Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, But I'm tired of Holding on to a Feeling I know is Gone

A common question to illustrate music preference is to ask what album or what 5 songs would you wish to have if stranded on a desert island.  This song by REO Speedwagon would be one of mine.  From a lyrical standpoint they tell great stories while musically they fuse basic rock with an almost gospel quality (like that organ at the end of “Keep the Fire Burining”).  Because I grew up listening to a lot of country, bluegrass, and gospel I like the fusion of rock with these genres.  Some other songs I might take to a desert island might include Interstate Love Song by the Stone Temple Pilots, Blackbird by the Beatles, Driver 8 by REM, Train in Vain by the Clash and perhaps something by Dusty Springfield and Gordon Lightfoot, I think that runs the spectrum pretty well.

Before I go any further perhaps I should retrace my steps a bit and give you a little more of why I am here.  In my forth blog entry (The Long and Winding Road) I did express what specific occurrences initiated my foray into Ashley Madison but did not discuss some of my emotional motivations.  Just prior to going on our Mexico vacation my wife (Shannon) and I gave up on our 3rd round of marriage counseling.  For me, as I said in a previous blog entry, I began seeing myself differently.  There is a country song that says “I want to see the mountains in your eyes.”  When I saw myself through Renee’s eyes I saw someone attractive both mentally and physically, someone that the right woman would find attractive.  When I am with Shannon I am not a good person because I am living under her gaze and thus her impression of me.  In the movie “The Story of Us” Michelle Pheiffer says “this is me with you.”  In short, Shannon has and I guess will always see me as Ryan version Y2K and including previous Pentium versions.  Renee and subsequently Alecia and others have the freedom to see me as Ryan version Y2K.10+.  In trying to find someone through AM I guess I was hoping to either validate Shannon’s opinion of me, and thus conclude I was in fact a jerk, or find someone that might find a great person inside of me.  Maybe I was just John Cusack saying “I am looking for a dare to be great situation.”  By the way, why do I always express myself through quotes?  I guess because I don’t have a whole lot of relevant things to say or at least have trouble articulating in my words. J

And what am I trying to accomplish in a blog.  I decided to write a blog about 2 months ago and had probably the first 6 entries written in my head.  When I started, the writing just poured out, I have been writing ahead by about 3 entries in a Word document.  I think it is a way to fondly remember the evolution (or devolution) of this fairly good and certainly normal guy as he enters this different world and just laugh at myself.  If anyone is a college football fan and has listened to Keith Jackson announce a game I am hearing him call my blog with his trademark saying “rumblin,’ bumblin,’ stumblin’, whoa Nellie’!”  The other very illuminating thing that has occurred is reading so many other blogs with people in very similar circumstances or at least people finding themselves through their blogs.  And the few responses to my blog have been a big kick.  Of course I did say my one regret is that I didn’t try journalism as a career.  I minored in English in college and was a sports writer for my college newspaper.  I even have some book storylines written in my head that maybe I will write down some day.  So I wanted to recount my tale from the beginning with all my silly acts and as I come to various revelations.  I assure you the man I am now is certainly different than the person I was back last May.  My thought is that I am a bit better but perhaps if you read and comment you can let me know if that is correct.

Btw, I don’t want to make any of my entries a diatribe on Shannon she is a wonderful person in the right circumstances.  She is talented, creative, and very engaging and a good mother.  She is beautiful with shoulder length Auburn hair and what I call “stormy eyes.”  They are blue-grey similar to the sky before a storm.  And by stormy I mean they mirror her often “stormy” temper.

As this is to likely be my last blog entry before the holidays for anyone who might read this Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

So I will leave you with that REO Speedwagon Song I mentioned above:

"I've been around for you
I've been up and down for you
But I just can't get any relief
I've swallowed my pride for you
I've lived and lied for you
But you still make me feel like a thief
You got me stealin' your love away
'Cause you never give it
Peeling the years away
And we can't relive it
I make you laugh
And you make me cry
I believe it's time for me to fly

You said we'd work it out
You said that you had no doubt
That deep down we were really in love
Oh, but I'm tired of holding on
To a feeling I know is gone
I do believe that I've had enough

I've had enough of the falseness
Of a worn out relation
Enough of the jealousy
And the intoleration
I make you laugh
And you make me cry
I believe it's time for me to fly

Time for me to fly
Oh, I've got to set myself free
Time for me to fly
And that's just how it's got to be
I know it hurts to say goodbye
But it's time for me to fly

Oh, don't you know it's...

It's time for me to fly

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Senorita, I’m in Trouble Again, and I Can’t Get Free, Hear Exactly What the Doctor Ordered, Come and Talk to Me

Everyone likes a little old Van Halen, right?  To put me on a timeline my first big concert out with the guys and no adult supervision was on the Van Halen 1984 tour.  I think it was about 4 or 5 of us and we had a case of Old Milwaukee.  Unfortunately for me we ate at Wendy’s before drinking and I was stuffed and I just wasn’t able to drink fast enough to get drunk before the concert which was perturbing me.  So I “shotgunned” a beer to expedite and then promptly regurgitated my Wendy’s double cheeseburger just outside the car door (of course it may have been the “Old ‘swill”).  Oh well, the concert was great and at least I was able to be safe driver going home.  And, in hindsight, I’m glad I got to see them before they turned into Van Hagar (although 5150 is a great album in its own right).  Sorry, that memory probably doesn’t go well with this blog entry but so what this is my story.

