He said he'd joined determined to overcome his intimacy fears but hadn't been moved by any of the women he'd met. I want to hear your voice." He called me that night, and was even smarter and funnier on the phone.
But I wanted badly to connect with someone, and the truth is, I shared some of his fears.
A few weeks later, I noticed that Jamie's number was often busy. "Because his number has been busy a lot." She hesitated, and I felt an immediate stab of jealousy. "Jamie and I have been seeing each other in real life," she said. avoided real-life relationships in favor of a fantasy.
Then one evening, Patty casually mentioned she'd spoken to him the night before. That night, I tested out my sneaking suspicion by directing a fabricated accusation at him: "Patty tells me the two of you have been having phone sex," I said. I'd chosen Jamie for the very reasons he'd chosen me: We were terrified of intimacy. I was able to identify unavailable men and avoid them.
I remember the first e-mail I received from Jamie; it wasn't exactly poetic. Looking back, it's hard to believe what that simple line would lead to. At the time, I was nearing 30 and working as a secretary at a big investment bank in New York City—not exactly the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. So I checked out his profile immediately, but wrote him off just as fast—he lived in the Midwest and, more importantly, hadn't posted a photo. He persisted and e-mailed a few snapshots, along with a note. But it was at night that our talks really picked up steam. Paul's reaction mirrored that of my friends, sisters, and parents, so I clammed up. I was working in a dead-end job, watching my friends get married one by one, and kissing my 20s good-bye, having apparently missed the "Saturn Return," that astrologically significant period that occurs between the ages of 28 and 30 and is supposed to be marked by accomplishment, power, and prestige.
Turns out he was reasonably cute, and really funny. This went on for a couple of weeks until I said, "So, do you want to come to New York for a date? I canceled evening plans more than once just so I could go home, change into my pajamas, and curl up in bed with the phone. At some point, I again broached the subject of meeting with Jamie.