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Chasing The American Dream

May 18, 2006


She's almost perfect.
She is so close to being everything.
She's almost perfect,
but she's not, she's not.
Lyrics by Ingram Hill from the song, Almost Perfect

I told you about my futile attempt to get a date for the James Blunt concert. Now it's time to explain why I needed a date...

A year can be a short time or a long time, depending on what the subject matter is. Since the subject here is dating/relating, a year in this case is a long time. Mentally, I remembered what it was like; physically, I’d forgotten. Mentally, it felt good to know that someone really liked me. She made me really look forward to each new day. She made the days go by quickly. It was that happy mental state that made me walk around with a smile on my face. That’s such a fulfilling feeling.

We met in a chat room. Where else, right? Typical me. I was a newbie; she was a veteran. I was pretty much laying low trying to figure out who was who. We exchanged pleasantries each time we ‘saw’ each other. I think almost in a kidding way, she finally said to me, “When are you gonna ask me out, Plantation?” I laughed and did just that, but I guess I didn’t respond quick enough because she made some sort of wise crack and left the room missing my reply. So I emailed her, told her I had indeed asked her out but that she missed it. So I asked her out again and so it began.

She wanted some basic information before agreeing to go out. I gave her everything, blog included. Yeah I know; you and I have had the blog/no blog argument before and once again, I didn’t listen. But she liked it and seemed rather intrigued by it. And man, she read like everything in it, and it still didn’t scare her. She told me she liked to write, too. And here’s one other interesting factoid. We discovered we had the same birthday. That seemed to be the clincher. And so, the first date was set. We were comfortable enough with each other to risk a dinner rather than a quickie coffee or drink date.

I drove an hour to meet her in her neck of the woods. As soon as I saw her, I realized the drive was worth it. She was even better looking in person than her picture. I felt those invisible physical attraction vibes. The one’s I’d not had in nearly a year. I put our name in, and we sat outside together on a comfortable wicker couch. We sipped wine, talked, and laughed. We learned we had many common interests; food, wine, music, and even sex. She was easy to talk to. We ordered some amazing coconut shrimp and talked. We even decided to eat dinner outside on the couch since it was so comfortable. A first, the hostess told me. Thing is, we never got to dinner. We talked for nearly three hours. I even stole a few kisses. After a short while and some more wine, I didn’t really need to steal them. She was a good kisser. I almost mentally melted. It was nice to feel that again. She seemed almost perfect. She smoked, but I was willing to overlook that. She had to go home to her kids; otherwise, I think the night could have gone a lot farther. No doubt, there would be a second date.

I suppose I took a bit of a risk for the second date, but we seemed comfortable with just about anything. So I invited her to spend a day at the beach with my sister and family who were here for their annual visit. She accepted without much trepidation. The weekend started and ended incredibly. She brought me a gift. Now THAT’s a switch, no? Usually it’s me bearing gifts. Through her reading of the blog, she found a particular red wine that I liked. It shocked me, really. And I knew it wasn’t a cheap purchase either. We spent the day at the beach, at the pool, cooking, eating, talking, laughing. She fit right into the family. Everyone got along great, especially her and I.

I had gotten her a hotel room so she didn’t have to drive home. There were no guarantees as they say, but we both knew it was inevitable that I’d probably stay with her. It was great. Mentally and physically, I felt really wonderful. She seemed to as well. During the next day plus, we ended up taking many of these “detours” as I explained to my sister every time we disappeared. She even blew off work on Monday and surprised me with my favorite Starbucks Iced Coffee. What a great weekend. I tried not to forward think, and I was doing well with that. She was doing most of the forward thinking. Again, quite the role reversal.

As you know, we took in a Miami Heat game and again had a blast although I drove her crazy with my incessant game analysis and statistics. She spent the next weekend with her kids. Her ex had them every other weekend. So the next weekend, I came to her house and we hung out. I actually gave HER a gift this time. Yeah, CDs. We shopped, took in a movie, dined out – typical “couple” stuff. Things seemed great. We got home late from dinner; it was around midnight. She was tired and there would be no detour. I really didn’t think much of it at the time. There was a detour in the morning and we shopped and ate a cool picnic-style lunched and watched NASCAR. Yes, she liked NASCAR. I ended up going home around 6 p.m.

