SpongeBob Part Deux: The Repeat Offender

When I mentioned some of the deadbeats I’ve encountered, I neglected to mention one of the worst. I met Donny online and we immediately hit it off. We stayed up all night on the phone one night and when we met face to face, there was instant chemistry. We met at a coffee shop and talked for a couple of hours. He was holding my hands, gazing into my eyes… It felt good to really connect with someone.

Not long after we met, I went over his house one evening. At first we were just watching TV but then started making out. One thing led to another and we ended up in bed. I didn’t want him to think this was something I did all the time, so I told him {after the fact} that sleeping with him hadn’t been my intention when I came over that night. He was put off by that, assuming that I regretted it. I guess I kind of did because I really liked him and wanted to get to know him better before hopping in the sack.

Anyway, a few days after that, he told me something got screwed up with his bank account and his internet was about to be turned off. He worked from home as a call center operator, so without internet, he couldn’t work. He didn’t directly ask for money, but strongly implied it. I didn’t offer. I didn’t know if I was being played or not but was not about to establish a pattern of paying his bills. We didn’t talk much over the next few days, and when we did, he said he needed a woman who would be there through good times and bad and accused me of jumping ship at the first sign of a problem. I told him that wasn’t the case but he stopped answering my texts. So I wished him well and stopped talking to him.

A year or so later, I was on a dating site and his profile popped up as one of my daily matches. I immediately recognized him and clicked “no.” He sent me a flirt, which I ignored, and when he sent me another flirt a couple of weeks later, I decided to respond. I asked if he remembered me, and at first I didn’t think he did, but something must have clicked, and he said he did. He said he felt bad about how things had ended between us since we had hit it off so well, and asked if he could call me. I said ok.

We started talking and it was the same instant chemistry. He didn’t mention anything about the money issue but said he had stopped talking to me after I made the comment about sex. He said he had been disappointed that I had given up on him so fast. I said that if I’m texting someone and getting no response, I’ll assume they don’t want to be bothered and I stop trying. I refuse to chase any man around for his attention. He wanted to give things another try, and I decided to give him another chance. We were getting along great, but I admit I had some reservations. For one thing, he no longer had his big flat screen TV. He claimed someone had broken into his house and taken it, but I wondered {considering his past money problems} if he had pawned it. I let it go. We never went on dates, just hung out at his place, which bothered me a little but I was kind of ok with just hanging out and watching movies etc.

There were a few red flags that caught my attention, like when we had plans one night and he suddenly said his daughter was coming over for a few days and his cousin just happened to show up needing a place to crash. I immediately wondered if he was covering his tracks so I wouldn’t show up or question seeing a strange car in his driveway. I also noticed that he was still active on the dating site. I hadn’t been on at all once we started talking, but I looked out of curiosity and saw that he had been active every day that week. When I asked him about it, he claimed he wasn’t active but was just checking messages. Ummm…and the difference would be what? My guard was up.

After a few weeks of seeing each other, I went over one day for lunch and he said the cable company had mistakenly taken out his payment twice, so he was broke until the following week. Without thinking, I said I might be able to help him out. The words were out of my mouth before I had a chance to remind myself of what happened last time, and I immediately regretted saying it. I quickly said I didn’t know what day my paycheck would go in but that I might be able to help if it went in within the next few days. He claimed he just needed it til the next Friday but I knew I would never see that money again if I did give it to him. I said that at the very least, maybe I could take him up to the grocery store to get a few things to tide him over. He said he had plenty of groceries but needed spending money to get by. Interesting… His car had broken down earlier that week so I knew he didn’t need gas money. I wasn’t about to give him cash to buy smokes. I said I’d let him know, but I wasn’t about to give him a single penny.

The whole weekend went by and I barely heard from him. On Saturday he said his daughter and some nieces and nephews were staying over and that they were having pizza and making sundaes. It sure didn’t sound like he needed cash so I didn’t bring it up. When I still didn’t hear from him by Tuesday, I texted asking why he had stopped talking to me. He said that my phone works both ways and I hadn’t called or texted much either {fair enough} and that he needed a woman who would be there through good times and bad and accused me of jumping ship at the first sign of a problem. Hmmm… That sounds familiar. Definitely seeing a pattern here. I stopped texting or calling and deleted his number from my phone. It made me wonder if our “chemistry” had just been him being a smooth talker and me being a sucker.

Lesson learned.

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.