I’m getting old. I’ve suspected this from time to time but really proved it to myself yesterday at the grocery store. There was a hot guy leaning against a counter and my brain automatically thought, “Hey baby!” In the past this hot number would have been about 6’2” tall with black hair, piercing blue eyes, muscles, tight shorts, and a winning smile showing off his incredibly white teeth. Evidently my idea of a hot guy has changed considerably. This particular object of my attention was about 5’9” tall, gray hair, glasses, small pot belly, shorts that hid his kneecaps, and I think he had teeth. I’ve come a long way baby and it’s depressing. At what point did I start being more attracted to Grandpa Walton than James Bond? Looking back I’ve not always chosen wisely in matters of the heart. As a result of a few of my past experiences, here are some suggestions for those looking for a romantic relationship.
1. What you want now may not be what you want later. Although they will always be fun to remember.
I started dating in the mid seventies when I was in high school. Most of the guys I liked back then were drummers in the high school marching band. I’m not sure why but they were the hot guys at my school. One of them had jet black hair that was longer than mine. When we marched in parades our band director made him put his hair in a ponytail and tuck it up under his hat. I was a drum majorette and thought nothing of marching and dancing in front of hundreds of people while dressed in skimpy little outfits. There is not enough money in the world that would make me do this now. I think the happiest I have ever been is when the long haired drummer gave me his band gloves after a Christmas parade in Winchester, Va. It was about thirty degrees outside that day and I wore a red velvet bathing suit type costume in the parade. Two days later I woke up with the worst case of laryngitis in history. I couldn’t talk for a month but it didn’t matter. I still had his gloves.
2. Anytime a woman gets her heart broken she should have at least three friends she can call on for help.
Several years ago, after my divorce, some of my so called friends took me to a bar to cheer me up. It was ladies night and an all male review was on the schedule. I was sitting so close that my legs were actually under the stage. I enjoyed the show while drinking a pitcher of beer. I also spent about thirty dollars, all of them singles. My friends had told a couple of the male dancers I was going through a divorce so I got a little extra attention. Now I’ve had exactly three hangovers in my entire life and everyone of them made me feel like death. This time I was so hung over the next morning I called my mother, while lying on the bathroom floor, and asked her to please take me to the doctor so he could put me to sleep. Permanently. She did and to her credit didn’t say anything to me about my condition. The doctor took one look at me and gave me a shot for my nausea and headache. I worked with this particular doctor in the emergency room and he told me days later that normally he would have just let me suffer but I looked so pathetic he just had to help me. I am forever grateful to him. I don’t think it would have been as bad as it was if my friends hadn’t brought me home and helped me to my waterbed. Which leads me to my next tip.
3. Never go to sleep on a cheap waterbed if you’re drunk. Trust me.
Not only did the room spin around but it also went up and down. So not only was I hung over, I was seasick too . This was the last time I got drunk mainly because a hangover like that would probably kill me now.
4. It helps to have something in common with the person you are dating.
I see articles all the time about women in their forties who are dating men in their twenties. I don’t understand it. I kind of like being around people who know what I mean when I say things like, “Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water is my favorite song”. Not only do I want them to understand what I’m talking about, bonus points if they can sing a couple of verses and discuss the guitar parts. I want someone that remembers Alice Cooper before he started making Staples commercials. If I say something like, “Does anybody know what time it is?” I want them to respond with, “Does anybody really care?”. Some women argue that men date younger women all the time so why shouldn’t they? They have a point but personally I don’t want to be seen walking around holding hands with someone that could be my son. I no longer have the desire to rock and roll all night and party every day. I prefer sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time. By the way if you’re too young to know what I’m referring to in some of these sentences, I can’t help you.
5. Unless you enjoy cheating death, make sure they normally drive a car and not a motorcycle.
A couple of years ago I was engaged to a guy that insisted we go everywhere on his motorcycle. Even though he owned a perfectly nice Mustang, the motorcycle was his preferred choice of transportation. Looking back I now realize he was the bad boy of my dreams. Independent, handsome, funny, and a little wild. My mom loved him. My dad, not so much. The first strike against him was the day I came home from work to find he had gotten my Chihuahua drunk on beer. Nobody messes with my animals, I don’t care how cute you are. The second strike occurred another day when we were riding his motorcycle on a major highway in Charlotte, N.C. during rush hour, on a Friday afternoon, before Labor Day, I rediscovered my religion when we got stuck between two tractor trailer trucks that were both going around eighty miles an hour. I argued we should have taken the car. He felt differently. There was no third strike. We broke up shortly after that incident.
6. Never go on a first date on New Years Eve.
Before meeting motorcycle guy the same friends and I decided to try online dating. They never went out with anyone they met but I lucked out and met what I thought was a really nice guy. We talked for a couple of months and then decided to go out to dinner on New Years Eve. When we met in the parking lot he gave me a yellow rose which I thought was really sweet. Yellow roses are my favorite flowers and I was touched that he remembered this. However, things went downhill from there.
7. Discuss the ‘R’ word before a date.
My first mistake was ordering a glass of wine and a cup of coffee. In my defense during our many talks he had failed to mention he was a Mormon and evidently these are big no-no’s in their religion. He was as dull as dishwater so I wrote off any potential relationship with him after we parted. In fact I didn’t give him much thought at all until a few days later when I received an email from him apologizing because he didn’t think we were meant for each other.
8. Ask about children before the date.
I understood what he was saying in the email and pretty much felt the same way. What I didn’t understand was the part where he had gone home to his five motherless children, told them about me, and then had them vote on whether or not I would be a good mother. They voted no. I didn’t even bother answering him and I never did the online dating thing again. I was a little miffed about the no vote though.
9. Pay attention to the important things.
Old or young, male or female, I like to think we are all looking for the same thing. Companionship, friendship, love, someone to celebrate with during the good times, and someone to hold on to during the tough times. As I’ve gotten older I’ve stopped looking at the wild guys of my youth and now lean more towards solid and dependable looking men. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. A comedian once said the bad boy you’re crazy about today will be the jerk you call the police on tomorrow. I’m not sure that’s true but give me a solid man over a wild and crazy guy anytime.These days when I look at a potential romantic partner I think more about how they might be fun to hang out with on the sofa, maybe watch a little TV, go to a nice dinner, or even go dancing.
10. Don’t look back.
Sometimes when I’ve broken up with someone, and in the case of my divorce, my heart was so broken it actually physically hurt. But, I got over it. Most of it anyway. Occasionally when I run into my ex I still feel a twinge but it’s nothing that a few hundred apologies on his part wouldn’t help, if you know what I mean.
By the way the object of my affection back in high school was named Russell. If by some miracle he reads this and is now bald, I don’t want to know about it. I would like for him to know that I still have his gloves. You know, just in case he needs them back.