Warning…this is sort of long!
A while back, I had mentioned my eHarmony story, and there were at least a couple of people who wanted to hear it. I wrote it up once to submit to something or another, so it’s even relatively polished.
I’m going to cut, so you can skip right over it if you want. 🙂
A few years ago, I was convinced to try eHarmony.com; they of the “29 dimensions of compatibility.”
During my trial period, I only communicated with one person, and I almost didn’t respond to him based on his photo. His name was R***, and he wasn’t physically my type at all. He was wearing a sleeveless black button-down shirt, exposing rather buff-looking upper arms, had shockingly blond hair slicked back with gel, and ridiculous sunglasses. He was in a country cover band, and the photo was apparently from a gig.
But I kept on, and when we reached the “open communication stage”, he was quick to ask if he could call me.
“Sorry,” he apologized. “I probably should have waited, but I’m really excited about meeting you.”
We decided to meet for a drink. I thought he was much better looking in person. Still not exactly my type, but very nice and very charming. We got a booth, ordered a couple of drinks and dessert, and enjoyed a great conversation.
He asked me what kind of music I liked, and I figured he was probably used to girls telling him they didn’t like country. I’d grown up in the hills of Pennsylvania where there were three choices on the radio: Pop, Classic Rock, and Country. I told R*** there was a bit of a country girl in me.
He asked if I wanted to go out to his car and listen to some of his music and talk some more. I agreed, and we headed out to the car. As we listened, I told him about my ex. He told me about his ex-fiance who had broken off the engagement ten days before their wedding, by telling him she was pregnant with another man’s child.
I noticed that it was getting late, and told him that I should probably get going.
“Sure,” he said. “So, do you want to do this again?”
We decided that yes, we would see each other again, but it proved to be difficult. I was supposed to meet him for dinner after work, but he called and rescheduled, telling me he’d been in a minor car accident.
We rescheduled again, and those plans got canceled because he was sick. It was just before Christmas, and I’d nearly given up on him.
After the holidays, we did manage to get in touch again, and made plans to see a movie. He said he’d call. He didn’t call.
I let several days go by, fuming at his apparent total disregard for human decency. I wanted to call him and rip into him for being such a complete a**hole.
I dragged myself up off the couch, where I had been in wallowing mode, and got in the shower. While in the shower, I decided that I was going to call R*** and find out what the hell happened. Nothing to lose, right?
“Oh my God, you’re alive!” he said.
“I’m alive? What about you?”
“You never called me back,” he said.
“I got your machine. I left a message.”
“Nope, not my machine,” I said.
I told him that I thought he was a total jerk for blowing me off and had been badmouthing him for the last five days. He said he’d thought the same about me.
We decided to try again, for the following Saturday. He had a gig that night, so it would have to be an afternoon show.
He called around noon. We agreed on a 5:00 show, and he said he’d call when he was on his way.
I waited for the phone to ring at 4:30. Nothing. At 4:45, knowing we wouldn’t be able to make the 5 pm show, I called him. I got his voice mail. At 5:15, my phone rang.
“Erin, I am so sorry. This has been a crazy—“
He stopped abruptly, distracted.
“—Oh. My. God. Can I call you back?”
“Sure,” I said. Whatever.
Much to my non-surprise, the phone didn’t ring. I tried his place at around 8, and his brother told me that he’d “gone to the store.” I looked up the bar where he was playing and called for the show time.
I called Jen and asked her if she was up for a little ride. Mostly, I wanted to see how he would react when I showed up there. I was curious to hear what he’d have to say THIS time.
A few hours later, Jen and I were pulling up in front of the Wee Too Bar & Grill, in lovely Niagara Falls, NY.
As expected, the place was a total dive.
Jen and I immediately headed for the bar. I ordered a drink, and saw R*** look over at me from the opposite end of the bar, near the stage. He looked surprised. Jen ordered me a shot of SoCo.
“A shot of courage,” she said.
We looked around the place. The mullet ratio was surprisingly low. We decided to get quarters and play darts. We’re on the opposite end of the bar from the band, but I was sure R*** could see me.
When we finished our game, Jen went outside to answer a phone call. I was hanging out alone back by the jukebox. During one of the songs, someone else was singing, and R*** practically sprinted over to talk to me.
