• Dating is scary at any age

    This is the most precious thing I have ever read in my whole life. So precious, in fact, I read it three times. I may read it three more. Hell, I may cut it out and post it on my fridge so I can read it every day.

    It’s first kiss precious. It’s buttons and bugs’ ears precious. In fact, I haven’t seen anything this precious since Lady blushed after slurping that noodle right up to Tramp’s cold, wet nose. If you didn’t catch David Lacy’s July 18 column about re-entering the dating world, run, don’t walk and get a back issue. Get ready to gush “awwwwwwww.”

    Says the young, blond, sweet, fresh-faced spikey-headed guy who couldn’t be any cuter if he had a tail that wagged, “I haven’t been here in awhile.” Lions and tigers and bears, oh my, dating is scary!

    I don’t know whether to pinch his cheek or fall to the floor howling with laughter. Oh, my, yes. It’s so difficult finding a date when you are a smart, polite, cute, 20-year-old college student with a great job. Great gosh almighty, Lacy! Try it when you’re a 42-year-old divorced mother of two with a bad attitude, hormonal unrest and a butt that’s sliding down the back of her thighs. You don’t know the meaning of the word “scary.”

    And the “awhile.” Crack me up. For David, “awhile” is last Wednesday. Pile on a couple more decades and “awhile” is something else entirely. Yeah, it’s been “awhile” since I dated, too. Like 1981. In ’81, you were still spitting up strained peas, kiddo. My awhile can kick your awhile’s butt any day of the week.

    “Things haven’t changed much since the last time I was here,” says David. Speak for yourself, dear boy. The last time I was here, every part of my body between my neck and my knees was four inches higher than it is now.

    Back when I was a tight, perky young thing, my biggest dating concern was keeping my date at arm’s length. One thing might lead to another, clothing might get loose, and he might see my body and lose control. Oddly enough, I have the same concerns now. However, the sort of control that would be lost upon that fateful glimpse would be that which necessitates an industrial strength pair of Depends.

    My only hope that my less-than-perky frame might not send my date screaming for the hills is in knowing that when guys get to my age, their vision starts to go. Given enough myopia, merlot, low lighting and strategic placement of Duct Tape, there may still be a chance for romance.

    My teenaged son, however, would disagree heartily. When I announced that it was time for me to re-enter the dating world, he informed me that in addition to that being the most singularly disgusting thought that had ever entered his head, there was no purpose in entering into a relationship at my point in life.

    “Mom, you’re 42. Your life is over. You do nothing but take up space on the planet. You might as well just die now.”

    Someday, I’m going to get a magnifying glass and scan The Boy’s scalp more closely and see if I can find the 666.

    My daughter, however, is kinder than her brother. There was still hope for me, she said. All is not lost.

    “Mom, you look just like Susan Sarandon! If you were just smoother. And firmer. And thinner. And prettier.”

    Thank you. I think.

    I’ll allow myself a little credit. I’m fighting middle age with everything I’ve got. On a good day, I could pass for 38. If you squint. From 50 yards. Why, even David himself was surprised when he found out my age.

    “Wow!” he gushed with innocent wonder, “You’re two years older than my mom!”

    Thank you, grasshopper, for that little slap of reality. Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I just had to ask David his age. Twenty. He’s 20. Good God, I have shoes older than that.

    I’d never really considered Lacy’s age before. I lumped him under the heading of “peer” — just another colleague in the newsroom. In my one-size-fits-all mind, I figured we were roughly the same age, give or take a year or two. Or ten even. But certainly not twice that.

    Ack, the despair.

    At least David had the good sense not to follow up his astonishment with a well-meaning “You look good for your age.” I’d have taken him over my knee right there and then.

    And I don’t mean in a good way.

    But, having read his recent column, maybe I’ll withhold any residual animosity for having been force-fed a big glop of reality, on which I nearly choked. Despite the fact that I’m old enough to have changed his diapers, I recognize that we’re facing the same precarious perils of human relationship. We are, in a sense, comrades in arms, cowering together on the dating battlefield.

    It’s true, David. No matter how old you are (or not) dating is scary. Terrifying. It can also be painful. And unpredictable. But sometimes it is exhilarating and wildly, completely, deliciously wonderful. But you never know what you’ll get. The best you can do is put one fearful foot forward and just keep going.

    So, I’m with you. I feel your pain. It’s scary for me and it’s scary for you too. Just be glad you don’t have to do it with Duct tape.

    (This column was originally published in 2001 in the Winters Express and Davis Enterprise.)



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