I remember when I got divorced, I did not swear off men. I swore off that particular man. Seriously, it took about 48 hours from the time he told me he was leaving for me to decide on a dating website and get on with it.
I had my first date a month later. It completely freaked me out. I showed up early, then he called to say he’d be late. I was sweating in spite of layers of Sure Fresh Scent. I waited at the bar and confided in the bartender. She was completely supportive, “You know, the emergency exit door by the restrooms isn’t really locked. If you need to run, well, you have a way out. Don’t tell anyone I told you.” She got a big tip on that Diet Coke tab.
He showed up, taller than I thought, which is good, but also older, much older. The whole time we were at lunch all I could think of was that he was so old. And he dyed his hair. Badly. My God, we were the same age. Was he thinking I was old too? Am I old? Who goes out looking to date an old man? Not me.
The conversation was good, I think. I know we had a zillion things in common. Even our parents’ professions were the same. All of that should have left me starstruck about how the forces of the universe had brought us together, but instead all I could think about was seeing him naked. Visions of gray pubic hair filled my mind. Or what if he badly died the nether regions as well? It’s painful to think about even today.
He had a business meeting and excused himself thereby saving me from making a mad dash to the “restroom” and down the rabbit hole. We didn’t speak again. I was a little less anxious at my next date and so relieved that he was fit and hot and had beautiful, albeit thinning, salt and pepper hair. He was funny and confident. He was young no matter what his numbers were.
I did not immediately look for the exit. That would come almost two years later.