Dating after Twenty-Three

MY CURRENT RELATIONSHIP STATUS: I made dinner for two. Ate both.


Trust me. I wish that I could write a blog post that focuses on the ins and outs and ups and downs of dating after the age of twenty-three. Unfortunately, that is so long ago for me that I probably can’t remember. On the other hand, I have the memory of an elephant, and I  remember everything–literally everything–so I am sure that I could conjure it all up. But relax. I will spare you the torrid and sultry details.

But that’s neither here nor there because this post is not about dating after the age of twenty-three. This post is about dating when you haven’t dated for twenty-three years. (Not to worry. The operative word in the preceding sentence is haven’t. Equal to my elephant memory is my vivid imagination. Once again, relax. I will spare you the details of what is yet to happen, but trust me, those imaginings are getting hotter and steamier by the second, and they can’t happen soon enough. I think.)

The operative sentence in the preceding paragraph is “I think.”

Let’s face it, if you haven’t been on the dating circuit–Is that what it’s called these days? Circuit? Market? Game? Scene?–well, whatever it’s called, I haven’t been on it for twenty-three years. That’s a helluva a long time, and believe me: I’ve got plenty to think about before I throw myself into whatever it’s called.

The last time that I threw myself into whatever it was called back then, I was young. All right. I know. I can do my own math just as well as you can do it for me: 75 – 23 = 52. So. Fine. Being young is relative. Let’s try this wording: I was younger then than I am now. So, for Pete’s sake, can we just move on?

In those days, dateables–or whatever you want to call ’em–seemed to be everywhere. In front of me. Behind me. On both sides of me. They were just everywhere. But in the interest of being totally transparent, I will tell you this. It’s not like I was fighting them off,  but I sure had lots of options to think about. After all, a good man is hard to find.

These days, dateables don’t seem to be anywhere. They’re not in front of me. They not behind me. They’re not on either side of me. They are nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. I know because I’ve looked everywhere. I wouldn’t want the world at large to know, but I’ve even looked in the trees all around my house, thinking, wishing, hoping, longing that maybe–just maybe–I would find one there. You know, just hanging out all casual and relaxed and friendly like, waiting for me. Waiting to see if I was looking back to see if… But I haven’t found one–not one–which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt: dateables do NOT grow on trees in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

So that you can check out my assertions for yourself, let me give you the exact location in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where I have determined that dateables do not grow on trees. Doubt no longer. Check out the latitude and longitude coordinates and know that I speak truth and kid you not: 31.771959, 35.217018.

For now, this much is obvious to me. If I am to continue this post–and, having made it this far, I have every intention of making it all the way through to the end–I will just have to shift my focus from real dates to imaginary ones. In that sense, then, it would be similar to “My Imaginary Guests.” Actually, I like that comparison so much that I’m tempted to change the title of this post from “Dating after Twenty-Three” to “My Imaginary Dates after Twenty-Three.” Thankfully, that temptation–unlike some others–did not last long. I wouldn’t want a Potentially Dateable Person (PDP) to be turned off by perceived fickleness. I stand by mine just as surely as Tammy Wynette stands by hers.

All right, then, where were we. Don’t you just love my use, just now, of the royal “we.” I do. I’ll bet you’re wondering–just as I much as I am–when we first used we so royally. Let me check.

Be Right Back.

Well, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the pronoun “we” (used in place of “I” by a monarch or other person in power) goes back to 1801 when Buonaparte appointed his brother-in-law, Leclerc, to St. Domingo.

Isn’t that riveting? I wonder what other words I could look up right quick? Hmmm. If I  didn’t know better, I’d swear that I’m doing everything in my power to avoid getting into all the nitty gritty details of all that’s involved in dating–real or imaginary–after twenty-three years.

I assure you that I am not. This really isn’t a big deal after all. I’ll do what I do best: face it head on.

So work with me while I pretend that I have, in fact, found a real, live, breathing, walking, talking date.

What’s for certain is that I didn’t find one in a tree. Ahhh…now I remember. My imaginary friend lined me up with a Blind Date.

Be Right Back.

Sometimes my imaginary friend is a prankster, so I had to confirm that Blind Date was still used these days to mean “a date with someone whom the datee does not know but which is arranged by a third person.” The OED assures me that the phrase is still used, though mainly colloquially, and that it is still politically correct.

We’re good to go with both, so I suppose that I’m good to go with this phone number of a PDP. My imaginary friend thinks that we might click. Is that what it’s called? Might be in harmony? (Nope. We’re not singing.) Might go hand in hand? (Nope. In public? In the Shenandoah Valley? Come on.) Might harmonize? (Nope. Again, we’re not singing.) Jibe? (Say whaat?) So much for a thesaurus. I’ll stick with click.

Let me get this over with right now. If I don’t, I’m going to look bad, and that might make my imaginary friend look bad. All that I have to do is make the call, pop the question, and hear what happens. Hang on.

Be right back.

Well, dayum. That went better than I thought. Far better. I loved the voice that I heard. Confident but not too assertive. Raspy but not enough to make me suspect a cold. Loud but not enough to make me suspect the use of a hearing aid or, worse, the need for a hearing aid paired with a refusal to admit it or a cheapness to buy it. So far, so good. I got a resounding “Yes” to the question that I popped.

