Monday, January 09, 2012

Boy Wonder

“I’m not sure I could date a fifty-year-old,” a friend noted when I mentioned the latest eHarmony prospect.

I understood what she was saying. Fifty does sound old. Though, to this day, I totally crush over Robert Redford and that man is now seventy-five. By the way, I sat next to his daughter at a friend’s wedding and I’m pretty sure, based on what I said, I’ll never get within a hundred miles of that man. Anyway, I’ve comfortably dated up ten years. At thirty-eight, that doesn’t put fifty too far off the radar. Plus, this new suitor claimed to have the spirit of a thirty-year-old. I decided to keep the lines of communication open.

“I just can’t figure out what he does for a living,” I said to Leslie. “He surfs a lot. He mentioned construction and teaching. I don’t know. He went to Stanford for undergraduate and Harvard for an advanced degree. Based on his age, he could’ve retired early.”

“Maybe he cashed out during the dot-com boom,” Leslie added.

From our emails back and forth, I knew he liked to hit the beach early to catch waves. He admitted an appreciation for the New Yorker and he did make me laugh. I agreed to a phone conversation.

“Not to pry but what is it exactly you do?”

“Well, I just finished a construction job on this renowned surfer’s house. I’ve been writing some web content for a friend. Sometimes I tutor. I don’t know, maybe I should get a more traditional job.”

Having recently watched an incredible documentary chronicling one man’s attempt to retrace the adventures of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, two men who dismissed the nine-to-five grind and instead explored the world (also two men who later went on to found The North Face and Patagonia), I sought out an explanation for this new suitor’s wayward life. Maybe his passion for surfing inspired nonprofit work benefiting the oceans. Perhaps in his quest to build a beautiful home, he mentored underprivileged kids, teaching them a marketable trade.

“Why did you stop teaching?”

“I just didn’t like having to be somewhere at a specific time. I mean, if the swells are insane, that’s where I want to be. But I’d get a job at McDonald’s if I had to support my family.”

I decided to not point out that with his two prestigious degrees, he could make more money tutoring kids. Or, in light of his love of construction, Habitat for Humanity would embrace his technical skills. I also didn’t point out that, though he desperately wanted kids, those creatures tend to dictate a schedule of their own and it’s a schedule that doesn’t usually align with the tide chart.

“Do you work a lot?” he asked.

“Typically a fifty-hour week, upwards of seventy in the busy season.”


“And up until recently, I had a part-time gig as well. I stuck that out for fifteen years.”

He was quiet for a second. I heard a muffling sound and then he yelled, “I’ll be right down, Mom!”


Anonymous said...

Hey if I could ride waves and have my momma give me a rent-free room and milk & cookies before bed when I'm 50 I might consider! Not a bad gig in this economy!

mysterygirl! said...

Oh my gosh, hilarious. But it's nice to get a real-life translation of "spirit of a 30-year-old."

Did you decide to head to LA? Is that why you're online dating in CA?

K-Tee said...

Sounds like a keeper :|

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fixer-upper. It's almost as charming in the housing market as it is in the world of online dating.

This guy is such a treasure, he almost needs a realtor to represent him on e-Harmony.

Howie said...

......and he is unemployed too.
i lived with my folks until i was 31 and i only left because i became engaged. graduated from college and then lived at home for the next 8.5 years while i worked on my student loans. i would probably still be living with my folks if i weren't married. rent-free, free meals, free cable tv. mom did my laundry and cleaned my bathroom. i love my wife, but i miss those days.

Anonymous said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry, so sending you a hug for comfort and a high-five for not falling for that Peter Pan charm.

Anonymous said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry, so sending you a hug for comfort and a high-five for not falling for that Peter Pan charm.

off2fish said...

His poor mother. All that bragging she did 20 years ago to all her friends. My boy went to Stanford, well my son has a degree from Harvard.
Now when they ask I am sure she tells them he is sorting out his numerous options and helping around the house. Such a good boy.

Jay said...

That last part didn't happen. You're just trying out a sitcom spec script on us, right?

gorillabuns said...

nuh ah! he did.not.summon.his.mother! or mutha!

A 75-year-old man once told me, never trust a man without a watch. They don't have ambition or a steady job and usually can't afford that bottle of wine you were pining for at the end of the day.

He was really right. Old school and all....

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For once, I'm speechless!

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