“I spent the day at the hospital. Our bass player had to have his leg amputated.”
“And then,” he said, “My ex showed up. The one I was supposed to marry, who got pregnant? She’s HERE. She just showed up at my house. I didn’t even know she knew where I lived.”
This couldn’t possibly be true, could it? “You’re kidding?” It was half question-half statement.
“No. I swear to God. I wanted to warn you. She’s kind of crazy, and I really don’t want her to start anything, so if I don’t get to talk to you again before you go, I’ll call you and we’ll reschedule.”
I was having difficulty forming words. It was too absurd. “Um, okay?”
At that, he ran back to the stage to finish the set. I was thinking that he either had to be a) insane; b) a pathological liar; or c) a character in a farce.
I sat alone until Jen returned. I filled her in on R***’s story.
“Oh come on,” she said. “That can’t be true.”
”But isn’t it too absurd NOT to be true?”
R*** finally did call me around 10 on Sunday night. I was online, so he got my internet answering service.
“I just left the hospital. I owe you the biggest apology in the world…screw that, the solar system…f*** it, the UNIVERSE. I’m so sorry. I had the worst day yesterday. Please let me make it up to you.”
I logged off and called him back, trying to make a joke about him being a pathological liar, and he got defensive.
“I swear to you, it’s true. You can call the hospital. Check the room.”
“Okay, okay,” I say. “But think about how this sounds to me for a minute…we go on one date. We schedule another date and you get in a car accident. Then you get pneumonia. Then you say you called and left me a message that I never got. THEN your bass player has his leg amputated AND your ex fiance shows up?”
He kind of half-laughed “Yeah, it does sound kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? I told my mom about it, and she said if she were you, she probably wouldn’t believe me either. I’m such a jerk,” he said. “You’ve got to let me make this up to you.”
I caved. We made plans, for the last time, to see the movie. I got off the phone and immediately called Jen.
“This is it,” I said. “He begged me for one more chance, and this is it.”
“Is he worth it?” she asked.
I didn’t know, but I needed to find out.
Saturday afternoon, I waited patiently at the top of the escalator, watching for R***. I hoped that I wasn’t making an ass of myself. I checked my watch. It was still early
Finally, I saw him gliding up the escalator toward me.
“You’re here,” I said, grinning.
“Of course I am,” he said. He walked toward me and reached out his arms to hug me. “I can’t even begin to tell you how sorry I am.”
I waited for nearly the entire movie for him to take my hand. When he finally did, my stomach did a little leap. He softly rubbed my fingers with his, and I thought maybe it would be worth it after all. When we left the theater, he put his arm around me.
We walked to the door, and paused a moment before braving the cold to go back to our cars. It was still early, only about 6:30.
“What do you want to do?” I asked.
“Well, I’d love to hang out with you more, but I need to go to the hospital to visit Jim.”
Ah, yes. The friend. With one leg. I shouldn’t joke.
“How about dinner tomorrow?” He asked.
“Sure,” I agreed.
“Okay. I’ll call you tonight after I get home.”
We walked out into the parking lot, and got to his car first. I started to say goodbye, but R*** offered to drive me to my car.
“I’m only a few spaces down,” I said. “But thanks.”
“Okay,” he shrugged.
I hugged him, and he kissed me briefly on the lips.
I smiled. “Talk to you soon.”
He called me later that night and chided me for not letting him take me to my car.
“If you’d let me drive you to your car, I could have given you a real kiss.” Er…yeah. That actually hadn’t occurred to me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Let me make this one up to you.”
We made plans for dinner the following day. He said he’d call me to let me know what time he’d be done working, and then he’d come and pick me up.
He called mid-afternoon to let me know he was going to be late.
“I’m not sure how late it’ll be,” he said, “but I’d still like to see you. I’ll call you when I’m ready to leave. It’ll probably be around 7.”
Seven o’clock came, and no phone call. I paced around my apartment. At 7:30, I decided to try his phone again. No answer. I tried his house, and his brother answered.
“Sorry, he’s not here. He went to the store.”
Um, right. The store. What was his excuse this time?
I left one last message at around 8, saying that I was hungry and I was just giving him one last try before I cooked myself dinner.
I never heard from R*** again. “29 dimensions of compatibility” my ass.