The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Now I remember what I always hated about the boy-girl thing starting in middle school and right through college. It was the fickleness, no, the incompatibility of the human heart. The boys who wanted me I never wanted and the ones I wanted inevitably didn’t want me. Arghhhh!!! In high school I remember this extremely handsome and nice boy from another school asking me out and me being horrified that somehow I had stammered “OK” when I meant NO. He came and got me, took me to a movie and was a perfect gentleman but for some reason the entire evening was torturous for me and I behaved like a world class bitch. My sister was courted by a handsome, smart and polite young man whom she rejected out of hand because his shoes were too shiny! I once decided in college that the boy I thought I was crazy about would not do at all because when he drove me around in his car his back didn’t touch the seat. I am not kidding! I dropped him like a hot potato because he didn’t seem relaxed enough behind the wheel.

We are back to the quote which I can never properly recall but goes something like,” Many a relationship has been built on the turn of an ankle.” Who can possibly unravel the tangled knot of our crazy attractions?!?!? Why does an ankle or a forearm or a smile or a flannel shirt make our heart stop for no definable reason? Who created this crazy love/attraction thing anyway!? And don’t say it’s all for the survival of the species because I am way too old to procreate and yet am experiencing the pin ball emotions of a 16 year-old!

I have now been on 7 of my promised 10 dates. Astonishingly all but one of them has asked to see me again. Guess which one I would most like to see again? BINGO! The one I haven’t heard from. One of the others said I gave him sweaty palms and he wasn’t used to that and liked it better being the one who cared less. Now I get what he means. If I don’t hear from #7, who I openly admit reminded me very much of Tom—but not in that creepy “just looking for a replacement” way, but rather in that “you seem like a really good person and I would feel safe and happy with you while also wanting to rip off your flannel shirt” way—-I will be truly sad. He drove over two hours for our first date. We did Greenfield Village and I had a great time. He’s adorable.

My second date of the day (this dating stuff is akin to marathon running. Kind of wish I’d trained longer and harder) was a very charming, very active and fit man who is an amateur actor and works full time in communications downtown. He was fun and I would go out with him again but my palms were bone dry.

A man with whom I had a truly arduous lunch, where I was working so hard to keep the conversational ball afloat that I forgot to eat, sent me a lovely email proclaiming my smile and energy “fantastic”. (I have crooked teeth and my children say I am in need of medication for my manic tendencies.) The truly elderly man I had breakfast with asked me out for the following Saturday night before I had even finished my toast. I finally figured out with a friend that what they are all actually responding to is the fact that I give good chat. I am a preacher’s kid and was required to speak politely to absolutely anybody. I did theater for many years and am not a bad actress. Even if I am thinking “Please, Lord, let him wolf down that burger so we can all just go home” my face will be saying “You are fascinating! Tell me MORE!”

Of course none of that lasts. So the question becomes, who would I want to sit on the couch next to in my sweats reading by the fire. Who would I want to rub my shoulders after a hard day? More important, whose shoulders would I be willing to rub? For that question we have but two finalists. (Although true to my word, I do have number 8 already teed up for lunch next week and #9 asking to meet. Not sure I have the stamina to reach 10.) I think I am going to go on a third date with gun-owning REPUBLICAN (I know, I KNOW!) who writes me funny sarcastic texts and claims I give him sweaty palms because when I saw him waiting for me on date #2 I felt genuinely and unexpectedly happy to see him, our time together flew by and I spontaneously gave him hello and goodbye hugs —something I do with nearly everyone in my inner circle. He said when I walked in for our first coffee date he thought “I wish Mary would be somebody who looked like THAT” not recognizing the dark haired version of the blond streaked me in the profile photo. He has already fed me a lot of that kind of sweet talk and I’m falling for it. I think about him a lot, not always in a pure way, and would like to see more of him and see what happens.

But flannel shirt man from out of town? Him I wanted to crawl right smack into his arms and never leave. But he is younger than I am and seemed a little dismayed at how many times I’ve been married and might even think I’m ditsy as he works with things beyond my ken. And it has been 9 hours since I hugged him goodbye and not a peep. Geesh! Maybe I could get the other 6 to send letters of recommendation?!

Not for the faint of heart this late in life dating stuff. Not for the faint of heart.


P.S. I waited a full 24 hours and then finally emailed flannel shirt putting my heart right out there on my sleeve. He finally responded that he was surprised to hear from me as he thought I didn’t seem that interested but has decided the distance is too great and would like to be “friends”! UGH!! Blech! The deepest cut of all! Super gluing my heart back together as we speak. Asking Republican to have date #3. Feel like you’re watching “As the World Turns?” Me too.



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