Dating realities in my widowhood.
I blame my dating realities on my husband; God rest his soul. While I don’t recall the exact date he asked me some of the following questions, I clearly remember the conversation. My one-hour-long first date can be summed up in this 5 minute and 34 seconds read.
As a usual morning might be for us, I stepped into his office to ask him, “Would you like a new cup or refill of coffee?” I love serving him coffee in the mornings.
“Sure!” he said as he handed me his cup with that melt your heart smile.
Away I went and came back within a minute or so, handing him the topped-off, black cup of coffee.
As he takes the filled cup from my hand to his, he looks away from his computer, at me, and asks, “If I die before you, will you get married again?”
“What? Where did that question even come from?” The truth is if I had known today what I know now, the date could have been one I would remember more of, but I don’t.
Do you have moments you wish you would remember more clearly?
Looking right at him, in my startled tone, I remember answering something like, “Well, I have no idea where you came up with that question, but the answer is no, absolutely not! Why would I? I mean, look at us, 40 some years together, and we have been enjoying life as best as it can be! How can either of us have this again?”
“Okay,” he said, but apparently, my husband wanted to know more. “You’ll probably date, though, right?
He was not usually this curious about the afterlife for either of us. But I went right along with his questions and said, “I would likely date. Sure.”
He continued with his questions! But this time, more of a statement, Marty declared, “Yeah, you’ll probably find a pool boy!”
So yeah. I blame my husband because, in dating, I am more attracted now to younger guys. I never thought about it really until this new, sometimes wretched reality.
You have gotta laugh, though, with online dating if that’s what you choose.
You never know who the heck a man is in age, looks, or even height! I cannot speak for any woman but myself, but the photos I post in my dating profile are as current as the day I get there and only back 2 or 4 years at most.
Some days dating events make me want to exit this side trip from the path I’m navigating.
But the truth is, it’s now at a point I get to look back, recall with my close friends, sisters, and even my son and granddaughters, to tell an experience, and almost non-stop laughter goes from there.
Some of my moments in today’s dating continue to have me nod my head in my own disbelief of how the heck I attracted someone like “that” guy. My list of “want him to be/do/have” is not that long, and it’s written out!
The truth is, list or no list, I know God has put every one of these 10 or 12 guys in my path in just two years.
Some of my first-dates-only endings remind me I still do have some common sense. More importantly, I admit I was clueless about dating realities and how to navigate them.
The truth is dating realities in my widowhood are sometimes sad, oftentimes discouraging and most times make me laugh.
Online Dating Reality #1 The photos are far from recent.
The first man I dated beyond one date after Marty died, let me know current photos are vital so you can identify this person. So on about the 3rd or 4th man, I felt more prepared: This man I’ll call John might not look like his photos.
So I asked for a video call; after all, it was still a COVID world.
Indeed he was not anything like the photos! He was more than “balding.” Or I will say, he had those hair puffs around his head, mostly above and around his ears.
But you know what? Conversations were interesting, and I was finding out something about his previous marriages. He wasn’t widowed or recently separated. Dating separated men for me just one time was enough of a lesson in real-life baggage someone is carrying.
By the way, some of my friends give me well-intentioned advice, but I guess I need to learn lessons in my own way.
My friends, my own experience tells me if photos are not recent, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Online Dating Reality #2 Think about what else in a profile might be a lie.
Thinking bald can be okay, I decided to meet up. John’s profile also said he was 5’5″. This seems to be a pattern with shorter men. The 5’5″ is almost code for saying, “I’m not that tall.”
John and I had our first date as advised, in a public place, a restaurant. It was a boot kind of day for me. I love ankle-high boots with just a small heel. And I 5’2″ I thought it would still work for looking up a bit at this man.
But I was also prepared with a pair of flats in the back of my car.
Nothing would have prepared me for looking down, really down, at John as we each stepped out of our cars. I was startled to the point the words just tumbled out of my mouth with, “Oh my God, you’re so short! And thank goodness I brought flats!” As I turned back to my car to grab my flats, he’s telling me not to worry; it’ll be okay.
Really? Seriously? How does lying about your height make a great first impression?
Even the flats didn’t work. As I turned around to face John again, hoping indeed I would be looking up, I just laughed. Truthfully we each laughed.
He broke the laughter by saying, “Let’s just get something to eat.”
Online Dating Reality #3 Identify your deal breakers, which could be a growing list.
Obviously, John was known at this restaurant as people said hello to him from across the room. Still all good. Many people knew and appreciated Marty, so it seemed John was known and liked.
We talked through a tasty lunch. He took a business call or two, which, in checking in with myself, was acceptable: he was a business owner running a business.
Nothing can prepare us for everything. And you need to picture this: at the beginning of the meal, the plastic flatware at each of our seats was wrapped in the napkin, which was then wrapped in that sticky tape to hold the pack together.
Little things get noticed.
At the end of the meal, he took his sticky wrap strip up to his smiling mouth and used his fingers to tap the wrap on his upper teeth. Then he peeled it off.
And then the confirmation of my presumption was undisputed.
When I open my flatware pack, I left my sticky tape on the table too. Suddenly his hand reached across to my side of the table, and he’s picking up my flatware sticky tape.
I watched this without a word. It took me just a second to process it in my overthinking head: “He’s doing what with this? Is he cleaning his teeth? Here. Now?”
My brain wasn’t processing the reality. It quiet observation I was watching as he took my sticky wrap strip up to his still smiling mouth and used his fingers to tap my wrap on his bottom teeth, again peeling it off.
Never uttering a word to confirm my observation, what I know happened was: a man flossing his teeth, on our first date, with the sticky wrap of flatware. This was who he is!
And this, my friends, might be the reality of dating.
We are indeed who we have become.
Get your lists ready, so when a similar shock hits you, you aren’t stunned into silence. I don’t ever recall in all my life a time when I was silent like this time.
I no longer count my first dates. While I’m more guarded and educated about dating lies and scams, I just share those events with my family and friends. Then when I hear myself, I know – I must be crazy. But you gotta admit it is one way to laugh again.