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And That’s What You Get for Dating a 23-Year Old

January 6, 2013

OK. Yes. He was 23. And yes, I am 43. I get it. But dammit, he was the only one to ask the question.

Last night I went on a date with a child. Don’t judge me people. It’s rough out there. Liz and I have a formula for age appropriateness. If they’re in graduate school they get 5 years added. Speaking a second language adds 5 years. Being gorgeous adds a minimum of 5. The criteria for adding years is arbitrary and at our discretion. So, by the time we’re finished with a 25-year old potential talent, he can have the Pickle & Kitten age of 45. Works for us.

That works both ways. What I found out last night is that some things can deduct from the Pickle & Kitten age and you can end up with someone in the toddler range.

He started off so well. He seemed more mature than all the others. It was a great night at Blue Moon. I went by myself and I’m usually shy and reserved when I’m alone, hiding on the bench, watching people. But it was an unusual crowd and I found myself being asked to dance over and over again. I was having fun and I noticed a young guy watching me from the side. I made eye contact a few times and he looked very familiar to me. I didn’t have an instant crush on him like so many others before. I was just curious to know how I knew him. So when I saw him at the bar I wasn’t too shy to point at him and say, “You look really familiar. Do I know you?”

“You look familiar too,” he said. He asked me to dance. In the pretense of figuring out who he was I asked him his age and told him mine. 23. OK. When we danced he stared at me and he told me I was beautiful. After a few dances the band closed out and I went to close my tab and find my coat. He followed me and asked for my number. What the hell, I gave it to him.

I kept thinking about his face and wondering how I knew him, hoping it wasn’t some situation that happened when he was 10 or something. Then it hit me. He looked exactly like an old college friend. “Oh God,” I thought, “What if that’s his son!” A quick e-mail exchange ruled that out. “I have no sons out there that I know of,” my friend wrote. Then I had this weird thought that I was going to find out he was adopted and I would be the conduit of a son finding his long, lost father by dating his college friend.

The next day he made contact with the usual string of introductory texts that I have come to understand is part of this weird and mysterious dating game.

Hi. How are you? What are you doing? How was your New Year?

Then he used a phrase none of the other supposedly mature suitors have used thus far, “I would like to get to know you.” OK. I liked that. I said, “That might be nice.”

He asked me out for that Friday. He asked on a Wednesday. That’s right, girls. He asked on a Wednesday for a date the following Friday. He didn’t text late at night, “What are you doing?” or “What time do you have to work in the morning.” He actually asked ahead of time like a polite grown up. So far his Pickle & Kitten age was up to about 35. Not bad. We agreed to meet for drinks at, you guessed it, Pamplona’s.

That day I was very nervous. I didn’t remember much about him from Blue Moon. He was a blank slate, an unopened package. Anything could happen that night. I ran through the scenarios like a crazy person. “At least I might get a kiss out of it,” I thought. T minus half an hour and my hair was perfect. My make-up was flawless. I looked good but not too dressed up. I walked over and sat at the bar near a friend, leaving room on either side for Mr. 23. I nervously ordered a glass of wine and talked to the friend. Then I turned and he was at the other end of the bar.

OK. First impression. He wasn’t as cute as I remembered. And he was small. Skinny and short like someone who hadn’t figured out how to work out yet. Deduct 5 years. I said hi and sat down and he started talking. He talked a lot about himself. He was making weird scrunched up faces like he was uncomfortable as he complained about his day. Deduct 5 years. I tried to make conversation. He didn’t ask me many questions and wasn’t very interested in me. He avoided any topic that might relate to my age and especially any that might reveal my motherhood. The chemistry was nihil. I found myself adopting protective body language. We were not engaged in each other. This was going nowhere. Damn. He kept mentioning his recent, “turning 21.” Really, sport? You gonna keep bringing up your inexperience with the 43-year old you asked out? It was like talking to my son. Not attractive. Finally we had been sitting there for almost 3 hours, mainly because I couldn’t see a way out. I said, “Well, you want to call it a night?”

“Sure,” he said. “Would you like me to walk you home?”

“Did you walk here?” I asked. He had.

