Three and a Half Men: Engineer No. 94

The good news: My winter dating hiatus has ended!

The bad news: My winter dating hiatus has ended!

I doubt I’m the only woman with a first date, internal pep talk. I may, however, be the woman with the most negative forthright one.

Dating is awful. Dying alone is worse. You will give him a chance. You will be nice. You will try. You will not die alone. 


As I’ve explained in the past, my desire to date is directly related to the weather. Well, here in the South, spring has arrived… mostly. In true Belle form, I’ve reached Panic Dating Mode and have once again opened accounts on Plenty of Fish and OKCupid, in addition to Match and Christian Mingle. I’ve vowed to continue talking to any man who has no deal breakers, unless he scares me… but that’s another blog post. I’ve even been successful… if successful means dates.

Engineer No. 94
For realz, yo. They are all engineers.

No. 94 messaged me on Match, before I hit Panic Dating Mode. He wasn’t particularly attractive, but that’s never been the most important thing to me, as long as the person isn’t completely repellent. Love at first sight is a myth, y’all. We messaged back and forth online for about a week and a half, which is more than my norm, but I hadn’t actually been on a date since September and was a bit hesitant. It’s possible I was looking for reasons to blow him off, but I stuck with it and he seemed really nice. We ended up texting every day for about two more weeks.

No. 94 seemed to have a good balance between nerdy and country. He liked science fiction and guns. I wear cowboy boots with my Gramma’s pearls. He read articles on Reddit for fun. I’ve told 22 people about the article I read detailing Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. Honestly, the guy seemed pretty promising, so we met at a Panera Bread, when it was 60 degrees out. Sixty degrees means a choice between cute and warm, around these parts. Don’t worry… I chose cute and felt pretty good about the amount of effort I was expending.

When No. 94 asked which location I wanted to meet at, I gave him a guesstimate intersection, specifying that I wasn’t sure, but it was between Shetland and the far side of the city. Well, apparently, the north/south cross street did, indeed, have a Panera Bread on it… about 15 miles north. Oops.

I was a little afraid that No. 94 would be ticked off about the misdirection, particularly when he didn’t respond to my apology text.

I may have been the wrong person to choose a location. I got lost on the way to my dad’s house once. No joke. I’m sorry.

I was wondering if I should head north, but eventually received a text telling me he was five minutes away. I briefly considered telling him I’d gone to the other location, but decided there’s a time and a place for my weird sense of humor. I thought it was kind of him to come to me, though I’m the one who made the initial mistake… more or less. The Panera Bread he chose was a completely irrational location for either one of us, but you get the idea.

I’ll say this for No. 94. The guy looked just like his pictures. He had very large ears and wore an unflattering haircut for them, but was otherwise pretty nondescript. He wasn’t a mile tall, but he was taller than me in cowboy boots, so that was enough. I noticed these things while choosing something meatless (never giving up meat for Lent again) from the menu. Then came the awkwardness.

I’m not sure if No. 94 intended to pay for my meal or not. I am sure, however, that he asked mehe chose the restaurant, and he was the only one in possession of a penis, so he would be paying, unless he was willing to clearly declare otherwise.

Cashier: “Is this together or separate?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
– No. 94, who had been staring at the menu, realized we were waiting for him. –
Me: “Awkward.”

You know what makes everything more awkward? Blurting out the word “awkward.” Sigh.

No. 94 either intended to pay the entire time, or realized the pressure was on and manned up. Don’t get me wrong. Had he not, I would’ve paid for my own meal, without further comment. However, I do think that, in The Conservative South, his refusal to do so (on a first date, initiated by him) would speak volumes about our difference in opinions on gender roles. While I would’ve stayed and made the best of the evening, it is extraordinarily unlikely I’d have considered going out with him again.

Beyond these initial hiccups, No. 94 and I had a really good time. We talked about television shows, some political opinions, our families. He wasn’t Sexy Like a Disney Hero, but we had things in common. He was successful. He didn’t make fun of my master’s degree. It seemed promising. We left, only because the restaurant closed, and I told him…

Me: “I had a great time. I’d love to do it again. Message me if you’d like to get together.”

If you’ve read this blog, pretty much ever, you’ve probably witnessed my claim that “emotions go with the last fucking Horcrux.” I don’t do heart-on-my-sleeve. In the interest of trying, though, I made it crystal clear that I was interested. He seemed the same… and then I didn’t hear from him all weekend.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to be with a man who texts me constantly. In fact, I’ve stopped talking to men for just that reason. – He was an air traffic controller, worked for an hour at a time, and texted me every hour he wasn’t working. – Clingy freaks me out. You keep your feelings on the inside, dude. The thing is, No. 94 and I had been texting daily and conversationally for two weeks. We didn’t necessarily have lengthy conversations, but we did restate our interest quite regularly. Then, I meet the guy in person, we have plenty to talk about, and I don’t hear from him for an entire weekend? Not even an…

I had a great time. Let’s do it again, sometime. 

By Sunday night, I’d pretty much decided my usual. There’s a lid to every pot and it’s okay if I’m not his. There wasn’t a lot of physical attraction; maybe he felt that, too. I’d even attributed my own interest to the possibility that I was ovulating, blaming my eggs for screaming at me to find someone, anyone, now. Late that night, I got…

I had a really good time on Friday. I’d love to go out again.

That’s it? I don’t warrant any kind of explanation for sudden lack of contact, right after our first meeting? Seriously, I wouldn’t care if we hadn’t been texting multiple times a day for a fucking fortnight, which he had been initiating. I wouldn’t care if he worked on the weekends. I wouldn’t even care if it had been a second date. However, the way you blow someone off, after a first meeting, is to ignore them. So, naturally, in my inability to make grown up decisions all by myself, I asked Gaily.

Gail: “Either he’s playing games, following some kind of dating rule, which is exhausting and we’re too old for that crap; or he had someone else lined up for Saturday night and wanted to see how it went with her.”

Remember, Gail is the reason I went on a third date with Gollum the Awkward Geologist. She once continued spending time with a man who grabbed her nipple on a date, insisting she was sure he understood they were just friends. She doesn’t hand out ‘nah’s’ lightly. Regardless, I did eventually respond to No. 94. Despite his renewed efforts, I was very much feeling what Gail had suggested, and had been even before she verbalized it. I want a man who’s interested in me. I want to be interested in him, also. By that point, I had just talked myself out of him and I couldn’t find it again, no matter how hard I tried. Even my boy pal, Ward, when told about why I wouldn’t be seeing him, gave me a man’s perspective with…

“What an ass.”

Ultimately, every man I’ve ever dated has served a purpose, has helped me to learn something about myself. Texan Engineer taught me that similar faith is not optional. Insurance Salesman taught me that bathing is not optional. Engineer No. 94 taught me that obvious interest is not optional. He was a good reintroduction to the dating world, though. I’ve certainly had worse dates… like last Sunday, when Civil Engineer taught me that masculinity and manners are not optional. As with my last series, The Week of 1004 Dates, if I told you about all 3.5 of my most recent dates, it’d be a novel. So stay tuned.

9 thoughts on “Three and a Half Men: Engineer No. 94

  1. Pingback: Three and a Half Men: One Half and Civil Engineer | Belle of the Library

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