Donkey Ears …

Ladies, I am prayerful that dating life in my 40s will prove better than that of the last two decades. I am not bitter. I simply can’t leave this part of my life to ‘hope’ anymore. I am on my knees as I write to you, thinking that this is both a message and a prayer combined.

I came to the realization that some of us need a ‘dating prayer’ after reading the latest edition of More Magazine (you know the magazine … it’s targeted at the 40-something and older woman … the models they use are actual women who are on both good and very familiar terms with food. … Hey, More Magazine editors! I’m giving you a free plug here! So, if you need a new columnist for your print or online editions – more.ca or more.com – let me know!!!) . The issue was all about dressing for a date.

I carefully looked at each page. What I saw were women and men dressed really nicely. Pretty patterned dresses on the women; shiny shoes and belts on the men; and rides in glass elevators that alluded to a dinner at an elegant restaurant. And that was when I sighed thinking to myself, “Will dating finally be this nice after my 40th birthday?!”

So far too many of my dates have fallen into the category of: (a) I need to forget this evening to protect my sanity; (b) did I really leave my house for this?; and (c)there goes a couple more hours of my life that I’ll never get back. In fairness, not all my dates have been nightmares. There have been some good ones. But, it’s the horrors that I remember most. Let me give you a few highlights from my dating history …

The Teen Years … No Fumbling for Me

There was no dating during my teen years. I was too shy to consider dating. Also, I had a strict father who I knew wouldn’t allow it. But, what really put me off dating during my teen years was Mom’s sole piece of advice to me on dating and sex during this period of time. And here it is:

“Mantha, boys at your age have no clue of what they’re doing or want. Let them fumble and play around with the other girls (we all know what Mom meant by ‘fumble and play’). Then when you’re older, they should know what they’re doing, and if not, you’ll be confident enough to let them know.” She was right (wink)!

The Twenties …. Barefoot, Pregnant & Living on a Chicken Farm

Ah, yes! I remember this guy fondly. We’ll call him Links as in the cuff-links he always wore with his work shirts.

This man appeared to be normal and reasonable. He was clean-cut and attractive. I had seen him almost daily during my bus ride to work. And as it happened our offices were within walking distance of each. We exchanged the usual pleasantries each morning on the ride to work. Eventually I learned he was an accountant for a major corporation. Great stuff right? Hold you opinions and let me finish before you reach any conclusions.

Despite Links’ apparent perfection something about him didn’t feel right. I don’t know if it was that I once saw him wearing dress shoes with jeans (a no-no!), but the feeling wouldn’t go away. For that reason I declined his many offers to go for lunch or dinner. Then one day, I stupidly accepted his lunch invitation.

We agreed to meet for lunch at a new sushi restaurant. I was on time. He was late. Once we were finally seated and he had calmed his nerves with the two gulped glasses of red wine, this man basically turned into Chatty-Cathy.

Encourage by the wine in his system, Links quickly moved the strained and pleasant conversation to I just don’t know where. Here are the conversation highlights: “When we’re married …,” … “women should really stay home and tend to the house…,” … “I want kids really soon and don’t want us to wait.” Hold onto your minds because here is the best part of allf all, “I want to move to the country and start a chicken farm with my brother ‘cause there is lots of money to be made in chickens!”

I wish I could say Links was joking and trying to be funny. He wasn’t. He never smiled or filled me in on the punch line of any of his comments so I wouldn’t think he had completely lost his mind! All I could do was to stare at him. That was when I had the strangest sensation of my entire life: I could actually feel my brain talking to me.

I had stopped eating long before his mouth stopped running. I didn’t know whether to laugh or bolt out of there. As I debated which to do, my mind turned into a little computer that printed out the following statement that was immediately delivered to whatever of the brain processes information: “THIS MAN WANTS YOU BAREFOOT PREGNANT AND LIVING ON A CHICKEN FARM IN THE COUNTRY. NOW STUPID, GET UP AND LEAVE … NOW! NOW! NOW! ….”

The Early Thirties … Coupons

This is a story of being careful who you flirt with. It may all start innocently enough, but eventually it might bite you in the behind.

I met Coup (the reason will soon become apparent) on a Saturday morning when I finished working out at the gym. I knew I was looking cute that morning. My skin still had the flush from jogging and I was relaxed after spending time in the steam room and sauna. So, as I was trotting down the staircase about to leave I saw a very nice looking man climbing the stairs toward me. Buoyed with confidence from a good work out, seconds after we passed one another on the staircase I looked back over my should to find him looking at me … then I smiled. You know the smile I’m talking about …

Let’s fast forward to the first date: we went to Starbucks for coffee. He was on time. I was pleased.

