Posts Tagged ‘dating’

Larry Visits…background

29 April 2021

I plan to write a little series of short illustrated articles about places I have visited recently.

I want those articles to just be about the places, and sometimes the people I found there.

But that leaves out the question: Why did I visit those places?

It all started when…

I suppose it all started when someone decided this would be the perfect time to release an experimental virus on the planet and thus create a massive global scare that would send people screaming for face masks and medical cures while neglecting the important things in life, like companionship.

At first I was simply aghast. Next I became convinced that we were being gamed – same suspects as all those other times. The pattern had become clear… at least to me and a handful of others.

But by that time the battle lines were drawn. This, it seemed, would be a fight to the death. It would shake our confidence in many of our public institutions and shake my confidence in my own church, perhaps even in myself; I was alone.

As related elsewhere, after a significant struggle, one of my newest friends reappeared. She was, if anything, much more tired and battle-worn than I was. She had put her heart and soul into a career, and had been rejected – in effect – by her own dream. She was so glad to have someone to talk to! And I was, too. But, she had to say goodbye and return to her hometown and her family. Her carefully-built world of independence had totally collapsed. My carelessly built world of interdependence was likewise in a shambles. She left me with a suggestion: Maybe you can find some friends using dating websites.

What? I had never dated! But the notion intrigued me, and so I tried it.

I met some interesting women. A few in person, but most only online. I met some old acquaintances, and made some new ones. But most of them were looking for a new husband, and I was not looking for a wife. So we were “playing” different games that operated on different rules! A few understood, and few others, somehow smitten, chose to ignore these differences and plow on regardless.

The Bay Area connection

I was born in the Bay Area and spent a lot of good times there. It is only 50-100 miles south of Sacramento. Could I make some new friends there? Would that even make sense?

My first challenge was to find a way to get there. This search was encouraged by a woman who really wanted to meet me. And so I found a very cheap commuter bus that could take me on weekday trips to and from the Bay Area. These trips took almost 2 hours, but the bus was ridiculously inexpensive, and it went right to a BART station. My first trips using that bus have already been documented here.

Weekend visits would be more problematical. The best choice seemed to be the Capitol Corridor train service. It was more expensive than the bus, but it only took an hour to get from Sacramento to Martinez. The first article in this series will cover that trip.

The next challenge was to get from Martinez to Bay Point (Pittsburg) where my new friend lives. My next article will cover a hill I found in Bay Point that people climb to from a nearby park.

Past and future travels

In the past I have also visited Yuba City (where my young friend now lives and works) and in the future I plan to visit Placerville and other towns. Usually I take my phone on these trips rather than my camera. The photos from my phone I find somewhat inferior, one reason being that it has no optical zoom. But they convey in broad strokes what I have seen and the environments I have experienced. I hope you enjoy these Larry Visits… articles.

Pairing Up

17 February 2021

In recent weeks I have been devoting considerable amounts of my time to corresponding online (or by phone chat – same difference) with a variety of women (I hope they’re all women!) in the search for companionship in the face of an enforced loneliness.

On Silver Singles I have met a woman from South Sacramento who hopes to wrap up her regular work in a few more years and buy her own condo. She has actually met with me, but wore a mask the whole time!

I met a woman from Richmond who encouraged me to publish my own book.

I met a woman who thanked me for being honest about the fact that I am a Scientologist, which disqualified me from her list of possibilities.

I met a woman who didn’t want to meet outside because it’s too cold.

On eHarmony I met a Christian woman who finally figured out that I wasn’t a Christian.

I met a hairdresser and artist in Portland who enjoyed reading my blog but wants to stay put so will continue to look for a match closer to home.

And I met a lady who works in HR for UC-Berkeley who enjoys talking with me and really would like to meet, but (like myself) doesn’t drive and is in fact a bit reluctant to go out.

On Age Match I met a young black woman who was born in London but is currently staying with her family in Ghana. She enjoyed reading my blog and directed me to her blog, but we have a hard time staying connected because of the time difference.