So I drive over to Alecia’s office and ask for her at the front desk.  Alecia told me before that the receptionist will just think I am a business contact, I am in business attire so everything should be OK and it is close to the end of the day anyway.  In fact in her message she said we are all “tanked out” meaning jeans and tank tops – this may be interesting.  So I wait a few minutes nervously looking at some pamphlets.  Finally I hear a somewhat familiar voice coming down the hall.  And around the corner is Alecia.  Yep, I can safely check “looks better in person,” on her AM profile if I were that type of guy (I don’t leave checks on AM btw, I like to keep things to myself good or bad).  Alecia is in a cute burgundy tank top which reveals her fantastic tan and beautiful long toned arms.  She has long strait brunette hair just parted to the side.  She has a fairly big, dangly, and somewhat “earthy and native-American’ish” silver necklace.  She is wearing very tight, straight leg jeans (my daughter calls them skinny jeans), and elegant black high heel sandals.  And, as I said, her face has that tough but very attractive Pink (the singer) look.  I also quickly note, little make-up, just naturally attractive.  I let her walk a bit ahead as we go back to her office and she looks FANTASTIC.  A side note, we don’t often recognize how important shoulders are in appearance.  To get that great female silhouette and for cloths to “hang well” straight, well toned, and long shoulders (equal to hips) are a big plus.  I am definitely a leg man, but shoulders are important.

So we sit in Alecia’s office and talk for about 30 minutes.  She tells me more about her work and her family and her home.  She lives in a big house on about 40 acres on land her husband’s family owns.  She has a pool and a lot of ATV trails.  She is sounding very cool.  Apparently her husband is pretty selfish, absent, and career driven.  Let me also pick back up with her career.  She is more of an occupational therapist/job and life skills coach, working with the mentally and physically disabled on life skills and placing them into training and job opportunities as well as organizing transportation to job sites.  So by now I am not as psyched-out.  She takes a call while we are talking and one of her staff sticks there head in the door and it is very comforting to see her interact with others, she is very confident and candid but also very warm and caring.  She then takes me on a tour of her office.  There are a lot of rooms for training, skills assessment, etc.  We actually make a connection here because I have done some non-profit work in this life skills area.  I think she really enjoyed talking about and showing off her work to someone who was interested.

Things finish well and she walks me to my car.  She had already given me her business card and cell phone number and said she would be in the car tomorrow traveling with some time to talk.  So we have a 9 am cell phone date for tomorrow.  She gets ahead of that always awkward ending by saying she would kiss me but it was not a good place, she says “we’ll have to save that for later.”  I watch her as she walks away, she has a great walk!  After about 10 paces she turns back to me and smiles and waves.  Wow, she is really cool, I am liking this!

When I get back to my office I have the following note in my inbox:

“wanted to share I completely enjoyed meeting you R.. I found you extremely handsome..articulate.. And.. You left me with the desire to want to learn more.. I hope I left you feeling the same.. Im glad the initial meeting is out of the way.. Now if we choose we can focus on the journey.. What were your thoughts driving home”? Are you smiling

So I guess she likes me as well.

The next day we do talk on the phone for about 30 minutes.  Again, the conversation is very natural.  She really does most of the talking.  She has a meeting at her daughter’s school that afternoon and a lot of soccer and baseball is coming up.  Again, I really actually enjoy listening more than talking.  We make tentative plans to go to lunch the next week.  Over the next few days she texts me (I e-mail back) often.  She says it’s like a scene from the movie “You’ve Got Mail.”  Being cute I write her a note and address it to Meg.  Later I get this angry e-mail saying

            “you called me meg, im not meg…. I hope you and meg find what you are looking for….

Fortunately, I get the following text before I read the above text:

Dear Tom,  OMG.. I am so very sorry...LOLLOL.. Im incrediblly exhausted from my work day..  It took me an hour to figure out who Meg was... LOLLOL.. I went outside to sit by the pool and WHAM.. It hit me..  Im Meg... Hopefully youre laughing as much as I am right now..

Wow, ain’t jealousy great!

So the following Tuesday we have our first date.

Monday, December 20, 2010

But it's All Right Now, I learned My Lesson Well. You See, Ya Can't Please Everyone, So Ya Got to Please Yourself

Hey, another Ashley Madison tag line!  So this is the blog entry I have so looked forward to writing.  I don’t think Riff Dog says much about his appearance other than that he is tall.  But now that I think about it I kind of think about him as looking a bit like Rick Nelson.

Not only was it luck that helped me happen upon the blog Ashley and Me but it was fortuitous that on the day in early May when I first read the blog Riff Dog just happened to be talking about “So you want to write a blog?”

So over the next week I take some downtime from Ashley Madison and go to school.  From February to May of this year Riff had basically turned his blog from a tell-all on his exploits to “Ashley Madison for Dummies.”  In fact I believe he only wrote of one new encounter in June before he took some time off in the last summer and fall.  I think to give himself some time to encounter some new adventures of which he is just now starting to reveal until he decided to cut us all off for the holidays.  At any rate at this point I am pretty dumb so I read and learn.

