New Hampshire was another state where I didn’t know anyone, so I found Mr. New Hampshire on a dating website. We met up at a local pizza place on Mother’s Day. It was packed.
I’d chosen Mr. New Hampshire because he said he loved to travel and he didn’t look like and ax murderer. He also said he was a good listener, which is always a good thing. When we met, though, I feared “good listener” meant “non-talker.” I wasn’t sure if he was shy, reserved, or totally uninterested in me, but he wasn’t saying much. I tried not to be insecure, but I had a fresh outbreak on my chin and I wondered if he was disappointed in my looks. He loosened up after a bit and I found that he was a talker if you got him on the right topics. He grew up in New Hampshire, so he was able to tell me quite a bit about the area. We talked about what we do and I found out he had one of those helping careers that I’m always attracted to.
“So do you ask all the guys questions about dating, or how does this work?” he said. Fair question. Several of the guys have been surprised I didn’t take notes.
“No, I just kind of let conversations go where they go,” I said. He nodded his head but didn’t say anything, like it would have been easier to answer questions than try to think of something to say.
“I’ve heard a lot of dating horror stories if you want to give me one of those,” I suggested. I could tell he was trying to think of something bad, but then he smiled.
“I dated a girl about a year ago,” he began. “I met her through a dating website. She contacted me, and I couldn’t believe it. She was gorgeous. On our third date, she said she had to tell me a secret. She said she wasn’t really doing admin at an office like she’d told me, but that she was really a stripper.”
My eyebrows shot up. “Wow. So . . . how did you feel about that?”
“Are you kidding me? It was awesome.”
Huh. Guess I could scratch Mr. New Hampshire off the list.
“So what happened? I mean, if you’re out with me today, things must not have worked out . . .”
“Well, she was a little bit crazy. Bipolar. And she didn’t want to take her medicine. And then one day she said she was moving to another state, so that was it.”
“Yeah, but it was okay. She had this gigantic pet rat that really bothered me. She would let it run around her place, and when she cooked, she had a special little plate and bowl for it. She would put him right up there on the table and serve him first before she sat down and ate with him. It was kind of weird.”
I shuddered. “That’s disgusting. Why didn’t you break it off with her when you saw that?”
He looked at me like I was an idiot. “She was a stripper,” he reiterated.
He asked what my ten-year plan was, and I said I had no idea. Over the years I'd considered getting a Masters, but getting a Masters seems to point towards a career direction and I never really had a career direction. I was always happy doing what I was doing, working at a church, so I didn’t work towards getting anything else.
“So what are you looking for in a woman, long term?” I asked.
“Someone who’s healthy, emotionally and physically,” he began, then listed several things that were pretty typical. He also mentioned “has goals,” which felt a bit like a dig after I’d just said I had no plans for my life, but I figured that made us even. He didn’t want me and my no goals and I didn’t want him and his stripper love. Fair enough.
We wandered around the downtown area where we met, window shopping and talking. We walked along the old historic homes and the waterfront. I felt a little dumb, having thought that New Hampshire was a landlocked state. Turns out there’s a little patch of land along the water between Maine and Massachusetts. We stopped at a little coffee shop and drank hot chocolate and talked some more, and then I had to move on. Not a love connection, but I appreciated his dry sense of humor. He was a good representative of New Hampshire.