Eleven

International Man of Mystery, 52

Seeking plague-ready suitor for the next round. Fully stocked fridge and stable mental health required. Good singing voice and/or musical skills and/or voracious reader and/or solo creative pursuit for quiet time a huge bonus. Not required but desired? I'm a sucker for dark skin and gray hair, cosmopolitan backgrounds (mixed race/religion/nationalities), impassioned lefties, creatives who have figured out how to make it work.

This situation is impossible.

My dating profiles are live, and I click through wondering when it’s going to be okay to meet new people. I get some matches; most of them are bad. I’m angry that I was robbed of my freedom to make more bad choices even while I realize that given circumstances, my complaints are so trivial. It doesn’t change the fact that I felt like I was achieving some kind of momentum with my suspended personal life when the gravity got switched off. Now I float, directionless, unable to make real world connections of any kind.

I had a phone date.

It wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great. I wouldn’t have gone out with him again in person, so at least there’s the idea that I screened out an option without even showering. We talked for about 45 minutes, he’s an interesting enough guy, but even on the phone I could tell that his vibe was all wrong. He told me he spent the last 20 years overseas and wouldn’t tell me what, exactly, he was doing. Missionary? Arms dealer? Blackrock contractor? He wouldn’t say. Also, he just seemed… twitchy, and not in a nervous first date kind of way. He told me he’d been “in Asia.” Asia is a big place, where exactly? He wouldn’t say. He’s unemployed, a lot of people are right now, but he’s been living with his aging parents for the last two years after being deported and is now “getting his life back together.” Deported for what? He wouldn’t say. “Gotta have stories for later.” I did a little cursory searching, I found an American guy with his first name who’d been deported from Pakistan for supsected spying.

No, no, and also, no.

It’s okay, I tell myself. You’re not meeting anyone new right now anyway. It’s good to screen for communication skills, for a genuine sense of interest, for whatever quality it is that makes it possible to sustain a connection. It’s good to think about what I might really want when all this is over. All this is low stakes practice for when we get the all clear signal.

Sometime in 2021, I guess?

This situation is impossible.