So I remember my current challenges:  1) as they say in business location, location, location (and mine is a disadvantage), 2) honesty isn’t getting me very far, 3) like I have always heard, women really like guys who make them laugh often even above looks and money.  Oh, and let’s make sure we keep the emphasis here on fun and stay confident!  In my mind I am hearing Mr. Rourke saying “smiles everyone! Smiles! Smiles!”

So after a few days of reading Riff Dog logic I realize the following:

Point #1, nobody really knows where I live here nor do they need to on the front end.  I can just change my zip to 22103 and BANG! I live just inside the Beltway in McLean.  Better yet just say NOVA and my zip will keep me in that vital 20 mile zip code range.

Point #2, well I just told my first fib above why stop there.  So I change to a Capricorn and lose about 2 years of age.  I also change from the current weight of about 185 to the aspirational weight of 175 (I have achieved that, AM provides such good motivation in other aspects of one’s life)!  I don’t lie about height; I believe 6 feet is pretty good.

Point #3, well I think I always have been fairly funny but I just needed a template and Riff gives some great pointers such as  Although truthfully I was back in saddle firing off AM e-mails about a week prior to this post.

            *  Note to reader:  my Ashley Madison wisdom has evolved over time so some of the things I say above I may refute later particularly with respect to location!

By the way, why do all these women like Riff Dog so much?  I think I may have to do a research paper on that for one of my blogs down the road but I suspect that the quick answer is that he is such a lovable, swashbuckling scoundrel and in the final analysis completely trustworthy in the Captain Jack Sparrow mold!  As Captain Jack said:

Me I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly it's the honest ones you have to watch out for; you never can predict if they're going to do something incredibly stupid.

Wow!  What a perfect mission statement for Ashley Madison!

So a few days into my research I come across a very interesting profile.  Her name is Alecia and she is a 40 year old Capricorn from a nearby town (nearby meaning actually outside the beltway).  She is 5’5,” weighs 115 #’s, is attached, and lists herself as “shaply toned” – good so far!  She has no checks but has very intriguing notes under each AM category such as:

“YOU know the exhilarating, insuppressible, passionate feeling – THE look and THE desire that one gets when at that given moment  you are exactly where you want to be – with that ONE person you want to be there with… the journey makes the destination what it is… slow down gentlemen and let’s establish a foundation without regret!”

“I am an attractive, articulate, intelligent, professional interested in meeting a gentleman in similar circumstances….Dramatic, co-dependant, vulgar men need not apply”

“Intrigue and chemistry is a key factor- so is humor – this is supposed to enhance our lives – not add stress…

Yikes, this is exactly who I want to be with.  During that second week of May I send a note to Alecia using my newly acquired Riff Dog’esque swagger.  The next day I get a note back saying

            prefer e-mail, send me a note to lecia123@*****.com and let me know where it will be coming from”

So I send Alecia a message from my personal e-mail account and let her know a little more about myself.  Two days go by and I am starting to get disappointed again.  But then on a Saturday I get a note that was sent late Friday night.  Apparently Alecia is a soccer mom and likes to text while she is at games.

“got your message, am at soccer game…  I don’t live in *** as I have on my profile…  I live and work in ….  tell me why you are on AM and what you hope for in a relationship such as this…”

Great, that is even closer to me!  Two things to note here: 1) wow, women are not necessarily being 100% factual on their profiles and 2) what am I looking for?  That’s a real landmine (or is it)!

So I rehash my boilerplate Starbucks stuff as that seems to mesh well with her profile.  I tell her about all my ballet experiences, that should be magnetic!  And, I suggest we meet for lunch or coffee.  I tell her I really like the sushi at *****, I’ll treat.  Again, three days go by and nothing from Alecia.  The difference here is I see she hasn’t logged onto AM in several days, which must be good.  Later in the week I e-mail again to just check in.  Moments later I get an e-mail from her

            “are you available to talk on the phone? Give number and I will call”

So I quickly get up and go to the restroom to clean off the pee and then…. J  Not quite, but I do catch my breath, give her my cell phone number, and go outside for a afternoon walk and some fresh air and then wait, and wait, and wait.

About 30 minutes later a phone call comes in from a *** area code, could this be her? (oops, I don’t think I said she lives in a different state, but you know the states come and go real fast around here).

I answer as I always do “this is Ryan.”  And on the other side a slightly deep and somewhat smoky female voice says “this is Alecia, can you talk?”

