It was a cold December night in 2013 when I walked past houses decorated with lights and reindeer to meet a man I had found online.
I was 50 and after decades of being used, abused, cheated on, lied to and manipulated by the men in my life, I was a train wreck. I decided to make a fresh start in Richmond, Va.
I loved Richmond, a college town full of artist types and entreprenuers. However, I wasn’t used to the single life and really wasn’t cut out for it. After almost a year, I decided I wasn’t giving up on men and so here I was, going to meet John, a cutie whose hobbies are physical fitness and financial planning. To what degree he enjoyed those hobbies I was about to find out.
He met me at the sidewalk in front of his bungalow in the heart of the city. He was dressed in old clothes that looked a bit worn. His shoes were tattered and stained. However, his good looks were undeniable with his long curly hair and straight white teeth. He had never been married and had no kids, which I found odd considering he, like me, was 50 years old.
We drove a few blocks away to an organic grocery store (his idea) and I ate at the buffet there. I say “I” because he didn’t eat. I found out that he eats at 3:15 every afternoon because if he eats later the food sits on his tummy and makes him uncomfortable.
We sat there talking, and I noticed he smiled alot and he looked me straight in the eyes as if it were forced, not natural. However, the conversation flowed easily and after 45 minutes or so we walked to my car.
There was one thing I didn’t care for about John and that was that I smelled vodka on his breath. I was worried that he might be an alcoholic and decided to tell him in the car that I wasn’t feeling it. He asked why and insisted I not bullshit around with him. He wanted a straight up answer from me as to why I was going to drop him off at his house like an unwanted dog.
“Because you smell like vodka”, was my honest answer. ” I’m afraid you might have a problem”.
He was incredulous.
“Oh, ok, so fine then, drop me off. I make no apologies for having myself 2 adult beverages (he always said “adult beverages” instead of “drinks”) with my dinner each day. It’s part of my daily routine and I’ve been doing it for years and I’m not gonna stop so if you can’t handle me drinking two adult beverages a day than fine. Have a nice life.”
We had arrived at his house and he was still on his tangent about how he is who is and he won’t change so just drop him off like a dog.
I felt terrible. He was right, of course. He is an adult and if he wants to drink two glasses of vodka-tonic at 3:15 each afternoon, then who am I to say he is an alcoholic? I did like him despite his clothes. He was cute as can be and he said in his emails to me that he had abs of steel. That’s hard to find at our age. I’d hoped that before the night was over I would be able to see those abs.
His rant was over and I apologised and asked him if he was going to invite me in. He looked shocked and stared straight ahead for a full 10 seconds before answering me.
“Sure”, he said with a grin.
His house was very tidy. The furnishings were old and outdated, but everything was clean and polished. No dishes in the sink, no clutter. His home was about 800 square feet on a small city lot. He had been there since 1997.
As we talked, it became clear to me that John was different in some way but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He told me all about his investments, stock portfolio, mutual funds, bonds and all the best stocks to invest in. And the ones to stay away from. He had a credit score of over 800 and he was debt-free save for another couple years on his mortgage and a hospital bill he incurred a few years ago when he fell off his bicycle and broke his leg. He had never been late paying a bill in his life. When he was a kid and had a paper route, he told me that each time he got paid he would calculate all his deductions down to the penny to make certain he was getting the right amount. He loved talking about money more than anything.
He also touched on another hobby- health and fitness. He rides his bike each morning at five am and exercises daily in his living room and at the gym. He eats a giant bowl of salad every day full of greens, nuts, fresh eggs, flax seeds and tofu among other healthy foods. He eats very little meat or bread.
After a couple hours, I decided this could go on forever if I didn’t do something. I realized he wasn’t going to make a move so I decided to do so myself. He seemed to like me and although he was a bit odd in some ways, I liked him too. Let’s just say I got to see those abs that night.
Some time afterward he went to start my car for me and we stood at the door while it idled. We talked for another hour, wasting gas. We didn’t want to part ways and go back to being alone so our conversation went on and on. Soon, though, it was over and I left.
That night was the beginning of a relationship that continues to this day. There are many things about John that are endearing and many that are very hard to understand, especially his daily routine which I will explain in another post. He is undiagnosed, but undoubtedly has Aspergers Syndrome. A diagnosis would do nothing for him but make him anxious because he would have to break his routine to go to the doctor. So he most likely will never get a proper diagnosis.
The night I met John was the night I delved into a world I didn’t know existed.