No Time for SpongeBob

Back when I told my parents I wanted to get a divorce, my dad said that I would be like a walking target. He said that because I had a house {which I have since sold}, a degree, and a good job, that guys would be out to take advantage of me. I rolled my eyes and dismissed it as just another one of his ridiculous assumptions.

Little did I know.

Not long after my divorce, when I had started looking for love {or something like it} online, I met Lennie. He was kind of cute, said a lot of things that I liked/needed to hear, and was a passionate kisser. I soon realized, however, that he had a few strikes against him. First, he had no job. He was taking classes to be certified in HVAC repair… or, at least, he wore the shirt from the school he supposedly attended EVERY time I saw him. He also had no car, which meant that he either took the bus to meet me or I picked him up somewhere. Oh, and he didn’t have his own place. He had been going from relative to relative, sleeping on couches. I didn’t know this about him until after we had been talking for a little while.

The first time we met was at the beach, so no money was involved. The next time, he called and said his car {which ended up belonging to someone else} broke down, so I had to pick him up and he was kind enough to let me pay for his lunch. We only went out one other time after that, and I decided that ‘Sugar Mama’ wasn’t a title I was anxious to have.

When I was seeing Todd, he was extremely cheap. Many times, he’d ask if I could pay when we went out, and at first I didn’t mind. But after a few times, I saw the pattern emerging and I brought it up. He got very defensive, saying that I was acting like he never paid for anything. Ummm…maybe because that’s exactly how it was? In our last go-round, we always stayed in, either at his place or mine. He would occasionally buy groceries for us to have dinner, or ordered pizza, or bought beer, but in general, he was pretty tight with his wallet. He claimed it was because he had bills to worry about and child support to take care of. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m very understanding and very low-maintenance. I don’t need to be taken out to eat all the time or to the movies. But an occasional date is nice. I never asked anyone to break the bank. Many times, we went dutch when we did go out to eat.

Todd told me a few times that he wasn’t letting me go this time, that he was going to sweep me off my feet. He said he wanted to take me on a real date to a nice restaurant. Try to contain your shock, but none of that ever occurred. Still here, waiting to be swept off my feet.

Then there was Russell. I spotted him online and immediately made it my mission to meet this guy. He was really good-looking and an ex-marine. I sent him a message and we started talking, and he told me he was working part-time while he was going to school to get his degree so he could become a teacher. That was admirable. I started to waver when he said he had no car. The first time I met him, I was very physically attracted. We got along really well and he made me feel so sexy. We tended to stay at his apartment rather than go out, which I didn’t entirely mind because it was nice to stay in and watch movies etc.

After we had been talking/seeing each other for a few weeks, he called me one day while I was at work. He was being very sweet, asking about my day, calling me ‘beautiful,’ etc. Then he hit me with the reason he called: he wanted to know if I could give him money to pay his cell phone bill. My heart sank. I said I didn’t have it, even though I did. He said, “Well, if I don’t pay my bill, you and I won’t be able to talk til next week.” I still didn’t budge. Someone else must have given him the money {if indeed he needed it for his phone} because we still kept talking. But now I had my guard up. Several days later, I told him it bothered me that he had asked me for money and he said that he had asked me out of respect. He said he didn’t want me to be upset if I found out he had asked someone else. Wow. What a romantic, wonderful, thoughtful load of bullshit! We stopped talking soon after that, and several months later, he sent me an e-mail saying that I had thrown away a good man. If that’s a good man, I guess I don’t need one after all.

My favorite of the sponges had to be Alphonso. Or whatever his name was. He said he was an assistant law professor at the local university and also had his own legal advice business. We had spoken several times before making plans to meet. The day of our date, he texted me saying that someone had stolen $500 out of his wallet, and that he wouldn’t be able to pay for our date that night. He also supposedly had something wrong with his car so I would need to drive. Now, before I go into the rest of this date, I just want to say that I’ve come a long way since then and have stopped being the nice girl/doormat.

Anyway, despite my MANY reservations, I drove downtown and picked him up. He was in a suit and tie and was carrying a briefcase. That looked semi-legit, right? The Chinese restaurant he wanted to go to was about 25 minutes away. I didn’t know why he wanted to go that far when there were plenty closer to where we were. But I went along with it. On the way, he said he wanted to come back to my place after dinner, so why didn’t we stop and get some snacks? We stopped at a dollar store, and he proceeded to load a cart with about $20 worth of snacks, which I ended up paying for {ah, yes, the mysterious stolen money}. We went out to eat, and he actually paid for part of that. During dinner, he said that he had boils all over his body. Ummm… not exactly the magic words to make me forget all my other reservations about this guy.

After dinner, the last thing I wanted was this guy anywhere near my house. I told him I was going to take him home instead. He seemed very taken aback but said okay. I knew the name of his street, but he directed me to a different street, saying his grandmother lived closer and that he would just crash at her place. When I dropped him off, he took the entire bag of snacks and went in the house. Yeah, that happened. Needless to say, $20 was a fair price, in my humble opinion, to get rid of this fool. After that ‘date,’ I mentioned the whole thing to Stacy, who just so happened to know some professors in the Law department of that university. Turns out no one by that name {or anyone even looking like him} worked there or in any other department. Yes, I was an idiot for even going out with him in the first place, but at least I had the sense to boot his ass to Grandma’s curb instead of taking him home with me, right? A few days later, he sent me some fairly psychotic-sounding text messages, which pretty much confirmed that this guy was not all there, whoever he was.

Stacy has said she thinks that some guys find me intimidating because I’m educated and have a good job. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t act superior to anyone. And the guys I’m most attracted to are more the blue collar type. I think it’s sexy to watch a man work with his hands…changing the oil, fixing a leak under the sink, hammering a nail… But many times, the guys I’ve talked to who have blue collar jobs also haven’t gone to college, and I’m totally ok with that. Yeah, I like to have a good conversation, but I don’t need to spout algorithms or have a spelling contest to have chemistry with a guy. I’m very generous with my time and I love to spoil people that I’m close to, whether family, friends, or romantic interests. But I’m not about to be anyone’s meal ticket. I have a decent job. I’m not financially wealthy, but I do okay. I take care of myself, my daughter, and my bills, and I expect any man I’m involved with to do the same. Is that too much to ask? Maybe so.

Take that empty wallet and get to steppin', pal.

Take that empty wallet and get to steppin’, pal.

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