First time readers, kindly read the first entry for October 27, 2012, when this story began . . .
* * * *
Since this is the season for giving thanks, I can openly offer my appreciation for friends whose sense of humor is the same as mine. Imagination is a wonderful thing.
An image forms in my mind of a slightly jowly man, with thin, close-cropped grey hair and glasses, who's just asked, nonchalantly, "How do you feel about sex?" I'm attired in a cardigan with holes in the sleeves. One tail of my unpressed blouse hangs over the waistband of a plaid skirt with boxpleats. Reading glasses dangle from a beaded chain, resting a few inches beneath my sagging chin. I cannot bring myself to describe my shoes.
I'm sipping a cup of luke-warm tea. I look at the half-submerged bag in the cup and give a barely audible reply.
"That's not why I'm in therapy."
Another image floats to the surface. My friend peers over her wine glass, barely able to contain her laughter. We've learned enough by this point in our lives to take small sips for many reasons, the most important of which at this moment is to prevent ourselves from choking, or worse, spraying a fine mist of chardonnay.
"You have to get back on the horse," she says. We rode ponies together as children and laugh again at the memory of me hanging onto the side of a fat shetland, which was trotting briskly back to the barn, as she yelled from the saddle, "Just drop the reins and fall. You're only two inches from the ground."
"Tell me what you're going to wear," she asks.
This time, the memory of another failed attempt at romance blasts to the surface while I'm in mid-swallow. Someone I've never laid eyes on had seen my profile and emailed, "What are you wearing? I'm nude."
I can't bring myself to admit even to my oldest friend how many times I've received messages like this.
"A burkha," I reply, calmly, after the gag reflex subsides.
"I'm serious," she says.
"So am I."
I often marvel at how quickly I've honed my on-line etiquette skills. I have successfully resisted the impulse to reply, "there's not enough vodka in the universe," and I no longer attempt to read between the lines of someone's profile. I've only hidden and unhidden my own photo and "story" a half dozen times, after realizing I may be signalling to the one nice guy who may be interested that I've met the man of my dreams and have become unavailable, rather than telegraphing to the zillions of jerks that I've retreated from this appalling reality in terror.
I've learned I can open my morning emails after a cup of coffee with a little less trepidation. I no longer check the refrigerator before I go to sleep to make sure there's a glass of wine left in the bottle.
Visions of an ebullient groom announcing to assembled family and friends that "we met on-line," no longer terrifies me.
It's time to give up the quest . . .