Before I go too much into the conversation I have to say Alecia has turned out to be a therapist.  Christ, just what I need a good mind-screw – did the fates send a psychologist as my first AM encounter in payment for my sins!  But we have a very nice conversation.  She asks about my job, again why I am on Ashley Madison, what I am looking for, and have I met anyone else.  To my credit I don’t commit too much, don’t talk too much, and don’t get intimidated (at least outwardly) by the questioning.  I turn the conversation to her and she talks about herself at length.  Apparently she has been on AM for several months and has met at least two men.  She refers to them as the “masturbator” and the “jerk.”  Apparently the “masturbator” fell by the wayside when she realized he was “wacking off” during one of their phone conversations.  “The jerk” apparently lost out when he assumed lunch = automatic sex and got aggravated when it didn’t happen.  So now I am trying to hold it together facing a therapist and mentally trying to figure out what my name is going to be down the road when she is talking to someone else, “the dork,” “the weenie,” I’m sure it won’t be good.  I again make a good turn toward her work and she spends a lot of time telling me about her job.  She is very passionate about her work and I do think she enjoyed telling me and liked the fact that I was interested.  Someone once told me if you want to impress someone just listen to them.  Things end well and she tells me she will send pictures.  Right at the end of the conversation she asks “are you smiling?”  Which is something she would often ask me, and I really liked it.  I had left the office in anticipation of the call so it was about 30 minutes before I could get back to my desk.  When I get there, yep – an e-mail with pictures.  Alecia is very attractive, and her looks seem to back up her demeanor.  I would say she looks a bit like Pink (the singer) but with long brunette hair and no nose ring.  At this point I am thinking she is a pretty tough chic.  I am hoping I am not out of my league – but stay confident!  Btw, don’t try to e-mail Alecia, that is not her real name of course, I am using Pink’s real name Alecia (Moore) for the purposes of this blog.  Did I tell you I met Pink once?  Perhaps that is a different story but I do want to find a way to work that 4 Non-Blondes song she covers, “What’s Up,” into a quote line – I have a good story to go with!

I send a follow up e-mail that night telling her how much I enjoyed the conversation and that I would love to meet for lunch.  Again, a big dead spot – no message back for several days.  It is now Memorial week and I send a note re-affirming my lunch offer.  Around 2 pm I get a message.

            “am free this afternoon, stop by my office if you can”

Wow, nothing like throwing down a gauntlet.  I am not too busy and her office is about 20 minutes away.  So I e-mail back and say I will be over in about an hour.  And so with that I have my first Ashley Madison meeting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who Let the Dogs Out! - You Fetch A Woman in Front and Her Man’s Behind

OK, so after displaying such good taste in music why quote from the Baha men?  Well please read to the end!  I couldn’t help myself.  As a side note, you know the Baha men are not just a “one hit wonder” they also sang the theme song to “My Man Stanley” a kids show my daughter’s use to watch from the early 2000’s.

Did you ever save projects you did in school that at the time you thought were ingenious and so well written?  Do you look at them now and say “wow that really stunk.”  It has been fun recalling some of my early experiences even though only a few months ago.  On my second round of searching I came across a picture of a beautiful woman in sun glasses looking out toward the ocean (perhaps at Ocean City, MD or Virginia Beach).  Below is what I wrote

Dear Ms. Beach Bunny,

I was struck by your beautiful yet somewhat melancholy profile picture and thought a lot about what you may have been feeling at that moment.  The photo evokes such an image of one looking out to the ocean for solace or an answer.  But do tell me if you were just watching someone swim?

Overall my life is great; I have a wonderful career and am fulfilled as a father.  Personally though, I feel that I am drifting and need to turn to something meaningful soon.

I want to excite and energize someone and be their hero.  I want the opportunity to be the solace one is looking for.  I want to be inspired through someone’s caring energy to be great.  As I saw in a cartoon I just want to be the person my dog thinks I am J

Oh, and I do love to visit wineries, I do love sunsets, I am a “foodie” and love to cook (particularly on the grill) for or with someone special and nothing picks me up like dark chocolate in the afternoon.  I would love to hear a little more about you.  I am happy to chat and equally happy to drive to Alexandria to meet as I know there are many great restaurants that I would love to treat you to.



Yeah, I know – a bit whiney and over dramatic although I do still like the humor of the dog joke, I think it was on a Far Side or a New Yorker.  So with my second round of messages I really tried to open up and connect.  I actually did get a few responses early on.  School Boy Crush wrote back and gave me a private key but said I was not local (look but don’t touch?).  Beach Bunny opened my priority message but never wrote back (apparently not as impressed with my prose as I am).  Upon further research I noticed that someone else on another profile had copied Fitness Buff's profile exactly word for word but was about 40 pounds heavier.  I wrote Fitness Buff again to let her know.  She wrote me back and thanked me and said I sounded like a nice guy but was looking for someone local (apparently kindness only gets you so far).  Starting to see a common theme here? Yes like most Metropolitan Areas, DC is a big place.  You see our nations capital is located on a small piece of former swamp land within Southern Maryland but from a commuting standpoint really includes large portions of Virginia, Maryland, and even Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware.  You see your writer here lives in what is called the “Outer Suburbs” a foreign suburban land just past those Red, Orange, and Blue Metro lines and only accessible by long commuting journeys or MARC trains.  Or for ladies inside the Beltway the “wrong side of the tracks.”

But finally, CometoMe2010 did say:       

“am intrigued by your profile, my husband and I are big fans of ***** also (I noted where I graduated in my message) how often could you travel to meet with distance.”

CometoMe2010 and I wrote a few times over the next few weeks and she sent me a private key and told me her name, Miranda.  She has beautiful long Auburn hair, blue eyes, and a very infectious smile.  She said she was looking for someone humorous so I sent a joke with the second message about *****’s state rival.  Something like:

“Did you hear about the fire at *****’s library?  Yeah, it destroyed all five books; the bad part was that two were not even colored in yet!

And, “Do you know why *****’s football team does not have a website?  Because they can’t string 3 w’s  together!”

