Blowing Up My Phone

Dearest Rachel –

You’re probably confused by that title, aren’t you? Yesterday I made a comment about the compulsion to throw my phone overboard, and today, it sounds like I’m talking about detonating it. What gives, you might be asking?

Well, honey, that’s not what it means when your phone ‘blows up’ these days. It hasn’t so much been ringing off the hook; rather, I just keep. getting. messages.

You see, thanks to getting the Internet package on board the cruise ship, I have continued to keep in touch with the dating app. And for whatever reason, things have gone a little crazy over the week. I just haven’t bothered to tell you about it, because… well, there’ve been a few other things going on.

First off, I should tell you that I’ve enrolled myself in a new social media network. Well, not new, necessarily, but newer than – and most decidedly not – Facebook. Originally, I had meant to get in touch with the gang that hangs out on for the ‘5 o’clock Somewhere’ chat on Thursdays, seeing as to how rarely I could tune into the chat/podcast when it was live. But I’m still not much of a social media animal, so I rarely hang out there at all. I do post links to these letters there, however; and, unlike Facebook or Twitter, it’s not an automatic process, so I have to make a deliberate effort to establish the link each time. I might actually give this particular letter a miss on there, to be honest.

That’s because my first new contact of the week came from this site, and I’m not sure she’d like it were she to recognize herself, necessarily. I’ll call her ‘Victoria’ for reasons that will become clear fairly shortly. I don’t know how she managed to find me, or why she would take the time to chat me up (more on that in a moment), but she started to send me text messages through the site, asking how I was, what I was doing… the usual small talk.

I checked out her home page on the site, and it turns out she’s got an eclectic résumé. She dabbles in cryptocurrency, and models dresses and lingerie. Her page is full of pictures of her in various… interesting… garments. And she looks good in them, too.

Too good, to be honest. Here’s a knockout in her late twenties talking to a fifty-year-old guy like me. You’d wonder why, whether she has some angle or something. Well, I did, anyway, and decided to ask her about that.

I had no idea I was stepping on a conversational land mine. She started off by appearing not to understand my question – ‘can’t I choose to talk to whoever I want to?’ which is certainly fair enough. But then she claimed that by asking such a question (and suggesting that she could certainly do better than the likes of me), I was insulting her. Not sure I followed that leap in logic. Then she accused me of being dramatic and hypocritical, at which point I am just lost trying to figure out where she’s going with this. All the while, she isn’t really addressing my question, which is whether she has a angle in talking to me or not. After all, she could have just said ‘no, but I see why you might think that,’ and left it at that. No fuss, no drama. I might not necessarily have believed it, but I’d probably have let it slide.

Finally, she tips her hand, however inadvertently. If I think she’s so far out of my league, she says, then I’m to send her a ‘gift’ to demonstrate how much I think she’s worth. Now, she may be real honey in pictures, but as someone I’d want to deal with personally, she isn’t worth a plugged nickel. I don’t say this, of course, but she can divine that I’m not about to come across with anything. After a few more choice epithets, she stops talking. I couldn’t tell you if she blocked me, as I’m not about to resume that conversation, I can tell you that.

While this is going on, over on the app I had begun to strike up a conversation with E.C. Hers is a very different story, and somewhat familiar in a less than ideal way. A novelist writing my story would look at her being from Skokie (like Naruko, remember?), and some of the absolute essays she’s sent me by email (as she wanted to tell me exactly what she was looking for in a life partner, but didn’t think it would fit in a chat – and by golly, she was right!), and the reader would know that these are signs that she’s probably another one to watch out for.

Still, for the moment, I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, responding in kind with my own framework of what I’m looking for (and maybe someday, I’ll make that a separate letter to you, once I’ve fleshed it out further), and swapping a few selfies. She seems more amenable than Naruko about the idea of meeting in person, so I may have further answers about her sooner rather than later. We’ll see how it goes.

Still, it bothers me that, as soon as we start texting (and emailing), she deleted her profile. To me, that’s not a good sign. She claims it’s because she’d gotten so many replies to her profile (she said she got messages from something like seventy different guys), which I should consider myself lucky to have her attention, but that’s assuming that she’s telling the truth about herself. I wish I didn’t feel the need to be so suspicious,

Finally, last night, I was contacted on the app by someone, asking me to get in touch with her friend (who I’ll call ‘Mylie,’ as in Miles Standish, rather than Hannah Montana’s alter ego), and giving me Mylie’s phone number in order to reach her. Well, this is a first for me.

At first I demurred, as the lady asking was contacting me from Dallas, of all places. However, she claimed that Mylie would be moving to the Chicago area – or at least, somewhere in Illinois, and I guess, to a Texan, what else is there in Illinois but Chicago? – shortly, and apparently wanted to find someone in this new area she was moving to.

Not the best of timing, as I’d already settled in for what was supposed to be an early night, since I had to get up in the morning to get off the ship, but we chatted for an hour and a half before she let me go. I told her I’d talk to her while I was at the airport, but after sending her a ‘good morning,’ I didn’t hear back. So, maybe it’s all down to C.E., after all.

On a slightly unrelated note, though, I have to tell you one last story from the trip. On the bus to the airport, I spotted (and killed) the first mosquito of summer – at least, the first for me; I’m sure that Floridian’s never do get away from them. How does this tie in to online dating? Well, a few days before leaving for the cruise, someone sent me a smile, and followed it up with a comment, “You look like you wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Not sure if that was meant as an insult or a compliment, but I decided to roll with it; I told her, “maybe not a fly, but a mosquito, I’m definitely taking her down.”

She removed her profile shortly thereafter. Was it something I said?

Anyway, wish me luck, honey. Looks like I still need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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