“Even though I was a young 39 year old at the time, even I know that Clinton and Stacey, (my makeover heroes on TLC’s What Not To Wear) would not approve of a cherry red leather miniskirt and white thigh reaching boots on someone in my age group…or anyone of any age group.”
Every once in awhile online, there will be a combination of crazy that no one else will ever encounter in the same way. I see Wes as fitting snuggly into this category. I am not expecting anyone reading this to encounter a “Wes”, but still the story has to be told. Surely each one of you brave online warriors will stumble across a variant of this type of individual, and you will wonder if you are the only person that experiences these kind of surreal run ins.
Wes wrote me via one of the free websites, on which I had been fishing for eligible men. Right away when he wrote me, I felt that familiar tinge of “cougar”ness when I saw that his age started with the number 2, rather than with a 3, or now even with a 4! This was one of the last guys that I met before my personal online journey took a very different turn! He asked for my phone number to start texting me right away, and being that I was a bit bored, I threw caution to the wind and agreed.
Now, the first thing that I noticed about Wes’ texting style is that he answered almost every question with one word. It is difficult to get a read on someone like that, but when I asked him what he enjoyed doing in his free time, he mentioned wrestling. Let the record show that I have nothing against wrestling. It is an athletic activity that requires skill, agility, and according to Wes, a girl in a short mini skirt and thigh high boots to blow colored powder into the ring at the beginning of a match! The kicker was that he wanted ME to do the honors of carrying out this “opening ceremony” for the insane.
I must own up to the fact that I have never actually watched any kind of wrestling live or on TV, so this could be a legitimate request that he was making. Even though I was a young 39 year old at the time, even I know that Clinton and Stacey, (my makeover heroes on TLC’s What Not To Wear) would not approve of a cherry red leather miniskirt and white thigh reaching boots on someone in my age group … or anyone of any age group. At first when he mentioned this demand, I thought he was being funny. It was a good thing we were not engaged in a conversation, but texting, because I did let out a carefree belly laugh. Then I politely declined this opportunity that was presented to me. Yet I still believe that he felt there was a chance I would eventually give in, and make a spectacle of myself.
Right there I should have cut it off. Wes was appearing to be a little off the wall, and I just was not getting that easygoing, casual vibe from him. In fact, he started calling me ‘babe’. This is always a bit of a warning, because it means that this stranger is appearing to become emotionally attached to you. Someone he doesn’t know. My friend Michael has always warned me that I am a beacon, a magnet, for guys that are intense, clingy, crazy, and have issues. “You are too nice Karen!” He has declared on more than one occasion, “Losers and mentally unstable men gravitate to you, because you are nurturing and caring, and won’t reject them outright.” Even though I have been working on this flaw for years, I am compassionate, even to my own detriment.
So I allowed Wes to call me, thinking that there could be a chance that this was just one idiosyncrasy, that could be overpowered by a charismatic personality and some old fashioned values. A girl can dream right? When I agreed to the conversation, there was a small, and I admit, opportunist part of me that thought this could get a little peculiar, which would provide me with fodder for this book. The nicer side of me was thinking that this military transplant may simply be lonely and misunderstood.
No sooner had we said our hellos, when Wes started campaigning for me to be his ‘ringside’ gal. Using my selective hearing, while expertly changing the subject, I did manage to steer the banter in a different and much more sensible direction. However, I was sadly mistaken to believe that this chat would be a normal one. The topic of family is one that usually is safe and non-controversial when speaking on the phone for the first time. It is also telling as to how the man feels about his mom, dad, and siblings. Is family a priority for him? Does he have a good relationship with his mother? Was his upbringing one that would have laden him with emotional baggage?
Nothing could prepare me for the direction this discussion would veer to next. As Wes started to share about his childhood and relationships with his parents, it came up almost instantly that his Italian family had ‘connections’. When I inquired what type of connections these might be, he replied very matter of factly that they were mob connections. Was this really happening? Was I talking to a guy who if he was furious enough with me, could order a hit at the drop of a hat? Oh stop being so dramatic Karen! I know that is what you are possibly thinking, but when he mentioned that his dad got divorced and the ‘family’ offered to ‘take care of it’, I don’t think I am making an unreasonable jump to reaching that conclusion.
“Is that another call coming in? A really important one that I absolutely have to take?” Luck would have it that I was on my way to visit my family in Canada for the summer, so I managed to dodge his texts and calls until I was able to make a run for the border.