Miranda sent me some jokes back; one was about sex in a car during an earthquake.  So we are getting some good vibes here.  Additionally, Miranda’s other challenge and what I have found to be why a lot of 30/40-something women are on Ashley Madison is a little challenge for their husbands called ED, yes erectile dysfunction for you Viagra fans.  You see women like good sex as much as us guys and when the well runs dry they are just as prone to go foraging for another source.  Thankfully, I have no problems in this area!  Actually men and women are not exactly alike.  I think we can be satisfied with mediocre sex.  Men are prone to choose quantity over quality where women are aiming much more for quality.

Miranda and I ended up trading jokes for about two weeks.  Miranda finally wrote back and said she had met someone local.  I picked up communication with her about a month later when things with that guy turned sour.  We had a tentative date set up but she finally wrote and said she was filing for divorce and deleted her profile.  An interesting side note is that she had 4 private pictures with two being from her wedding, go figure.  Hey but I’m not judgmental.  I really enjoyed and appreciated Miranda’s thoughtfulness and candor and in those early days she kept my confidence up. 

So to recap we have the following notes: 1) as they say in business location, location, location (and mine is a disadvantage), 2) honesty isn’t getting me very far, 3) like I have always heard, women really like guys who make them laugh often even above looks and money.  Oh, and let’s make sure we keep the emphasis here on fun and stay confident!  In my mind I am hearing Mr. Rourke saying “smiles everyone! Smiles! Smiles!”

So with this in mind I continue to research and that is where experience and knowledge intersect with inspiration.  We are now in early May and one day as I continue seeking information about Ashley Madison I come across a little blog called “Ashley and Me” by some guy named Riff Dog out in LA.  And I have another one of those “ah ha” moments or, to go all biblical, “and on the seventh day he readith of Riff Dog.” Who let the dog out!  Riff!  Riff!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don’t Know What I Want but I Know How to Get It

As I was mentally writing this blog I started to hear a song for each entry.  So I think I have the idea of using a song lyric for each day’s title.  Maybe it will be a window into my soul :). Although I am not much of a punk rocker I have always admired the above quote from the Sex Pistol’s song Anarchy in the UK.  It simply states what I often feel!  Previous day’s quotes were from James Taylor (Oh Mexico), The Beatles, and the Left Bank.  A little music history, even though “Just Walk Away Renee” is archetypical 60’s bubble gum pop it has always been special to me.  It is an ode to unrequited love.  I used to see the duo Lowen and Navarro whenever they were in town (in college).  They are a pair of songwriters better known for writing Pat Benatar songs such as “We Belong.”  They always covered “Just Walk Away Renee” in their shows.  OK, enough background so let’s move the story forward.

So we fly back to Dulles (IAD for you frequent flyers) the Friday after Easter.  A cold reminder of where I came from and now missing the sunny beaches in Mexico.  The next day, Saturday, I went into work.  I hate going away and returning to 200+ e-mails so I wanted to get things in order for Monday.  And more importantly I wanted to check that Ashley Madison Inbox.  To my pleasant surprise, BANG!  A wink and a private showcase key from Fire Emerald.  Her private showcase is one nice photo of her face, very pretty, and is cropped – apparently the hubby has been pushed aside.  It is funny to see so many bad crop jobs of the lovely wife and the husband conveniently cut away – but I guess I have done the same so who am I to criticize.  But now I realize I have no way of actually communicating with this woman who is so obviously “into” me!  So I look around the site and I see how to actually talk to a woman.  Now you AM vets are probably saying the above never happens but please read to the end.

On Ashley Madison you can window shop as much as you like and you can wink or send your pictures to anyone you wish.  But if you want to talk you have to pay.  There are 3 buy-in amounts:

            200 Credits for $79
            500 Credits for $149
            1,000 Credits for $249 & comes with “Affair Guarantee”

Credits are used to communicate with other members.  A basic message is 5 credits.  A priority message (which puts your message at the top of a member’s inbox) is an extra 5 credits.  A 30 minute chat session is 30 credits; a 60 minutes chat session is 50 credits.  Virtual gifts can be purchased for 20 to 50 credits.  So if you do the arithmetic a priority message to a beautiful lady will cost you $3.95 if you purchase the basic package.  But really, what is $4 among friends (note:  I’ve used that line in a message before)!  The “Affair Guarantee” pledges, with several stipulations, that if you do not have an affair within 3 months after purchasing the package you get your money back.  I will talk later about Ashley Madison economics and some basic strategies later.  However, by the time I get there you may think my advice is worthless! 

So what to purchase?  Of course, I think I am a prize and should not need a guarantee so I go with the basic package and send Fire Emerald my first message.  I think of something short but kind and considerate:

Thanks for the wink back, it made me smileJ!  I like your caption as I feel the same way.  You have beautiful eyes, is that the source of your name?  Please let me know if I can share more about myself with you and I would love to hear more about you.   R

So with a letter like that I am bound to see success, right!

So I wait one, two, three days and no reply.  What a downer!  And of course I have noticed that you can see when a member last logged in on their page and I have noted that Ms. Emerald has been on AM during this time.

