adventures in dating (or fool me twice, shame on me)

As accomplished as I think I am in identifying far-away scam artists, I am equally unaccomplished at identifying the close-at-home scam artists.

bengal tiger crouched waiting on its prey

Before I dated Coach, I met a local man on-line.  He, too, went by Coach because he coaches his son’s traveling baseball team.  I met him on one of those dating sites.  The fishing one, I think.  I thought his bald head was as sexy as can be.  (I have no idea where this fascination with bald men came from but it seems to have stuck.)

He came on hard and fast.  I didn’t stand a chance.  He was like a snake charmer, and I, the mesmerized cobra.

According to him, I am beautiful and charming.

Cute as a bug.  Pretty as a picture.  The perfect woman.

He made me laugh until I snorted.  And then told me how much he loved women who snort when they laugh.

Online chats.  Late night texts.  Plans for a first date.  All the while, a constant onslaught of charming compliments.

The first date was fun but ended a little awkwardly.  In spite of that, by the time I got home, I had a text waiting from him.

Two or three weeks of daily calls and texts.  Two or three dates.  And then poof!

Somehow, this charming man found me.  Like a tiger separating the weakest deer from the herd.  He told me all the things I didn’t even realize I needed to hear.  And then contentedly walked away from my eviscerated body.

Men can be charming or sincere.  Women are drawn to charm but we’d be better off seeking sincerity.

In retrospect, it isn’t any wonder I fell for this charming man.

There were not a lot of compliments during my marriage.  I remember once asking my ex if I were beautiful.  His response?  “Well, you’re beautiful to me.”  (Emphasis his.)  After that answer, I wasn’t ever tempted to ask the question again.

My ex was usually quick to tell me I was a great mother.  A great lawyer, for a woman.  Smart, too.  For a woman.

But I never felt beautiful when I was with him.  I spent over twenty years with someone who never made me feel beautiful. Or sexy.  Certainly not the perfect woman.

I don’t remember my daddy ever telling me I’m beautiful, either.  Or pretty.  He always told me I am smart.  (And never felt compelled to add the caveat “for a woman”.  I am smart.  Period.)

He always told me I could go to school, have a career, take care of myself.  And I did go to school.  Earned my doctorate of jurisprudence.  I have a successful career as a lawyer and mediator.  I take care of myself, my children and everyone around me.

My daddy reinforced many of my best qualities.  But I wish he’d also told me how pretty I was.  Maybe then I wouldn’t have been such easy prey for a sweet-talking man.

Question:  How susceptible are you to sweet-talking men?  Have you found the secret to withstanding their charming assault?

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