The next weekend was an off-weekend with her kids, and then Monday night we were having an IM chat. We talked about the Miami Heat, hair curlers, eye glasses, porno stars, the usual stuff when seemingly out of nowhere…

Almost Perfect (AP): honey i really need to talk to you about something that would be much more appropriate face to face
plantationtodd: subject matter?
AP: us
plantationtoddt: uh oh
AP: you know i think you are terrific and you know how much i enjoy spending time with you
plantationtodd : waiting for the but
AP: its a big but
plantationtodd: spill it
AP: i have a lot going on here. with the girls...more than i even realized. and i dont think i have anything to put into cultivating a relationship other than with my children
plantationtodd: it's an extremely difficult thing..goodness knows; so now what? parting gifts?
AP: im sorry. this was really a hard decision for me. i didnt want to end up being another of your disappointments

She went on to tell me she was disappointed that she wasn’t as close to her daughters as she had either hoped or thought she was. I said I understood and I really did. She told me she couldn’t go to the concert and that was pretty much that. Friends. My specialty.

I was happy with myself for not losing it. There could be a number of reasons why, I suppose. I’m getting used to rejection or more experienced with it. Practice makes perfect after all. But I think it was more of her decision than anything to do with me. She chose her daughters over me. Could I really blame her? No. Rejection isn’t ever easy. Naturally, I was disappointed. Not upset, just disappointed. I mean, this all seemed so sudden. I thought about it and wondered how long she’d been thinking about it. The next day, I asked her.

AP: hi...are you ok?
Plantationtodd: hi. yeah, still a little {fill in appropriate adjective here} surprised/stunned. Have been wondering how long you have been thinking or maybe it was something about me you're not telling me about..you know, the usual monday morning quarterbacking thing...
AP: i will reiterate...i think you are a wonderful man. you have so many things to offer a woman. there really isnt anything i'm not telling you. i am really quite fond of you and care about you deeply. but i'm not feeling as passionately about you as i hoped i would, and perhaps if i did, i could justify trying to balance you and the girls. as it stands right now, i cant see past just them.
Plantationtodd: I’m trying to fight my usual tendency of overanalyzing what you're saying and just leave it at that. How long have you been thinking about this?
AP): i started questioning my priorities a few days ago…

She told me some more stuff about not being close enough to her daughters and that they were claiming she was always busy. Busy with me, I guess. But now I had some new information and I fought my weakness of overanalyzing, but how could I ignore those words, “…but i'm not feeling as passionately about you as i hoped i would, and perhaps if i did, i could justify trying to balance you and the girls.”

Now I was confused. Maybe I was really more a part of her decision than I thought. For two days, I thought it was a mother/daughter thing, but now I wondered if I hadn’t really met her expectations. I ran the scenario by one of my female ‘advisors.’ Without hesitation, my friend said it was me. If AP really liked me, she’d have found a way to balance it, just like she had said to me. Now in my mind, the pendulum swung back to me. I tried to get more answers the next day.

AP: everyone in my world wants to know how i could break up with someone so nice
plantationtodd : i think the words that stick most for me is that you didn't feel as passionately about me as you had hoped..think that sums it up
AP: i'm sure that is not easy to hear
Plantationtodd: can you elaborate on that at all? Maybe i can learn something.
AP: physically its not anything you did or didnt do. i hate that word chemistry, but i suppose its true. its either there or it isnt. passion is deep rooted. while i care for you and enjoy your company a lot, i think the passion or sparks were not as strong as i had hoped
plantationtodd : i guess i'm wondering when you realized this. The more i think about this, the more i think this was about me and not your girls; like you said, if there was chemistry on your part, you might have chosen the balance route. Oh well nuff said.
AP: i think i knew saturday nite when we got home. i should have wanted to make love and all i really wanted to do was sleep. im sorry todd. i really am. i wanted this to work and you are right, had there been more chemistry, maybe i would have chosen to at least try to balance my life

Well there you have it. It really was about me when you really get down to it. I did ask her if there was anything else, and she suggested that I not portray myself as a victim because women like their men to be stronger than they are. She made a good point. I over-share information. Next time, no blog. Maybe I’ll keep some of the “bad” stuff to myself and not be so open so soon. Worth a try, anyway.

As I think back now, what's disappointing is the fact that she “knew” yet there I lay in her bed totally unknowing and then spending the entire next day at her house unknowing. Gee, I wonder what she was thinking all that time? Honestly, I’d rather she'd have told me the night before that it just wasn’t working for her and to just call it a night.

Coincidence or not, things broke down soon after the jinx factor. One, I gave her CDs. Two days later it was over. Two, I bought two concert tickets. I told myself I wouldn’t. It seemed like a sure thing. Two days before the concert, it was over. Interesting but I know karma isn’t THAT strong. Nope, what it boils down to is this. Well, let me tell you a little story first. I was in Starbucks getting my iced coffee and while I was waiting in line, I started looking at some of the vocabulary words on the wall from that movie they were promoting, Akeelah and the Bee. And there it was, staring right at me.