This must be a rip-off!  If anything I am meticulous so I start doing a little research on Ashley Madison.  There is some information out there and I read a few consumer reports.  Is Fire Emerald one of those Ashley Madison “hosts” I was reading about?  Most say this is a rip-off but a few say they have had success but you have to be persistent.  At this point I have 190 credits so I may as well forge ahead at this point!  So I plan to pick out 4 or 5 special ladies a day and write to them and see where I go.  And I will let them know a little more about myself in the e-mail as I note that you have 2,000 characters to tell your story.  If you are keeping track that is $0.002 per character and I want my money’s worth!  So over the next few days I write to SchoolBoyCrush, FitnessBuff, BlondBeachBunny, CometoMe2010, and many others.  By the way I will give this bit of advice.  During this time I also try the old Instant Message/Chat method.  I did have brief chats with 2 women but I will say that is largely a waste of time.  Oh and while I said I had 190 credits I decide to add 500 more.  As they say, “in for a dime in for a dollar.”  And I cast my lot with a few other sites but I can talk about those later.

Oh, and I upgrade my profile a bit as well adding a catchy lyric from Pearl Jam as my caption “I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on.”  Now they will know what a cool Gen X guy I am with kindness and consideration on top!  I also put in my cool Starbucks tagline that I am looking for that “Third Place,” “an enchanting alternative third place beyond career and family for solace, excitement or just a good cup of coffee.”  Note, Starbucks uses the term to describe their stores as comfortable places for their guests when they are not at work or home.  A wireless haven to read, work on computer, socialize, or listen to one of their edgy, cool compellation CD’s.  See notes below.

OK, so we have rebooted our Ashley Madison Adventure and we are now ready to move forward.  The only thing we need is a compass to help us steer.  Where might we find such a device as I hear dogs barking in the distance?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just walk away Renee You Won't See Me Follow You Back Home

Performing in the ballet turned out to be a blast.  All the adults really bonded and we really enjoyed the rehearsals and the time together.  And although I was petrified dancing onstage we made it through without too many mistakes.  It was also fascinating to get the behind the scenes view of how the production came together and I was amazed at how much effort these kids put into doing a show; they were all true professionals.  And I have to admit it gave a big boost to my confidence and ego and I think my charm meter went up a few ticks as wellJ.  What woman doesn’t like a man who can dance!  As a side note I just finished my third year of performing the Nutcracker this weekend.  It was a real joy to be on stage with both of my girls.  Maybe next year I can move up from “party scene dad” to Droselmeyer.

It turned out that Renee was going through a divorce.  She is very charming and quite attractive.  She grew up throughout the Midwest and even lived in Alaska and has a slight “Minnasewta” accent (you bet).  She is about 5’5”, long dark hair, green eyes, and in great shape.  A bit “earthy,” but in a good way and a hockey mom.  Jennifer Connelly has been my #1 celebrity crush since playing David Bowie’s foil in Labyrinth and Renee looks a bit like her.  We really connected from the start.  I purposefully acted inept at tying my flouncy Victorian ruffle that was part of the costume at each dress rehearsal so that she would do it for me.  I remember how intoxicating it was to have a beautiful woman simply fuss over me; the smell of her perfume up close, and her soft touch as she patted down the ruffle against my chest and adjusted my collar.  And for her I think I came across as very charming.  I did meet her husband and he was very gruff and seemed perpetually angry and was apparently an absentee father.  As you find on AM there are a lot of guys who have no clue as to what they have at home.  I think for her I, in my Nutcracker role, was the antithesis of what she had experienced in her marriage.  Renee is also a bit of a foodie so we had a lot to talk about.  She is also very passionate about “green” issues and I am a good listener.  I think having someone interested in listening to her was a boost to her.

After the performances I was very disappointed that I might not see her as often.  Fortunately it was the holiday season and I took the opportunity to be charming and gave her a miniature herb Christmas tree as a present.  Just enough of a present to be sweet but not so much as to cross a boundary.  She was very happy at the gesture and we exchanged e-mail and phone numbers and agreed to stay in touch.  Over the holidays we did exchange e-mails, e cards, funny YouTube attachments, etc.  When she sent me a text on New Years Eve around midnight wishing me “Happy New Year,” I definitely felt a vibe.  But what to do?

Over the next few weeks we met a few times for coffee.  I went on a business trip to New England and was compelled to bring her back some Organic chocolate and a book I thought she would enjoy, again sweet but not too far.  If felt so good to spend time trying to find something for someone special when I knew the simple thought would be appreciated.  When I returned I dropped the gifts off to the townhouse she was moving into.  Again, I can’t describe the intoxicating feeling of having someone truly delighted by something you do.  My wife (Shannon) tends to be all about the merchandise and is not often impressed by the thought.  She always seems so image conscious and I rarely get it right with her.

So we settled into a routine.  We talked on the phone at least once per week and e-mailed often occasionally sharing a joke or YouTube link we thought was interesting.  I would say we met for lunch or coffee about once per month.  She often did talk about her soon to be X.  I can’t tell you how many times I was on the brink of just saying “how do you know when its time to leave your spouse.”  But I just couldn’t pull the trigger.  Down deep I knew that a relationship with Renee couldn’t just be casual and I was not ready to make a big move in my life.  I think to my credit I didn’t want to add any stress to her life and I didn’t think I needed the stress in mine.  And of course there is always the chance that I was misreading the vibe.  Over my life I believe I have been the perpetual “nice guy.”  A female friend once told me “I was the guy she would date if she was not with the guy she was with.”  That’s me, too often second place – on the PGA tour that would make you a millionaire but with love just out in the cold. L Fortunately, my luck would soon change but that is a different story.