“Then, yes, I want you to walk me home.”

Wow. He didn’t even drive to meet me. This guy had no idea what he was doing. He was the anti-Syrian Doctor. He didn’t think that he might want to take me to another location to extend the date or drive me home… a car….and all that might come of that. Deduct 5 years.

I excused myself to the restroom, assuming he was going to ask for the bill. I had all of two glasses of wine and he had a whopping two beers.

When I came out I was surprised to see that he had not asked for the bill. After a few more minutes of awkwardness he finally asked James for the bill, saying to me the following, “I guess since I invited you, I’ll take care of yours, too.”

Really? Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? How can a 23-year old college graduate not realize that when you ask a woman out on a date you are expected to pay for the bill? You’re actually expected to take her to dinner as well but I’ve learned to let some conventions slide. Drinks are fine. Going Dutch. Not so much. Deduct 5 years.

We walked the three blocks to my apartment. I observed the unusual brisk coldness of the Louisiana night. He awkwardly put his arm around me to warm me up but didn’t leave it there. As we got closer to my apartment, I think it finally dawned on him that he was on a date with a woman and he said, “Like I said the other night, you’re really beautiful.” I thanked him. “And you shouldn’t worry about the age thing,” he added. “You don’t look 43.”

“But I am 43,” I replied as I thought about the way he tried to avoid talking about my kids and my age. I think it’s great that I look younger than I am and I’m willing to give plenty of men of a variety of ages a chance to date me, if they ask. But I don’t like the idea of trying to be something I’m not. If you talk to me for more than 5 minutes, you’re likely going to find out several things. That I’m recently divorced and single. That I have a daughter and a son and even a grandson and that I’m very proud of all of them. I’m not interested in hiding that from my identity. I know who I am.

“I know,” he said. “But you don’t look it.”

Finally we reached the crappy little apartment complex and stopped at the bottom of the stairs. I fished out my keys.

“Well, goodnight Mr. 23.” I said using his actual name, of course. Nothing. I give him a hug and he return it timidly.

Damn. Didn’t even try to kiss me. Really? Deduct 5 years. Well, Mr. 23, that puts your Pickle & Kitten age at about 10. Shut it down.

It made me think about how little Frenchie had reacted to the same situation. I don’t think I wrote about him. A 22-year old French exchange student asked me out for drinks once months ago. He was strange and arrogant and I couldn’t decide if I even liked him at the time but he was cute. When he walked me home (we’ll excuse him for not having a car) I had turned to him, put out my hand and said, “It was nice to meet you.” He had looked at me in the eyes and said, “That’s it? A handshake?” I had replied a little flirtatiously, “As opposed to what,” challenging him to make a move. He smoothly met the challenge with a surprisingly good kiss. I stood with him outside my apartment kissing for a good minute or two. He was a little French playboy but at least he knew what to do with a woman he found attractive.

Mr. 23 and the complete lack of chemistry between us made me think of Tennis Bashir again, too. I didn’t finish that story either. The short version is, I haven’t heard from him in months. When I was in his presence, I was floating on a cloud. When I saw him from far away, I gasped for air. When we were together, you could feel the energy between us. I miss that. I want that again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll affirm it again. This is going to hard. How many bad dates will it take? How many soul mates do I have to go through? Is he out there looking for me? The guy who makes me gasp when I see him. The guy with the dark, curly hair, dark skin and smooth accent. The guy who knows what he wants and knows what he’s doing. The guy who will see me, talk to me, ask for my number, ask me out, buy me dinner, take me for drinks after (in a car), drive me home and kiss me goodnight with so much tenderness and passion that it takes all my self control to get out of the car and walk up the stairs to my apartment. The guy I won’t be able to stop thinking about. The guy I’ll live happily ever after with. Are you out there? If so, please show up soon and rescue me from these children, players and weirdoes. I’ll be at Pamplona’s, Blue Moon or CC’s on Johnston and I’ll be looking for you!


From → Rantings

  1. iammarcello permalink

    Excellent post, sounds like you did the right thing – when you know, you know

  2. This was fun to read, thanks for sharing and good luck with everything 🙂

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