Archive for May, 2010

Fix Ups

May 26, 2010

Fix Ups

Last night a friend, a single but in her forties, shared with me that she had just started dating again. It was a fix-up.
She and her boss had been eating lunch and he talked about a friend of his. He had a brainstorm that he should fix his friend up with her. After lunch he went back to his office and called his friend. He directed him to her picture on the company’s website. Her boss then called her and directed her to his friend’s picture. He gave her his number and told her to call his friend. What could she do? Her boss had asked her to call his friend? So she did and they’ve been going out for three weeks. She says he’s a nice guy.

I have been single for eight years and have had only one fix-up, seven years ago. My friend Marlene, the coupon queen, was at a carwash and talked to a guy who said he wanted to date but was not interested in marriage.  She immediately thought of me and gave the guy my cell phone number.  She called me to warn he might call.  And call he did, within the hour.  We spoke very briefly, and agreed to meet the next Friday night at 8:40 at Eli’s, a nightclub in Scottsdale.  We would have a few minutes to converse before the band started to play at 9.  I wrote his name in my calendar to ensure I would remember it.  He said he would be wearing a jacket that looked like an American flag.  I said I would wear something purple, my favorite color.

I didn’t write down the guy’s number from my caller ID.  Was he going to remember a date made a week ago? 

     I made a fresh pot of hot tea, from loose leaves, and had a few (okay 7) chocolate chip cookies while I pondered what to wear.  After my snack, I tried on many clothes, some now too tight, as I had regained 20 of the 30 pounds I had lost before I began dating.  Nothing purple looked so hot.  I decided on black pants, a tank top, and a purple patterned silk shirt.  When I checked the mirror, I could see my panty line.  I tried it without panties, but felt naked.  I did a wash so I could wear panties that fit perfectly and showed no line.  While I waited for the wash to be done, I read a John Sanford mystery book and chowed down on roast chicken and more chocolate chip cookies.  I decided what I needed to put in my “dance” purse from my everyday purse.  Did men go through this stuff?

When I got to Eli’s there were no tables left even though I arrived at 8:30.  I took a tour around the bar and two guys introduced themselves.  Maybe I would stay if The Set Up (TSU) didn’t show.  I bought myself a Long Island Iced Tea to calm my nerves.  I stood by the front door, feeling anxious. 

     TSU arrived on time, wearing a sweater-jacket with the flag woven in the back. He looked about my height, which means he was probably an inch or two taller than I.  He was stocky, which I liked.  He had a full head of short, straight, black and gray hair and black glasses.  He had a full but trimmed mustache, mostly black.  He was handsome in that Robert Redford/Glen Campbell kind of way.  He reminded me a lot of my first husband. 

     He ordered a straight shot of something golden, and then we sat on the band platform.  I asked him about his work, sheet metal forming.  He said they had a big job and he’d have to work the next day.  Hmm, clever way to have an early out for a date.  He never asked about my job. 

I asked him if he had been married and got quite a saga.  He had married at sixteen.  When he came back from Vietnam, his wife didn’t like him.  They’d married so young, change was inevitable.  He married a second time, to a psycho.  He had a daughter that he hadn’t seen since she was five because the ex-wife made visitation impossible.  He married a third time on the rebound to a very rich woman.  I found out through more conversation that the first marriage was six years, the second one lasted six months, and the third one weathered one month.  One of his wives had a brother or uncle who was in the slammer for money laundering but was actually part of a Columbian drug cartel. 

     The band moved on stage so we found some bar stools in the pool table area.  The band was loud, making it difficult to talk.  He had his cigarettes out and cinnamon Altoids for his breath.  We munched on the latter and he never lit up a cigarette. (This was before the Arizona smoking ban.) The first song was a swing kind of thing, the second “The Christmas Song.”  I was getting a bit worried about the band.  I had been to Eli’s once before, with a friend, and the band was rhythm and blues.