The following summer I did see Renee at a festival with a date and I was struck by the intense jealousy I felt.  I knew then I needed to do something soon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Long and Winding Road - “That leads me to your door”

Before I go any further I just want to make one comment in the present – DAMN it’s COLD outside!  OK, so while my body is currently in Mexico in blog world I will give a hopefully not too long treatise on how I found myself open to the concept of using a site like Ashley Madison.  First, I will get right to the point.  My wife, in her travels, had an affair with her boss that lasted for about 4 years.  I found out in the classic way – through text messages.  Note to reader, do all this on your own time and in private not on the home computer or I phone.  My wife travels weekly for her job and is generally gone 1 to 3 days per week.  As a result our lives just grew apart.  The upside is that as a single dad (for a few days a week) I became a much better and interesting person.  Unfortunately it was a little too late to make a difference in the marriage.

As an aside her affair ended about a year ago when her boss met another younger female employee.  Now I am no wife swapper but really how dare he cheat on my wife!  I did see a picture of this new interest and while she is pretty hot she can’t possibly be as interesting or charming as Shannon (we’ll use that name for my wife).  But, at any rate, the damage had been done.  Really, the damage was done long ago.  I was very career driven at first and was often absent early in the marriage.  Then we had kids.  I started to hold back on my career drive but amazingly her career really took off.  Soon she far surpassed me and part of her initial attraction to me wore off, as I hear “Don’t You Want Me Baby” by the Human League in the background.  She likes the finer things in life and traveling to New York, Miami, LA, etc. certainly made life with me very normal.  To be fair she does her share of traveling to Kansas and South Dakota as well so it is not always glamorous and traveling can be very draining over time no matter the destination.  So she mentally moved on.  And we act out the part of the good family for the five days she is at home. 

I, back at home, was often the only dad at ballet class or being homeroom parent at school.  Of course what that means is that I am often around a lot of mom’s.  That is kind of like the sheepherder turning to Wile E Coyote and saying I have a business trip will you tend the flock while I’m gone.  Yes, in tribute to women there are a lot of great looking mom’s at ballet class and around school.  And often these women don’t have husbands like me that shuttle kids all around the county, cook well, clean, have a good job, and have all their hair and a BMI of 23.  So over this time I made a lot of casual female friends and even started to feel that I was getting some vibes.  There was a mom at ballet and a teacher at school both going through a divorce and there was even a marketing intern at work and a fitness instructor all of which seemed to think I was fairly neat!  But the shepherd should not play with the flock and remember we are in a small town so I never moved on anything.

Then 2 years ago my eldest daughter decided to participate in her ballet school’s performance of the Nutcracker.  Apparently they needed some dads to be in the “party scene” in the first act.  So the ballet teacher corners me next to my daughter and asks if I would like to join in.  Now picture this, I hear the pitch and then look at my daughter’s adoring eyes and say “no way, I don’t dance.”  But of course I don’t, I can’t say no with my daughter’s adoring eyes looking up at me.  Oh, and also the ballet teacher is indescribably gorgeous so really I would do anything she asked of me.  The good thing is that the teacher assures me that I am really just part of the background scenery.  Of course that is not entirely true as at the first rehearsal I learn that in fact we do have to dance. 

So let’s set the cast of the Nutcracker first Act Party Scene.  There are six dads who have been coerced into dancing and they are paired with five older girls from the school.  Except for dad six who is me who is paired with one of the mom’s (Renee) who is a friend of the teacher and has agreed to dance.  So Renee was to be my dance partner.

Monday, December 6, 2010

OH Mexico! - Feel a fool running your stateside games

So its Easter week and my daughters have Spring Break.  Every year we take some big trip over the break to somewhere special.  My wife travels a lot for work and gets a lot of airline mileage and hotel points.  So we can go largely for free.

A quick aside and against humility just in case you were seeing me as a jerk.  Let me point out that Old Ryan makes a great single dad for the 2 or 3 days a week when the spouse is on the road.  Yes I do laundry, make up beds, put hair in ponytails, make breakfast, help with homework, coach basketball, and get daughters to ballet.  We can talk about some of that later as that blends into the story.

Anyway, Mexico is great.  We actually make a great family and we enjoyed time on the beach, at a water park, ocean kayaking, and a lot of great food.  An aside, my wife and I are both in the hospitality industry so we know good food but I won’t blend cuisine into the blog for now.  I do love traveling to California, Florida, the Caribbean, etc because the produce is so diverse and fantastic.  My wife and I are dedicated parents and we make great “parenting partners,” I heard that phrase a few months ago, another great happy PC term to describe unhappily married people who dutifully forge along.  There is a daycare at the resort but we don’t take advantage because the girls keep us happy and adult time is usually just detached and awkward.  I do spend one great night in the resorts fitness center on the stair climber and happily watching the NCAA Championship between Duke and Butler.  I won’t weave sports into this blog but that was without a doubt the best game I have ever seen.  And I hate Duke (that should not give me away but no I am not a UNC grad) but you have to admire how well the game was played.

So we have a great week relaxing on the beach.  The resort has some great activities at night like Limbo, Karaoke, Disco Night, etc.  My girls have great personalities and it was fun to see them have such fun.