I have met several young and middle-aged woman who seem to long for a lasting relationship to replace a previous one that ended poorly. A few of these have become very devoted to us meeting, and call me “honey” or “babe.” But several of them have asked me for money for various reasons, or requested assistance for financial transactions. And others act offended when I tell them that I continue to chat with other women.

I met a woman from Fresno who just likes to get with men for a little sexual fun and has no real need for marriage but is quite willing to speak quite frankly about her sexuality.

I met anther young woman who seems to be stuck in North Carolina caring for her grandmother, surrounded by men who only notice her for her youth and full figure, is financially challenged and just wants to find a way out of her current situation.

Beauty and the beast, a story of the magic in love.

Meeting strangers on the internet

This age of social media has nurtured a culture of online “con artists” who seek to make a living off the gullibility of others.

The basic con follows an age-old pattern: Pretend you are someone you aren’t. Convince the target (“mark” or “stooge”) that you need their help or are offering something of value, obtain money or goods from them, then disappear.

The internet has only made this easier and easier to do.

Thus, the first question most of us have when we meet a stranger online is: Are they who they say they are?

The Profile

All social media accounts include a profile, often including one or more profile pictures. This is where most of us start in our efforts to ascertain if this person is real.

A skimpy, shoddy, brush off or otherwise odd profile is the first sign of an attempt to deceive. The scammer can steal photos and life data from other accounts, or totally steal the account of a real person. The sloppiest profiles remain fairly obvious. An odd name, an age that doesn’t match the face, an obscure location, just a few posts, all made on the same day. A bunch of friends with African names. These are the “hallmarks” of a scammer.

The profiles that seemed more unique, individualistic, and expressive are signs of genuine people.

Language

The next give-away is poor English.

Some scammers seek to explain their poor language skills by claiming they are French, German or Spanish. While this is always a possibility, they are often posing as someone who you would expect to be well-educated, so this excuse can often seem dubious.

They may also ask you questions that make it obvious they did not bother to study your profile.

Projection

Criminals often project without realizing it.

Most criminals lie or act deceptively and are not trustworthy.

They will often claim to you that they have been lied to or mistreated, and that they are not sure they can trust you. They may seek to obtain useful information from you with the excuse that they are doing it to build trust.

They will express fear or suspiciousness at things you do that you consider normal, like the fact that you are not devoting all of your time to them, or in your attempts to verify who they really are.

They may be unwilling to share pictures of the room they live in, or tell you much about their personal lives.

They will probably try to impress you with alluring pictures rather than genuine facts.

They will not be able to refer you to more data about them elsewhere online.

The real need for intimacy

Real people, bless their souls, are quite often willing to share intimate details about their lives online if they trust you to respond with understanding and kindness.

I have learned some truly amazing things from the women I have met online. And so, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, even with the trouble caused by scammers.

Whether I ever meet these girls or not, I like to think that they consider the chance to share some of their life with another person as a valuable experience for them, and I try to make their conversations with me enjoyable and sweet, even educative if they seem open to that.

I mention Scientology to all of my online contacts, and a few of them seem genuinely interested.

On top of that, I have met a few people during this process that I knew earlier in my life and who I was very happy to reconnect with. Some of them say they remember me or that I meant something to them, even though they did not express that back then. And I often have a similar sentiment.

We all have past loves, now lost, and these connections often give us a chance to tell someone those stories. Those of us who are up to the challenge understand the value of this sharing and welcome it. It is only the scammers who may react with shock or jealousy, or the insistence that we put all that behind us.

A clear lesson I have learned is that we bring all our prior loved ones forward with us. We can see them merely as lost opportunities, or we can see them as part of a growing family of spiritual connections that is there to nurture us and keep us strong as we make our ways through life.

Every friendship, no matter how brief, has value. Intimacy with another is almost always worth seeking and is at the core of what we sometimes call “brotherly love.” Don’t shy from it!

A teenage couple cuddle on the train.