every girl needs a greek chorus

a blog about hope


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Glamour

Lend me a tenor 1994

A costumer’s idea of glamour, 1994 Photo by Norman J. McCullough

Just when you’ve packed away the glitter of Christmas, a season nearly as glitzy is underway. Hollywood is on parade, and many of us revel more in the fashion extravaganza than the awards (I don’t know most of the shows and players, anyway).  In the ugliness of the world, who can’t use an occasional foray into glamour?

From last week’s Peoples’ Choice awards and Sunday night’s Golden Globes, through the SAG Awards, the Grammys, the Oscars, the Cannes film festival, up to the American Theater Wing’s Antoinette Perry Awards in June, it’s a treasure of the good and bad, the sublime and the outrageous in fashion.  If you throw in the Met Costume Gala, you’ll see everything au courant in the “World I Will Never Inhabit.”

Essentially, actors are just ordinary people, like you and I, dressed by costumers to create a character.  In my very small pond of theatrical endeavors, I’ve been dressed inappropriately by costumers on very limited budgets.  (Of course, I’m also pretty good at sweet-talking costumers into working with me.)  So, given the enormous budgets of Broadway shows and movies, I expect near perfection.  Still, I would never blame the actor for their on-stage or on-screen appearance.

However, in their “red carpet” lives, actors turn themselves over to stylists to dress them as their “real” selves.  If they don’t like the stylist’s concept of them, they can refuse to wear it.  When they show up on my television looking goofy at a media or promotional event as their “real” selves, they’re fair game for my expert analysis.  As My Mother says, “Don’t they own a mirror?  And don’t they use it?”

At the awards shows, they teeter on their sky-high stilettos and platforms (like I should talk), trip on their trains, and fall out of their bodices, accidentally. (Or is it part of their publicist’s plan?)  They flash their borrowed diamonds, reveal their manicures and pedicures on tiny cameras, and show the contents of their evening purses.  All in front of millions of people, just waiting to see the show. When, someone says their dress is unflattering or doesn’t fit or they look like a teenaged hooker, they protest our scrutiny.

“We’re expressing ourselves,” they say.

“Me, too,” I reply.

Frequently, they blame it on dehydration, stress, Botox, starvation diets, and herbal supplements (wink, wink).  I’m not going to criticize them when they’re photographed coming out of Ralph’s pushing a grocery cart with a giant zit on their famous forehead.  That’s their private time, and, God knows, I’m forever running into acquaintances in the store when I have a zit and didn’t bother to conceal it because I’m just running to the store to pick up milk.  I understand.  My high school graduation photo was retouched to remove a blemish…or two.

Anyone can be glamorous, despite the efforts of fashion and media to tell us otherwise, especially in the past 40 years, because contemporary fashion has very little to do with real women with real bodies.  Fashions are hung on girls over 5’ 8” tall and under 120 pounds.  On the Center for Disease Control’s BMI scale (body mass index), that’s underweight.  Basically, they’re clothes hangers for clothes with nothing to fill them out.

Fashion has become about revealing a woman’s “goods,” which, if they aren’t pristine, destroys the mystery that is glamour.  She got that impossible body from old-fashioned American work and healthy eating — yoga, Pilates, running, kale — didn’t she?  Or did it come from smoking, appetite suppressants, stomach bands, liposuction?  Or was their some “digital enhancement” involved?

Glamour is an illusion.  Real women create their own charm with what they’ve got to work with, and that’s glamour.  We enhance our best features and minimize the questionable.  I use eye-catching earrings to focus on my face and distract from my pudgy tummy, even when I don’t wear make-up.  I wear black, so you’ll think I’m thinner (ha!  like that works!).   I’ve been told I have a good smile, so I’ve learned how to make myself smile credibly, even when I’m terrified.  Dancing taught me to stand up straight, which makes me appear confident, even when I’m a wreck.  It’s all an illusion.

I choose to show what works for me and what doesn’t.  Unless it’s hot or I’m wearing a bathing suit, I don’t even willingly expose my upper arms outside the privacy of my own home.  Well, I will if I’m certain you aren’t going to get too close to see those crepe-y little dimples under my arms.  I’m going to camouflage my shortcomings, if I can, but I’m still going to be short and a little bottom heavy and have lines in the corners of my eyes.  Meh.  If I can’t fix it, I’m not going to sweat it.  I also have freckles, which I prefer to think of as “memories of happy days,” much as the faint red wine stains on my white dinner napkins are “happy memories.”  Not “sweating it” exudes glamour.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think we are more likely to agree on what is beautiful than what is glamorous.  Beauty is classic.  Glamour is fleeting, a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t moment.  One woman’s glamour may be another woman’s tacky.

When I was a girl, I used to pore over an album that My Mother created when she was a teenager in the 1940s.  She filled it with sketches of clothes, sportswear, day dresses, and evening dresses.  I would dress up in her old prom dresses and stride around the house in the flimsy creations, straps slipping off my t-shirted shoulders.  Her jewelry box was a treasure trove of glitzy costume jewelry that I never saw her wear in real life.

“You should wear this rhinestone necklace,” I would encourage my pedal-pusher-wearing PTA mom.

“Oh, yeah,” she would answer, “I’ll wear that to the next hot dog luncheon.”

Glamour is all about flair, a glance, a laugh, a sway in the walk, a catchy phrase.  I read an article recently that said Ava Gardner was unremarkable in her first years of modeling, just another sweet pretty, small town girl with fabulous legs.

Eventually, she developed an expression that set her apart; she tilted her head back, narrowing her eyes so that she was peering at the camera from the bottom of her lashes.  According to the article, that became her signature look.  Fame soon followed, along with a series of tempestuous marriages and relationships, a small town girl plagued, according to the article, by her glamorous image for the rest of her life.

There is no glamour in falling off your shoes or exposing body parts that no one wants to see or being outrageous (Lady Gaga seems to have hung a certain dress permanently in her meat locker, because she’s been looking swell, lately).  We’ll talk about you, that’s for sure, but I don’t think that’s what you have in mind.

DATE UPDATE:

I look at my Match.com photos and see a sweet, smiling lady in every one of them.  99.99% of respondents mention my smile.  It could be the opening line that they all use, but it may be what they see.  I’m pretty sure it’s not who I am. I tried Ava’s signature, seductive look, but I appeared to be on the verge of sneezing.  And we all know what happens when you put a glamorous wig and slinky dress on me:  comedy.  I’m much more comfortable making people laugh than I am trying to seduce someone.  I suspect this is yet another reason why I remain dateless.  I depend more on my wit, which doesn’t translate well in online dating.

