“At this point we had known each other for well under 24 hours. As the words inexplicably started to tumble out, I believe I whispered something like,” Don’t you think we would need to know each other a lot better before we tackle a question like that one?”
Ricardo Moreno. I met him on a Christian matchmaking website, and we chatted on the site a few times. We became Facebook friends and kept things casual. After an appropriate amount of time, he asked me if he could come out and visit me in El Paso, and I told him that would be a great idea. He was living in a small city in the Texas panhandle, making El Paso look like a raging metropolis. What I especially appreciated about this visit was that it started on a Saturday, and it was the day after school was officially over for the year! Already, I was feeling an incredible air of freedom and knew that when he went home, I didn’t have to frantically get lessons planned for Monday.
As a rule when picking up someone at the airport who I have talked to online, I feel extremely nervous. With Ricardo though, we had more spoken like we were friends who could be interested in each other, rather than participating in the usual open flirting that commonly takes place on the phone. I didn’t feel the kind of pressure that would have normally accompanied this situation.
I waited for him to appear at the bottom of the escalator in the airport, and kept wondering things like, “Does he look like his picture?” “Will we get along for an entire weekend?” and, “Will he think I am attractive?” I immediately recognized him (This was a positive, because this meant he had not tried to misrepresent himself). In fact, Ricardo looked better in person than he did in his pictures.
Whenever I have been in this “internet suitor coming to visit me” situation, it has always felt similar. There are the first critical few minutes where both parties are trying to see if there is any physical chemistry. If you feel it, then right away you wonder if they feel the same. If you don’t, you wonder if, and kind of hope, they don’t as well. With Ricardo, I just relaxed and treated him like he was an old guy friend visiting me from out of town. Although there was an attraction between us, I was not sure that we had the same ideas about faith in God, which is a deal breaker for me. After checking in, and dropping off his things at the hotel, we went out for lunch and had a great talk. Ricardo was comical without trying too hard, could keep up his end of the conversation, and seemed genuinely respectable.
Next on our agenda, was a walk with the dogs belonging to my personal trainer, Sally. This killed two birds with one stone- first he would get to meet some people I knew, and I could see if the “girls” approved (dogs are a great judges of character). Secondly, I have always enjoyed being active in an outdoor setting, and I wanted to see if Ricardo would also enjoy this kind of leisure.
Everything was going according to plan, when I suddenly got a flat tire! Luckily, I pulled over right in front of a car dealership, and after sweet-talking the guy in charge, we managed to get a jack, and were able to attach the spare. Again Ricardo earned some points for being patience and easygoing. We proceeded to a tire shop, and while they were putting on new tires, we had a drink in a little café nearby. At this point, I was unsure of whether there would be a romantic connection or not, but at least this was turning out to be a fun-filled weekend!
One hundred and fifty dollars and two new tires later, we made our way over to pick up the pooches. About midway through our walk, Ricardo pulled me close to him with his hand around my waist. Then right there on the jogging trail, he planted a kiss on me. I would like to say this was a scene from a romantic movie, but that kiss was SLOBBERY. My heart dropped, but I was not ready to give up without a fight. Later, I can honestly say I attribute that one instance of bad kissing to him being overeager and nervous, because he greatly improved as the weekend continued.
That night, Ricardo and I went to one of my favorite dive bars where they have karaoke every Saturday. There were a lot of wanna be rock stars there, and it was fun to watch and listen to all the confident, tone-deaf singers who had just gained their liquid courage. We were very cozy and obviously together, and it was like Ricardo couldn’t take his eyes off of me the entire evening. When we had taken in enough of the off-key singing, I dropped him off, but decided to join him for awhile to talk. Of course, he wanted things to become more romantic, which was fine with me since I had already made it crystal clear that I was not going to sleep with him.
When it was about time for me to go home, he suddenly grabbed me and declared, “I think we should get married. Just do it! What do you think?” Alarmingly, he mistook my speechlessness as a possible sign of agreement. I shook my head, wondering if I had heard him correctly. At this point we had known each other for well under 24 hours. As the words finally started to tumble out, I believe I whispered something like, “Don’t you think we would need to know each other a lot better before we tackle a question like that one?”
His answers are a blur to me now, but I believe phrases like, “Sometimes you just know when something feels right!” and “I think we would be so great together” and “Let’s just go for it!” were exclaimed. My carefully crafted response was that we had enjoyed a great FIRST day together, and that we would talk more about this when he was sober. He adamantly insisted that this was how he felt, and that this feeling would not change the next day. Not wanting to further hurt Ricardo’s feelings, and thinking that maybe it was the Jack Daniels talking, I just kissed him goodnight and left.
The next morning I was to give him a ride to the airport, and figured that when we met up, and he was no longer under the influence, things would be back to normal. Still not sure whether this was destined to be a lasting romantic relationship or not, I figured that this issue would work itself out, and decided not to worry about it.
Usually I am on time, especially when my task is to get someone to their expensive, non-refundable flight. For some reason, this particular morning, I got confused about the time I needed to be at the hotel to pick up Ricardo. When I suddenly got a hysterical phone call from him, demanding to know why I had not shown up at his door, I knew I’d messed up. Apparently, the time I had thought I would need to pick him up, was the time he was supposed to BE at the airport. At the risk of receiving an expensive speeding ticket, I arrived at his hotel, whisked him to the airport, and he made it to his flight, but not without some major toddler-like pouting on the way.
If truth be told, I was glad to see this part of Ricardo’s character revealed, because it just confirmed to me the immaturity I had suspected when he had declared his undying love for me the night before. Proposing on the first date is not romantic, my friends. Beware of that kind of unwarranted, and more than slightly inappropriate, gesture. As it turned out, Ricardo and I stayed friends for awhile, but when I did not eagerly return his sentiments, eventually he defriended me on Facebook, probably at the request of the next girl to whom he proposed.
Almost a year and half after this event occurred, I ran into Ricardo on the same site where we’d met while taking advantage of one of their 3 day free trials. (See Online Tips Section for more about free trials). Ricardo immediately started to instant message me, and proceeded to tell me that I had broken his heart. According to him, I was his girlfriend and had dumped him. When I debated this fact, he seemed a bit perplexed. He then proceeded to tell me that he had thought my boyfriend at the time, whom he had seen on Facebook, was ugly and not nearly as good looking as him.
Not sure how to react to that revelation, I steered the conversation to safer waters such as work and school. Because I had not chosen my wedding dress, created a reception guest list, or hired a wedding planner, I finished the conversation with him, and moved on to communicating with other men who could suitably pace themselves when embarking on a relationship.