First time readers, kindly read the first entry for October 27, 2012, when this story began:
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The parade of horribles marched relentlessly through my head as I sorted through my closet.
Dentures, a comb-over . . . a toupee.
"Love" and "hate" tattooed on each of his fingers. The words "hot" and "cold" in red and blue ink above his nipples.
Red toenail polish and photographs of his doll collection.
I realized I was hyperventilating and sat down on the edge of the bed, a mist of cold sweat beginning to appear on my brow. I flinched when the phone rang.
"Are you getting "all dolled up?" My friend, the marathon runner, rock-climber and hang-glider asked, cheerily.
She'd generously . . . and wisely, offered to take my picture with her digital camera, so I'd have one with a date emblazoned in fluorescent yellow along the bottom to provide when asked for a recent photo.
"Just a head shot," she'd insisted. My date hadn't told me when his photo was taken. Hence my anxiety. I forwarded the photo without asking if she thought my ears looked big.
"You're not wearing those grey slacks again, are you?" she asked, but before I had a chance to answer, she said, "I told you to buy a pair of knee high boots."
She's only the second person to make this recommendation; the clerk in the thrift store where I bought an ankle-length straight black skirt for $2.97 had given me the same fashion advice. I wasn't about to admit to my very buff and very stylish friend that I'd given away my lovely new boots a year earlier to a friend's daughter and now couldn't afford to replace them.
"No slacks, this time, but I'm wearing opague tights. And a chastity belt."
"You won't need the chastity belt if you're wearing opaque tights," she said, dryly. "Where are you meeting him?"
"A place downtown. I told him I'd have one glass of wine, since I'm driving."
I imagined her rolling her eyes skyward and shaking her head.
"You're meeting him for one glass of wine. At 7:30 p.m."
"That's the time he suggested," I replied.
"And he's going to ask you to his house to see his etchings after one glass of wine," she drawled.
I resisted the temptation to remind her about the time she'd she'd fallen out of her CFM shoes onto her face. Slacks had been a good wardrobe choice for her that night.
"Gotta go," I said. I'll let you know how it goes."
The phone rang again. Another friend, who's been married longer than she was single, called to "wish me luck."
I really wish my friends would stop trying to back-seat drive my love life . . .
"What are you wearing?"
I was tempted to say, "Not that it's any of your business, but I'm wearing a thong." Instead I repeated the description of my ensemble I'd given earlier, omitting the chastity belt reference.
"I think that's perfectly appropriate," she said.
After I hung up, more frightening images coursed through my head.
A purple water-based felt tipped marker is handed to me.
"I've just invented this game. We get naked and take turns connecting each other's liver spots to form our favorite constellations."