While I admit that I updated my profile photo, because I don’t want to mislead men that I’m not as young as I was last year, I kept four others from earlier in 2015.  Imagine my surprise when two men with whom I had previous contact wrote to me, as if they had never seen me before.  One of them sat across from me at dinner twice in four days just five months ago!  Wow!  Nice to know I’m so memorable.  It was that serial dater who told me about his “friend” who tries to see if he can get attractive women to date him.  Here’s what I wrote to him this time before I blocked him:

photo (12)

I may not be a glamour puss, but I’ve got a way with words that can put a smile on his face or put a jerk in his place, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).   Soli Deo gloria!


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Naughty or Nice?

Dear Santa

 

 

 

I have been a good girl (except when I told people off, but they deserved it, because I am NOT a doormat).  Actually, I have been mostly nice all my life, which is a really, really, really long time, considering my AARP-eligibility status.

I never talked to strangers.

I always came home before dark.

I never smoked behind the gym.

I never drank under the bleachers.

I was faithful to my high school sweetheart for 42 years.

I adopted a child when I was 47 and didn’t have the strength.

I wear tasteful, preppy clothes.

I’ve been kind to many, many animals, including dogs, cats, birds, a rat named Bernice, Franklin the box turtle, and a really nasty iguana named Jezebel.

I’ve been gracious under pressure and stood up to bullies, for myself and for others.

I always put money in the Salvation Army bucket.

I volunteer for numerous non-profit organizations.

I go to church every Sunday.

I strive to be a lady.

I drive a hybrid.

For Christmas, I would like a license to be naughty.  Not “cheat-on-my-taxes” naughty, but “let’s have fun without guilt” and “throw caution to the wind” naughty.  I’ve never thrown caution to the wind, but it sounds exciting.

I want rhinestones on my nails, which is a risky choice for an Episcopalian, but, hey, we respect the dignity of all people of every lifestyle, don’t we?

I want the courage to wear a two-piece bathing suit, in public, before I die, on a beach where someone that I know might see me. (Wearing one last September doesn’t count, because I was in Mexico.)

What do you think about a tattoo?  I’m undecided, because it would be soooo baaaad, but I don’t like needles and change my mind so often that I surely would regret it in the morning when the Champagne wore off, so, probably not.  Never mind.

I want to be guilt-free when I take a penny from the “give-a-penny-take-a-penny” container on the counter at my local convenience store, so I can give the clerk exact change.  Yes, I donate pennies, selfishly, because I don’t like all that copper rolling around in the lint at the bottom of my purse, but it’s agonizing to think that I’m taking a penny from someone who might really need it.

I want to throw on my skinny jeans and high heels and rock out as much as a sober, 63-year old woman can…well, for an hour or two, anyway.  (My knees can’t handle much more than that.)

I want to change lanes on a whim without signaling, like every other moron on the highway, and have people slam on their brakes, like I do, to avoid me.

I want to say “no” to things that I don’t want to do.

I want to walk out of boring meetings.

I want to send back inedible food in restaurants.

I want to return a dress when I get home and decide that it doesn’t look as good as I thought it did in the dressing room.

I want to tarnish my heart of gold and bend my spine of steel.  I’m tired of being the last woman on Earth doing The Right Thing all the time.

Oh!  And please bring me whatever else you think that I would like and/or need.

                                    Your friend kind and loving friend,

                                    Suzanne  xoxo 

P.S.  By the way, Santa baby, I’ll be home on Christmas Eve after midnight with oatmeal cookies and spiked eggnog, if you’d like to deliver my request.  <wink, wink>


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Fly with Me, if you Dare

I have a love-hate relationship with air travel.  I used to love it.  Now, I hate it.

Remember when families used to go for a Sunday drive?  Sometimes we went to Grandma’s house.   Sometimes we drove down to the Detroit River to watch the iron ore freighters glide past.  Sometimes we drove into the country to look at the stars.  (Can you imagine taking our children or grandchildren to sit and enjoy nothing as a family?  These days, we could probably be arrested for abusing them.)

Sometimes we just drove to the airport to watch planes land and take off.  Cars would park at the end of the runway and just watch them fly over our heads.

Air travel in those days was unreachable to average American families, so there was something glamorous about flying into the unknown.  It beat the hell out of riding in a hot car for 9 hours to visit relatives.  I wanted to wear a stylish outfit and fly the friendly skies, so when I was 13 (1965), I called Delta Airlines to research the fare for a round-trip ticket to Atlanta to visit relatives.  The round-trip fare was $104.  I asked my parents if I could make the trip if I could save up the money.  They smiled benignly and said, “Sure, if you can save the money.”

From then on, I saved my meager allowance and modest gifts, and, in about 10 months, I had $104.  The fare had remained unchanged, so I approached my parents.  My, my, my, weren’t they surprised?  Being smart parents, they agreed, but they said they would pay for me and my sister to fly to Atlanta with a return trip in the family car.  Not my original plan, what with the sister cramping my style, but I would still have my $104.  I readily agreed to the compromise.

We dressed in our best Sunday dresses and shoes, waved good-bye to our parents at the gate, and boarded the plane.  We were served filet mignon wrapped in bacon, a common practice when flying coach in those days.  And that was the last uneventful trip I’ve ever had.

50% of every trip I take by air involves some sort of snafu in one direction or the other.  The only exceptions were when I flew the Concorde and when my sister and I flew to Italy two years ago, both trips on British Airways, now that I think about it.

Here are some highlights of airline angst and how I’ve survived them:

In 1977, my brother-in-law lived on Eleuthera, one of the “out-islands” of the Bahamas.  At the time, it had two airports, one on the north end and one in the main town, our destination.  Unfortunately, the only airline that served the island was Bahamasair, whose motto, according to the locals, was “If you have time to spare, fly Bahamasair.”  We were booked to fly from Miami in the early afternoon.  We flew Eastern Airlines  to Miami and re-checked in at Bahamasair

Now, it’s always nerve-wracking when you have to step on a scale with your luggage to determine the flight’s total weight.  We were assigned seats according to our individual weight, which put me way in the tail and The Veterinarian behind the pilot, about five rows away.  Okay.  I understand aerodynamics and small airplanes.  We sat in the waiting area.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, an announcement was made that the flight hadn’t left the Bahamas because “a front was passing through.”  Okay.  I understand the effect of wind.  When the plane arrived, we immediately were hustled out to the tarmac.

“Board quickly, please!”  There was confusion about which luggage was carry-on and which had to be stowed, about who sat where.  “Quickly, please!”  The agents and pilots kept saying to us.

Once loaded, the small plane rolled onto the huge taxiway at Miami International, interspersed with the usual DC-9s and 747s.  The Veterinarian turned around and looked at me and rolled his eyes.

