A most unique gentleman


Yesterday, I met Ben for lunch, and it went pretty well. He was very cute, softspoken and polite. We had some similar habits, like mixing our sodas and smelling things almost subconsciously. (I have gotten better about smelling glasses before I pour a drink into it, but I still catch myself doing it from time to time. I sniff books when I open them, and if something is made of clay or Play-Doh I just can’t help but smell it – I love the smell of Play-Doh. He saw me smelling a little clay pig in the book store yesterday and laughed because he was in the process of lifting another one of the clay pigs to his own nose. It was pretty funny.)

I wish I got a better sense of how it really went, though. As I drove away after we hung out, I realized I didn’t know if it was going to work out or not. Why? Well, he does have some unique idiosyncrasies, and he sort of kept his distance from me as we walked around the store. I don’t know if he wasn’t attracted to me or something, or if he might have felt self-conscious and shy because he’d shared some personal things with me as we’d talked. Either way, it felt a little off, which is unfortunate. I totally loved hanging out with someone I’m physically attracted to. I kept holding my gaze longer than usual, and I know I was smiling a lot. Oh! That’s it! My smile is CREEPY! I probably freaked him out!

So, what are the things that make him eccentric? The biggest one is that he has issues with food. He’s not anorexic or anything, he just doesn’t enjoy having to eat every day. He’s had tests and he doesn’t have any physical reason why eating isn’t fun for him… it’s totally a psychological thing. He is a math and engineering person, so what he ended up doing several years ago is research things about nutrition, optimal calories and the best foods to deliver the most nutrition for the least amount of eating. He has it down to a science, literally: He knows exactly how many grams and ounces of food he needs to eat at each meal, and weighs it all out on scales. He’s even got a scientific scale that can measure the tiniest fractions of grams; he joked that “people think my kitchen is a meth lab or something.” When he explained all of this to me, it was with an embarassed awareness that kind of made me sad. He knows he is doing something abnormal, but it’s something he feels he has to do. He told me at one point after college, he weighed only 112 pounds and he is 5’11”. Today, he is still a slender guy, but he doesn’t look sick or overly skinny, so whatever he is doing is keeping him healthy. I was fascinated by this whole thing, because I’ve never come across anyone who goes to these extremes. Especially not a guy. It sounds like a difficult existence.

He was married before, too, and I don’t know if his eating habits contributed to the collapse of his marriage or not, but he did say he was in a relationship with a girl who would tease him by taking some of his carefully-measured portions and eating it; he laughed and said it drove him crazy. The fact that he could joke about it and understand that someone would mess with him added a sense of normalcy to the whole situation. I still felt bad, because I had pushed him to tell me “something weird about himself” in our conversation. (I had told him about my accident-prone nature and the time I spray painted in the closed garage and got violently ill; he laughed pretty hard.)

That’s not all that makes him a very unique person. For one, he and a friend of his have a “side business”: They invented a special kind of sand for ant farms, and they sell it online. I’m really amused by this. How random is THAT? Who figures out that the sand in ant farms could be improved and then goes on to invent a new sand that’s made just for ants?! I love it.

And he asked me, softly, if I ever “get curious about something and just have to know the answer.” I said yes, tentatively, to see what he was gonna tell me. And the weird thing he got curious about was how much hair, exactly, he was losing in the shower every day. What he did was collect the hair after a shower, and stretched it all out and untangled it (his hair is not only long, but naturally curly) and under a bright light, he actually counted the strands. And he weighed them. He researched to find out the average, normal amount of hair a person loses every day (it is apparently around 200-300 strands) and determined he is losing the average amount of hair. He did this for a week so he could come up with his own, exact average. Why? He was curious.

Again, this amused me so much. These are things I have never thought of doing, ever. The fact that this guy would go “hmm, I wonder how I can figure out how many average hairs I lose every day” is very intriguing.

But I do wonder: how much of this behavior could be annoying in a relationship? Would it wear out its amusing qualities after a little while, and just become a source of contention? Would it be hard to enjoy meals with a guy like this? (Oh, Sunday is his “off day” when he can eat whatever he might want, so it worked out well that we went to lunch when we did.) After the bookstore, we did walk around Trader Joe’s so he could get some groceries before he went home, and he seemed a little self-conscious, and I can kind of see why he might. But he was still nice, and recommended some different vegetables and yogurt that I might want to try, as well as some chocolates that are sold by the cashiers.

