do All These Things, But Be Yourself: http://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/7-keys-to-making-a-perfect-first-impression.html

Jeff909

My brief, simple, to-the point, I’m-not-waiting-for-some-dufus-to-make-up-his-mind, onto-the-next-dating-adventure answer was, “Yes.”

The instant response was, “When and where?”

Back then, instant, was unusual. In 1998, “instant” meant you happened to be sitting at a computer that no one else in your home needed to use, that your computer was connected to a modem that was tying up the phone line, and that nobody was complaining you’d been on too long. Although, it could also mean that you were at the library using their time-regulated computer modem, hoping that no one else needed to use it and no one would complain you were on too long.

Having an almost real-time conversation was rare, but I owned a computer with modem capabilities, and so did Jeff. If he got kicked off, cut-off or wasn’t able to connect, he would head to the Tecumseh Library to use a public terminal.

I save a lot of things. Correspondence has always been one of them, and although my parents tried to break me of that early habit, I never gave in.

Some of the remarkable correspondences I have are letters from my younger brother while he or I were in college, a letter from my grandfather, amazing postcards and sentimental birthday cards, and as technology progressed, ICQ screen prints and emails.

I’ve known for a while I held a special one. I’d re-find it every time I moved, and then, every time we moved, and then, every time I moved. Even so, it took me an hour to re-find it to share here.

On the first page, it’s worth noting that at the time we were “talking” over type-written computer delay through the dating site. We also spent time on ICQ, which back then, was as instant as computer communicating could possibly be.

On Thursday, August 20, I sent Jeff a note that seems like it must have been a response to why we were both on-line at 2:22 am: Up Late Too.

We might have been reconfirming our meet-up plan for Friday, August 21st, or maybe he just caught me on-line reviewing his profile, or both.

I don’t know. I do know that this was the first time I noticed that, according to detroit.matchmaker.com, Jeff909 and I were rated a lowly 27% match.

See for yourself below.

Quote for the Week:

2015 10 13 Even as means and methods of communication jakorte

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Jeff909 1998 Detroit.Matchmaker.Com Profile:  Jeff909profiledocument1998

Since 1986: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matchmaker.com

Glad I Didn’t Know Then: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientific-flaws-online-dating-sites/

 

 

Back Then

My very persistent neighbor: she was the one who in the young years of internet discovered a still sort of secret underground and introduced me to the world of on-line dating.

Back then, it was secretive – not something shared in casual conversation. She confided her success and mentioned more than once, I should do it. I thought it seemed a bit sketchy, perhaps unsafe.

Back then, it was quite general and sparsely specific. She affiliated with Ebony Matchmaker. There were other more general options: Boston Matchmaker, Atlanta Matchmaker. Detroit Matchmaker was the closest I was going to come. If you were in Michigan, that was the one to use.

One weekend evening with a bottle of wine, she sat me down to explore. After a while, we agreed I might as well complete the questionnaire even if I wasn’t planning on using the profile because it would help define what I was seeking in a mate. It wasn’t a quick easy click-click, yes or no, multiple choice deal. It required thought and time. Lots of time and no real “save” or “finish later” option.

Back then, it was dial-up and frequent failure and being cut-off if you were on too long. Back then, we got booted a lot, lost our work a lot.

Back then,  it was hugely unusual, and unusually forward, but this site employed a primitive self-activated auto-save feature every 15 minutes or so. Back then, it was considered a state-of-the-art thing for a website portal to offer.

We were booted twice; once at about 45 minutes and 2/3 through with only a partial save, and again a break and another glass of wine later very shortly after starting over and losing the part I had just redone.  “Forget this,” I said. “Waste of time, anyway.”

Ms. Persistence wouldn’t have it. We restarted the internet, re-logged in. I opened word-processing, quick-type abbreviated versions of the questions and formulated answers off-line. One more re-boot, re-log-in and it was done. I had a profile. And, I waited.

Within a few days, I had three communications. I went out with all three to very public places, employing safety measures. There was a Lansing Lugnuts game where I knew a promoter and shared my date plan. She stopped by our comped seats to say “Hi,” and check out how it was going. There was a coffee conversation in a small shop. I got there first again and parked very near the entry door. There was a dinner date at a new and local brewery, where I advised the hostess I may suddenly decide to leave, alone. That one became a second date at a movie theatre in Flint, where I told the confused ticket booth operator that I was nervous. Didn’t know why since I had already met him, but it made me feel better to just report.

I liked the movie theatre guy. We set another date. Friday night came and he canceled. We re-scheduled for the following Friday night – my birthday. Again, he canceled. This time announcing he wasn’t sure he’d reschedule because he had met another person on-line and was planning on going out with her again. If it didn’t work out, he would call me. I was not amused. I also hadn’t logged-in checked my account for a few weeks, unaware that I had been put on hold while he was shopping for something better.

Back then, picture uploads took a long time, required a lot memory and were always somewhat grainy. My somewhat long-load photo was taken at Universal Studios, Florida, while I was in the arms of King Kong. The shopper guy told me he almost didn’t wait for the photo to finish loading, thinking it was a fake profile.

I had one message waiting for me. The tiny size-of-a-postage-stamp on-screen photo attached was taken from a ways off, cropped.  I could determine it was a man in a red shirt and jeans who appeared to be standing in a field. I wasn’t all that sure, but it looked as if he might have a beard, and a ball cap made it impossible to determine if he actually had hair.

The brief and simple, to-the-point, two-liner read, “Hi, my name is Jeff. Would you like to meet?”

Quote for the Week:

Persistence true friend 10 06 2015

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Facts and Figures: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/20/5-facts-about-online-dating/

Algorithms and Skeptics: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/science/skepticism-as-eharmony-defends-its-matchmaking-algorithm.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Seven Pages: http://www.datingsitesreviews.com/staticpages/index.php?page=11DatingSites