It’s Thursday, two days before my second “first date” and I’m in a foul mood. My mind’s replaying the awful first “first date” with the pretentious professor and HISTORIAN who doesn’t like cats, casts lines with baited hooks of information I’m supposed to latch onto for more (insensitive and offensive metaphor and game-playing), and is only too happy to split a $20 check. As my friend and dating mentor, Renny, says, “That’s just tacky.”
The more I think about that date the more convinced I am that Bachelor #2, who sounds as perfect for me as Bachelor #1, is a dud, another typical DC male who gets a hard on comparing Ivy League schools and stacks of degrees; basically human kryptonite that sucks any excitement or optimism out of me, leaving me weak from hunger (for real conversation and some goddamn dinner) and a tension headache.
Whew, am I in a bad mood, one that turns tar-like so I feel stuck in it with little chance of rescue. Such is the life of a 40+ divorced woman with a penchant for glomming onto black thoughts, my brain having its way with them. Plus I’m pissed ’cause the date “mission” calls for wearing a classy evening outfit. My last classy evening outfit was my wedding gown, so I’m scouring Macy’s, ModCloth’s and Amazon’s online “classy evening outfit” possibilities, resentment growing by the hour as I shop for clothes just sitting on my sofa.
I have a date outfit, I grumble, as I take another turn around online stores, each outfit I like sold out. Only after I pay far too much for a dress–for a movie and drinks; this isn’t the 50’s–do I mention the “classy evening outfit” stress to my matchmaker, R, who says, “Oh, I just meant wear something you feel confident and comfortable in!” Just call my studio Bleak House at this point.
It arrives in time and I slide it on after showering. Easily slide it on as it’s too big and long, the pretty eyelet skirt dragging on the floor. Harumph. The anger tank’s dry by now so I sigh…and remember the knee-length sleeveless lined crochet dress hanging in the hall closet. My seamless panties are clean and the same accessories work. After FOUR attempts–the dress lining is a solid tank–the blasted thing’s on right. Laughter replaces the sighs and I remind myself to never buy clothing without zippers or buttons again. It’s an RA thing.
By now any expectations about this date have gone the way of the dodo. My only fear is of being late, but I always fear this. Fear is an asshole because even though I’m directionally challenged downtown I arrive at our meeting place, the cinema, thirty minutes early. Hey, look, a Barnes & Noble! I’m carrying a microscopic purse as opposed to the usual huge tote bag (with matching purse inside) that holds my current read, magazines, journal and/or laptop, and now I wish I’d brought it ’cause I need something to read. So off I go in search of the latest Vegan Health & Fitness issue (score!), then grab a copy of The Martian based on a friend’s recommendation before I can talk myself out of buying a new book. Thanks, Steph–it’s good!
Of course, moments after returning to the cinema he walks up to me. “He” being the kind, funny, smart, talented, cute, warm, gentle, cat-loving, caring, strong, confident, compassionate and passionate man with whom I have a third date this Saturday. You know that picture you carry in your mind of the “ideal” man or woman for you?
Of course they look like models with their perfect hair, smile, and body. We’re drowning in these images, countless examples of what women and men are supposed to be, courtesy of Madison Avenue. Even my “Love” board on Pinterest is populated with gorgeous photos of culturally-sanctioned gorgeous couples eating by candlelight, canoeing, or canoodling in gorgeous ways. Look up “Love” if you’re on Pinterest (you’re not on Pinterest???). You’ll see.’Cause who wants to look at pictures of “average” couples in love, falling in love, in love for decades, and how that love radiates from within, that lovely glow?
I do. And there’s nothing average about the two of us together.