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Single In The Suburbs, Installment 8


In our 8th installment, our writer finds out the truth about her long-distance sweetie, the doctor.

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n her last installment, our writer — a Midwestern single mom — was feeling giddy about her new guy, Tony. But now, she has reason to believe he’s been much less than truthful with her. How should she proceed?

Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
I can’t begin to describe the queasiness in my gut. My face is hot, my hands are tingling—signs I recognize as the beginning of a full-blown anxiety attack. I’m sure that I’ve been scammed by Dr. Tony, who told me he’s affiliated with a hospital that apparently has never heard of the guy. I’m embarrassed. Ashamed. Afraid. Whatever
I can’t begin to describe the queasiness in my gut. My face is hot, my hands are tingling—I’m sure he’s lying to me.
doubts I had about online dating are now flooding to the fore. I can imagine what Sherry, my friend and ubiquitous inner critic, would say now: I told you this Internet dating thing was a mistake, Sara.

I take a deep breath and call Tony. I’ve got to know the truth, and I might as well confront him directly.

“Hey there,” I say, aiming for a light tone. My mind is scrambling for a pretext for calling him. I manage to find one: “I just wanted to go over these driving directions with you.”

“Sure,” he says. “I don’t want you to get lost.”

I’ll bet you don’t, I think to myself, my fertile imagination conjuring up all kinds of horrible scenarios awaiting me. I quickly review the MapQuest driving directions which, he says, are perfect.

“So… ” I continue, “Are you having a relaxing Sunday or are you on call today?”

“Nope, not on call. Just pulling some paperwork together for my accountant. Tax season. You know how it is.”

“I sure do.” Pause. OK. I’m going in. “It must be hard to be on call at the hospital. I mean, when you’d rather just kick back and enjoy your weekend.”

“Oh, I’m used to it by now.”

“Are there enough doctors there to share the load? At the hospital. What hospital did you say you’re affiliated with?” There. I said it. Now I hold my breath and wait for an answer.

It turns out that Tony isn’t with the university hospital as I thought. He’s with the state hospital. My mistake entirely. As we’re chatting, I quietly keyboard my way to the state hospital’s website and scroll through the staff directory until I find his picture and bio. A profound feeling of relief washes over me. Now I feel silly for suspected that Tony was some kind of lying maniac.

Monday, 6 p.m.
I check my inbox. Gene, the chiropractor, writes back. He sounds nice but a bit too athletic. Not that I mind athletic people, but I sense that he wouldn’t be happy with me. On the other hand, I hesitate to judge anyone by his emails (I’ve seen best friendships and family relationships blow to pieces because email tones are misinterpreted so I try not to read too much into them.) This guy is a basketball coach, a runner and “avid bike-rider.” I re-read his profile and see that he’s looking for someone with a toned body. I’m
He says there will be “no pressure” to do anything I didn’t feel comfortable with. He must be a mind-reader.
self-conscious enough to begin with. I think I’d find it hard to relax with someone whose ideal is so different from my physical reality. I write back and let him know that I probably don’t qualify. We’ll see if he responds.

Quite honestly, I’m not sure I have it in me to date more than one guy at a time. I know that whatever is happening with Tony is still in its embryonic stage and I probably shouldn’t foreclose on other options. I don’t know… it just feels weird to be stirring things up with yet another guy while I’m making plans to spend the weekend with Tony.

Wednesday, 9 a.m.
Gene has written back. “On second thought, we’re probably not a good match.” I try not to feel hurt — after all, he was just being honest and besides, I wouldn’t want to date anyone so concerned with the superficial — but I have to admit that I’m insulted. Oh well.

Thursday 12:45 p.m.
I packed a turkey sandwich for lunch but I can’t eat. I’m nervous about tomorrow. I’ve already sent Tony’s contact information to Sherry and Craig (yes, I know it’s weird to be involving my ex-husband this way but he’s one of the few people on this planet who actually cares about my wellbeing). I keep telling myself, I’m not a teenager, I’m an adult. I’m allowed to come and go as I please. I can drive out of town for a date. I can even sleep with him if I want. Those are just a few of the many privileges of being a grown-up, right?

Friday, 3:20 p.m.
Tony calls to make sure I’m still coming. I find this interesting. I wonder how many women have promised to make this same trip, then reneged at the last minute. I assure him that I topped off the gas tank and my overnight is packed and ready to go. He reminds me that I’ll have my own bedroom and there will be “no pressure” to do anything I didn’t feel comfortable with. The guy must be a mind-reader.

My plan is to leave straight from work. Craig has the kids and has agreed to feed the dogs while I’m away. I’m not sure I feel totally comfortable with him in the house but pet-sitters are no longer in my budget (along with weekly manicures, HBO and a housecleaner.) OK. Time to stop whining and hit the road.

I wonder what Tony’s house looks like. I wonder if we’ll have real chemistry between us. Most of all, I wonder whether I’m about to experience sex for the first time since my marriage ended. I guess I’ll find out soon enough…


Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 9


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