I first laid eyes on Vegas the night before Thanksgiving, 2011.
He was shy then or maybe playing the male version of the coquette. That night it was just a fleeting glance, but our relationship has since blossomed. I see him just about every day now, sometimes several times a day.
That first night my instincts told me Vegas was not the man for me. He had a dangerous air about him, bearing a striking resemblance to James Brolin in The Amityville
No, definitely not the man for me. That movie scared the bejeebers out of me.
Still there was something intriguing about his rugged handsomeness and the clean-shaven charm of his wing man, whose name escapes me now. I’ve only seen Wing Man a few times, but Vegas remains a steadfast suitor.
Update: Wing Man’s “real” name is Trevor.
On that night that I first spied his come-hither glance, I’d just arrived home after a long day at work and logged on to check personal email. While I sorted through the latest batch of possibly virus-laden video jokes from a friend in Myrtle Beach and the dozens of emails from Restoration Hardware, Talbot’s and Pottery Barn, I noticed in the side-frame that a popular online dating service was thoughtfully reaching out to me, there in my pre-holiday moment of solitude.
Maybe they’d caught a whiff of the Progresso soup heating up in the microwave at a time when everyone else’s kitchen smelled of pumpkin pie and turkey trimmings.
Whatever it was, this Cyber Yenta wanted me to know that there were men in my hometown online — at this very moment! – just waiting to meet me (!), so, you know, maybe I should’ve picked a soup without onions and garlic and would it kill me to run a brush through my hair and put on some lipstick? Oy vey.
I admit to feeling a little sorry for Vegas and Wing Man. I mean, what kind of losers hang out online at a time when everyone else is traveling to Grandma’s or getting ready for Black Friday. Did these men have no families, no need to strategically plan for midnight procurement of a 60″ plasma tv at a ridiculous bargain price? Were they drinking Cup-A-Soup at this very moment? Where were my lipstick and hairbrush?
This isn’t a terribly small town, but it isn’t a terribly big one, either. Surely such hunka-hunka bachelors would’ve shown up in the society pages by now. I couldn’t place ever having seen them.
Online Dating Tip #1: Probably best to skip the guy whose profile pic includes an ax, regardless of how brooding and thoughtful his expression might be. (James Brolin as George Lutz in The Amityville Horror, 1979, 20th Century Fox).
Along with the Dad-from-Amityville image, all of these nagging questions led me to believe that Vegas was a heartbreak waiting to happen, but I clicked the link anyway. Why not? The soup still had about a minute and a half to go. What could it hurt?
And with that, Vegas and Wing Man vanished and Cyber Yenta, who just moments before had been so concerned and sympathetic about my being alone on a holiday eve, now wanted to know my life story before allowing me to see anyone’s pictures.
Suddenly, I was in love with Vegas and I could not accept this cruel obstacle to our destiny. I needed to find him, to connect, to know if his house were finally free of poltergeists and if he had tried Progresso’s new international line, like the chicken tortilla. I was sure he wasn’t a smoker because Fate couldn’t be so cruel as to have matched me with a smoker. Or a joker. Or a midnight toker. Nothing like that.
No, Vegas was a good man. A kind and thoughtful man, intelligent and funny, warm and gentle toward old people, children, and animals. A poet and self-made millionaire who loved working in his woodshop and who’d once rescued a group of stranded hikers while climbing Mount Everest, giving them his provisions and calling for his personal helicopter to pick them up, then going on to finish mounting the summit alone. And barefoot. Thrifty, clean, reverent, and brave. Oh, how I longed to find him again.
I told Cyber Yenta everything s/he wanted to know, filling out each screen as quickly as possible, before Vegas slipped away, possibly falling into the clutches of that tart who lives over by the docks. She wasn’t good for Vegas. Sure, she owned a hairbrush and was always slathered up with lip gloss, but Vegas and I were meant to be together.
Yes, I am a dog person.
No, I don’t smoke.
Look, Cyber Yenta, I am perfectly capable of telling Vegas these things myself. Please bring him back. My soup is getting cold.
Vegas and I weren’t meant to meet on that Thanksgiving Eve. I finally gave up, closed the laptop, ate my soup, went to bed, and put the whole thing out of my mind. I forgot all about Vegas because the memories were just too painful.
I moved on.
To the following Monday, when upon opening my email, I received dozens of notifications that eligible bachelors were interested in meeting me (!) — none of whom appeared to be possessed of Vegas’s rugged looks or daring bravery or generosity of spirit or moving sensitivity, although I will concede it is hard to judge these things through profile pictures alone.
The pain of having loved and lost Vegas was too fresh, too raw, too third-and-equally-incongruent adjective. I told Cyber Yenta to call off the search. If I couldn’t have Vegas, I didn’t want anyone. Besides, I knew it would hurt him, too, to know I’d moved on so quickly and so callously.
A few months ago, through the miracle of the Internet, Vegas reappeared. Barely a day goes by that I don’t log on to find his warm smile beaming at
Vegas, my soup-mate. Reunited at last.
me, lovingly reminding me that one out of five relationships start online.
I try not to think about the fact that most of those online relationships probably start with Vegas, whose given name is Vegas90403. I used to think 90403 was a zip code, but I suspect it’s the number of online relationships he had to go through before he found me.
All that matters is that he found me and that we can share our evening soup together, he with his ever-present grin, me searching for my hairbrush and lipstick.