Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why beauty is only skin deep, and I am shallow

It's hard to explain how I let myself fall so fast for some guy from the Internet I had never even met before, just on the basis of a few e-mails. But when I say that we had so much in common, and his spelling and grammar were impeccable, it was more than that, of course. How to explain? Ok, so, you know how if you were to go on Facebook and just start clicking on pictures of couples, you would find a freakishly high number of people who are dating or married to people who look just like them? No, think about it. It's not a 100% thing, of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but I can't help but notice time and again that people end up with other people who look just like them. My cousin and her husband are both petite, blond-haired and blue-eyed. In middle school my band teacher and his wife looked so much alike that we all used to joke that they could have been brother and sister. Whatever else it may be, and for whatever the reasons, it's a vague recognition of yourself in someone else, even if it's unconscious; it's a small bit of something familiar and safe.

In the absence of anything physical to build upon with this guy, all I had were his words, and even from the first e-mail there was an immediate sense of comfort and ease. There was that hint of recognition of yourself in someone else. With only his words to go by, Internet--I fell for a guy who writes exactly like me.

Take this exchange that happened after I realized I had made a critical and embarrassing error in my depiction of the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:

Oh my god, I just realized I said "Robert Newman" before. It was going to keep me up all night worrying about it unless I got it off my chest. I feel a little better now. 
-R

R,
For the record, I'm not the kind of guy who's going to judge somebody for not saying exactly the right thing. If I know what you mean, it's all good. I'm personally a little dyslexic. I still remember the time I was in the library and spent way too long looking for The Wrath of Grapes. So I googled Robert Newman. And now I totally think you watch Guiding Light. Which is awesome.
-S

For the record, I'm a General Hospital girl. Also for the record, while a Robert Redford/Paul Newman hybrid would be all kinds of awesome, I'm for Paul Newman, all the way.
-R

[Then, after a conversation on the French poet, Rimbaud, in which he mentioned the poetry inherent in the language:]

R,
So after I wrote you, Robert Newman called me. He tried to explain that describing a poet's words as having a certain poetry was just dumb. He thought I probably meant to say they were especially lyrical or something.

I told him to fuck off.

I said, "Fuck off, Robert Newman. Go worry about your niece who's carrying your father-in-law's love child and leave me alone." He then looked stunned for his close up as dramatic music ended the scene.
-S

I mean, how do you not fall for a guy who would write something like that? Then there was this, after I asked him what his favorite Halloween costume as a kid had been:

My favorite costumes probably date back to elementary school. Teen Wolf, Ewok, Alf. But Alf was horrible to trick or treat in. I went with a friend of mine and I couldn't grab anything with my hands. People would ask to take pictures of me because I was so awesome, but I couldn't grab my own candy out of their bowls. My friend had to do it. Thinking back I can still smell the plastic of the Alf mask, looking through the little holes, watching him grab me a box of raisins (RAISINS!) and put it in my trick-or-treat bag. I was actually really mad that out of a basket of candy bars he got me raisins.

I learned a lot about life that Halloween. People wanting to take your picture isn't worth missing out on a candy bar.

But I got back at him. I convinced him that the best dessert at the school cafeteria was something called 'barf on a stick'. And so one day he had money for ice cream and went up to the cafeteria lady and asked her for barf, on a stick. It was FUCKING. EPIC.


Now, I don't usually laugh out loud at e-mails, but... Sigh. I click back to his pictures on his Myspace profile, and I see a happy guy with twinkling eyes and a big, infectious smile, or sometimes a mysterious grin, only the corners of his mouth turning up, like he's holding onto a secret, and it's the best kind. He was younger then, sure, but one of the pictures only dates back a couple years. That was him a couple years ago; I can deal with that. But I don't know where that guy is anymore. I looked, but I didn't see him. I looked for his eyes but they were hidden behind thick glasses, too long hair, a baseball hat. His smile was covered by a scraggly, unkempt beard, and the rest of him hidden behind baggy clothes and extra weight. Is he still there, under all that? How do I find him? 

