I’d like to start off by saying I’m an equal opportunity dater … meaning I don’t discriminate based upon age, height, weight, religion, political affiliation, etc. My reason is that it’s important to keep an open mind—and also, if you throw enough shit against the wall, something is bound to stick. So, in the ten years since my divorce I’ve dated a variety of guys … some of which include a tattoo artist, a stand-up comedian, an attorney, an architect, two engineers, a chef, an accountant (yes), and numerous techie guys. I’ve dated short, fat, tall, bald, pony-tailed, divorced, never-married, engaged—in my defense, I didn’t know about that one until AFTER the date. And, as some of you know, one that is now spending his remaining years in the witness protection program.
Last night’s date was with a recently laid off bicycle repairman/singer. Not to be confused with a singing bicycle repairman. I didn’t know about the singer part until the very end of the date.
So, as is my standard practice, I meet for coffee first. I do this for many reasons but primarily because if there is no “click,” I’ve only spent the cost of a cup of coffee. That and I can handle almost anything for thirty minutes … or so I thought. Anyway, I always get there early and buy my own. And, even for a cup of coffee, I put forth the effort and fret about my hair, my nails, my make-up, what to wear, my perfume, should I put in my contacts or are my glasses ok? I take the time to look nice. And I have daughters who will send me back to my room to change if I don’t meet their dress code standards. And they are brutal.
It was a warm night last night so I asked him if we could meet at the Starbucks and sit outside. He said that was fine but that he had allergies so if he started sneezing we may need to move indoors. No problem. I get there early as is my M.O. and am waiting outside. Now, you must know that I do find out about someone before I meet them. At least I ask the questions and hope they are honest and I don’t end up in a trunk. He told me he was divorced for about eight years. He had married his high school sweetheart and they had a son and a daughter—the son lived with him and was in college. His daughter was already married and he had a grandson. That was fine with me—I have friends who are younger than me and have grandkids so that’s cool. He told me his house was paid off and that he was a “saver” so he was getting by just fine with no income for now. Good to know. I like savers. I had seen a picture and he looked really cute. So I was optimistic. By “optimistic,” I mean no red flags up to this point.
So, I’m waiting at Starbucks and I see this guy walking towards the table. I must have had an odd look on my face which he mistook for a smile because he smiled back. Oh crap. It’s not that he is unattractive—not at all. But even as cute as he was, it couldn’t take my attention away from his attire. My eyes are drawn to his leather jacket. Ok, hear me out. First, it’s eighty degrees outside. And second, he wasn’t riding a motorcycle. I’m now in panic mode—and not so much because he’s wearing a leather jacket in the heat and humidity (which is scary) but more so because it was bright orange. And, believe it or not, the bright orange wasn’t as frightening as the enormous “Home Depot” patches on the back and front that kind of took your breath away. So—he’s a NASCAR fan. Well, I’ve been known to watch a race or two. But, I’m kicking myself over wanting to sit outside. On a busy corner … in the state of Indiana … where people know me.
See why I do coffee first? I can handle this and maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll take off his jacket. We say hello and he sits down and we start to chat. It’s going ok (flashing neon jacket aside) and then … well, does the phrase “be careful what you wish for” ring a bell? He removes the billboard. Now, I really don’t have a problem with logos on shirts … if it’s on a nice polo and you happen to be working a trade show. The jacket was one thing, but now I am looking at a sleeveless purple shirt. Yes, sleeveless. Yes, purple. And yes, he removed the sleeves himself. But, thankfully the Gods were smiling down on me and the logo was much smaller: Potawatomi Casino and Lodge.
So, after the initial shock of all the colors and advertising wear off, I ask him if he’d like a coffee. He doesn’t drink coffee. Oh,ok. He explains that we are only “hanging here” until I finish my coffee (which, by the way, I’ve managed to down in about two sips and I’m now nursing a blister on the roof of my mouth) but then we are meeting some of his friends across the street at this little bar for karaoke, wings, and beer.
Um, well, I tell him that sounds like great fun but no. He doesn’t understand. Well, I don’t drink beer and I’m not really a fan of being inside on a nice night. And, karaoke is ok but … he stopped me. He said not to worry—he sings there ALL the time and he’s really good—and people know him and when it’s his turn and they shout out requests to him.
Oh, I have a request.
Anyway … I tell him no thanks, really, but to please go and have fun and I will email him later to find out how it went. After much prodding and pleading, he realizes that I am not going to witness his performance so he decides to give me a taste of what I’m missing. What? Wait, no, it’s fine … I will come and listen sometime, I prom …
“If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life … and I had to start again with just my children and my …”
OH MY GOD! He’s channeling Lee Greenwood.
Swear. He sings a few more lines and then he looks at me. Am I sure I don’t want to go? I tell him that was great! Wow. But no, thanks though. I have a previous engagement with a trunk.