I sat down as he went to get our drinks, when I noticed something strange: he paid for the drinks with a coupon. Although I thought this was odd, I said nothing. We sat together for about an hour having a really good conversation, so I dismissed the whole coupon thing. A week later we went to see a movie. Guess what? He paid with yet another coupon. It wasn’t until we reached the concession stand that I realized what was going on:

Coup: “Would you like something to drink?”

Me: “Please. I’ll have an iced tea, thank-you.”

Coup: “Sorry, but the coupon is only for the blue drink or the red drink.”

Me: CONFUSED LOOK ACROSS MY FACE (Is it possible to cue the sound of crickets they often use in movies to show a person is completely clueless about something???)

Coup: “Blue or red?”

Me: “I’ll have an iced tea, thank-you.”

Rude Little Girl Working the Concession Stand: “Listen, he only has coupons for blue or red. His coupons don’t cover no iced tea (yes, those were her exact words).”

As I’ve not been offered a beverage based on its colour since I was about ten years old and the Cool-Aid Man was still around, I said the only thing I could: “I’ll have an iced tea, thank-you.”

As it would happen, Coup worked at a factory where they printed all sorts of coupons. I don’t know if they also paid in coupons but that was all he had in his wallet (I know because he held his wallet wide open when I was standing beside him). He told me that he didn’t go to places where he couldn’t use a coupon. I told him was getting my iced tea and would enjoy it while I watched a different movie without him.

The Late Thirties … I Do Not Have Donkey Ears

Again, here was another good looking man who was anything but good.

Dating in your late thirties means you can’t always avoid relationships with people who already have children. Ideally, I would prefer a man with no children, no ex-wives, and no drama. Unfortunately this isn’t realistic or always possible.

This tale is about a man who had children (not one, but three). I am not Sherlock Holmes or part of the police services. That means if a man tells me lives in place ‘A’ alone and I visit said place, I believe that he indeed lives alone, not with the mother of his children or other people.

As we all know alcohol is an effective muscle relaxant. The tongue is also a muscle.

One evening the Man and I went to dinner. There were too many references to ‘we’ during the conversation: we as in him and the children’s mother. First came, “so when the kids and I woke up that morning, and their Mom was already in the kitchen..” Huh? Being polite I kept my mouth shut. Somewhere in the story is moved onto a different day with more “we’s” that I was not a part of. The best being, “… when we woke up that morning..” When they what, when?

We’re all adults, so we know what goes on between men and women behind closed doors especially when there is talk of “when X and I woke up”! So, I asked him directly if he and the mother of children were back together again. I’m not a stupid woman and he knew that. But, due to alcohol he acted to the contrary.

Naturally this led to an argument culminating in him yelling (yep, he raised his voice at me), “as if you can prove anything!” It wasn’t just what he yelled, but the body language that went along with it. It was almost like a mocking confession, as though withoutproof I had to put up with him. Really?! So, I did what any intelligent person would do: I changed tactics

Me: “Do you think my ears are big?” I asked sweetly.

The Man: “What?”

Me: “Do you think my ears are big? You know – floppy like donkey-ears?”

The Man: “No.” He looked a bit confused.

Me: “What about my teeth,” I asked with a smile.

The Man: smiling back, “No, your ears are perfect and your smile is gorgeous”

Me: “Ummm … have you ever noticed that I had a tail?”

At this point The Man was completely confused not knowing whether I had lost my mind or if he was coming or going. So, I asked him again, to which he replied ‘no’ with some annoyance in his voice. That was when I said my final words to him:

Me: “Good. Now we both know that there is only one JACKASS sitting here!”

*********

Forty is around the corner. I can already see it. I’m too old and too tired to repeat any of the above. Admittedly my dating experience hasn’t been entirely awful, however, it has had a few high points. After all, the two pieces of sushi with Links – before I nearly choked – weren’t too bad; the free (by virtue of a coupon) latte I had with Coup was pretty good.   And The Man …. Yes! He liked my teeth!

I need your prayers. I need to be able to wear pretty dresses on dates with nicely dressed men who aren’t fond of chickens, coupons or their supposed ex- girlfriends (especially when I’m supposed to be the girlfriend). I need to start living out the pages of the magazine!!! And with that I’ll say Amen.

Laters & G’night,

Mantha

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