Single In The Suburbs, Installment 28

What’s dating after divorce really like? Read on as our columnist meets a new guy… and feels her luck changing.

By Sara Susannah Katz

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

ur writer has just begun a new online flirtation with a guy she deems Mr. Romantic… and a new job may be on the horizon.

Sunday, 8:15 p.m.
I respond to Mr. Romantic’s email with: “Is that a fact? And what, exactly, makes you the right man for the job?” I add a little winky face just to make sure he knows I’m flirting and not interrogating him. Thank God for emoticons.

Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Mr. Romantic has not responded but I do get an email from a guy who wants to know if
I send Hopeless Romantic a wink, then follow up with an email.
I’ve ever had a threesome. I don’t respond. (The answer, by the way, is no, I haven’t, but since my divorce I’ve met a lot of people who freely admit to threesomes, foursomes, and other configurations that I find interesting but ultimately unappealing.)

Sunday, 11 p.m.
Still no response from Mr. Romantic. I wonder if he was actually interested in me — Sara — or if he’s one of those mass marketing types that sends the same charming message to hundreds of hopefuls.

Either way, I’m too tired to wait for a response. I’m going to sleep.

Monday, 8:35 a.m.
I’m in the office of Alan Beeker, Dave Myer’s boss. I have just handed my resume to Kitty, Beeker’s secretary. I’d asked to see Beeker but he demurred; he told his secretary that I would first need to be recommended to him by the search committee. Apparently they follow a strict protocol, and he wants to keep things kosher. I’m disappointed — I’m wearing my best outfit, a tailored blue jacket and raw silk pants, and spent a half hour getting my hair and makeup just right — but I’m also optimistic. As far as I know, I’m the only one Dave Myers recommended for the job so it makes sense that he and Beeker would do everything possible to shepherd me in smoothly.

Monday, 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Romantic has written back. Finally. He says he’s just the man to restore my faith in Internet dating because he’s too new at this to be jaded, because he has been very selective about the women he approaches (I’m one of three in the past seven months) and decided to write to me only after he spent a good deal of time reading
I tell him I’m looking for someone to restore my faith in dating.
and re-reading my profile to be sure we’re a likely fit. He writes with sincerity and humor. I like him already.

Monday, 10:25 a.m.
“Tell me more,” I write back. “Tell me about your job, your family, hobbies, favorite foods, whatever you feel like sharing.”

Monday, 11:30 a.m.
New message from Romantic. He’s divorced and has two kids that live with him full time. Whenever I find out that a guy has full custody of his kids, my first thought is, Awww. My second thought is, his ex-wife must be some kind of degenerate if she doesn’t have at least partial custody of the children. And my third thought is, what kind of man would marry that kind of woman? (I admit it, I’m a worrier. My mind immediately races to the worst possible conclusions. Maybe it’s time I considered Prozac?)

He also said that his favorite food is pickled baloney which, coincidentally, happens to be my ex-husband’s favorite food. I didn’t even know pickled baloney existed until I met Craig.

Monday, 4:25 p.m.
I find myself going back to Mr. Romantic’s profile and looking at his pictures. Mr. Romantic looks like a teddy bear, with his big paws and barrel chest. Which is just how I like it. I don’t go for the flat-bellied buff types; as Emma Thompson says in the movie Junior, I rather like a man with some upholstery.

My favorite picture shows him from the waist up, a gorgeous sunset behind him. He’s wearing a forest green fleece vest and a black thermal long-sleeved shirt. His eyes are pale blue, his hair is tousled (from an ocean breeze, I like to imagine), and he’s got a little half smile on his face. He’s got one thumb hooked over his belt buckle. He seems to be staring straight at me. No question, the man is sexy.

At least in this picture. I know that people tend to post their most flattering snapshots, and even the least photogenic among us can manage to eke out one or two good shots if the photographer is patient. (I’m speaking from personal experience; when I was ready to post pictures I enlisted the help of a supportive friend who took a million pictures of me from every conceivably flattering angle until we found a handful I deemed acceptable.)

Tuesday, 10:40 a.m.
Another quick message from Romantic. “Almost forgot to mention: I love to watch World Wrestling. I know it’s tacky and fake, but I think it’s fun.” That’s something else he has in common with my ex-husband. I try not to make more out of this than is necessary. He and Craig share a couple of interests: wrestling and pickled baloney. Big deal.

Tuesday, 4:49 p.m.
I get a call from the chair of the search committee. They want to meet me! The bad news is that I’m one of five people applying for the job.

They’re hoping to talk to all the applicants by next Friday. I ask if I could have the last appointment, based on the assumption that if they interview me first, they might forget how wonderful I am by the time they’ve talked to everyone else. Unfortunately they’ve already assigned the final slot to someone else. Darn. I agree to meet with them next Wednesday.

Tuesday, 5:10 p.m.
Brenda McAleer wants to know when I’ll be ready with her PowerPoint presentation. As a matter of fact, I tell her, it’s ready now. I invite her to take a seat and swivel my computer monitor in her direction. I’ve been working on this presentation for almost a month, and, frankly, it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever produced. It plays like a short film, with powerful images and beautifully moving music. I already played it for Steve Garton in development and caught him wiping away a tear. I hit play and sit back. I glance at Brenda. She is squinching up her face. Now she is scowling. And now she’s tapping her imperious little foot on the floor. I click pause. “Is there a problem?” I ask her.

She shakes her head. “It’s wrong. All wrong.” She sighs. “I’m sorry, Sara. This isn’t at all what I was looking for.”

I feel like crying. I pray instead: God, please get me out of here.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 29

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