First-Date Friday: Harry Psychologist

My fourth Tinder date was Harry Psychologist who was, ahem, a hairy psychologist.

This date went into the spreadsheet (yes, there is a spreadsheet of all my online dates, because they are numerous and my memory is terrible) as “Big Fizzle.” But in reality, if you have a fear of intimacy, then it was perfect: you meet up with an actual human man, the two of you reach an amicable consensus that you’re not a match, which spares everyone the drama and suspense of unrequited interest, you bask in your friends’ sympathy and admiration when you call from the car on the ride home to report that you’ve just completed another unsuccessful Tinder date and did not get murdered, then you revel in a confounding, conflicting wave of relief that it didn’t work out but also self-satisfaction that you’re not actually trying to remain single, and finally, you nestle into bed for the night with the dog and a bowl of potato chips bigger than your head. At seven p.m.

Win, win, win!

This date also yielded a very Practical Tip for would-be suitors: Do Your Research.

The hardest part of online dating is setting the actual meet, which is no mean feat in a large metro area when the party of the first lives twenty miles from where she works and, usually in the opposite direction, twenty miles from the party of the second. Even so, I am often reluctant to be assertive, because I have found that the cocktail of assertiveness, intellect, and PhD credential is a guaranteed boner killer. So I tend to be pretty chill about The Plan. In this case, I demurely allowed Harry to choose the setting. He graciously suggested he come to my side of town, but I guess he also felt like he had something to prove, because he kept making sweeping assurances that he “knew the area.” He declined all suggestions or offers of assistance in choosing a place to meet for coffee.

We did meet in a coffee place, in the sense that they sold coffee. In beans. By the bushel. And they had no seating.

We took our “samples” out to a park bench near the water, which was a good save. As Harry and I discovered the nothing we had in common, I took note of his piercing blue eyes (gorgeous, actually), the doughy physique he had skillfully managed to hide in his profile pictures, and a LOT of body hair. I got a good view, because, like my previous online date, he was wearing a diaphanous white shirt–you know, the kind you wear when you ride a horse bareback through a meadow. It’s a hard look to pull off if you’re not posing for the cover of a 1980s romance novel, is all I’m saying.

Harry was a psychologist who treated people recovering from addiction or serious mental illness. But he worked for a private firm that provided round-the-clock, in-home support for very wealthy people. I can be pretty judgey about wealth, so I kept reminding myself as he talked that sick people deserve the best care they can get. But I was uncomfortable with his degree of comfort with a system that rations healthcare to people based not on how ill they are, but on how much they can pay. He no doubt sensed my ambivalence.

After about an hour, I made the usual excuses, and we walked to our cars. Harry was parked across the street from me and made a beeline for his ride. No hug, no awkward assessment of the encounter, just a mutual desire to return to our own lives in disappointment–or relief.

The dog, the chips, and a half-dozen online episodes of good-bad TV–it’s just like taking a nap in a snowbank when you’re already hypothermic: warm…cozy…lethal.

 

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