I met my ex-wife when we were 13 years old and in the seventh grade. The night was October 31, 1965. I still remember it clearly. There was a Sadie Hawkins dance in West Barnstable. Sadie Hawkins night is when the girls get to ask the boys out. My ex, Janice, liked me and her friend, Nancy, liked my friend Bill. The girls were too shy to come right out and ask us to the dance so Janice asked Bill and Nancy asked me. Sometime during the dance, Janice and Nancy switched and I ended up dancing with Janice all night. At the end of the night, I was completely in love as only a 13 year old boy can be.
While there were some temporary breakups in high school and college, we were pretty much together for 43 years. In 2007, we divorced and I found myself suddenly single. Having been pretty much with only one woman for all those years, I had no idea how to go about finding a date or even what to do if I found one.
Internet to the rescue. I joined every dating site I could find to see what would happen. I met lots of women and I mean lots. I discovered that I was a pretty valuable commodity for women in their 40’s and 50’s. I had a job, my hair, my teeth, I wasn’t a drunk and I didn’t live with my mother. Low standards I know, but I clearly met all of them. Let me tell you about just one of women I met. I’ll change her name in case she still knows where I live. By the way, this story is not atypical of my dating life and every word is true.
Susan was absolutely beautiful and she lived in a very wealthy part of town. We agreed to meet for a drink and I showed up a little early to sort of check her out. In to the valet station drives a Mercedes convertible and out steps Susan. She’s clearly dressed in all designer clothes with a handbag that has some guys name on it, perfectly done hair and giant sunglasses. I’m standing by the entrance to the bar in my jeans, sneakers and a clean shirt. I thought the clean shirt was a nice touch. As she walked by, completely ignoring me, I quietly said “Hi Susan”. She stopped, lowered her sunglasses and gave me the up and down look. “Cliff?”, she carefully asked. Cautiously, we went in to the bar for a drink.
Well, we seemed to be getting along quite well because, after about two hours, she grabbed my head in both hands and put me into a major league lip lock. I was so shocked I had no response at all, just a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. “I’m leaving but you may follow me home”, she said. The rest of the night is none of your business but we did have a second date.
After the first drink on our second date, Susan looked me straight in the eyes and said “Are you in love with me yet?”. Being new at dating and not sure what the proper response was, I replied, “In love with you? I don’t even know your last name!”. She became highly insulted at this and our relationship only lasted a couple of more dates. This was in October.
It’s now Christmas and I had forgotten about Susan. Christmas eve about 10:00 p.m. I’m at home enjoying an adult beverage and watching tv when there’s a knock on my door. Approaching the door, I can see that it’s snowing out and there, on my doorstep, complete with mink coat and gold jewelry is Susan. When I open the door, I can see that she is clearly way ahead of me in the adult beverage contest. In the driveway, I can see her car with some guy standing outside, leaning on the roof.
“I just had to tell you that I love you and I miss you and you have to let me in”. “Who’s the guy in the driveway?”, I asked. “That’s my brother and he didn’t think I should come here. He’s trying to drive me home”, she replied. I called to her brother to come get her and the two of us somehow got her back into the Mercedes and off they went.
I only ran into Susan once after that, at Stop and Shop, a grocery store, in the onion aisle. She asked how I was, told me that she still loved me and invited me to spend the winter with her in her beachfront home in the Caribbean. Tempted? Yes, I was tempted but ultimately, I still had to work and said no.
There were other women even more crazy than Susan but that’s a whole different story which I may or may not tell.
Suffice it to say, I did learn a couple of things from Susan. If you’re on a date and get to the woman’s house, excuse yourself and try to go to her bathroom, if you can. Once there, open the medicine cabinet and check the prescription bottles. If you find anti-depressants or anti-psychotics (I found both), then run, don’t walk out of the house and never go back.
That was lesson number 1 in dating after 50.