Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dating, a tragicomedy- Part deux

In the café: Agostina Segatori in Le tambourin, 1887

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890

The Date...

     Before the date, like any educated, rational woman who has two kids, grad.school and a job to think about, I spent gobs of time considering what to wear. I settled on my lucky jeans, as in they give me luck, not the brand. I also opted to wear a wacky sleeveless shirt with a tropical print that could look cute on a grandma but seems to work on me in a not-too- ironic way, topped off with a plain navy cardi. On my feet I planned to wear my lucky shoes- red dansko maryjanes. Only they happened to be broken (have since been mended by peddler) and Kim informed me that one does not wear broken shoes on a first date, nor a second date even. Instead, I wore my lovely leather boots handed down by Laura L.
     I was so nervous I hardly slept all week. I left my apartment a half hour early. I parked a few blocks away from the cafe and tried not to vomit or shit my pants in a bookstore not far from the meeting place. To console myself, I cowered in the poetry section. But I couldn't find Li Young Lee (Thanks, TIna) and that was what I had wanted to read so anyway... I went to the cafe a bit early because I wanted to avoid standing in line with an almost complete stranger who may or may not offer to buy me coffee and then we would have to have that convo. Not that I am against a man buying me coffee, but I could only imagine how awkward I could make that. Plus I was worried that then he would have to watch me think about which muffin I should buy, though I didn't want one but felt like I should eat one since I could barely eat that morning and didn't want to pass out in front of him. And I didn't want him to think I care about calories or anything though as you will soon read my coffee took care of that .And then he would witness me fumbling with change and trying to pay. Yes, I thought about all of these things. Am I Elaine?
     So I am sitting in a black metal chair in the sunshine with my enormous muffin and my iced coffee, that I accidentally put so much cream in I may as well have ordered and ice cream sundae. I see him from  halfway down the block and awkwardly stand up and he says my name and I say yes. I walk halfway there and put out my hand and say "nice to meet you", WAY PREMATURELY.  Awkward. I mean, ten beats after my greeting, he has reached my hand. Meanwhile, my hand has been outstretched, waiting. We eventually sat down and had a nice time. I ended up not eating the enormous muffin. I could not stomach it. So it ended up in my purse. After all the worries about first impressions I put a muffin in my bag in front of him and that was totally fine. It reminded me of the time in a restaurant with Laura and Mike when as we walked through the bar to leave, I fumbled with my bag and  a big crusty hunk of bread flew out and rolled down the carpet. I ignored it and walked on, my face beat red, as the bar patrons contemplated why homeless women seem to fit in and smell so much better these days. Clearly, I have not learned. 

We talked for nearly two hours. And then I started thinking about how I would feel bad if he got up and was the first one who said he had to go. So I avoided that by saying I needed to check the time yada yada yada... And I asked him if he wanted to walk me to the parking garage. He said sure. 

       It was fun. 
       He was handsome and seemed really smart and interesting. He was older but I didn't care. 
       He said he hoped our paths crossed again? What? Does that mean he doesn't want to set up a date but if we randomly see each other in the street it might be pleasant? It is quite possible that he could tell I was crazy and so the fact that I did my best to be tres jolie won't matter much.      
     Later, in the parking garage I completely forgot how to use the parking card payment system though I have done it a zillion times. So I pretended that I needed help and the lady behind me told me what to do...  
      Then I couldn't find my card when it was time to go (1 minute later) and so the (annoyed) car behind me had to back up so I could pull over and find it under my purse.  
     On my way home, to top off the wackiness, I went to Wholepaycheck and bought some random food items in a daze. 

To Be Continued...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dating, a tragicomedy- Chapter One

Sorry lovely flapper,  you can vote, and you can get a divorce, but it is going to be miserable.

 13 months ago, M. moved out. It was gradual but it was tough. We knew we wanted to work together and be adults about it. Sane sensitive adults, that is. And I think we have both agreed that while there is inevitable trauma in divorce, if parents behave and the kids don't see their parents hating on each other, the kids will be just fine. That is what we have heard and are banking on anyway

   Several months after M. moved out, and by moved out I mean he slept somewhere else but still cooked dinner, got his kids on the bus and was around almost as much as before, he and I were still sad. Yes, sad is the word. Sad is the right word if you mean crying yourself to sleep a few times a week, wiping tears in the bathroom at work, choking while getting the mail, sobbing in between night classes at the local university, while sitting in your dark car, listening to the Cure over your dinner of a thermos of lukewarm soup. Sad is the right word if sad means telling all your girlfriends that any day now you were going to chop off your locks take a vow of celibacy, and become a Buddhist nun.
Well, eventually even the best of girlfriends and sisters need to say buck up.

 In my case it went something like like this...

   Laura G.- "Your eyes are puffy. You look wan. Did I just say wan? And yet, despite your wanness you are quite a catch. Have I told you how lovely your cheekbones are today? You should try online dating."
   Me- As I pass Laura the Sauvignon and the bowl of raw cookie dough." Hell no, I don't want another man, I want a dog. And you have amazing hair. How do you do it?"
   Laura G.- "Snap out of it Kell, you can't have a dog in your apt. You can come over to my place, we'll sip some white wine and we'll put cute pictures of you up and come up with a profile and it will be fun!"

   Me- [horrified look]

                     For some reason I must illustrate this horrified look as a librarian. How cute is my mani?

   Laura G.- "You don't actually have to date anyone. But it will make you feel good about yourself to remember how cute you are."
   Me- [horrified look]

A few weeks later I did create a profile. I deleted it the next day. Then one night, as I folded laundry in front of hbo, I created one again. A simple one with a tasteful picture of myself. I closed my lap top, went back to the living room to fold laundry. A half hour later I tiptoed back to my bedroom, opened up my laptop and scurried back to the fat chair in the living room to check on my profile. To my horror, someone, A MAN, was trying to instant message me, at that very moment. I literally snapped it shut, ran back to my room,  tossed my laptop on my bed, closed the door, and resumed folding laundry. I felt violated. And not just a little bit neurotic.
The next day I erased that profile as well.

Eventually I created another one, and slogged through poorly written messages from men my age to 30 years older than me, looking for love, or well, sometimes other things too, but mostly love. It felt like a depressing cycle of rejection. To be honest, I was doing most of the rejecting but it still did not feel good. I was about to quit the online dating thing, again.

Then, a curious thing happened. I got a message. From an overeducated man. I tend to go for that type, maybe I should stop, but I'll discuss that later. The comment was silly. We had something in common. Something dorky in common. And he made a joke of it.  He was cute in a nerdy way. With dark glasses and curly hair.  We wrote back and forth for awhile and eventually he asked me to go for coffee.

To be continued...


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