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Posts Tagged ‘dating’

  1. Marriage and Other Questionable Institutions

    May 5, 2014 by Diane

    Just married

    They marry…Arthur and Ivy. They raise a couple of kids. They’re living the American Dream. Throw in a two-car garage, a double income, a mortgage, and a few rounds of “I hate the way you…” (fill in the blank), and they’re edging closer to the American Nightmare.

    Eventually the kids grow up, and leave, and it’s just the two of them again. She’s gazing at their wedding photos, sucking in her paunch. He’s plucking his nose hairs and coloring what’s left on the top of his head. They’re hanging onto their youth, because the road from their vantage points could use some work, maybe some federal funds.

    Then Ivy remembers what it was like before the marriage. Before the kids and the two-car garage and double income and mortgage. She remembers what it was like back in the day when she was dating, pretending to be someone else. Before Arthur.

    And suddenly the road doesn’t look so bad anymore.

    * * *

    It’s Saturday afternoon and she sits at the lunch counter spooning up a strawberry sundae, when a gentleman two stools down sipping coffee strikes up a conversation. He’s got movie-star teeth. Omar Sharif eyes. Wow, she thinks; he’s talking to me. After exchanging pleasantries for thirty minutes he invites her to a foreign film. A matinee. She accepts. He drives.

    At the movie house, as the lights dim and the music swells, he places a damp palm on her thigh. She holds still. He breathes hot air into her ear. She giggles, lightheaded. Before the subtitles have a chance to roll he’s worked his way around to her nostrils, her eyeballs, her mouth–searching every available orifice from the neck up–leaving a slimy trail. She excuses herself and dashes to the restroom and wipes her face with a handkerchief and blows her nose with a tissue and tries to still the shaking in her fingers. From the payphone in the lobby she calls her older sister, Jane, to come get her.

    There, in the phone booth, she swears she’ll never date again. Ever.

    But that’s before she meets the taxi driver–a burly Irishman who takes her home. Arthur. He shoos away the coins Ivy shakes from her purse to cover the fare, and delivers her to the front door–but no farther–on the crook of his arm. That’s before they marry, and raise red-headed kids; before they acquire the two-car garage, double income, mortgage, and middle-age spread. That’s before she hangs up and dials Yellow Cab because Jane isn’t answering the telephone on that Saturday afternoon.

    Because Jane is out on her own date. She’s dragged her husband to an x-rated movie to breathe some hot air back into their marriage, and the two of them don’t touch at all.

    But she makes him sit through it twice.


  2. When Innocence Wore Your Brother’s Baseball Glove

    April 28, 2014 by Diane

    baseball glove

    There was a time when young men went courting. They knocked on the front door carrying a bouquet of flowers. They greeted the parents and then hung around the alcove by the coat rack, filling up the space with their maleness. They guided the blushing girl out the door with the lightest touch at the small of her back, and then began a series of door openings: the car door, the restaurant door, the door to the movie theater, the door to the Fountain and Grill for a milkshake, back to the car, to the front door. And then a hover, a wait. Maybe a brush of lips against hers, then a tip of the hat and a jaunty stride to the car, waving over the shiny hood before getting in and driving away.

    Those were the days.

    The days when innocence wore your brother’s baseball glove, you father’s aftershave, your sister’s hairpins, your mother’s face powder. When innocence smoked your uncle’s cigars, and played your cousin’s board game.

    Those were the days when families talked over the dinner table instead of the blare of the television. The days when families gathered around the radio in the family room while mom clicked her knitting needles and pop smoked his pipe and the dog lay near his feet wagging its doggy tail.

    Those were the days when the good life meant a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence; a newspaper boy who delivered the news smack onto the front porch; a milkman who delivered a fresh bottle and hauled away the empties. It meant someone was there to tuck you in at night, and leave a light on in the hallway, and the door open a crack. It meant falling asleep to the comforting murmur of your parents’ voices. Maybe the faint strains of Artie Shaw on the radio.

    Not a bad scene. Not a bad scene at all.

    When did the stars begin to fall through the cracks? When did the stranger on the street become a prowler with bad intentions, instead of a Fuller Brush man trying to make a decent living for his wife and kids?

    What happened to those carefree, innocent days?

    Maybe they weren’t so carefree after all. Maybe it’s just a trick of the memory, or the flickering images from old Hollywood. Maybe it’s a view of the world seen through the lens of my television, which only airs one station now that the winds have interfered with all the other stations. One station. The one where Father Knows Best, and everyone is perfectly content to Leave it to Beaver.

    I could invest in cable. The land of Suburgatory and The Sopranos.

    But…nah.

    I prefer the version of America before it outgrew mom, apple pie and baseball.

     


  3. A Dating Affidavit

    April 21, 2014 by Diane

    Signature

    My ex, half-jokingly, suggested that I write up a one-page affidavit for potential suitors to sign. This sounded like a brilliant idea. So I drew one up.

    DATING AFFIDAVIT

    I, _____________ (potential suitor) upon oath state:

    1. When I take you to dinner, I promise not to label you persnickety when you interrogate the waiter about dishes that are  gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, and caffeine-free.

    2. If I wear stinky cologne, you are allowed to gag.

    3. If my radio plays anything other than jazz, you have permission to reprogram it.

    4. If I do not appreciate your wry sense of humor, I promise not to laugh in a fake way.

    5. I have been advised that more than a quarter inch of wine will make you loopy. I will pour accordingly.

    6. I agree not to talk to you when you are reading, although cuddling is allowed.

    7. Ditto when you are meditating, except for the cuddling part.

    8. If I wear button-down shirts and never roll up the cuffs, you are allowed to raise one eyebrow.

    9. I will not label you a hypochondriac when you use hand-wipes after touching door knobs.

    10. Whenever we disagree, I promise to say: “You’re right, I’m wrong, I’ll never do it again.”

    11. When the temperature drops below forty degrees and your fingers turn blue and white, I will not be horrified by their wax-bean appearance. I will stand patiently by as you whirl your arms around like an airplane propeller to force the blood back into your digits.

    12. Ditto with your toes.

    Signature ___________________________________

    To be fair, I also drew up an affidavit that I would sign.

    DATING AFFIDAVIT

    I, _____________ (your ideal date) upon oath state:

    1. If you say something genuinely funny, I will laugh so hard that I might stream tears. Do not be alarmed. I am amused, not hysterical.

    2. If you engage me in intellectually stimulating conversation, and you are smarter than me but not too much smarter, and you don’t have a know-it-all complex, I will look upon you with utmost respect.

    3. If you think I am attractive and sexy and you tell me so often, or at least beam it from your eyes while leaning toward me, I will believe everything you say. I might even straighten out your sock drawer.

    4, I am content to stroll along the beach, share a picnic dinner and watch the sun set and call it a perfect date. If the date also includes time to read, I will look upon you as a God.

    5. I will always tell you the truth. At least the truth as I believe it to be.

    Signature ___________________________________