She felt his hot hands groping her heaving breasts, his smothering kisses on her mouth, when suddenly she realized, “Cripes, what am I gonna tell the kids?!”
Okay, let me back up a bit and give you the whole story. At least as I remember it. My son and daughter may have different versions. It’s not every day that your single 60-something momma calls long distance and tells you about her blind date; that is, she’s trying to tell you but she’s laughing so hard she can barely get the words out.
It all began fairly innocently. The kids were worried. Here I was, single and on my own for a few years, living like an anchoress in my apartment, surrounded by my books and polka cd collection. Sure, I had my friends and the grandbabies and my full-time job. But something was missing. My social life was, shall we say, a bit dull. Subtle hints were dropped. “Oh mom isn’t it great about Mary and Tom? They’re so cute together. You know Dr. Phil believes in those online dating services, especially the ones that offer you a complete personality and compatibility profile. Mr. Right is out there, you just have to be proactive and go find him.” Now I knew their intentions were pure. Hook the old gal up with some sentient being. For cryin’ out loud, she can’t do the polka alone!
What they failed to consider was that, unlike their own sibling connection, I grew up an only child. Being alone, with my thoughts, books, single toothbrush, and Frankie Yankovic blasting on the stereo was not all that bad. Contrary to popular myth, you can do the polka alone. Sometimes less is more. The kids, however, were convinced that life could be so much more exciting with my very own companion - that man of my dreams who would still have his own hair, teeth and kneecaps, a twinkle in his eye, and a gentle heart. Low blood pressure wouldn’t be bad either.
Once again, the daughter, “You need a kind lumberjack. Don’t do ‘intelligent and bookish’. They can be snarky and shallow. You need someone simpler, someone who will see into your soul and be your playmate.”
The trouble with Jenn is that she reads too many self-help books while she’s listening to Oprah on TV. Mommy at home, kids underfoot, and Oprah and Dr. Phil appear with the magical solutions to all life’s problems. All you have to do is c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-e and make eye contact and life will be good, very, very good. All demons exorcised.
I grew up with “love means never having to say you’re sorry” and my kid grows up with “let it all hang out, I feel your pain”. I couldn’t care less about some strange lumberjack’s pain - I’ve got my own arthritis to worry about!
It was useless to fight. They cajoled; they pleaded. They were on a mission. Rescue mom from her nihilistic, self-absorbed lifestyle: eating alone, spending inordinate amounts of time reading good books, writing fanfic, traveling abroad, climbing a mountain or two, playing with digital cameras. How dare she! This woman must find her soul mate.
Now, I don’t know about you but somehow that whole touchy-feely soul mate thing was starting to wear a little thin. If I had to see Mr. You-Know-Who pitching his online dating service and compatibility profile one more time, I was gonna take the guy quail hunting!
Nevertheless, I finally capitulated and actually took the damn profile and posted my photo and played the online dating game for over a year. Oh yes, it’s safer than most online services (some of which I had also joined). Let’s see, two to three years of my life online looking for Mr. Right (read that “you look like Robert Redford and you cut down trees”) and what did I have to show for it? Two dates with two men who described themselves as “tall”. What is it about men and size? These guys came up to my nose and I’m five foot three. First guy walked me 30 blocks through a major city, explaining its architectural designs. He offered to pay for lunch; I let him. No follow-up phone call. We finally made contact online; he told me I’m not his type. I looked “too academic”. Jeans, loafers and a corduroy jacket? I didn’t wear my hood and gown!
Jenn’s solution: “Mom, you’ve got to wear red. Trust me. It’s vibrant, alive – like you. You have to express yourself through color.”
Guy #2 and I have a couple interesting phone conversations. We decide to meet for lunch. He seems quite excited about steak and a salad. Hey, whatever floats your boat.
I call the daughter for more advice. I’m sent shopping for sandals, Ann Taylor slacks and red, yes, a red knit top that has a lacy thingie which ties down the front and reveals a wee bit of cleavage. I even go for a pedicure and manicure, painting the town red! Dang, I look hot! No one’s gonna peg me for “too academic” now.
We decide to meet at a fairly popular steak-and-ale restaurant, splitting the distance between us. I get there first, quite excited, wondering if this “tall” blind date will tell me he’s retired from the U.S. Forestry Service and sweep me off my feet. Visions of dancing wood chips start to appear before my eyes. My reverie is broken when someone touches my arm. I turn and look up. This is my first mistake. I soon realize that Mr. Right is below my line of vision. I quickly look down and smile feebly. He smiles graciously, little roly-poly man. Dressed neatly and casually. No boots, no ax. We go in and dine on steak and salad. Yes, little man lives large. We order wine. We order dessert. He keeps telling me I’m quite the thing. At least when he’s sitting across from me, he doesn’t seem so short. And then I remember why. He had brought a cushion into the restaurant, claiming something about a sore tail bone or old injury. I really wasn’t paying attention at the time. But now it makes perfect sense. If he didn’t have his pillow to sit on, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all – he’d be under the table. The check comes and then he tells me that he never pays for a woman’s dinner. Not his philosophy. We should split the check. I’m from the old school; I’d rather split his lip. But I behave and agree to the arrangement, thinking that I’ll never see this guy again.
The place is hopping. We push our way through the crowd and walk out to the parking lot together. He takes my hand and tells me that he really enjoyed dinner. He walks me to my car. I go around to open my driver’s side and he asks if he can come in. This is my second mistake. I nod okay and auto-open the passenger side. He carefully places his little cushion on my car seat and places his little tush on the cushion. We continue to small talk. He starts to get a glassy look in his eyes and asks if he may kiss me. Trees are falling in a forest somewhere but I can’t hear them. There’s this strange buzzing in my head. Mistake #3. I say “yes” and lean a bit towards him and we kiss, and we kiss, and we kiss some more. I find that the combination of red wine and rich dessert has left me in a somewhat languorous mood. Hell, when I close my eyes, all I can see is Robert Redford. The next thing I know is that we’ve progressed to the French art of kissing and there’s some groping going on. At about this time, I open my eyes and realize that I am sitting in my own car in a public parking lot in the middle of the afternoon, necking with a man who has a sore tail bone! Holy Hannah! If my kids could see me now! Thank God there was a console between the two front seats. I regain my senses and start to push him towards his side of the car. He cops one more feel and then smiles and asks if he can just kiss me goodbye. Someone who looks a lot like Robert Redford walks past the car and winks at me. I take that as a good omen and give the guy a final kiss. Nothing exotic. I just felt like kissing a man! Sue me. He gets out of the car and tells me I’m a very passionate woman. This time I hear the tree fall in the forest and smile, smile broadly, start to laugh and don’t stop laughing all the way home.
After a good strong swig of mouthwash, I phone the kids and tell them all about my inexplicable behavior in the parking lot. They never insist I look for Mr. Right again.
Postscript: Little man phones me up about three weeks later. He wants to sell me a personal-growth contract and explains that he’s a trainer. A tree should fall on him.