There is in El Cajon a man missing a woman he’s never met.
We’ve all heard it a thousand times — all the good ones are gone. The “ones” refer to men, and it’s commonly said by women past a certain age, and often with a child or two.
Well, I can introduce you to a guy who seems to be a good one and is not gone — definitely not gone. His name is Kevin Stamper, and he’s a 40-year-old San Diego State grad and a 17-year computer engineer for SDG&E. That’s about as steady as work can get.
He’s never been married, owns his own home, paid cash for a new Lexus, enjoys travel, gambles only for brief amusement and doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. He loves kids and would be happy to join the right family. He’s a nice guy.
He can’t get a woman to give him a second glance.
OK, you ask: What’s the catch?
Yeah. Well, he’s got cerebral palsy …
No, no, no. Erase that thought!
I know the image that just popped into your mind, but chase it away. That’s not Stamper; his affliction is of the less severe variety. It happened when the umbilical cord cut his oxygen during birth and affected his motor responses. He has a speech impediment that’s understandable and a limp that’s noticeable. By other standards of desirability, he’s a great catch, especially perhaps for the older-but-wiser woman.
(Cerebral palsy is neither contagious nor progressive, and by itself does not prevent a normal life span.)
Here’s the thing, ladies. Back when, you went after the good-looking jock who liked a drink now and then, was a bit flirtatious, bounced from job to job and put wheels before roofs.
He wasn’t so easy to change, was he? Once was enough, right? Or if you did it twice: “Wow! How dumb was I?”
This is not to suggest that Stamper is looking for a rehab relationship, and he thinks he could spot gold diggers. But he hopes your appreciation for the real deal grows by having experienced the alternative, especially when that alternative was a mirage that tricked your starry eyes.
He says it’s painful to watch others in loving relationships and have to listen to talk about their blissful goings-on.
“It’s really sad. It makes me jealous. I get tired of hearing about, you know, ‘My husband and I went to Hawaii’ or ‘My wife and I went to Europe.’ I took my parents to Europe and to Hawaii a few times, but I’d prefer to take a girlfriend or a wife.”
Stamper had a bummer experience when a former classmate, a divorced mother of three now living in the Midwest, invited him back for a weekend. He says the visit went great, but when he was invited a second time, he was treated like an Ebola carrier.
“The second time I went it was like, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. She was a completely different person from the first time I saw her.”
How close did you get the first time? (And we know what we’re talking about here.)
“Put it this way: I think I’m a gentleman and she wanted more than what I gave her.”
Looking back, do you regret not seizing the moment?
Next time, you will not be so “gentlemanly”?
“Exactly. I’m still a gentleman, but if you are sending me signals, I’ll probably take you up on those signals.”
Some might call Stamper a desperate man, and except for the ugly connotation, he might not disagree. If desperate means a frustration level that makes him think, “What the hell do I have to do?” then I guess he’s desperate. If romance is a chess game, he’s been blocked by the queen at every turn.
Stamper probably doesn’t find romantic comedies very funny.
He doesn’t believe in dating co-workers. He doesn’t attend church or go to bars. So to meet women, he’s had to rely on the Internet, the tool he’s most familiar with. He’s tried online dating services, but again, not a tumble. Perhaps because he mentions that he has a handicap.
“I don’t think it would be fair not to tell someone before they meet me. I’m an upfront person, and I don’t want to have any secrets going in. What I normally say is that I have a speech impediment and I have a limp.”
His speech sounds somewhat like he’s out of breath, but after just a few sentences he’s understandable. His limp limits his range of movement, but he can still get from point A to point B with no trouble. He doesn’t need a cane or your arm.
Can you describe this woman you hope to meet?
“Ideally, somebody who is not superficial, someone who is talented, has a sense of humor and an education. Maybe a brunette. I’m not stuck on one specific physical feature or ethnicity.”
What assumption do you fear being made about you?
“That a woman would think of me as somebody she needs to take care of.”
However, would you be willing to take care of her?
“Yes. That’s what love is all about.”
Have you ever been in love?
Have you been close?
I’m guessing the affection was one way.
Does Stamper have shortcomings? Well, he’s not a robot, so I bet he does. I assume that pretty sizable insecurity would be the outgrowth of his experience — or lack of it — with women.
I didn’t do a thorough background check on him, so for any woman, a good tire-kicking would be prudent, which Stamper says he would welcome.
It’s no surprise for a computer engineer that Stamper has something of the geek about him. And though I’ve never heard of geek groupies, plenty of women would be content with a guy who’d rather stare at a laptop than some yahoos in bib overalls on TV killing gators in a Louisiana swamp.
Stamper will never be the door-greeter at a party. He will not regale a woman with one-liners. However, I think he’d be good for occasional roses, and Valentine’s Day would not find him wanting. He won’t make pulses race, but who knows what would happen … behind closed doors.
It’s an insight into the man that he’s approaching his woman-problem head on. Instead of splashing about in the rejection pool, he says: “I think I would make a great boyfriend and a great husband, but I really wish somebody would give me a chance. We all have our challenges. Mine are more obvious than others, but it doesn’t make me any less of a person.”
We all know that some rejections are earned, some are reasonable and some are unfair and even cruel. I have observed that unhappiness is inflicted on worthy people simply because they fit too easily into one of our nasty prejudice boxes.
A little advice to Stamper in his search:
Sometimes when you walk, you’re smart. Sometimes when she walks, you’re lucky.
You’re vulnerable, Kevin. Don’t get in a situation where you yearn for the good old days when you were just lonely.
I decided to list Stamper’s email in this column, as he had asked, and my wife said: “What? You’re now a matchmaker?”
And I said, “Why not? You women do it all the time.”
Here is Kevin Stamper: [email protected].
(Note to the lovelorn out there: This listing is a one-time-only deal.)
Fred Dickey’s home page is freddickey.net [email protected]