Pulchritude – great physical beauty and appeal

I actually smiled. How appropriate. Sure, pulchritude may be a fancy word for chemistry, but that indeed, is really what it’s all about. And what's perhaps most disappointing is that I perceived it was there both inside the bedroom and outside. Just goes to show you, I still have a lot to learn.


  • Risk/reward, right?

    You had a great thing for a bit and were lucky to find someone who would be HONEST with you when they didn't feel "it".

    Some women would string you along, taking advantage of your generous nature instead.

    I understand needing the additional time from Saturday until the IM, too. Maybe she's like me and needed to process alone.

    I was hopeful about this woman -- especially since she loves sports!

    You'll find her, Todd.

    By Anonymous ~K, at 3:59 AM, May 18, 2006  

  • K is absolutely right. This woman was so honest you have to appreciate that. It is rare for anyone to be so upfront and so nice about it.

    Hang in there, Todd. The right one will come along.

    By Blogger Amy, at 9:28 AM, May 18, 2006  

  • Well...it looks like the cat's out of the bag, Plantman. I gave you my blessing to write about us freely. I only asked that you not be too hard on me, and I thank you for being the gentleman that you are.

    You are accurate about most of this, but mislead about a couple of things...(1) I loved reading your blog. If someone doesn't want to be with you because you have revealed yourself emotionally, then they are not worthy of giving yourself to. (2) I didn't "know" until I "knew". I'm not sure if you can understand that...it might be a chick thing. (3) When you were laying in my bed, I was not "thinking" about anything except how badly I wanted us to work. (4) If it helps at all, ending "this" was not easy for me.

    By Blogger Eatapeach, at 8:42 PM, May 18, 2006  

  • dont worry.. youll make someone a good wife one day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:47 PM, May 18, 2006  

  • Well, maybe it's better to find out early on and maybe with some people, it doesn't have to be fireorks and lightning bolts to be "IT"...maybe it can start moderately and then the person just grows on you until you realize that you have found the right person to spend your life with. Sometimes the chemistry grows and evolves too. (Voice of This experience 26 years married!!)

    Some fireworks fizzle out and can't go THE DISTANCE.
    And maybe you can be actual friends with this person..who knows...everything happens for a reason...

    By Blogger Mother of Invention, at 9:23 AM, May 19, 2006  

  • To both eatapeach and plant,

    Was it lack of chemistry? Or, was there chemistry that couldn't be sustained because there wasn't quite enough else going on in the relationship? Was it chemistry without compatibility? Or was one or the other of you simply not ready yet?

    I've had two relationships break up in the last two years for who knows what reason - well, probably, the reasons could be found in answer to the questions above. We talk, and try to explain why things didn't work out, but I wonder if we'll ever really know why one relationship works and another doesn't.

    Best to both of you. May the lightening that strikes but a few times in a lifetime strike both of you soon.


    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 1:08 AM, May 20, 2006  

  • I won't offer you advice, I'm sure you have plenty of that.

    But I just wanted to thank you for your pure honesty and beautiful writing. For some reason, this post touched me and I felt like I was sitting on my couch drinking a glass of wine and listening to your story one on one.

    I don't know why you haven't been snatched up by a woman- you have a very unique introspective attitude. You truly listen to your partner, learn who they are- maybe even put them before you on occasion :) Very rare in the man world.

    Anyway, I'm totally rambling.

    I know you'll find the wild chemistry soon.

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 3:56 PM, May 21, 2006  

  • MOI, Elizabeth, and GFF: Thanks for the kind comments and well-wishes.

    Dearest Sarah, your comment was the nicest one I've ever received here. Thank you so much. You're a dear.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 5:27 AM, May 22, 2006  

  • what a story. i'm sorry it didn't work out, but then, i'm not. you deserve much, much better. hang in there.

    By Anonymous melissa, at 11:56 PM, May 24, 2006  

  • Melissa - I don't think you are in any position to judge. It is one thing to offer support and encouragement to Todd, but to say in a roundabout way that you are glad things didn't work out for him because he deserves "much, much better" (than me) crosses boundaries, and puts you in a place you know nothing about.

    By Blogger Eatapeach, at 9:14 AM, May 26, 2006  

  • the "wild chemistry" shit is a myth when you're forty-something with kids and a career to deal with.... why don't you try NOT jumping into bed for the first 3 months or so, so you can actally GET TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER FIRST... what a concept

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:00 PM, May 31, 2006  

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