Let's take more than a few steps backward first.
The first guy I went out with after signing up for online dating was actually not someone who had winked, poked, nudged, or otherwise digitally harassed me. He was one of several friends of several friends who I had never even heard of before but who seemed to have materialized out of nowhere as soon as I went online. Where were these guys before I went and spent three months' salary on a subscription that would hopefully end up in a ring, huh? Now all these guys suddenly decide to show up? Wait your turn, buddy. Get in line. Behind the throngs of guys who, um, you know, haven’t actually hit me up online yet.
I agreed to meet him even though he was, of all things…
CALL THE DOCTOR
The last guy I needed to be set up with was a doctor. I was already seeing a doctor. In fact, I was probably seeing three different doctors for the five different diseases that I had gotten from the most serious, committed long-term relationship I had had yet, my obsession with webMD.
You would think that a girl with a terminal case of hypochondria like me, would be relieved by the prospect of meeting, dating, and possibly spending the rest of her life with a real-life, real-time version of webMD, where she already currently spends her entire life. And any other normal girl would have loved the opportunity to go out with a doctor. A doctor! Smart. Educated. Not necessarily wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, but guaranteed a good solid income for oh, the next 25 years. Which means “family” and “kids,” comfortably, would be a very real possibility, if not a promise.
But when my girlfriend told me he was a doctor, I had my usual reaction — the same reaction you have when your doctor tells you that you have to take antibiotics so you can’t drink for ten days. Teeth gritted, furrowed brow semi-frown that makes the sound hybrid of “ooh” and “ew.”
Ooh-eew. Really? Do I have a choice in this matter? I know I should take medicine, but like, really? Do I have to? Because I’m pretty sure I’d rather just let this white hot bleeding cesspool of an infection slowly burn its way through my body than give up drinking, and besides doesn’t alcohol act as antiseptic and actually kill germs?
Patients can’t be boozers and dating losers can’t be choosers.
Before the Dr. and I met for sushi at the restaurant that I had to pick (which is a cold, sore subject for a different post), I did my best to have an open mind by clearing it of all the associations I had with doctors. Not only are my Grandfather and Dad doctors, and not only are all of my Dad’s friends doctors, but all of my Dad’s friends’ sons are doctors with whom my parents tried to “match” me for the last 20 years unsuccessfully because I refused to meet any guy who clearly had to have some gross physical deformity because if he is a doctor and polite and nice, wouldn’t he already be married?!
Oh, were there some Daddy issues buried in that paragraph somewhere?
The Dr. was, indeed, polite and nice, but we had zero chemistry, which was a bummer to realize right before sitting down to a dinner that would have to last at least an hour. In the beginning, we had the menu and task of ordering food as a conversation crutch. After the food came to the table and we expressed our initial observations and opinions, though, we had a hard time keeping the conversation going because we did not have a single common interests on which to build. One of us would ask a question and the other would reply with answer that didn't really flow naturally into something else. There would be an awkward silence and then another, unrelated question. I have better, livelier banter with my 53-year-old male gynecologist when he's elbow deep with salad tongs and an ice cold spatula.
"So," I was trying, "what do you like to do on the weekends when you're not, you know, saving lives?"
Really? A one-word answer?
Then finally he hail mary-ed a followup question, "Do you like the beach?" he asked me.
Oh God. I had agreed to meet him even though he was, of all things, a doctor, but had I known he was a surfer...
I gave up.
"Actually, I hate the beach."
Strangely enough, after that exchange, the rest of dinner was fine, almost pleasant, the way dinner to welcome and get to know a new co-worker might be. I don't remember a single topic of our conversation, but I do know that the sushi was, as it always is, on point.
After dinner, which he generously paid for, we said our friendly "good-bye drive safely," and didn't even head down the direction of "next time."
The next morning, I made an appointment for my annual pap.