We’re going to meet for coffee at our local Starbucks. Isn’t that a great idea? It was mine. You’re probably thinking that Starbucks is a dumb first-date idea. You’re wrong. Actually, it’s the perfect spot for a first date. Here’s why. Multiple studies–each one referencing the other for validation–have determined beyond any scientific doubt–thereby eliminating any need whatsoever for a third study to validate the first or the second–that we should size up people not on the basis of their shoes, not on the basis of their cars but rather on the basis of the drink they choose at Starbucks.

So my date’s beverage choice will be the first reveal. Is that caffeine in my cup or what?

I don’t mind telling you that I’ll order my usual Latte or Cappuccino. OMG. Here’s how the research sizes me up, based on my preference:

… perfect blend of the drip coffee folks and the chai latte people. Sometimes shy, sometimes outgoing … so balanced, well adjusted, and free of common neurosis you wonder if a magical fairy raised this magical unicorn. … Date this person ASAP. [Emphasis supplied for any PDPs who might be reading. Just saying. You know how to find me.]

I’m hoping that my date might order a Chai Latte. Would I be one lucky dude or what, if what the research has established is true:

The Chai Latte … person is at their core a humble introvert. … they’ve probably traveled to some remote untamed parts of the earth, have a double PHD in astrophysics … Navigating through life with a Buddhist mentality the Chai Tea person is the opposite of an open book. Mysterious like a mythical creature, you watch them trot off to yoga class and feel your heart squeeze. You might be in love.

Say whaat? Might be in love? I haven’t even swallowed the first sip of my Latte or Cappuccino. Slow down. Let’s enjoy this.

But if my date orders a Java Chip Frappuccino, that will pretty much be a deal breaker for me:

Always full of spice and sass … rocket-balls of energy. Do NOT stand in their way. The frappuccino person is the one driving the car with the ridiculously oversized rims and the dude wearing the blinding bright red jewel encrusted Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers.

Those rocket-balls of energy sound intriguing, but if my date orders a Java Chip Frappuccino, I’ll drink my Latte or Cappuccino as rapidly as possible so that I can get out of Starbucks with my “This was so ……” echoing as I wave goodbye.

While Starbucks was my idea, meeting there at 7:30am was not. I mean. Come on. I’m a morning person, but that’s a bit early, it seems to me, for a first date.

But I’ll get over it, and, actually, it might have real advantages. At that time of day, a handshake will do. Maybe a light hug. But it’s certainly too early in the day–and certainly too early in the dating game–to even think about a kiss. After all, meeting a date for the first time is stressful enough without all the worry about morning breath–the kiss of death when it comes to dating. And, therefore, Dear Readers, you can rest assured: if I should sense even the slightest body movement suggesting that my date is leaning in for a kiss, I’ll just bend over right quick to retrieve my napkin that fell mysteriously to the floor.

Well, as I am sure you can tell, I am not the least bit worried about this first date. If all goes well, it might be the first of many dates that get earlier and earlier. Who’s to say when dawn slides back to midnight and midnight slides back to evening and …

But now I’m wondering what’s supposed to happen with that second date that’s sure to come. I just know that it will. After all, no one in the Shenandoah Valley–absolutely no one–wears blinding bright red jewel encrusted Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers, so I am certain that my date will not have ordered a Java Chip Frappuccino at Starbucks.

So let me see. What comes after that first date? Good God. On my last first date, time stopped and the world stood still for twenty-three years.

Be Right Back.

Thanks for your patience. I had to do some quick research to find out the stages of dating. My sources boldly plagiarized one another, so they are pretty much in agreement. I would document my sources, but I can’t tell which one started it all, so I will share the common threads, paraphrased freely to suit the pitter-patter of my amorous heart.

1. INFATUATION AND ROMANCE. CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU. Say whaat? My concern, Dear PDP, is whether I can live with you.

2. ACCOMMODATION. GETTING TO KNOW LIKES AND DISLIKES AND WARTS. Well, that’s fair enough, I guess. However, just because I’m agreeing does not mean that I have warts. I don’t. Not even one. But I do have one or more wrinkles. But don’t worry. They are not problematic whatsoever. They all disappear every time that I take off my glasses.

3. POWER STRUGGLE. OMG. Please say it ain’t so. At this stage of my life, am I arm-wrestling with my father again?

4. COMPLETE TRUST. This stage is really funny. As I was reading about it, I was looking through the wrong part of my trifocals. Instead of seeing Complete Trust, I saw Complete RUST. At my age, probably.

5. SEXUAL EXPLORATION. Well, it’s about time. I’m going back to Stage 4 and redact RUST. For this stage, it’s all about TRUST.

6. YOU’RE MEETING EXPECTATIONS AND DEALING WITH CHALLENGES. Hello. Didn’t we just deal with this in Stages 3, 4, and 5?

7. SURRENDER TO COMMITMENT AND THE RELATIONSHIP. I’m good with commitment, but surrender? Are we about to wage war?

8. MOVING TOGETHER AS A TEAM. Moving? Where the hell to? Nobody said anything to me about moving. Where are we going? Where I go, my gardens go, too. Where I go, my loft goes, too. Where I go, Ruby goes. (Not to worry: she’s my dog.) Maybe this moving together stage isn’t a good idea.

Actually, the more that I write about it–the more that I think about it–maybe this whole dating thing isn’t such a good idea after all, especially after twenty-three.

Be Right …