“I love you,” I mouthed.  He winked.  His family was in the air cargo and charter business, and we were well-familiar with the safety requirements of flying.  We were behind a 727 and turned onto the runway immediately as it took off.  We looked at our watches and each other as the small plane accelerated.  It clearly was taking off too soon after the big jet.  I shrugged and put myself in God’s hands.  We bounced and jostled as we sped down the runway.

Once in the air and over the Atlantic Gulfstream (about 2 minutes after take-off), the co-pilot announced that we had left Miami too late to make our final destination.  We would all deplane and clear customs at the north end of the island and arrange our own transportation to our final destination. As it turned out, there were no landing lights at either airport, and while it would be light when we landed in the north, it would be dark before we could land at our actual destination.  If you have time to spare, fly Bahamasair.

In August, 1980, The Veterinarian and I were booked on Republic Airlines to fly from Baltimore’s BWI airport to Detroit on a Friday afternoon for our high school reunion, which was being held the next day.  We had to fly home on Sunday because he had appointments to see on Monday.  We arrived at the airport, checked in without baggage and proceeded to the gate.  Again, we had a long wait.  Eventually, an announcement was made that there was “turbulent weather” in Detroit and that the flight was delayed.

Okay.  I don’t want people endangered for my convenience.  Then, we waited another hour.  And another hour.  At least, we were travelling between major airports, fully-equipped with things like lights, so we weren’t especially concerned.  Finally, the flight arrived, and an announcement was made that it was overbooked, and about 20 passengers were being rescheduled to Monday morning.  We were told to go back to the main counter to have our tickets reissued.

WHAT???!!!!  We had boarding passes.  We had seat assignments.  The reunion was the next day.  There was no point in going on Monday.  I stomped to the counter.  The Veterinarian settled back and watched me work.  I explained our dilemma to the agent and demanded to either be booked on another flight by noon the next day or issued a refund.

“These are non-refundable tickets, and we are not responsible for the weather,” she snapped.

“I get the weather issue, but how is it that we had seats and boarding passes for the other flight, and now we don’t?  How are you deciding who gets to fly and who doesn’t?”  Passengers behind me in line chimed in, “Yeah.  Explain that one.”

“All flights are overbooked, which is a risk.”

“No, no, no,” I replied.  “We had seat assignments.  Who got those seats?”  Just then, another agent pulled her aside and whispered to her, “They sent a smaller aircraft from Detroit, so we don’t have enough room for all the passengers with seat assignments.”

“WHAT??!!”  I seized my opportunity.  “You screwed up?  The problem isn’t the weather, after all.”

I guess I could have been arrested for inciting a riot, because the people behind me went nuts.  Suddenly, the counter agent was smiling and accommodating.  Long story short, the airline was forced to find seats on the flights of other airlines.  We were re-booked for the following morning.  We got to the reunion on time, but why should I need to have a confrontation to get a seat?

In the mid-1990s, we were bounced from two Delta flights due to overbooking.  When we boarded the third flight, we discovered that another couple had been given the same seat assignments, and the flight was full.

“You’ll have to deplane,” said one of the flight attendants.

“Here, hold my carry-on and don’t move,” The Veterinarian ordered.  I dropped our bags in the middle of the aisle in coach and started explaining our nightmare with Delta Airlines to my fellow passengers in a really loud voice.

In first class, The Veterinarian was having an argument with the gate agent and a flight attendant when the captain of the flight came out of the cockpit and asked, “Why aren’t we finished boarding?”

“Well,” said the gate agent, “These people have been issued duplicate seat assignments.”

“Sir, this is the third flight we’ve been booked on that has been screwed up,” The Veterinarian explained.

“Who’s sitting in these empty seats in first class?” the pilot’s voice boomed throughout the plane.

“Well, they aren’t booked.”

“Put these people in these seats then, or we’re going to lose our slot for take-off,” the captain ordered.

“But we don’t have any meals for them,” said a flight attendant.

“We don’t need food.  We just want to get home to Baltimore.”  We were hustled into first class, where they did have Champagne for our troubles.

Another time, we were travelling with The Daughter when our American flight was cancelled due to “maintenance” issues from Miami, so we were told that they couldn’t get us on a flight to Baltimore until the next morning.  They told us to sleep in the airport.  Again, we stomped to the counter with a woman flying alone.

“So,” I began, “this is a cancellation due to a maintenance issue.  Don’t you have to provide lodging for us?”

“Well,” the counter agent hesitated.

“Look, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo.  Are you putting us up or not?”

“Ok.  We’re giving you a room at the Mississoukee Casino.”

“Isn’t that way out in the Everglades?”

“Uh, yes.”

“Uh. No.  What about the hotel right over there in the airport?”  (We’d been put up there twice before on other cancelled flights—geez, I hate Miami).

“Well, they’re having plumbing issues and don’t have hot water.”

“Do the toilets work?”

“I believe so.  But there’s no hot water.”

“We don’t need hot water.  We need a toilet and a bed.”

“All right.”  He made the arrangements, as a single woman from our cancelled flight stepped up to the other agent.  I heard him try to send her out into the Everglades.

“Ma’am, no,” I interrupted.  “Don’t let them send you out to the Everglades.  Make them put you up here in the airport.  There’s no hot water, but you’ll be safer.”  I glared at the agent as he booked her into the airport hotel.

Now, we also deal with the Transportation Security Administration (aka TSA).  In March, 2002, we were flying with our 10-year old, blond, blue-eyed daughter, on US Airways from Philadelphia to Orlando for spring break.    Vigilant parents, we always boarded with her between us.  I showed my boarding pass for scanning, stepped aside, and The Daughter showed hers.

“Security!” The agent called out.  We all three jumped.  “You, board the plane.”  The agent moved me toward the door.

“No, I don’t think so,” I stopped, “What are you doing with my daughter?”  A security agent appeared and took hold of her arm.  The Veterinarian put his hands on The Daughter’s shoulders and said, “Get your hands off my daughter.”

“She’s been randomly chosen for a security pat-down according to a code on her boarding pass,” the security agent tried to pull her away.  She started to cry.

The boarding agent continued to shoo me toward the jetway.

“You are not touching my daughter,” my husband protested and turned to me, “Go on.  I got this one.” I walked down the jetway to just outside the aircraft door but refused to board.  A flight attendant asked me what the commotion was about.  She shook her head sadly when I explained the problem.  I stood there envisioning myself in a federal jail in Philadelphia.  Within five minutes, they appeared, my daughter still in tears.

“I told him to pat me down for his ‘random check,’” The Veterinarian explained.  “Assholes.”

