Several nights ago I started a draft of a blog post I thought I’d call No Rush. I’d just finished watching Django Unchained and hated every moment of the gratuitous violence yet watched through the ending credits as I cringed. “This won an Oscar,” I reasoned. “It’s got to get better, right?”
No, no it didn’t. Just more blood. I turned off my TV and felt irritated I’d not abandoned the film earlier. In a bit of a melodramatic thought-process I tried to liken the experience to staying in a marriage I thought would get better and that turned into me realizing how much I like being single right now (hello, lack of obligation to shave my legs or check with a partner to see if it’s okay if I go out with my friends) and decided I’m in no hurry to date anyone anytime soon. Like, not within the next ten years kind of soon.
I wanted to write about how great it was to be on my own after years away. I mapped out sentences in my head that described how freaked out I felt at the prospect of someone asking me out, me accepting, that someone trying to kiss me… all of it seems so foreign and ridiculous after fifteen years of being with the same man that I truly cannot picture myself dating.
Then I went out with my friend Hildy last weekend. It was a late evening – I’d had to work and we didn’t even have dinner until 9pm, and got to the club (yes, moms in their 30s like to dance!) at 11. My hopes were not high – the last time we’d been to this club the men were too drunk and too forward and I didn’t even get asked to dance as often as at one of our other favorite places which made me feel frumpy and stale.
I do realize I sound about 75 years old describing men as “too forward,” which may truly peg me as too old to be in a club.
Anyway, before long two men approached. I’d seen them eying us from the other side of the bar (eying Hildy, I assumed – she’s younger, fitter and cuter than me, so I always assume guys are looking at her). But the taller, more attractive guy was directing most of his conversation toward my face, not Hildy’s. I didn’t feel flattered but rather sort of confused about how that had happened. Did he have one of those eye conditions that made him look at the wrong person during conversations? Yet I ended up spending most of the evening sitting with him and his friends on the patio, not dancing, just chatting, and it was nice but also strange. I had to squelch the urge to ask, “Why are you talking to ME?”
I don’t give my phone number out to guys I meet out in clubs. That’s a Hildy rule and it makes sense. But I must have had one drink too many and it clouded my judgment and I gave my conversation buddy, Fandango*, my number and he texted me the next day and asked me out and I said yes (or, rather, texted yes, because apparently no one talks on the phone nowadays) because I couldn’t think of a reason NOT to so now I guess we have a date this weekend and it’s my first date in 15 1/2 years, people.
Actually, I’m not nervous. This might be just what I need. A casual first date-ish event that I can attend and then I can say I’ve had my first date in 15 years and none of my subsequent dates will be first post-divorce dates ever again. If any more dates happen – let’s not jump to any crazy conclusions that involve me wanting lots of dates, here.
If this seems like an oddly clinical approach for a first date, I can’t argue with you. I’m curious about what it will be like to go on a date after all this time. Research project. The more I know the better I’ll get at this dating thing, right? Practice makes perfect and all that? My painful lack of dating experience aside, I do feel like I’m better equipped to notice and take action if a relationship (should one arise in my future) is not working for me, and I’ll have more confidence to shut it down rather than wait for things to get better. I’ll save that wishy-washiness for Oscar-winning movies. This is someone comforting, this knowledge that I can stand up for myself.
Fandango* is three years younger than me, never married, has no kids and lives in the city. So clearly has a ton in common with more elderly, more divorced, more parental and more suburban me. Now I need to figure out what to wear. And lose 10 pounds and hide my wrinkles so I don’t look like the older-woman-with-four-kids that I am. I may not care what happens on this date, but I have standards – I don’t want to look like I don’t care.
Wish me luck. A week from now I’ll either have a story of a good time or a story that is so stupendously awful we can only laugh and you can all be glad you’re not me.
Photo used under creative commons license from Library and Archives Canada.
* I’d originally given my date the fake name of Fred, but a friend nicknamed him Fandango and I liked that better. So Fandango he is.