I can't tell him this and I can't ask him to change, and I know I have absolutely no say in the matter, but it really is such a damn shame.

20 comments:

  1. Most people say that Jeremy and I look like brother and sister. He's appalled by this ("Why would I want to be married to my sister?? I don't even HAVE a sister!") but I think it's amusing. And your theory is true.

    You're right, too, about wanting to see what you want to see when you look at someone's photo, especially when their words are sooooooo good. (And his were.)

    I should have told you this in your previous post. It's never too late. I met a guy on a dating site. He was in NYC, I was in Montreal. He was terrific. Had the words, the humor, the looks, the whole damn thing.

    While he was on his way (on the freaking plane!), I happened to Google him. Um, should've done that a few days before! He had been in prison for insider trading. GULP! I looked into the future: "Hey, Dad. This is the man I'm dating. He's an ex-con!" That would go over well.

    When he got to my house, we talked about it. He said that he should have told me before he booked his flight. (Ya think?) He also told me that, TECHNICALLY, he wasn't supposed to have travelled outside the U.S. I said, "Well, don't worry. You won't do it anymore."

    Pictures are worth a thousand words, but sometimes you need to hear two thousand to have the whole story.

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  2. The whole thing is comically epic. Maybe he just needs a friend to motivate him to go back to his original self? And yes, I too am that shallow. Let me tell you that my husband was in love with me for 4 years (and I knew it) before we finally dated because I wasn't attracted to him. It's not necessarily shallow, you really can't help what you're attracted to. You can get past it (or they can change as in my situation).

    And now? Yep, we have similar features when it comes to our paleness and our dark brown hair and long ass torsos, but other than that, not really. I'm definitely Irish and he's definitely not so much.

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  3. Physically, I mean, if my shoulders are fucking wider than his it's off. No way. It'll never work. Unless you can make me laugh like, out loud and for real. It's a lot harder than it sounds. None of those guys that are all, "my friends are crazy!" and then next thing you know you're at some fratcore oxford shirt bar full of dudes that quote Will Ferrill and think you have no sense of humor because you don't. Squirrels. The lot of them.

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  4. Dawn--Wait, so you're telling me that you met one guy on an online dating website who flew out to meet you, and another who proposed marriage? Obviously I have a lot to learn from you. Do you give seminars?

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  5. I hope for your sake he can find the motivation to go back to his old self. Or is the new look the image he wants to project?

    I've never been attracted to Asians, so I always knew I'd never have a lookalike partner. I'm thin, pale and darkhaired/eyed, he's stocky, freckled, blue eyed and curly haired.

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  6. I once fell for a guy online because he made ME write better when I chatted with him and exchanged e-mails. We never met, because the timing was all wrong, and I've never again run across another guy who made me write that way.

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  7. I had to laugh at the whole looking alike thing because me and my boyfriend looking absolutely NOTHING alike (I guess the looking alike thing probably doesn't work in interracial relationships?)!

    I am short, with dreadlocks and chocolate skin and he is very tall, white, with super straight light brown hair.. lol... I think people are surprised to see two people who look so different together! We always joke about our future kids not looking like either one of us.

    As for writing the same, not a chance- he's German and sometimes his English is... interesting to say the least!

    I'd like to say that opposites attract ;-)

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  8. I have a question here Miss R. Are you saying that if he got back to his former self, you know lost a few pounds and cut his hair and shaved and shit AND still sold drugs you'd date him? i'm just curious.

    and i can't wait for the day i find a girl who writes just like me... a girl who rebels against punctuation, who loves the ellipsis, who can write a run-on sentence two pages long... wait on second thought that would be horrible...

    and thank you by the way for the kind words over at the lounge, be careful what you wish for though and if this whole teaching thing doesn't work out i know some guy who might need and editor, but i'll be alot of work believe me, guy's a trainwreck.

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  9. He's a former drug dealer, Kono, geez. I wouldn't date a current drug dealer, no. He was basically an accountant, anyway...heh.