However, admittedly I find myself often thinking about a pretty brunette woman in Harrisburg, PA and what I might be willing to do.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Testing the Waters

OK, so my profile has been started and I am ready to look for someone looking for someone as kind and interesting as me!  Again, using Facebook skills I can sort of quickly see how to search.  Of course AM makes it easier by displaying 4 prime options in your locale at the bottom of the screen each time you sign on.  In my case DaddiesGirl and BoardWife don’t look too attractive.  In the middle of the screen I see search criteria.  OK so let’s look for women from 29 to 45 and within 20 miles.  Hmm, again I hate to be choosy but if I am going to risk my marriage I certainly want it to be for someone in the same looks range as me!  I pride myself on being humble, but I am 6’ and at the time weighed about 185 (vanity requires me to say that I am down to 172 as of today) and have all my hair.  So let’s call me at least average looks.  Additionally, I said I live in the DC area but it is a really small town so maybe I need to broaden my parameters.  Just to the right of these search criteria cells I see a link to “advanced search.”  And that is where you find the beauty of Ashley Madison.

You see AM cuts right to the chase.  There is no PC on AM, you can get right to the point just like George Clooney said in Up in the Air “I’m like my mother, I stereotype, it’s faster.”  So now I am looking for women who are 5’2” to 5’10,” weigh 100 to 150, are attached, and live within 50 miles.  You can select by race, smoking habits, and some other criteria.  In my case I just want sex not a life together so why would I care if they smoke and I’m a left of center kind of guy so I am certainly open to diversity.  My wife, who btw is beautiful, is 5’6” and weighs about 125 so I use her as a measuring stick.  OK so this starts getting us places.  Unfortunately not too many pictures on profiles and I also get to thinking, I would drive 100 miles for a great looking lady so I further the search.  Oh wait, I did say I was doing this at work so I guess I should probably wrap this up and do something I am actually paid for.  Anyway we are going on vacation Monday to Mexico for a week on the beach so maybe this all should wait for now.  I do notice a lot of women from Harrisburg, PA (I think I can get away with that without revealing myself).  One lady really catches my eye.  She is Fire Emerald and she has a beautiful picture of herself sitting seductively on a couch with a cute strapless sun dress and a wonderful smile.  She is 36, brunette with what appears to be hazel eyes, has a nice tan, and is 5’5” and 125 pounds.  And I love her caption “well here goes.”  That is exactly what I was thinking.  So I see I can contact her in a number of ways.  One free way is to wink, I like free!  I check the help button and see all I have to do is wink and surely she will check out my profile and be interested!  So there you go, I wink and the hunt begins.  Except that tomorrow is Easter and Monday I will be gone for a week with little internet access so our story will have to wait for now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

April 2nd – A Day the Will Live in Infamy!

I am a very regular guy.  I am mid-40’s, married 15 years, and have 2 kids and live in the DC area.  Additionally, although I minored in English and my dream job would have been a sportswriter, writing a blog is the last thing you would expect of me.  And that is all I will say about my normal life for now.  Because the other last thing you would expect of me is the second life I have been living the last six months.

Last April on a Friday evening before Easter I wandered upstairs to watch TV as the rest of the family had monopolized something on the other.  I turned to CNN and casually watched not expecting anything particularly interesting.  That night CNN was interviewing a Noel Bitterman.  It took me a few minutes to figure out what they were talking about.  What it was, was a website called Ashley Madison, a dating site for married men and women who want to cheat on their spouse.  Now of course at this point you are thinking I am a total jerk.  However, I remind you I am not telling my past story at this point and all I will say is it was a long trip to where I sat in front of that TV that night.  But by the end of the interview I had one of those ah-ha moments that truly changed my world.

Conveniently I was working the next day so I had some alone time in my office to do some “googling.”  At first I “googled” Ashley Morgan somehow mixing what I had watched last night with a brand of bourbon/porn star.  Obviously I found nothing.  But after thinking and “googling” some more I finally found Ashley Madison.  I clicked on the link and soon saw such a great invitation – “life is short, have an affair.”  Down and to the left you see “as seen on Ellen, Dr. Phil, Larry King, etc.,” so obviously this is legit!  And just to the right they ask for your relationship status.  Click the dropdown button and ta da (!) – yes I would like to be an “attached male seeking females.”  And there is even an Affair Guarantee (which we can discuss later).  Just to the right is the “begin” button.  So I clicked and began my profile.

I have been on Facebook for about 5 years (proudly a little ahead of the curve there) so I was fairly knowledgeable about navigating through a social media site.  First I type in all my information town, zip, birthday, etc.  Now, I am a rookie at this point so I am honest on all of these answers, we’ll talk more about that later.  Next section – name and caption; and again, not considering discretion I type in my name and the year I graduated college.  That is taken so Ashley Madison gives you boilerplate suggestions.  I settle on Ryan20002010 (not my real name of course – I have learned the meaning of discretion over the past few months)!  Caption, hmm I leave blank for now but I bet a good song lyric would sum up the message I want to communicate to the female world but I can look up some Pearl Jam lyrics later.  Weight, height, body type, smoking habits all answered honestly with more to come on those later.  Pictures, I pull a few off Facebook that are not too clear but keep private.  I at least know that at this point.  And finally I go though the Intimate Desires, Perfect Match, and Personal Interests sections.  For now I just check off honestly and don’t add any comments, I can do that later.  What I am really itching to do is see who is out there!