Dashboard Confidential
The dating game for a 21st-century truck driver

By Dave Sweetman, columnist

Several years ago, after the passing of my wife, I had some inner searching to do and it wasn’t easy. I offer this up not for sympathy, but for a reality check. It took a while to come to grips with how I was to lead the rest of my life. Do I remain a recluse and stay away from dating or, for the first time in 30 years, start “looking”?

Like many truck drivers who are workaholics, given to the life on the road and pretty much being married to the truck, I felt I had few choices. It takes a special person to put up with being the partner of a long-haul driver, being gone for weeks at a time, missing birthdays and all the sacrifices we try to deal with. How could I, in all good conscience, expect any “normal” woman to put up with that?

I tried dating a longtime lady friend and botched that, so back to square one. I wasn’t ready and it showed. Then I started receiving emails from a dating site, which I trashed, thinking they were spam. It turned out a friend had signed me up, filled out the profile and set me up. Her logic was I work too much, never have a chance to meet quality people, and would likely stay a single hermit. Nice.

So, being curious, I peeked. Being a bit skeptical (scared), I scanned the matches but held off. My first match was with an attractive young lady who looked like Christie Brinkley. We seemed to hit it off on the phone until she asked if I had a boat, because I look like a boat captain. She then dumped me, as she was looking for a guy with a boat 38 feet or longer. Size does matter, it seems.

My next match was with a lovely nurse in Valdosta, Ga., and we seemed to hit it off.

We met at a casual BBQ restaurant, chatted and had a great time. Until she told me I talk like a Yankee. I had mistakenly thought the Civil War was over, but quickly learned my Northern dialect was my downfall. We parted right after the pecan pie.

My next match was with a very attractive, successful real estate agent on the Florida coast. Again, we seemed to hit it off and met at a nice restaurant. I was invited to her beautiful home and it was going well. Until she was called out to show a client a beach house she had listed and I was left alone with her dogs for eight hours. Afterward, she decided I was not what she was looking for. Too bad, as I really liked her dogs.

My next match was with a lady who worked hard at making our relationship work and that lasted for a while. At least until she got tired of me being gone for weeks at a time. I was given the “choose me or the truck” option and I could see the open road calling once again. The choice was made for me when she sent me an email saying “your Corvette is in the driveway, key’s under the floor mat, we’re done.” I got dumped by a computer with no human contact involved.

A month or so later, the strangest thing happened. I was set up, as in “blind date,” by a good friend in the town in Delaware where I lived for 30 years. I didn’t see it coming but Miss Karen and I hit it off as if we’ve known each other for years. Even though we knew the same people, traveled the same circles, our paths had never crossed until now. More than two years into the relationship, I have been blessed with my best friend in life and someone to share it with.

She also doesn’t want a 38-foot boat or care that I sound like a Yankee. LL