I could go on and on and on, but it’s just more of the same, including when I flew this past January and in March, when I had to insist that I be flown to Baltimore, where I had parked my car, instead of Washington, DC, when my US Airways flight was cancelled due to a “maintenance issue.”

There have been wonderful moments, two of which I would be remiss if I didn’t share.

When we adopted our daughter, she was living in Denver.  We were able to use frequent flyer miles to bring her home.  Because no cheaper seats were available on our last minute booking, we had to fly first class, which is never a good way to introduce a child to air travel, by the way.  As we boarded, she cheerily told the flight attendants that she was being adopted and was moving to her new home in Maryland.  Unbeknownst to us, the flight attendant told the captain, who came and took her for a cockpit tour.  This was 1999, pre-9/11.

We were invited to take photos of her sitting in the pilot’s seat, and, the pilot placed his cap on her head.  It was one of those magic moments that a parent never forgets.  I still get teary thinking about it.

14 years later, she and her girlfriend and I boarded a flight home.  About 10 passengers had boarded, when boarding was stopped due to a “maintenance issue.”  We sat in the stuffy plane chatting with the flight attendants when the captain came out and introduced himself to us.  We told him about the Daughter’s first flight experience, and the captain said, “Let’s do it again!  We could be sitting here for a while.”  He took her up to the cockpit, sat her down, put his hat on her, and took her photo.  There’s probably some regulation against it now, so don’t tell anyone!

The Daughter and I are about to fly.  I booked the flight in April, flying out of DC, instead of Baltimore, but the departure time of 11 am didn’t seem too extreme.  She was scheduled to work the night before, so I’d pick her up at 8am and drive us, thinking she could sleep on the flight.

Or so I planned.

At the end of June, I got a notice from the airline that the schedule had changed.  Now, our flight leaves at 6:45 am, which is before The Daughter gets off work.  I understand changing schedules, but I expect that you re-book me on a flight at a similar time.  Now, she has to rearrange her work schedule, and this becomes one of those driving-to-the-airport-in-the-middle-of-the-night deals, arriving before the counter has even opened.  I would call and go into irate customer mode, but I’m saving the energy for the actual flying experience.

And I haven’t even gotten to lost or damaged luggage.  Maybe I’ll have more energy after my vacation.  After I lay on the beach and drink Margaritas for a week.  So, who am I to complain?  Life is (or will be) good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!


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Walking in My Shoes

As a woman who highly values her feet, I am delighted to hear that “ugly” shoes returned to fashion this summer.

I’m an equal opportunity shoe lover.  Expensive.  Cheap.  Practical.  Foolish.  My shoe fetish has nothing to do with sex.  It’s genetic.  Like my high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I inherited a proclivity for splurging on shoes from My Mother.  I am short, but My Mother is Tiny.  At 4’ 10”, she wears a size 4-1/2 shoe.  Actually, she wears a size 5-1/2 shoe, because she can’t find her real size.  In the 1950s, size 4-1/2 was used as the “sample” size.  She bought her shoes at a “sample shoe” store in an office building in downtown Detroit.

In early spring and early fall, she received postcards announcing that the sample shoes for the coming season were ready for sale.  We took the bus downtown and walked to the building, got into one of those funky old-fashioned elevators with a gate and a lever to drive the car up and down the shaft.  We would walk into an office crammed, floor to ceiling, with boxes of shoes and boots; pumps, flats, sandals, slingbacks, and mules, in spectacular colors and buttery soft Italian leather.

Mom didn’t skimp on our shoes, either.  Although she made our clothes, she insisted that shoes of quality were a good health investment.  We got new patent leather shoes at Christmas and white shoes for summer, along with a pair of sandals, and, eventually, a pair of sneakers.  When we started school, we got school shoes.  Being the 1950s, I wore saddle shoes in the primary grades with my fluffy dresses or shoes with a perforated design in the toes and an ankle strap.  I always envied the girls who had shoes whose ankle straps could be swiveled behind the heel so that the strap didn’t cross the top of their foot, the same reason that I hated t-strap shoes.  My Mother didn’t like that, so I used to trade shoes with my girlfriends for a few hours each day.

More than anything, I think that good shoes were a good mental health investment.

When I remember holidays and special events, I think of shoes.  For Christmas 1966, I had a pair of gold suede flats with a little gold buckle that I wore with a long-sleeved Kelly green cotton velveteen dress with ecru lace trim.  So mod.  My junior year in high school, I wore “baby doll” shoes, black leather Mary Janes, to go with my “baby doll” dresses.  In college, where tramping between classes in 0° temperatures required long underwear, I started collecting boots.  I remember having a pair of brown lace-up boots that I wore with a camel-colored maxi coat.  Even my wedding shoes weren’t just plain white; they were peau de soie (silk) with embroidered flowers on the toes.

If you keep shoes long enough, they come back in style.  Square toes and chunky heels from 1968 have returned at least twice in my lifetime. I saw that flare-legged pants are making a comeback.  They, of course, require a chunkier shoe.  How do I know this?  Remember, I’m 63 years old and have seen this trend like a revolving door.  The designers get you to buy their wide-legged pants and longer skirts and chunky shoes and sweaters for a few years, and, just when you get to feeling good about yourself, hiding beneath layers of bulk, they bring back capri pants and leggings and crop tops and stilettos and send you running to the gym — or running for dessert in despair.

See these two vastly different shoes?  Comfortable classics, yet a decade apart in age, they are still my favorites. The black suede Stuart Weitzman with the square toe and chunky heel was purchased c. 1992 and was worn in two different plays, masquerading as shoes from the 1930s and 1950s.  The pointy-toed Ferragamo was purchased c. 2002.  It’s been busy the past few years with pencil skirts and peg-legged pants.

I read that Queen Elizabeth II expressed her displeasure at the navy wedge-heeled shoes (also Stuart Weitzman) favored by her granddaughter-in-law, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.  Kate, of course, also popularized the ridiculous trend of nude platform stilettos a few years ago, an easy trend for a woman surrounded by bodyguards and her own prince to keep her on her feet.  Someone should send a memo to Lady Gaga’s bodyguards, because her platforms are unbelievable and trip her up all the time when dodging the papa-paparazzi.

The Daughter had a pair of the nude patent leather platforms, which she wobbled in, like Bambi on the frozen pond, all the way across a stage for her college honors convocation.  I was torn between admiring her fashion sense and trembling in fear that she would fall.  Of course, every other coed was wobbling in a similar pair, so I was not the only parent having palpitations.

