After Allen, I reclused (not a real word, but that’s fine) myself to tolling and the dark web. I spent a lot of time reading self-help books on how to respect myself, how to stop caring so much about what other people think of me, and really…just how to love myself.
Introspection is a difficult task, especially for me who is not a fan of facing actual issues. If I am honest, I am not a big fan of confrontation. Unfortunately, that attitude had really silenced me.
After a dating hiatus, I heard about a different app that was geared more toward working professionals and not toward random hookups. I signed up, with hope. Hope for what? I have no idea, but I was hopeful as heck, okay?
I had been serial dating at this point for almost a year. I knew what to look for, what words I didn’t want to see and whether or not someone was worth my time. I met some for coffee, others for lunch. I started seeing two men regularly. They knew about one another, I will say that. Honesty has become such a critical part of who I am that it’s to a fault (I think?).
Tesla was an articulate Filipino man who wore expensive suits and Italian leather shoes. Our first date was out for Thai on my lunch break. He was grossly intimidating, but about 5 minutes into ordering I found my rhythm. He talked about how successful he was and where he was from. He talked about his BMW, his Mercedes and his Tesla. Reminder: I am not an idiot.
“Tesla,” I interrupted him, “I literally don’t care about your things. I would prefer to know who you are.” (Yay for me for not being afraid of confrontation in that moment, amirite?)
He stopped and smiled. “I hate gold diggers.”
“You don’t really leave a lot of room for anyone to think there’s anything about who you are other than money.”
“I realize that this is a first date, but I will be frank with you. Money is nice. I don’t mind rubbing shoulders with the elite from time to time, but I am not really interested in seeing someone who is more concerned with money than with a meaningful connection.”
“So, you’ll pay for lunch?”
“To prove a point? Sure will, but I am also not in a position to be your sugar momma.” I said flatly.
He laughed and with that his façade came down, for which I was thankful. We talked often through text as I was either at work, in school or at home with my kids and he was generally at work. He was a really great guy, to be honest. It was several dates in before I asked for his last name. He gave it to me and I did as is standard. I googled him.
Should not have done that, I should not have done that.
What I discovered on the interwebs was that Tesla was a former white-collar criminal and had spent some time in prison for a variety of fraud schemes. Ahem. It took me a little while to process that, but I decided that I would just ask him about it and his reaction would determine mine. I like to give people chances, you know?
When I asked, he was promptly upfront with me. He explained what had happened, why he didn’t disclose it, how he ended up in the city we live in, etc. I told him I would continue to see him as most people have a past they aren’t proud of (guilty). I reminded him I was still seeing someone else and he was fine with it. He said he just didn’t want to know when I was seeing him and I agreed so long as the same rule applied to him. We had a contract.
He became a pretty good friend in those weeks (yes weeks, y’all know how I live). We never spent the night together, we never even kissed. We just sort of hung out and were one another’s shoulders. I think that’s the best part about relative strangers. You can tell them all of your secrets and since they aren’t in your circle, it doesn’t matter. They can’t use it against you. It’s actually incredibly refreshing to allow yourself to become that vulnerable without fear of consequence.
I won’t share his secrets here.
Finally, I had decided to give the other gentleman, Paul, more of my time and energy. I explained to Tesla that while we had a good connection, I didn’t think we were the right fit. Sure, I could fit whatever mold he wanted me to, but I wouldn’t be happy living the lifestyle he wanted. I am more low-key and family oriented (I would not have thought this a year ago, to be honest).
He asked if he could have a kiss before we parted ways and, while I thought it was an odd request, I obliged.
After a brief make-out session wherein his tongue ended up deep within my ear canal, I decided I had made the right choice. Plus, we had discussed certain proclivities of his that I just knew I would never be able to get on board with. No judgment, just wasn’t my thing.
So, that was my brief soiree with the elite. I plan to be the (better) half of a power couple of some sort one day, but I want to invest in my community, my family, our health, etc. rather than expensive luxuries. Again, no judgment, just not my think.
And that’s how I learned something new about myself.