Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Echoes of Jake Ryan

A while ago -- five months ago, to be exact -- I gathered up my courage and contacted a gentleman whose profile on Dosidate I'd been admiring. Let's call him Jonathan, because that is not his name. He's my age, is a native Israeli, lives north of me, and, from various things he wrote in his profile which I won't share here to protect his identity, I could tell (as far as one can tell these things from an internet profile) that he's relatively sincere and non-game playing. He also writes really well (in Hebrew), which gives me a warm feeling inside because, you know, I'm a writer!

To keep a long story short, we ended up exchanging several emails over the course of a week or two, and the more he wrote to me, the more impressed I became with his sincerity, values, and -- be still my beating heart -- beautiful writing.

The ironic problem was that in his sincere, non-game-playing way, he told me straight out, up front -- before I kept writing to him to try to change his mind -- that there is no way he's going to date someone who lives in Jerusalem at this point in his life. Turns out that one of his parents had died just a few months before, and before the death, Jonathan had spent almost a year driving long distances to visit this parent in the hospital every single day. He was sick of driving and was hoping to meet a woman who lived closer to his city. And he didn't want a phone relationship, or to put the onus of traveling on the woman; the first situation isn't conducive to building something genuine, he feels, and the latter isn't fair to the woman.

There was no way I could argue with that. I knew better than to take it personally -- we'd never even spoken on the phone, so it's not like he was rejecting me - on the contrary, he had plenty of wonderful things to say about me -- and I believed him when he said that as soon as he feels up to doing the driving thing again, he would definitely contact me. We put our emailing on hold very amicably, with the understanding that we were mutually impressed with each other and we'd meet when the time was right.

Everything had been put on the table, I knew where I stood . . . and I proceeded to think about him every day for the next five months . . . probably because there wasn't anyone else in my dating life to think about instead. In the absence of anyone else who came remotely close to giving me any warm, fuzzy, feelings, Jonathan filled the "fantasy boyfriend" role quite nicely, indeed. It's not like I was sitting around waiting for him; I went on dates with other people, but nothing was working out.

Anyhow, because of something he'd said in an email back then, I knew that in the fall Jonathan would be starting a new phase of his career (again, details withheld to protect the innocent), so, in as non-pushy a way as I could, I recently decided to remind him that I'm alive. I sent him a breezy email wishing him luck and a meaningful month of Elul.

He wrote back almost immediately. Translation below:

"Sarah, it's so nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind wishes. Much has transpired in the months since we corresponded, and a month ago I got married (yes, it was very quick; we got married within 4 months of meeting, thank God). I really appreciate that you wrote to me, and wish you all the best. I hope that you soon find a beloved partner, who I'm sure will be a special person. Sincerely, Jonathan."

To say that I was surprised and somewhat perplexed as to the appropriate reaction would be an understatement. To say I was disappointed would be a bigger understatement. What I did was send back an email wishing him "Mazal tov and all the best." What I have been thinking ever since, what has been running through my mind on a loop, is this scene from Sixteen Candles:

I feel . . . stymied.

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