I, myself, have more beige shoes and sandals than any other color for two reasons; supposedly, nude pumps make your legs look longer (eg., ballet shoes usually match tights) and neutrals go with everything in every season.  My short legs need all the lengthening they can get, but I’ve already fallen off shoes once in my life and don’t want to ever again spend two months in a leg brace.  And, yes, I own my own share of restaurant shoes.  You know.  Those shoes that make your legs look fabulous but that you can only stand to wear from the house to the car to the restaurant to the car to your house with, maybe, a nerve-wracking side-trip to the ladies’ room?

Today, I’m more likely to wear a plain dress and an interesting shoe to set it off, like jewelry; an Eileen Fisher sweater and skirt with a suede boot with wedge heel.  “Don’t look at me; look at my shoes.”  Of course, one man I dated found my boring, tent-shaped Eileen Fisher dress alluring, so I’d probably better go easy on the combination.  Too much excitement could probably kill a guy so old that he finds sedate clothing and ugly shoes a turn-on.  I need a guy who appreciates me so much that he’ll take me to a restaurant worthy of restaurant shoes. Now, THAT’S a turn-on to me!

photo (4)Keeping in the spirit of “ugly” shoes, described as Birkenstocks (which never went out of style in some Baltimore neighborhoods, which tells you everything you need to know about Charm City), I bought these Dansko sandals.  You may recall that I fell off a ridiculous pair of platform sandals and fractured my right patella, three years ago.  These are designed by the folks who know how to make shoes that doctors and nurses wear on their long, grueling shifts, so I hope they know what they’re doing with shoes for aging and fragile fashionistas who can’t afford another fall.  They cost about as much as some of the chic designer styles.

While my deteriorating knees and pocketbook have slowed my shoe “investing,” thanks to a now-defunct local outlet store, I’ve stocked up on enough diverse designer rejects from Saks and Neiman Marcus to keep me rotating styles at the whim of designers until one of my pretty little feet is in the grave, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!


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Resting Place

Resting place

His clan tartan and a wee dram.

Greetings from the Twilight Zone!  Rod Serling is lurking behind a tree waiting to step out and sum my life up for you in a few pithy, ironic remarks.  I wish he’d sum it up for me.  This story is so weird that you may think that I’m making it up, but I have witnesses.

Yesterday, I was cleaning out a storage room in the basement of our veterinary clinic.  I was sorting old records for shredding and reordering and stacking boxes.  A large box of holiday decorations (plastic pumpkins and black cats, a wreath of Easter eggs, and a revolving ceramic Christmas display of dogs and cats) was sitting about 3” from the wall on a shelf.  I tried to shove it up against the wall to make room for more boxes, but it was hitting something.  I slid the box about 6” to the right and saw a plastic zippered bag stuffed in the back corner.  In the dim light, I couldn’t tell what it was, so I pulled it out.  It appeared to be full of gray, unmixed cement.  I pulled it out farther and saw what appeared to be small white stones in it.

“Wuh-oh!”  I held the bag by one corner and made sure that the zipper was secure.  I was pretty sure that I was holding a plastic baggie of the Veterinarian.  Not a bag that belonged to the Veterinarian, mind you, but a bag containing what is left of his earthly incarnation.

Had I found this bag within a year of his death, I instantly would have been hysterical.  Instead, I smiled and started laughing.  No, I wasn’t delusional (I don’t think).  Absolutely nothing surprises me anymore.  I was pretty annoyed with the person who had hidden him there, but, just for a moment, it struck me that I was holding the love of my life in my hands for the first time in almost four years, so I smiled (and then cursed him in my next breath, before smiling again).

I told you — my life is sooooo weird!

I suppose I should tell you how the Veterinarian came to be resting in the basement of his business.  It’s not like he’s a vampire, and I keep his coffin in the clinic crypt (sorry, you know me; I couldn’t resist the alliteration).

In the summer of 2011, as fans of the British television series “Doc Martin,” starring Martin Clunes, we decided to watch an earlier series starring Clunes as an undertaker, “William and Mary.”  As we binge-watched the series on dvd, we talked about death and dying.  We agreed that we wanted to be cremated, his ashes strewn at sea or at his favorite dive sites, mine at my church.

Life may be weird, but you can learn a lot, if you’re paying attention.  When he died suddenly, three months later, I knew exactly what he wanted.  I asked his friends for just one favor, to take his ashes to his favorite dive sites.  They looked at one another and smiled.  That’s exactly what they had already promised each other.  One of them put himself in charge of making water-tight, weighted, non-floating (!) containers for the ashes, and those certified in the deepest dives, decided where they should lay him to rest.  I turned the plastic container of his remains over to them, and, when the Veterinarian’s Little Dog died six months later, I suggested that they commingle their ashes, so they could be together for eternity.

Within a year, his friends told me all about the dives and where they left him and how much that site meant to him.  One of the places was a spot he had planned to explore but had not visited.  Another was a place where he loved to dive.  A third was the place where he died.  A fourth was the place where he dived more often than any other.  I was content.

Until today.

Yeah, I could be angrier with the jerk in charge of the ashes than I already was, but I won’t waste my breath on him.  Once a jerk, always a jerk.  Nothing new there.  My immediate concern is that I have this baggie of the Veterinarian and the Little Dog that needs a final resting place.  I might put them into an empty wooden box that once contained a bottle of Macallan single malt whisky, and then I’ll toast him with the little bit of vintage 1965 whisky that’s left in the bottle.  He must have left it for just that purpose.  I’ll pull out my Book of Common Prayer and pray the graveside service that wasn’t said at his memorial service.  This time, the BFF can attend.

When do I send him off, yet again?  On August 18, which would have been our 43rd wedding anniversary?  On October 13, the fourth anniversary of his death?  On June 3, 2016, which would have been his 64th birthday?  I’ll figure it out.  Right now, I like having him around the house.  We’re both resting in peace.

DATE UPDATE

My online dating days are drawing to an end when my subscription expires on August 25, unless they give me free months.  I’ve run through all the interesting men, who weren’t interested in me, and endured the ones who were interested in me.  I have found it enlightening and sometimes harrowing.  And pretty depressing.

Just last week, I met a lovely, younger married couple who met online and encouraged me not to give up.  Of course, the odds are better for them than for me because there are more men in their 40s and 50s still alive and in “marriageable” condition.  Everyone that I know who met their significant other through online dating was under the age of 60.  What does that say for the eligible over 60 seeking companionship?

