Must Love Bears?
By Nancy Brook
After breaking up with my latest boyfriend four years ago, I decided the best way to stop moping about him was to start dating new men. Internet dating provided the perfect opportunity to start finding someone new.
I had Internet dated before, and I always had plenty of winks and emails. The problem was I didn’t want to date many of these men. I longed for the whole package—someone near my age, smart, accomplished, handsome, athletic and fun.
Dirk seemed perfect. He was cute, smart, funny, easy to talk to and very interested in me. At that time, I had dates lined up with three other match men, but Dirk was the only one who kept my interest. The night before I met Dirk, I had a date with a handsome chiropractor, but I couldn’t keep my attention on him Maybe it was the dark glasses he wore throughout our dinner?
I cut the evening short with the doctor and rose at the crack of dawn the next day to meet Dirk at West Yellowstone, which was a four-hour drive for me. We talked on our cell phones the whole way over. I couldn’t wait to meet him in person! But when I saw him, I was very surprised. He was short, barrel-chested, thick-necked and much less attractive than he appeared on his online photo.
Come on, Nancy. You are being shallow. I told myself. You liked him on the phone. Just look past the physical appearance.
“Hi!” he said enthusiastically, and gave me a big hug with his stubby arms.
I smiled and hugged him back.
We stopped by the grocery store for a picnic lunch of sandwiches and wine. We drove into the park and ate by a creek, lying on a picnic blanket. After our lunch, he reached over and kissed me.
It was the most horrible kiss I could have imagined. The kiss that didn’t end – kind of like a vacuum hose sucking my lips. I wanted to run as far away from Dirk as possible, but I knew that would hurt his feelings. Besides, if I took off, I’d have to run miles since Dirk had driven us into the park and my car was back at the grocery store. Instead, I suggested we see the sites around Yellowstone.
“Let’s go see Old Faithful,” I said. With throngs of tourists I wouldn’t be forced to be alone with him and could avoid more sloppy kisses.
He liked the idea, and soon we were traveling east to the Park’s most famous geyser. On the way over, he talked about our future. I could move in with him and help him with his bear hunting business (never mind that I despise sport hunting)! There was no need for me to work. He made enough money for both of us. I heard pop Christian music playing in the background while a big grin spread across his face as he fantasized about our life together.
Dirk was not only unattractive but crazy. I needed to get away from the bear man but now we were heading further into the park and away from my car.
When we arrived at Old Faithful, we got out of his pickup. I felt ridiculous with him. I wore sandals with an inch and a half heel and I towered over him. Apparently he didn’t mind, reaching for my hand as we walked toward Old Faithful. Fortunately, I had my camcorder with me, and I feigned interest in the erupting geyser, giving me an excuse to escape his sweaty grasp.
Dirk could feel my shift in attitude, and after we walked back to the car, he asked me what was wrong. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he grossed me out. I just said that I was taking in the sights, and I needed time to reflect. After all, I was stuck in Yellowstone Park with him, and my car was at least 50 miles away.
We drove down the road and stopped to take pictures of some baby buffalo. When the photo session ended, I decided I couldn’t take any more time with him.
“I’m ready to go back,” I said.
“Already?” he said.
“Yeah – it’s going to be a long drive back to Billings, and I want to get started.”
We turned back to West Yellowstone in silence. I could tell he was troubled. A scowl creased his forehead, his mouth turned down around the corner and he didn’t say a word. I stayed on my side of the truck, avoiding any additional contact with him.
When we arrived back at West Yellowstone, I wanted to leap out of his truck and spring to my car. I kept my cool. I opened the door, grabbed my camera bag and smiled at Dirk.
“It was nice to meet you,” I said.
“I get the feeling that I’m never going to see you again,” he said.
“Well, one never knows what the future has in store,” I answered.
I gave him a quick hug and power walked to my vehicle. I got into the car, started it and peeled out, waving as I left. I was free at last.
Lesson learned: It’s better to mope at home about an old boyfriend than be trapped in a pickup with a new crazy bear man.
Nancy Brook is an author and motivational speaker. Her first book, “Cycling, Wine, and Men: A Midlife Tour de France,” will be published later this year. Visit her website for a free book preview: www.nancybrook.com