I realized as I was reading through my earlier blog posts that I had mentioned some other men in my past life without sharing their stories. So, even though I'm in a very happy relationship now and have committed the blog to topics other than dating, I thought I would share a little more love. This is the story of the man I endearingly refer to as My Boyscout.
I met My Boyscout on the website I used to refer to as Plenty Off-ish, because that's how I read it when I first saw www.plentyoffish.com. Oh, it's an analogy about "fish in the sea" like potential mates. I get it. Anyways, as anyone who has ever bounced around on dating sites before knows, you get a lot of losers and creepers and people just looking to hook up and cheaters for every one gem you find. Off-ish might be a better term for the rest of those guys. I would argue that My Boyscout was a gem. Maybe a little rough around the edges, not perfect, but neither am I.
My Boyscout was forth coming that he had two kids from a marriage that was over, but the paperwork and divorce wasn't quite final yet. This might turn some girls off, and maybe its understandable, but in my experience, previously married men make great boyfriends. The thing I like about divorced men (or previously married men), is that they know how to make a wife or potential wife happy. It's like getting a puppy who's already been potty trained. Previously married men have already been beat down and whipped. They turn around from that relationship and are grateful when you're not a psycho making impossible demands. In fact, the longer they were married, the better boyfriends they make, and the more grateful they are that you're not crazy. I guess that will lead to more stories, but for now, I'll leave it at that. The biggest yellow flag for me with My Boyscout was that the divorce wasn't final yet. But after talking with him via internet and texting, he seemed perfectly fine with taking it slow, which I think is the only way to proceed when the marriage is still legal.
The first time I met My Boyscout, it was at a park with his kids. It wasn't really a date, just a first meeting. He had said something to the effect of wanting to see how I was with his kids, and meet in an open, public place for the first time and whatnot. His little girl latched on to me right away, wanting to hold my hand and whatnot. The little boy, only 2 at the time, wasn't so sure about me, but eventually warmed up and even adorably shrieked a mispronounced version of my name. I don't like kids too much, but they were both adorable. He then agreed to have a real date with me, sans kids. Somehow, the date ended up being me cooking frozen pizza at my house with him as my guest. It was an okay arrangement, though, because he was a gentleman and I felt he could be trusted. The only problem was, as I learned months later, he has colitis, an ugly disease of the digestive system that made pizza a very disagreeable dinner. Poor thing suffered through a piece or two before declining seconds, and I tried not to let it bother me that I had a bigger appetite than he did.
My Boyscout is named as such because he had earned the honorable designation of Eagle Scout, and moreso because he lived up to the name in every way. He was the most handy person I have ever met. He had tools to fix anything, and the knowhow and experience to do it with confidence. As our relationship bloomed, both as friends and a little more than friends, he showed his expertise in navigating hiking trails (and going off trail and finding his way back), turning icky water into drinkable water, and just general preparedness for anything that could happen. I felt perfectly comfortable with my life in his hands on hikes and adventures. He was also exceptionally good at driving on long road trips (and staying awake while driving, something I have not mastered), since he had previously been a truck driver. He didn't come from the best family or have a college education, but he made something of himself despite the challenges he faced, and I respect that.
I think he was a good Dad, too. I say only that I think he was, because I don't think its fair of me, a non-parent, to really judge parenting skills. I like to believe that if I was a mother, my kids would learn that if I say I'm going to punish them for doing something, that I would, and they would make better decisions. But then I see parents give in on things that, in my short time being with whatever child that is, I don't think they should give in on. I think when you become a parent, you decide that some things are worth letting go, and you pick your battles. And every parent probably picks slightly different battles. So I can't say for sure if someone is a good or bad parent. But I think he made decisions with the good of his kids in mind, and I think he cared for them well, so I think he was a good Dad.