After spending time with 15 men in 12 months, I have concluded that men over 60:

  1. Are delusional and looking for the impossible. (Have your mid-life crisis elsewhere.)
  2. Are angry at their exes. (You know, I’d have left you, too.)
  3. Are looking for sex. (What was it about me that said I wanted you to grope me between my neck and my knees on our second date?)
  4. Are looking for a financial lifeboat after decades of living recklessly. (Sorry, I’ve been careful with my life.)
  5. Are looking for a housekeeper, cook, and playmate. (I’m a lousy housekeeper, reluctant cook, and tired of games.)
  6. Are on ego trips.  (You’ve dated how many women?!)
  7. Are clueless about what women want.  (See #s 1-6, above.)

Fifteen  dates and not one serious prospect among them.  Some had possibilities on the first date but blew it on the second date, when their true selves showed up, the bigots, the misogynists, the misanthropes.  I’ve been told that finding a mate is like getting pregnant; sometimes you just have to relax, and it will happen when you least expect it.  As a 63-year old woman who had a hysterectomy at the age of 24 and didn’t adopt until age 47, I don’t have any time left to invest in this theory.

I have learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned what I’m willing to tolerate for companionship; being lied to, groped, insulted, and stood-up are not among them.  I’ve learned that the company of good friends is preferable to trying to figure out confirmed bachelors (look up the word “compromise,” guys).  As the Daughter said to me not long ago, “I’m really starting to like where I am in my life.”

Me, too.  I’m starting to find some peace and comfort.  It just may be time to kick back and relax, to put all kinds of things and people to rest.  So, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!

 


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Deceit Detector™

Actual profile photo from dating site.

Actual profile photo from dating site.

Dating scammers, be gone!  Dr. Phil and I have railed against it for months, but a feature on a recent CBS This Morning about the “heartbreak of online dating,” subtitled “Older Singles Lose Millions in Online Dating Scams,” finally motivated me to action.  An “older” woman lost her entire life savings when a man, posing as a contractor from Virginia, hit her up for $300,000, because he, allegedly, was stranded in Africa by an emergency kidney transplant.  Oh!  And she had never met him face-to-face.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!!  Why would anyone of any age send any money to someone in a foreign country that she’s never met?  It’s obvious to me and should be to anyone else, regardless of her age.  The Shrew who lives in my head doesn’t think she’s even as old as I am.  However, we agree that the poor lady needed my Deceit Detector™.

“As you age, your ability to decipher deceit declines, so you have to be even more vigilant,” said the “expert” providing commentary.  My Deceit Detector™ works like a charm, so I should market it, don’t you think?

The expert also gave tips to recognize potential scammers, such as frequent spelling errors, fake photos, people working overseas, and requests for money.  I also smugly report that she said that men are more susceptible to online dating scams, while women report them more often.  Ha!  Same reason that men don’t ask for directions, I’ll wager.

Haven’t I been telling you about dating scammers for months?  I’m not talking about the exaggerations and the liars.  I’m talking about stolen photos attached to the profiles of real people.  I report several each week.  I’m just one woman on a crusade, but some of these other women need to pick up the slack.

Yesterday, a guy “favorited” me.  His profile said he was from southern Maryland (a good 50 miles from me) and likes to kayak in Indiana (500 miles from me) on the weekends.  The Deceit Detector™ wailed like a banshee.  Susceptible Susie would have thought,

“Wow!  He lives near the Patuxent Naval Air Station, so he could be a Navy pilot who flies his own private plane.  I would love to date a guy with a plane, especially a Naval officer.  It’s my lucky day!  He’s only 60.  He’s cute and young-looking and — uh-oh…”

The Deceit Detector™ did a Google image search of his one-and-only photo, which matched a photo on a dating site in San Francisco.  Not only is he not an eligible Naval Officer in southern Maryland, he’s a gay man looking for men in California.  See how easy that was, folks?  It took less than a minute.

Another guy, from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, wrote to me two months ago and continues to visit my profile regularly.  He doesn’t write anything else to me, so it really creeps me out wondering what he’s doing, but I won’t let my vivid imagination go there. This guy registers as a Perv on the Deceit Detector™.

I wrote to another repeated voyeur and said, “Are you just going to keep looking, or are you going to say something?” He’s still looking.  I think I need to block him, don’t you?

I replaced the tasteful photo of me on the beach with one where I’m holding a slice of pepperoni pizza, thinking that I needed a more approachable look.  I mean, who doesn’t like pepperoni pizza, besides vegans?  It must have worked, because, overnight, I had 40 views!

Yikes!  The Deceit Detector™ is screaming.  As I write this, a guy with no photo and just letters and numbers for a profile name “winked” at me.  Clearly, he didn’t read my profile, because it says that I only answer emails.  “Hey, MBE67 from city-I’ve-never-heard-of, MI —-“  [Screaming intensifies.] He’s from Michigan!

Susceptible Susie would rationalize that he’s attracted to the Michigan State Spartans shirt I’m wearing in one of my photos, although, since it’s dinner time, maybe he’s winking at the pizza in my hand.  Oh!  He, too, is a pilot.  He says he likes to “fly up to Lake Tahoe”.  If Susie is geographically challenged, she doesn’t realize that Lake Tahoe is in California.  His profile continues, “I really enjoy biking with my friends along the Monterey peninsula, as I used to live down there and have a lot of friends in the biking community. Most lunch times you will either catch me at Crossfit or on my bike. Also look forward to playing golf with my friends and completing another Ironman.”

He competes in Ironman?  Susceptible Susie is really impressed and overlooks that the guy bikes on the Monterey peninsula, which is also in California.  Excuse me while I reset the Deceit Detector™ and take a minute to report him for fraud.

I’m back.  Today is a big day for “winkers.”  Yep, it’s got to be the new pizza photo.  After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, isn’t it?  I heard you could boil cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans in a small pan of water on the stove to entice men, but I think pizza may be better.  And all you need is a photo of a slice or an empty pizza box.

A new winker said he’s from New England, so, while I don’t usually respond to winkers, the Deceit Detector™ was humming. I wrote, “Since you’re from New England, if you don’t mind, may I ask, who’s your favorite NFL quarterback?”  If he’s legit, he might try to curry favor and say “Joe Flacco” of the Baltimore Ravens, but if he says pretty-boy-turned-ball-deflater Tom Brady of the NE Patriots, he definitely won’t pass the Deceit Detector™.

Then, there was the guy who wanted to chat who said he was from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, just up the road.  I was very carefully answering his questions, while I checked his profile and discovered that he was in “construction,” yet all his photos showed him in business attire (ie, dress shirts, ties,and jackets).  Ok, so maybe, he owns a construction company but only makes $25,000 a year.  After the Deceit Detector™ turned up a nice guy who lives in Florida on Google image search, and after I was able to find the guy’s photo on Facebook with a different name and completely different family, I took over the questioning.

“Have you lived in Lancaster all your life?”  I asked, “Which is your favorite Amish restaurant?”

