Shell Shocked: The dating game
Aren’t you glad you’ve been married for a number of years and don’t have to go through the dating game again? I know I am. Like the song goes, I’m glad that I’m not young anymore.
Many of you met your wives-to-be in high school and college and didn’t have to go through the pitfalls of the single life. But I was one of those young men who hung onto his bachelorhood for as long as I could. I moved to the big city, got a job and started the long, arduous, challenging, occasionally rewarding and fully frustrating life of a single guy.
I led a long single life and didn’t get married until I was in my thirties. Even though I received a Purple Heart for my many years in the singles world — as well as a presidential pardon — I was always on the hunt for “the one.”
And during the course of searching for “the one,” I met many eligible women in many different places. Among them were crowded bars, museums, singles resorts, dog walking routes, supermarkets, spring breaks and police stations. I endured cases of unrequited love, a broken heart, and questions about my basic appeal to women. The fear of immediate rejection dictated the degree of courage I would muster up to approach attractive women.
Before I married the girl of my dreams, I walked with a swagger. Today my walk is more like that of a humpback whale-or a Sanibel shell collector. I drank, was occasionally rowdy, had my fingerprints taken once and sometimes went home with a black eye, a fat lip and wounded pride. Such was the single life.
All was fair. We hunted for our mates not in caves and trees but in the sophisticated meeting places of the times we lived in. This was before the “X” and “Millennium” generations. There were no online dating services. There was only the tried and true but stale opening line, assuming I was able to get up the courage to start a conversation with an attractive young woman in the first place.
* “Do you come here often?”
* “Haven’t I seen you before?”
* “This bar sure is noisy, isn’t it?”
* “You remind me of someone I know.”
* “I’ll bet you’re a Pisces.”
As single men and women pursued their prey, here is what a typical first time conversation between would be suitors sounded like:
He: “You need to know that I don’t floss.”
She: “I’m a virgin.”
He: “I hate cottage cheese.”
She: “I never drink white wine.”
He: “I did EST once.”
She: “I adore opera.”
He: “Whipped cream makes me itch.”
She: “I believe in birth control.”
He: “Corduroy turns me off.”
She: “How can anyone like the New York Yankees?”
He: “Lee Harvey Oswald couldn’t have acted alone.”
She: “I could never go to bed on a first date.”
He: “I hate noisy bars (as they meet in a noisy bar).”
She: “I believe in civil rights and equal opportunity for women.”
He: “How can anyone not be a Yankee fan?”
She: “Birth control is every woman’s right, but if you try to touch me I will castrate you.”
He: “I’m looking for someone to love. Do you know anyone who would be interested?”
She: “I may be in the big city, but at heart I’m really a country girl.”
He: “I may be in the big city, but at heart I’m really a caveman.”
She: “Relationships are so messy. They always end badly.”
He: “So does rooting for the Chicago Cubs.”
She: “I’m looking for a soulmate.”
He: “I don’t have a soul. I’m a card carrying cad.”
She: “I’m cautious. I don’t want to go through another broken heart.”
He: “I fear rejection. I’m always ready to reveal my basic flaws. But will you make me a hostage to those flaws?”
She: “You don’t have to ‘sell’ me on yourself. Please just be natural. Be yourself.”
He: “If I were myself you’d call the police.”
She: “I love doing the crossword puzzle. What’s an eight-letter word for boring?”
He: “No, I’m not a couch potato. I’m more like a lounge lizard.
She: “I’ve had such a lovely time. Maybe we can get together again in 2018.”
He: “Here, let me walk you back to the homeless shelter. It’s dangerous out there this time of night.”
She: “I like everything about you except for the piece of spinach between your teeth and the New York Yankee tattoo on your neck.”
He: “It’s been a gas.”
She: “I think I have gas.”
He: “Good night.”
She: “Good night.”
The dating game? Please bring me my slippers.
Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.