Sweeter- Part V


It will be serialized over the next several days…the ending will be marked in the classic styling…


RE: Hello

Unfortunately (maybe?), I’m not new to online dating. I’ve honestly not had much success at it. But I’ve never gotten an opener like yours before. I’m taking it as a good sign. 🙂

Read your profile, and I’m also ‘intrigued.’ Never had that word used in reference to myself before. I admit it gave me kind of an ego swell for most of the morning. I’m dying to know what it was about my short little blurb and survey answers you found ‘intriguing.’ >:)

To be fair, I’ll tell you what I found ‘intriguing’ about you, based on the 3000 characters of information I have:

1. You went on safari with big cats in Africa!! That is awesome! I’ve been to South Africa a couple of times, but I never left Capetown. I bet you have some killer pictures. Are any of them digital? Could you send me one maybe? How close did you get to the big cats? Did you get to TOUCH them?! (I’ll stop acting like a 4th grader now. Sorry.)

2. I admire how serious you are about giving to others. All the environmental projects and everything…Feed America… I didn’t think many people volunteered anymore. Or ever, I guess. It’s nice to see.

3. Holy cow, you do have dazzling eyes!

Now I’ll wait patiently (sort of) for you to write me back some glowing prose about how ‘intriguing’ you find me. 🙂

Jim Duval (I get it if you don’t want to share your last name yet. But this is mine.)


RE1: Hello

I’m legitimately surprised you wrote me back. I re-read that first message and it sounds dreadfully insecure. I guess I kind of am insecure, but I didn’t want to show you that right off the bat. Or ever. Ugh. I’m doing it again. Okay! That’s enough!

Your username’s intriguing. Please explain ‘ElephantInk.’ And I’m intrigued because I don’t know what you do for a living, really. You work for yourself, from home…please elaborate. That was what I found ‘intriguing’ in your small description. But I also find you comforting. I know that’s sort of a weird word to use, but that’s the best word I could come up with. You seem so genuine, and the list of things you’re ‘looking for’ is so mature and thoughtful. I don’t know. ‘Comforting.’ 🙂

And based on your first response, I find you even more intriguing. 😉

You’ve been to South Africa?! Why did you go? Vacation? Or work? I’d love to hear about your experiences there. Don’t apologize for your enthusiasm about my safari days. They were pretty awesome. I’ve wanted to go back almost every day since I left. Attached please find a picture of me holding a lion cub. 🙂

I enjoy volunteering. I feel better about myself when I’m giving to someone else. Now that sounds like a line, but I promise I mean it.

‘Dazzling eyes’ made me blush! You have a dazzling smile.

Looking forward to hearing from you again.

Leanne Jenner (There’s the last name.)


Over the next few days, Jim and Leanne exchanged several messages, getting to know one another.


Subject: ElephantInk

Most people are insecure at least part of the time. It’s okay. I’ve never been married, but I imagine having a marriage end would make a person a little understandably insecure about dating. Or being around other humans in general. I hope nothing I say worsens your insecurity. Been there. No fun. Glad you’re still writing me back.

ElephantInk has multiple meanings. I wrote a blog about Alabama football for out of state alumni for a couple of years, and Alabama’s mascot, Big Al, is an elephant. And I have an elephant tattoo, but it’s not Big Al. I love the Tide, but not that much. The tattoo is because my Nanna died of Alzheimer’s disease, and ‘elephants don’t forget,’ and because of South Africa, kind of. The whole tattoo is an elephant and a quote from Nelson Mandela: ‘Difficulties break some men, but make others.’ I hope that makes sense to you. Tattoos sometimes only make sense to the owners. I get the ‘lioness’ part of your username, but what’s up with ‘candied?’ (Guess I’m ‘intrigued.’)

Most of what I do now from home is research and plan community service opportunities for myself. I wrote a couple smart phone apps, and they made me a lot of money. I don’t like advertising my income on these sites. It doesn’t yield pleasing results. Women either think I’m being dishonest, or they’re superficially interested in money. You didn’t seem like you were asking what I did to find out how much money I made, though. You seemed more like, ‘You aren’t a drug dealer, right?’ So no, I don’t make meth in my basement. I’m totally drug free! 😉 I do like the show Breaking Bad, though. The apps still make me a lot of money for pretty much doing nothing, which I feel kinda guilty about most of the time. So I try to give back. I went to Capetown three times to work as a teacher’s aide at a township school. I build for Habitat for Humanity whenever I can. I drive for Meals on Wheels. Whatever I do, though, it never feels like I’m doing enough. You don’t want to hear about my liberal guilt, though. 😉

I’ll quote Charles Dickens: ‘No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.’ I think we’re all just trying to figure it out. You know? Wow. I’ve never discussed anything this deep with anybody from an online dating site before. Again…I’m taking it as a good thing. 🙂

Now I’ve quoted Nelson Mandela and Dickens at you. So before you think I’m a complete pretentious shit, I’ll shift back to ‘eager elementary school student.’ Ready? Here it comes:

I can’t believe you held a lion!!! Great picture. You look really happy. I take it you’re an animal lover.

‘Dazzling smile?’ Really?! 😀 Wearing my ‘dazzling smile’ right now.



Subject: CandiedLioness

My best friend and her husband own their own gourmet chocolate shop, and I’m kinda addicted. Who doesn’t love chocolate? They make a specialty line they call Lioness Truffles and it’s kinda for me. (Totally sounds like I’m bragging. You asked about the name, though. That’s the truth.)

I’m sorry about your Nanna. I don’t know much about Alzheimer’s disease, but I know it’s hard on the families of the afflicted. 😦

I don’t know anything about college football, but I love elephants. In fact, I got to see a bunch of them on safari too! Also, great quote. 🙂

That’s neat that you wrote phone apps! What were they? (Maybe I use them!) And no lie…I’m totally blown away at the volunteering. It’s impressive. I’m practically speechless about it.

Another great quote. My favorite quote from Dickens is ‘There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.’ I don’t think you’re a pretentious shit. (Haha!) I think you’re mindful, and you use the words of wise people to express yourself. I do that too sometimes. 🙂

Glad you like the picture! I was really happy. And I’m a blatant animal lover without any hope of reformation. I actually love animals more than I love most people. I have two dogs. I mentioned them in my profile, but you haven’t brought them up. I hope it’s not because you don’t like dogs. It’s really important to me that you (or men I’d see in general, I guess…don’t want to get ahead of myself) aren’t afraid of dogs, or allergic to dogs, or whatever. Because they aren’t going anywhere. They’re seven going on eight, and I expect to get at least five more years of love and friendship from them both. And then I’ll probably adopt more animals. Dogs. Cats. Turtles. Chinchillas. All of the above. I just don’t know. (Seriously.) Hope that doesn’t make me seem like a kook. Maybe I am one, but I’m a sucker for animals, and it’s pretty much a fundamental part of my being. So you should know about it.



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