“Just the last 15 years since I moved to the states.”

“Oh.  Where were you born?”

“Riga, Latvia, but my mother was born in Alabama.”  The Shrew started laughing crazily.

“The Amish is a great restaurant,” he said.  By then, the Shrew and I were both cackling.

“Really?  The Amish are a religious group, not a restaurant,” I retorted. “Take it elsewhere, scammer.”

And, yes, we reported him to match.com, for all the good it does.

Finally, a 53-year old man in Los Angeles (allegedly) wished to chat.  “Jeez,” I asked, “could all these guys from California be the same guy?  I must ferret out this mystery in the same way that sexy Australian private detective Phryne Fisher does, using my wits and my devastatingly seductive haircut, if not Phryne’s pearl-handled pistol.”

His first mistake:  he opened our conversation with “Hello, dear.  How are you today?”  No American male calls a woman “dear.”

Mistake #2:  Here’s his well-written and inadvertently ironic profile, probably copied and pasted from a real profile:

Horror stories

Mistake #3:  In the IM chats, his writing is considerably less polished, to put it kindly.  I’ve observed that journalistic standards have plummeted in recent years, but, when I asked him, “As a journalist, for whom do you write?” he responded with:

photo (9)

I replied, “I’m looking for someone honest.  Are you honest?”  Of course, he ignored my question and started telling me about his “ideal soulmate”:

photo (10)

“…man in the military on here…” stopped me dead cold.  Are you a journalist or a “man in the military?”  I’ve heard that posing as one of our troops is one of the big scams to gain sympathy, followed by money.  This was more disgusting than the guy from Niagara Falls who looks but doesn’t write.  It’s way more disgusting than cheating naïve widows by claiming to be sick or incarcerated in Africa and all the others put together.  The Shrew was even speechless, so we blocked him.  I’m not sure it’s even worth reporting, because I’m convinced that match.com does not care.  CBS This Morning’s report said much the same.

Oddly, the news show’s next feature unwittingly provided a possible alternative to online dating.  “Robots are replacing humans at a surprising rate,” followed up Charlie Rose, introducing the segment. Of course, this got me thinking…just get rid of the human interaction altogether.  Give me a cute robot with a gentle, erudite wit and soft voice, maybe with a southern accent.  Hey!  Instead of The Jetsons’ Rosie the Robot Maid, give me a robot clone of Charlie Rose the Talk Show Host.  He could interview me and write down what I say for this blog.  If he gets too annoying, I can always disconnect him, so, who would I be to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!


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Dating Go-Round

Stress Relief

Stress Relief

[Note:  Names except Ridewithlarry have been changed to protect the innocent.  smh]

For about a month, I’ve undergone some soul-searching.  I thought that I had been unfair to the men trying to find dates online who had the misfortune of communicating with me.  I say “communicating” because some of it isn’t, technically, verbal.  Although I clearly said in my profile that I wouldn’t respond to anything other than an email, I still received “winks”, “favorites”, and “interesteds.”  In theory, I sort of understand what they mean, but in practice, they mean nothing.  I conducted an experiment.

If someone “winked” at me, I wrote to them.  If someone “favorited” me, I wrote to them.  If they clicked on “interested”, I wrote to them.  NONE of them wrote back.  So, I asked myself, what is the meaning of this?  Or, more specifically, what is the point of this?

Here’s the point:  there is no point to any of it.  I’ve played nice, to no avail, so now, the gloves are off.  Here’s what’s been happening for the past month.

Big Bob claimed to be from Sarasota.  He listed his favorite “Hot Spots” as all being in West Palm Beach (on the opposite side of the state, if you don’t know Florida) but claimed in an email that he was back in Maryland caring for his “aging parents.”  All of his photos were either of him in sunglasses or pictures of his alleged grandchildren.  He stopped writing after a couple days, but, about a month later, he sent a one sentence email, “Shouldn’t we meet for dinner?”  I replied, “How about you send me a photo of yourself without sunglasses, first?”  He still hasn’t answered.  It’s been three weeks.

Ridewithlarry claimed to be from Roland Park, a well-to-do neighborhood in Baltimore City.  His first email was well-written, and he claimed to be a “wine aficianado.”  I wrote back with my test line, “What wine would you have with Thanksgiving dinner?”  It took him a couple of days, but he responded, in broken English this time, with “pinot noir,” an acceptable wine choice, but a poor grammar choice.  I googled his profile photo, and it came up “Beware:  Photo used for scamming since 2009.”  I wrote back, “Nice try, scammer.  Take it somewhere else.”  He did.  He changed his city of residence to Burlington, Ontario, Canada.  When I reported him to the fraud section of match.com, they did absolutely nothing.  Ridewithlarry is still an active account.

A 53-year old guy who called himself “Jerry” wrote me a bunch of wacky emails.  Now, I enjoy wacky humor, but your wackiness has to make a certain amount of sense to be appreciated by someone who isn’t actually living in the same body with you.  He emailed me three silly questions, one of which was “Is your voice any good?”  I checked out his profile, which showed him with disheveled hair, a loosened tie, and shaking hands with Henry Kissinger, the same Dr. Kissinger who was the Secretary of State of the entire nation back in the 1970s.  Curious, I replied,  “Yes, my voice is taking me to Carnegie Hall in January with my chorus, so, I guess it’s passable.  What secrets were you passing to Dr. Kissinger?”

He answered with a lot of weird emails, until I finally said, “If you want to hear from me again, please answer my question about you and Dr. K.”

He replied, “He’s a friend of my mother’s, whose name is Suzanne.  They share the same birthday.”  I told him that his mother having my name was pretty creepy.  I gave him the link to this blog and haven’t heard from him since.  I keep saying that this blog is a date killer.

Mr. Terp, who said he was a widower, wrote to me that he enjoyed reading my profile and that he hoped we could “correspond.”  His profile was entertaining, so I wrote back.  Several days passed without a response, so I wrote to him again, “Sorry, I guess I misunderstood.”  He wrote back that he’d been having “internet problems” at home and wasn’t comfortable using the University of Maryland-College Park’s system.  Eventually, we exchanged phone numbers, and he asked me to call him.  I did.  I felt as if I was pulling his teeth.  If I didn’t ask a question, he didn’t say anything.  He, a man with a master’s degree, couldn’t carry on a conversation.  (Of course, I couldn’t count the number of times The Veterinarian did that to me, too.)

Mr. Terp said he had lived in the Baltimore area and still returned regularly to see friends.  In fact, he said, he would be in town in a few days and would call me.  Thank God that I didn’t drop any plans and sit by the phone, because, of course, he hasn’t called.  He’s a Steelers fan, so I’m not entirely surprised.

