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After my astonishing interaction with the emergency room doctor from New Hampshire, (see previous blog post) the next man who contacted me on was an architect supervising a big construction project in Vermont.  His introduction included “please don’t tell me I’m too young” (he was 68, 13 years younger than I). The rest of the introductions bear only modest repeating: “you sound interesting,” “you’re dogs will love mine,” “I’m fascinated by you. You make me feel warm all over.” It’s so easy to make guys feel warm all over!

After the mild introductions, he suggested that he and the girls (his two dogs) drive down for Thursday and Friday.  They could be here by 4:00 on Thursday. “If you can put us up fine. If not, I’ll find a hotel in the neighborhood.” Kudos for mentioning the hotel, but put up a total stranger and his two dogs overnight?

The ease with which both the doctor and the architect proposed an overnight suggests there is a sufficient number of women who provide a B&B with Benefits without knowing anything about the guy. To be fair, the population is dispersed over a lot of territory in Vermont and drives can be long. (What do they do in Texas?)

FYI: I had by now dismissed any idea of ever meeting this guy, but went ahead with my experiment. I tried a new tactic. A Thursday-Friday slumber party wasn’t an option, but maybe he and the girls would like to come down earlier some day so we could spend some time together. I wanted to test whether he was truly viewing me as an unpaid prostitute or did he have some inkling that I was a human being?

It was Tuesday, and I wrote him that my writing group and my book group were both coming to my house that afternoon, and I was concerned about the behavior of my puppy. Mr. Architect wished me luck with my puppy.

The the next morning, I continued our get-to-know-you campaign. “I’m working on my book, and a friend has written a beautiful piece about her meadow that I’m commenting on.” Hey, this is what I do with my days, what I’m interested in, what I consider my profession.

His response: “You know how to keep yourself entertained.”

Does he consider that he’s “entertaining” himself when he goes to the construction site he’s supervising? I imagine that this man is only one-tenth as callous in person as he is online. And that’s the point, really. Words and behavior that would never be acceptable in person are thrown around online without consideration of how they might fall.

In going back to review our conversations for this blog, I see that he’s online this morning. He and the emergency room doctor and, by extrapolation, hundreds or thousands of other men, are throwing out a net knowing that sooner or later, they’ll catch a fish. Their prey is not fish; it’s an easy one-nighter with a woman they barely know, whose photograph they pray is recent.

Bill Maher laments the Incel desperation of American males, and has said more than once that if men are having trouble finding mates, they should “Just talk to her! Get to know her!” The facile connections made online have made it easy to ignore that good advice. And women might consider insisting on some acknowledgment of their humanity before they turn over their house to a stranger.

It’s bad for my soul to be treated like a prostitute, even if I never get near the man involved, and I’m signing off I’m sure there is a treasure trove of other stories there, but it’s too sad to watch.