So, overall, I don’t honestly know what to think about all of this. It was different, that’s for sure: the other guys I have met from Match haven’t been anything like this guy. Like I said, I was attracted to him and I liked his quiet mannerisms–it was kind of cute. And I loved hearing his detailed stories about his travel adventures. We also have a love of the odd things in life, and we casually chatted about The Body Farm and Victorian death photography. Yet, did he like me?! I don’t know.

I guess we’ll just have to see if he gets in touch with me again, or not. Either way, it is fine. It was a good experience, and it was nice knowing that there are guys I actually find cute out there. Like I’ve said before, I sometimes lose hope that any real-life men can be smart and attractive because I never seem to see any in my daily travels and experiences. Everyone looks the same. Blah blah, generic boring sameness.

Now, I do still have two Match connections remaining. Sam, the artist and Jason, the Air Force guy. I may be meeting Jason on Friday at 2nd Friday in Mesa, because it turns out he is into steampunk stuff and would love to attend this particular 2nd Friday because it’s got a steampunk theme this month. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, my book’s just crackling with energy these days and I will be dedicating a lot of time to it this week!

Things are pretty good. I can’t complain.


3 responses »

  1. Wow. It sounds like you two have definitely made a good connection. He seems so cool! You have had much better luck with “the match” than I ever did. I hope he calls. He will. He will call. 🙂
    PS. Haven’t had a chance to read here lately. Got in trouble at work for internet use.

  2. It is what it is. It will be what it will be. Just let it unfold. Don’t try to analyze it to death. You had a good time. That’s all that matters. The weird stuff may be weird to some people, but then again, it can’t be TOO weird, because obviously there are other people who have already researched, studied and determined those things and provided the rest of us with actual numbers and information on them. I mean, it has to start somewhere. Consider all of the things we know, basically because somebody else was curious and wondered… My aunt, her husband and his daughters all moved into my Grandma’s house with her after they married and lived there for years. Grandma used to complain all the time about how much hair my red-headed stepcousin (not kidding) lost in the shower (they all shared one bathroom) till she read an article listing just how much hair each hair color/type lost per day. Turns out redheads lose the most, brunettes being next, and blondes the least. Grandma was full of random shit like that, and I miss it now that she’s gone.

    As for quirks and things that might eventually get annoying- we all have them. We’re fortunate to find that one person who puts up with our weirdness, and us theirs. You just gotta let them be them.

    It was really mean of his girlfriend to eat his carefully measured food like that. How rude and inconsiderate! She did that on purpose. What a little instigator… Stuff like that isn’t funny. It’s disrespectful. Dr. Laura would rip her a new one for that! I don’t think he has an eating disorder. Maybe a control issue, but I reckon there are people out there who don’t need to eat as often as society thinks we do, just like we don’t all poop on the same schedule. Most likely he’s just so busy doing what he enjoys doing, or so caught up in his work that eating seems like a waste of time. At least he took the time to figure out what he needs to survive and has a system that works for him rather than against him. Don’t worry about whether it will be a dealbreaker later or not- heck, I know how you struggle sometimes to eat like you should. What if he turned out to be the kind of guy that took over all the cooking and made sure both of you were eating properly and in the amounts you both needed? You’d never have to worry about it!

    You had a good time. That’s all that matters. Guys typically are very self-conscious during the first few dates, in my experience. It’s the ones who AREN’T that you have to watch out for.

  3. One more thing.

    Eating alone sucks. I don’t have to tell you this. For most people, it means overeating as a means of compensating, filling the void, stuffing down the loneliness. But for others it means opting not to eat at all, or failing to eat well. Cooking for one is a drag. Reaching for cereal, a can of soup or a carton of yogurt might be the extent of the meal. I know all of the years that DH worked out-of-state the LAST thing I wanted to do when I arrived home at night, cold and sweaty from work, was make dinner for myself. I did it, because I knew the demands of my own job meant I needed to refuel properly, but it was definitely a dreaded chore. I didn’t cook anything fancy, but just making sure I had a balanced meal sure seemed more like an effort, rather than the joy it was when I was cooking for someone else. I can totally see where he’s coming from. Taking care of yourself properly can quite easily become a rather mundane formula, a habit.

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