     Finally the band settled into some Motown tunes and I suggested we dance.  He looked pretty uncomfortable on the floor for someone who wanted to go dancing.  We had plenty of company so it wasn’t like we were on display.   I excused myself to go to the restroom after the dance. 

     TSU went back to shouting at me in the pool table area.  I heard all about his family.  He bought me a diet coke and water for himself, explaining that he didn’t drink much because his father was an alcoholic.  He didn’t want to drink and drive because he had killed enough people in Vietnam.  Hmm, I thought he said he was a medic there.  Ding, ding, ding went the warning bell for weirdness.  He also shared that his younger brother was a police officer in San Diego and had been killed.  He didn’t elaborate on whether it was job related.  He talked quite a bit about his marriages, Vietnam, his health problems since the war, and his Purple Heart.  I did very little talking, an anomaly for me.

     He complained about the music, explaining that he only like hard rock.  We danced once more.  I suggested that we adjourn to a nearby fast food restaurant to talk since we were drinking nonalcoholic beverages and yelling to be understood.

     The outside air was cold on my thin clothes.  I’d been prepared to dance until I sweated for hours.  We walked to the main street and went west a block.  He talked more about his various careers and marriages.  We heard strains of music from another band.

      We discovered a nearly empty place called “The Sozzle Grill.”  The band was outside, so we sat there.  There were three people at the table in front of us, employees of the restaurant who were off duty.  One was the chef, a portly guy with a kind face.  One was a blond woman who looked to be in her late twenties, too young to know the music being played.  Another guy at the table was a player, drinking very large martinis.  There were three other people further away, sitting in gigantic bean bag chairs, definitely tourists. 

     The band asked what we wanted to hear.  The TSU suggested “Smoke on the River.”  The band did a great rendition.  Someone else suggested a Dylan song and they did “Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”  I was enjoying myself.  The restaurant employees were rocking, too, and downed many drinks.  They danced to some of the tunes.  Then the band played a tune and TSU asked the blond to dance!  She knew how shabby this was and insisted that I dance with the chef.  We danced, but I was fuming!  How fast could I dump this guy?  I was willing to overlook the smoking and the fixation on Vietnam, but I was not willing to put up with him asking someone else to dance!

     I told the guy it was time for me to go home.  As we walked back to my car, he smoked a cigarette.  I dodged his effort to kiss me.  He said he’d call.  He didn’t.  He was history.

     No one has fixed me up since then.

Etiquette of Breaking Up, Single Senior Style

May 10, 2010

Etiquette of Breaking Up, Single Senior Style

Breaking up is hard to do politely. The duration of the committed relationship does affect how much someone is going to be hurt. Certainly rejection isn’t fun whether you’ve been together three months or three years. Here are a few of my “Rules of Etiquette for Breaking Up.” The “breaker” is the one initiating the end of the relationship. The “breakee” is the one who doesn’t know. Sometimes she or he has no clue.

  1. Do it in person. Not on the phone, not in an email, not in a text message. The latter two can be poured over in too much detail. It’s easier for people to read concern in person’s face. The breaker must have courage and Man or Woman up.
  2. Do it as soon as you realize it has to happen. It doesn’t serve the breakee well to string him or her along. The breaker is afraid to inflict pain. The breakee may know something is wrong, but rationalizes it away if you stick around.
  3. Make it a clean break. You may be able to stay friends, but it’s best to give the breakee a little time to heal.
  4. Don’t date the breaker or the breakee’s friends or relatives.
  5. Unless it’s mean, the breaker should tell the breakee what went wrong. People can’t change their attitudes or behaviors unless they’re aware of it. I am not taking about a “blame game.” Rather, if the breaker cannot handle the controlling nature of the breakee, best to say so. If the breakee was always complaining, say so.  If the breakee is a poor lover, and you communicated the problems all along, there’s no need to reiterate it. One date reported to me that his last breaker said he was the worst lover she’d ever had. That was an unnecessary shot below the belt.
  6. If you’re breaking up with someone for a physical reason they can’t change, keep it to yourself. If the breaker just thinks he or she can do better, it’s best to just say it didn’t work out.
  7. The breakee should not wail, sob, or plea. That is to be done with friends later. Quiet crying is appropriate.
  8. If the breaker is experiencing personal difficulties, he or she doesn’t have to get into the details but does have to take on the responsibility.
  9. Many times breakups happen because of adult children. One partner can’t stand the way the other coddles or criticizes his/her own or the other’s children. If you choose to share that, it will put the breakee in a defensive mode. It may be better to say that the two of you have different and incompatible adult parenting styles.
  10. The breaker should call the breakee a week later to ask about their well being and thank them for the good part of the relationship.