    So, I pulled the douche bag move and sent him an e-mail casually "suggesting" he might shave and take off the glasses and let me get a look at him. Of course this was after I already sent another e-mail suggesting we might be better off as just friends. So that...didn't go over so well. Sigh.

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  10. Totally off topic-
    OMG! For some reason I'm very excited that you watch GH! I feel the need for every sentence to be an exclamation!I couldn't even finish reading the post because I just kept waiting to leave a comment about how much I love Brenda being back and how I feel transported to the 90s and high school (and me thinking my stupid bf and I were just like S&B) and the time of GH greatness.
    Sorry, I will come back to read the rest of the post tomorrow and cease being a total freak.

    P.S. I emailed someone yesterday and typed "no" when it should have been "know" and have since been thinking about emailing them back to tell them I know the difference.

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  11. Chrys--I haven't watched GH in about a decade. But OMG, BRENDA IS BACK????? This changes everything. I may have to start watching again. (Damn school, always getting in the way of my soaps.)

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  12. So all he really did was launder money while his friends did all the dirty work? i want to punch this guy more and more.

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  13. LOL Rachel. No seminars... just patience (of which I previously had virtually none).

    A bunch of guys flew out to meet me, but that's not saying much -- that was the norm on JDate. It was truly bizarre.

    But, yes, I met the guy that I married on that site, too. He was (is? LOL!) among the few truly normal guys on that site.

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  14. Totally hijacking but GH was my high school obsession...I loved Sonny and Brenda! BRENDA is back - sweet...any one know if it streams to Europe?! LOL

    Count yourself lucky you actually got a date! I was on match.com in its infancy and had so many potential dates but never actually met them in person...there were always weird last minute excuses. I gave up and tuned out! You will meet someone but in the meantime these stories are hilarious ;) You're a great writer!

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  15. Damn. I guess he was hoping that the relationship he'd forged with you online would be enough to keep you from changing your mind when you actually saw him.

    It sucks...I wish he could have been more honest in that way b/c his personality sounds really awesome.

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  16. Wow. Argh, why couldn't he just have been the whole package!? Too easy, I guess.

    If it makes you feel better, I once went on an internet date where after having talked to him on the phone, emailed, gotten to the point where I could be myself with the guy, liked him enough...I show up at the bar to meet him and um? He's a quadrapalegic. Nope, that just never came up when we were getting to know each other. No warning, nothing. The whole date was royally awkward, and I felt totally betrayed and duped. Gah. (Not that I have anything against the disabled, but hey would have been nice to have known that up front.) Also, that night he assured me that "his junk works." ONE of my worst online dating stories ever.

    Do love his writing though. If you can keep him around in a casual acquaintance/friend capacity without him falling in love with you and wanting more, go for it. And if not, hide.

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  17. Well, jeez, I mean, Rimbaud, for god's sake. I didn't even know the French could write poetry, much less talk about its lyrical whatever. So maybe give it a shot, huh?

    M.

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  18. Thanks again for your honesty in this post. You said what we probably all think but can't admit about looks and love. He does sound a bit like your writing soulmate even if he's not your life soulmate. Maybe he really would be a good friend, if he's willing to go that route.

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  19. And this is why I've started trying to meet dudes after one round of emails instead of five... By five letters back and forth, I've decided he is The One, or at least smart and clever enough for *something*... and then we meet, and his laugh is obnoxious, and he weighs twenty pounds more than his photos suggest, and I'm just Not Into It, and look at how many clever words I've wasted.

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  20. i feel like he must've had his heart broken within those past 3 years, or however long?

    i mean he was self-conscious about meeting you, and clearly hoped you'd like him. yet he didn't bother to shave or get a hair cut ahead of time or ditch the hat or wear decent clothes. i smell a dude w/ his guard up, putting up a hurdle for a girl to jump over. wanting a girl to like him for him, in hopes that she won't leave him/cheat on him/whatever the last one did?

    that or he's just a pot head.

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