Blarney, aged 40 and looking for women 25-40, IM’d me (aged 63) one night with “Hey, gorgeous!”  [Excuse me while I barf a little, again.]  I was on the phone with The Daughter, so I clicked on “I’m busy.”  Blarney, the fool, emailed me, “I did not think my picture was that bad.”  I replied and apologized and explained that I was on the phone with my daughter the nurse who needed to vent about a difficult patient.  I also wished him “happier connections!”  He took the hint.

Seamus, divorced, wrote “I felt it was time to write to you instead of letting you remain in favs and possibly risk the chance of not meeting you.[sic]”  I hadn’t replied to his “favorite” because he obviously hadn’t read my profile which said that I only respond to emails.  So, we had a very brief email conversation, the gist of which was:

Me:  I was married for 39 years.  I know better than to expect fireworks.  Right now, I’ll settle for getting to know someone, to share our stories, to join me at the movies or the theater or lunch or dinner…Suzanne

Him:  Dear Susanne [sic] I have never viewed love relationships or marriage ( and yes I was also married for 28 years) as anything but a dedicated commitment to each other…perhaps a time together in a kitchen with an excellent bottle of wine would be a nice way to loosen up and communicate.

Me:    …a glass of wine with you sounds like a good introduction.  I could meet you somewhere halfway…Suzanne

Him:  I welcome whatever conversation you’d like to broach with me that depicts the person you are and albeit some reservations are needed I never want you to feel as if you can’t talk about or discuss anything in a manner that’s not you. Okay… I look forward to meeting you as well Susanne [sic]

Me (suspecting that he is either a complete moron or a scammer):  My mama told me to never lie, and I learned early in life that exaggerating and fabricating only lead to trouble. I have no secrets and answer any and all questions. 🙂    That being said, I am a discrete friend and know how to keep other people’s secrets. I also believe that truth and love go together, but sometimes telling someone the truth can be hurtful, as in “Yes, those pants make your hips look big.”

I’ve had no reply since, July 3.  God is good!

Crab Lover approached me with gushing emails about my looks and the BFF and how he knows someone with whom I sing.  Then, he invited me to lunch and inexplicably insulted my chorus.  “Oh, I could never sing with them because they’re just an amateur group, and I have a degree in music.”  (A bachelor’s degree, by the way.)

“Well, you’d be wrong about that,” I laughed at his sheer ignorance.  “I think that a group that is repeatedly asked to perform at Carnegie Hall must be pretty good.”  He wasn’t convinced.  I think he was just pissed off that I don’t think Ocean City, Maryland, where he has a second home, is the be-all and end-all of travel.  He has only been out of the country once, with his son’s college chorus on a trip to England. Then, he maligned the French (and you know how I feel about that).  We did spend almost three hours together and laughed a lot.  I could say some really uncomplimentary things about him, but I’m not that kind of person.

This brings me to my most recent dating fiasco.  You may recall from a few weeks back that I listed the kind of men that I won’t respond to.  Among them are guys who take photos of themselves in a mirror.  So lazy.  So lame.

I received an email from one such man.  Although he appeared attractive, in a Ted Baxter sort of way (google “Mary Tyler Moore Show”), I had passed him by because he didn’t seem to know how to take a decent selfie (warning bell #1).  Now, here he was in my in-box.  He lives nearby, enjoyed my “levity,” blah, blah, blah.

We corresponded briefly, and, when he told me he was from Pittsburgh, I ignored warning bell #2, because he also said, “I relate better to fellow transients [sic] as we have actually travelled outside of Baltimore County and Ocean City, MD.”  (If you aren’t from Maryland, see my comment about Crab Lover, above.)  We exchanged phone numbers, and when he called me, we had a lovely chat and discovered some other things that we had in common besides being “Outlanders” in Baltimore.  We agreed to meet at 6:30 pm for a drink at a restaurant that I only eat at if I have a gift certificate or someone else is paying (warning bell #3).

“We’ll see how it goes and maybe order an appetizer or two,” he said.

I thought 6:30 was a good time because I could eat a light dinner and not feel obligated to order a meal.  (I hate these “one and done” meetings where the man pays.)

On the appointed day, I allowed myself plenty of time to get ready, choosing and ironing my outfit ahead of time, putting on make-up, and driving to the restaurant, which is about one mile from my house.  I arrived at the restaurant at exactly 6:35.  I don’t want to sit alone and wait for a man.  It makes me feel like a tramp, especially because I’m usually over-dressed.  I may look ordinary to most people, but when I use make-up, wear heels, and put on an outfit that is “tight enough to show that I’m a woman but loose enough to show I’m a lady,” I expect men to start throwing money at me.

I walked into the lounge area of the restaurant and sat at a table facing the main entrance.  There was only one couple at the bar, so I knew my date wasn’t there.  The waitress took my order for a glass of wine, and I waited.  At 6:48, I heard my phone ringing in my purse.  By the time I fished it out, the caller was leaving a message.  When I played it back, it was my date, highly indignant that I had stood him up.

“I waited from 5:20 until 6:30,” he complained, “I don’t know what happened, but you can ask the cute little brunette waitress who will tell you that I was there.”

I searched my brain for the details of our one and only phone conversation.  I was positive he had said 6:30, because 5:30 would have meant dinner and not just drinks, but, feeling guilty for the miscommunication, however it may have occurred, I called him back immediately and got his voice mail.

“I am so sorry for the miscommunication,” I apologized.  “I thought we agreed on 6:30.  I must have just missed you.  Perhaps we can try some other time…or not.”  By this time, I was thinking “or not” would be just fine.  I ordered a small pepperoni pizza to go, because, who doesn’t need pizza when they’re upset?  Even if they’d just eaten a light supper at 4?

I texted The Daughter.

“He should have called earlier,” she insisted.

“I guess so,” I agreed.

The waitress brought me my pizza, so I asked her.

“Was there a man here from about 5:20 to 6:30 tonight, waiting for someone?”

“Yes, there was.  He said he was waiting for a lady,” she smiled.  I explained what had happened.

“My daughter says he should have called earlier.”

“Of course he should have,” she replied.  “He asked me if I thought it was socially acceptable to stand someone up, but he sat here for well over an hour.  He should have called you.”

“I hate this online dating stuff.”

“Well, I’ll tell you this,” she leaned in.  “You should be happy that you’re going home with pizza.  I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”  I was feeling somewhat relieved.  After all, I had three warnings.

“I tell you what,” the waitress continued, “you should meet all your dates here, and you can call me, and I’ll tell you whether or not they’re worth meeting.”

Sounds like I dodged a bullet, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!