I matched with fish on Bumble not long after my separation (ironically, I had just got off Plenty of Fish since it was, well, a swamp). My first message to fish was uninspired, something along the lines of “Hey we’ve never officially met but I’m Xxxxx Xxxxxxx’s daughter.” He replied quickly, “No way … you are?” Since Bumble day 1 fish and I have never been out of touch for more than a day or two. In relatively short order, he sent me his phone number and told me “it was easier to text” (inaccurate flex but ok – I’ll bite). I shot him an SMS letting him know mine in return.
Now, if I’m going to do this verbatim thing with some of fish’s standout texts, be forewarned: he loves abbreviations and taking phonetic liberties in his spelling and grammar. Also if you’re like me and appreciate the smaller details to help round out your understanding of a person’s unique features, know this: the small adjacent rural town that fish grew up in is known for having a slightly affected southern-esque drawl to their speech, which adds a certain flavour to fish’s first SMS text:
Fish: Gonna take ur mini me to Jurassic Park or is that outta the age range? Thatd be a good theatre movie for my free tix.
While I did appreciate that he took my daughter into consideration in that small way, I remember being very fixated on the “free tix” aspect of the invitation. On one hand, does broadcasting free tix in the invitation seem cheap? On the other hand, I really appreciated the chillness of it all, somehow almost takes the pressure off of the date, like “it’s not big deal, it’s just free tickets”. Two other thoughts on the above: A) Fish has met my daughter in passing, with my mother, around age 4. This notion still sort of weirds me out. And B) Fish’s entire family is OBSESSED with movies and television. The longest and most in depth conversation my mother ever had with fish was on a two hour drive together to a work event was entirely about TV shows. Both of them have since told me about that conversation; apparently Shameless is a really good show and they both think I’m an idiot for not watching it but I digress.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how I responded to that Jurassic Park movie date thing request? Well I dodged it, duh. Why? Because I was too busy waffling over whether or not I thought the “free tix” statement was awkward or not. Over-analyzing and coffee are my main vices in life. One make me mentally vibrate into nigh catatonia and the other costs $3 at Starbucks. But at any rate, rest assured dear readers, there’s lots of callbacks in the comedy-of-errors that is fish and I.
In all of the back and form messages, Fish and I came to realize as time wore on that our calendars were perfectly at odds with one another, and as it usually goes, the longer you text, the more unsettling the idea of actually meeting in person becomes. Weekends would come and go and we’d rattle off our respective social commitments, and setting a date never worked out. We resigned ourselves to a nickname for one another “penpal” and even now, we still use it. We both play more than one team sport, have active social/travel calendars, and put a priority on seeing family and getting sufficient me-time to recharge from our jobs that we both take seriously. I do however suspect that fish has, at best, a tepid attraction to me – much the same as I feel about him, which could also be in play for why we’re often unable to nail down dates with finality, examples to follow.
One text exchange during this pre-first-date period that I was particularly fond of came when fish told me he had a friends wedding to attend out of town:
Fish: I’ll be up by Casinoland.
Fish: Never know what the night brings.
Me: Bridesmaids 😉
Fish: is pretty funny ya
Fish: Would you be jelly or something
Me: Of what?
Fish: Ahh nothing
Me: Bridesmaids spend so much money on the hair and makeup and nails. It’d be a shame if it went unnoticed. Toss em a wink for the good of humanity.
This won’t be the last time fish brings up the concept of jealousy with me. And this won’t be the last time I demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to emotionally invest in him. Maybe all for the best though, because what I didn’t know at the time was that fish was attending this wedding as a +1 with a girl he would later refer to as “his last fling”, and who will make an unexpected appearance later in our story. If I’m correct in my understanding of their timeline, they had already decided to call it off between them and attended the wedding as friends.
I was always pleasantly surprised by the types of texts fish would send me on weekend mornings. The Sunday routines for fish generally involve being hungover, chores and what I refer to as “domestexts” aka the shmoopy texts he sends me when he’s doing laundry or making dinner. He’d tell me what new recipe he was cooking for dinner, what sports he was watching and then seemingly out of nowhere the conversation shifts abruptly and I’d receive messages like “I’m crushing hard on you Xxxxxxx” (my last name) or “your personality is prime”.
When I took inventory overall of the type of texts he sends me in order to write this blog, I came to realize he is not often crass or overtly sexty, but there have been a few select times he’s been very tongue in cheeky about masturbation which I found genuinely funny (knuckle children was a new one for me). He does drunk text me things like “U sweet little babe” and“Hheeeyy babbay!” Verbatim innocuous nonsense he stumbly-thumbs into his phone screen before passing out iPhone-in-hand.
To get the story back on track: after he had attended the wedding and after I had received a proper scolding from my mother for leaving fish hanging on the movie date, I texted him with two emojis: TRex & Film Reel. My attempt to get us to Jurassic Park fell flat because he was too hungover. Then I left for a week of family cottaging, he checked in. Then he got sick for two weeks, but still checked in. All of the aforementioned texting habits formed and one day he saw on social media that I had gone to a drive-in movie, checked in AND offered up Jurassic Park again, but alas, the calendars just would not jive at all.
Fish was about to leave for a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic for a family wedding. We joked about how I was coming with on the trip and what sort of dress I would wear to match him. The next exchange offers a bit of foreshadowing:
Fish: Sorry if I dont penpal u down south
Me: Oh don’t be sorry. Enjoy your damn vacay like a champ.
Fish: Haha maybe if we chilled once b4 u could be on my mind though
Me: The goal of Dominican should be zero on your mind, plastered af poolside.
Fish: Its nice to have a girl to think of
Me: I mean, I’d vote for Sandra Bullock but I’m cool too I guess.
Fish: Yaa I’m building a little crush
We’d been texting almost every day for weeks; some of which included jokes and references to being together in the future, none of which seemed like it would actually come to fruition. And yet, we are at the point in the fish
tail tale where in the next blog I’ll tell you about how, rather unexpectedly and about 28hrs before he got on a plane, fish and I have our first kiss. Until next time dear readers. Glub glub.