My Sister the Dating Queen

May 6, 2010

My Sister the Dating Queen

My sister, from Manhattan, visited for a few days. She takes dating very seriously. She’s mostly retired and I think finding a partner is her primary job. She’s met sixty guys in the past year, all from the Internet. She says she liked six of them and claims that’s a good percentage. She wants to meet someone so she can get on with her life.

She checked her emails at least five times a day. She broke up with one guy while she was here. She’s sixty-six but lists her age on the dating site as fifty-six. She definitely looks that young. She claims that if she put her real age she would get no emails. The guy she was seeing was shocked and dismayed at the discrepancy. He said she was being deceptive and trying to ensnare him. She thought he was very mean on the phone. A little while later she got an email from him that was even more scathing. She had told me that he was a little overweight. I asked what he listed on his profile. She said, “fit and toned.” I suggested that he was being just as deceptive. She took the ball and ran with it. She replied to his email suggesting that he be honest and characterize his body as “a few extra pounds.”

My sister was quite down about this turn of events. She had thought that he was a good prospect. She hashed over the incident with female and male friends and her daughter. She says the dating rejections bring up all the rejections in her life, but she’s willing to deal with two weeks of heartache in order to find the right guy. More power to her!

I took her to the Suns playoff game tonight, so she forgot about it for three hours.

Relationship Expectations

May 1, 2010

Relationship Expectations

             I am flummoxed by the question “What do you want in a relationship?” I wonder if I know the difference between what I want, what my underlying expectations are, and what I’m afraid of.

I knew my parameters of being married:  monogamy, companionship, independence and interdependence, honesty, and family life.

After my first divorce I thought I was wild. I wasn’t. I settled into monogamous relationships that lasted from a few months to a year. The longest relationship was a long distance one. Did it work so well because the expectations were low? We talked on the phone three or four times a week. I got the flowers and cards on my birthday and Valentine’s Day. When we did see each other it was pure bliss. Good times. We were both easy-going people so there were no conflicts when we vacationed for a week together. It ended because he wanted a woman who lived nearby and didn’t have young children.

After the second divorce I was no longer interested in a 24/7 relationship. He was the love of my life, I’d given it a good shot, and it lasted fifteen years. I had a troubled teenager and an aging mother living with me. If I wasn’t looking for a husband, what did I want? Male companionship, passion, friendship, an activity partner, affection and attention. I went out with a fellow for almost three years. He lived in Scottsdale but worked in Chicago. Sometimes half the month, sometimes more. We were not exclusive. I saw a lot of him when he was in town and we took vacations together. Great times. I didn’t realize he was shopping for something better.

So now I go through periods of dating and then usually get into a monogamous relationship. I expect to go out every weekend to do fun things. I expect male attention and affection. I want the intimacy. But if I don’t want someone 24/7, I probably am not going to attract a man who wants this much of a relationship with its concurrent obligations. Perhaps I need to look again at my expectations. If I don’t want to get married or live with someone, then maybe I need to lower my expectations. I’ve tried that one on for the last few days. I don’t know. I’ve built a powerful wall around the inner recesses of my heart. That’s necessary if you aren’t willing to fully commit. I truly like and care about the men I date.

I’m flummoxed.