My Boyscout had a number of flaws, though, too. Health issues not withstanding, he grew attached to me faster than I think he expected, and certainly faster than I wanted him to. Afterall, he was still technically married months into our budding relationship, and I was not about to call a married man my boyfriend. I did bring him around my family and we went on trips together and I spent time with his kids, but to me, our relationship was still pending on his divorce. There was one time he said those three forbidden words, and I told him I could not say them back and asked him not to say them again to me until the divorce was final. He said it again while we were making out, and I stopped the action right there to drive my point home. It was too soon, too quick, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd ever love him. He had a lot of things going for him, but he had a lot of drawbacks in my book, too.
While I never want to be said to be trying to "change a man," as I know such a thing is impossible, I do like to believe that men can be inspired and pushed to act on their own desires. This was one reason I have been dumped once or twice - I pushed too hard to try to help my man achieve what he said he wanted. Shame on me. I think this is also why there is a saying about, "Behind every good man is a better woman." This is why! So I don't try to curb my enthusiasm for pushing and making things happen. If a man can't tolerate it, and he's not doing things on his own, to hell with him. All that being said, I do hope I inspired My Boyscout to fulfill his aspirations, and to aspire to greater heights, and I think I did. Having been trapped in a relationship with a wife who didn't want to do much, his activities had been limited until he met me. I opened his eyes to new experiences like rock climbing, and reinvigorated his love of hiking. He took those passions and pursued them a level far advanced than what I've ever done in those areas. I'm both proud of him and a little proud of myself for pushing him in that direction. It's a nice, warm and fuzzy kind of pride, like when you pay it forward or teach someone something new.
Well, My Boyscout could have made a fantastic husband if I had had the patience to stick it out and push him a little more. But there was a lot to work on, and some factors that can't be changed, and it came down to, I just wasn't that into him. He continued to be a part of my life as a friend for quite some time. Part of the reason he is no longer in my life is because I don't care for high-drama situations, and his wife apparently made quite a bit of those. I was only getting his side of the story, of course, but it was awful, and I couldn't deal with a lot of it. We did get together a couple times later, and I was saddened that his kids had already forgotten about me, their young minds not retaining the the affection and excitement to see me that they had when they were younger. But with all the drama, I knew it was better that they had forgotten that part of their early lives.
There was one crazy weekend during which I had a family birthday party to attend in Tucson, and then a casting call for HGTV's Design Star that I wanted to audition for in las Vegas. My Boyscout was a trooper, driving me to my family event and playing the role of good friend there, and then driving most of the way to Las Vegas. We arrived a little after midnight, and after a short debacle with the hotel not having my reservation, finally got into the room. I needed to catch some sleep, but first, I had touch up work to do on the portfolio I was going to present the next morning. So I stayed up just a little while to do that, while he went and hit the town. He had agreed to go primarily because he had never been to Vegas before. We were taking my car and I paid for the room since I was going anyways, so it was basically a free trip for him, and I got a driver and a travel companion. He had not returned to the room by the time I went to bed, which was fine. But when he wasn't there when I woke up in the morning, I was concerned. I tried texting and calling him to no avail. I was planning on having him drive me to the casting call, just in case parking was a nightmare, then he could just drop me off and take the car elsewhere until I was done. Either way, I couldn't leave without him, and time was ticking. He finally marched through the door five minutes before I had a complete melt down (always punctual, he was), and said he had just walked the entire strip all night, stopping wherever he felt like it. He essentially walked the half marathon route, ironic, because he suffers from the disease that the half marathon supports research for. He was ready to go, and we were off to my casting call. He stayed with me for a bit in line until it was clear that nothing was going to happen for a bit, so he left to grab some breakfast, and came back shortly after. Once the whole thing was over, we went to the ice bar I promised to take him to, had a drink, danced like the silly people we were, and left town. Short and sweet little roadtrip to Vegas.
My Boyscout and I are still friends on facebook, although we don't talk, but I see pictures of him with a new woman who seems to make him happy, and I am happy for him.