Once again I'm starting to believe that a big part of dating is salesmanship. When people meet they want to be liked so much; they will say almost anything to convince you that you are the right person for them.

Men especially can be like the women in the cosmetic store counters. Pretty much every single on of them is selling you the same thing. However, they each have something different to say to make their product sound unique. You initial reaction is, “Why should I pay $50 for a $10 moisturizer I can get at the pharmacy.” However, once you hear about all the mysterious chemical elements and herbal treats that will magically erase lines and make you look more beautiful…you’re sold.

Two days before I broke up with the last man I dated, I told him he’d make a really good salesman as he searched the paper for a job. Little did I know how much I meant that until we came two a crashing halt less than 48 hours later.

When I met him, my first impression was to proceed with caution. He was newly divorced and I was his first date since his wife. I was already feeling this was a hopeless situation. However, just like the woman at the cosmetics counter he told me how he “hadn’t dated for 2 1/2 years so he could find himself and not bring any baggage into a relationship. He went on to add, “I am probably the most normal guy you’ll ever meet.”

Well, despite my instincts I made the purchase. I was impressed. A man without baggage—what a find! Unfortunately it wasn’t too long before I heard the announcement, “divorce baggage—now arriving on turnstile 2.” Once his baggage arrived, the drama began. The sales continued—but the drama began.

He was temporarily living with his father while he got back on his feet after his divorce. SO, the only number I had to reach him on was his cell phone. The problem---he never answered his cell phone. He wouldn’t call back until at least five hours later. Sometime he wouldn’t call back until the next day. It was starting to feel like very “sketchy” behavior. After I got tired of being in a relationship with someone who was out of reach he explained it all away.

“I’m just not used to carrying my phone around. It’s usually off and I leave it in the car. If my kids need me, they call my dad’s number. I’ll work on it…I promise. I’ll be more accessible.”

I think it was his striking perfect smile that added to his charm. He was always so convincing—“the consummate nice guy.” So—I was once again sold. He did get better about the phone—to a point. However, it was probably just easier because I gave up on calling him all together. Besides, I had other forms of his strange behavior to focus on.

He would never seem very comfortable staying at my apartment for long periods of time. He always gave me the impression he was “running out.” When I finally called him on his “bail out” attitude he gave me the sales pitch again.

“It’s not you. I just fill guilty because of my living situation. I don’t want to make it look like I’m shacking up with you while I should be searching for a job and a new place.” When added that he was trying to keep a good impression while he fought his custody agreement—how could I argue?

We had actually met on the Internet. However, he claimed he never posted his ad. He just wrote it up so he could email it to me. He always joked that he’d like to post it to see what kind of response he would get. I tried to humor him and say, “you’re a good looking guy—you’ll get tonz.” Well-color me surprised when I actually stumbled across his ad on Yahoo personals. Here we were in a serious committed relationship and his decides then to put an ad up on the Internet to solicit women. To make matters worse, he changed the photo to one I’d taken of him to give to his children. I was completely appalled and disgusted. Was my “salesman” totally playing me now? When I flipped out in hurt and anger…he once again explained it away.

“We talked about this. We were joking about me doing this. The picture just happened to be there so I added it. It means nothing. I’ll take it down right away.”

I wasn’t so convinced at this point. This was probably finally the “deal breaker.” We made up about it but I never felt comfortable. I actually still managed to have a great time with him the next night. That was until he drove me home and I realized how drunk he was. He started telling me he loved me and demanded that I tell him back. I knew he wouldn’t remember anything and I found the experience frightening and unsettling.

Instead of waking up to the voice of reason the next day, I woke up to the “hangover from hell.” I nursed him the entire day biting my tongue about how much he ruined our plans. He weakly came with me to a Super Bowl party that night. I sat there thinking how much time I’ve really spend being miserable with this guy. He had great potential—but serious issues. I was feeling more sad than happy when I was with him and it was really beginning to be time to go.

He did offer to come over the next day. I was going to give him one last-ditch effort to make it up to me. Instead, he took his divorce baggage and hopped the train out of town,

“With the current state of my life, I can’t give you what you need and it’s not fair to you. Every time something good happens I screw it up and I can’t do this to you anymore. I know what I want to give you but with my life the way it is…I just can’t”

So basically he’s saying he hates his life with no job, no real place to live and a lousy custody agreement with his kids. So…let’s now make it completely miserable and cut out the one good thing in his life—me. Of course he’s just being a good guy and doing me a favor—right? Gee—what a peach! After sticking by him this long I really felt grateful that he threw in the towel! Yippee!

It wasn’t a cut and dry breakup. It was the type that circled around “time to think” or “take a break.” Personally, I don’t like to leave things hanging. Especially after only six weeks. Either you’re in or you’re out. If you break up and want to come back later, well then you’re just going to have to take your chances. There is no such thing as a “breakup for free” card.

So, as he gave his final sales pitch of, “well, I’m going to have to think about what you said and I’ll call you later…”

His last pitch wasn’t any more appealing. After what had already been an hour discussion, I felt the only thing I would have gained was a call back still telling me it was over.

I took the coward’s way out. I hung up. I don’t expect to hear from him again. Hopefully he’s back “finding himself.”

However, the next time I sit at a cosmetics counter being sold a $50 face cream, I’m most certainly going to get up and go to the pharmacy. There’s nothing wrong with settling for the $10 kind. At least you always know exactly what you’re getting


Date Survival

Learning to be single in a married world