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THE TROUBLE WITH DATING ...
I must confess to being a lousy human being and the female equivalent of an unethical schmuck. I met a former student for coffee years, at least five years since I had him in a stress-management class. Not that I he stood out much in the class … But I have a rule, I don’t date students. Then I went and broke my own rule. Does if help that he’s a couple of years older than me? That would be a hard case to make. Part of my excuse is my exhausting two-week crisis dealing with kidney stones. Literally wanting to excrete away my toxins and being unable to void (see the metaphor?) I don’t know if you’ve ever had “the stones” but it feels like everything below the waist has virulent flu. To my way of thinking, this was the safest time for meeting someone you shouldn’t, um, interact with - no way it could go anywhere, nada, not any place at all. Nothing, going nowhere. And kidney stones guaranteed a short meeting.
During these last two weeks, MrOneTimeStudent, remember he’s in his forties, bombarded me with emails about how we have so much in common: the same sensibilities and loves of music, books, dance, and art. It’s been a long time since I talked with anyone who shares these loves. In between painfully futile trips to the bathroom and times of intense sofa napping, his playful little emails and phone messages suggested we meet for coffee, wine, dinner. Daily, I stated the obvious. “You were in a class I taught, and once a student, always a student. I’m not doing this.”
And daily, he wrote or phoned back, “Of course, but do you need anything?”
I’m thinking I needed Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycodone. Any painkiller prescribed by a sympathetic urologist. My motto is you always front load for pain levels but just maybe, I took this too far and the pain killers dulled my senses. But in response to his question, I said, “Nothing, I’m fine.”
Then MrOneTimeStudent upped the ante. “If you are going to reject me, at least do it to my face”. Well, he had a point but why should he get better treatment than I have? I’ve been broken up with by email (cowardly but at least hard copies can be used for blackmail later), disconnected by speaker-phone (that’s just disrespectful), brushed off by mailed letter (in pencil no less), and sometimes the men just disappeared off the face of the earth. These are the guys I pretended have died of a horrible disease, where their dinkies fall off after multiple intrusive and humiliating medical procedures, performed by inexperienced interns, observed by all in a teaching hospital.
Evidence of these fiascos, along with my hilarious asides, is kept in a hidden three ring binder with hard copies in an off-site backup file; you can learn from your failures, right? The binder is called My Little Green Book of Mistakes; I will send you the location in another email. If I die, please retrieve it along with The Two Books of Perverts, Volume 1: Ordinary and Volume2:Innovative, so I can rest in peace. And I grant you all rights to continue the blackmailing …
It’s time to go back to therapy.
Wanting to model appropriate boundary-setting behaviors and acutely aware that rejection, while still painful, is usually kinder in person, I hauled myself out of bed on Sunday morning to meet this MrOneTimeStudent at my coffee shop. I sat there, in the quiet gloom of late morning, hunched over in throbbing pain and thought that this will take twenty minutes max. My coffee was cloudy. Maybe the milk’s had gone sour – little specs of calcium reminded me of the trouble in my kidneys.
All of a sudden, the sun brightened every corner of the coffee shop. Backlit by the rays, MrOneTimeStudent stepped into the place and paused. Please make fanfare noises here. Like Prince Charming in the fairy tales, he searched out his Sleeping Beauty (that would be me If you substitute cranky for sleeping). Did I mention he is gorgeous? That might be a tad of an understatement. He’s surrounded by all of this wavy tawny hair - like a lion’s mane. His skin glowed a healthy pink. He smiled and his mustache framed a perfect row of blindingly sugar cube teeth. He took my hand. Looked into my eyes. His pupils dilated ... and I felt the stone leave my kidneys. I muttered, “Excuse me for a moment,” and attempted to rise. Bent in half, eyes rolled back like a hunch-backed 142-year-old woman, I lurched from the table. In the process, I knocked over a chair and flattened a child in my path. Lots of noise. Graceful moment.
Fifteen minutes later, I emerged upright from the bathroom. MrOneTimeStudent pulled back my chair and asked me if I was okay. I said with emphasis, I feel good. By that time, my brain had been flooded with opiate producing waves of euphoria from my joy at passing an internal calcium deposit the size of the combined area of a major metropolitan area, say Dallas, and from the painkillers prancing through my body with no pain to kill. I said it again with a bad James Brown impersonation complete with hip twitches. I’m stoned. Couldn’t feel my feet or my teeth. But my hair was vibrating and I took a swig of the speckled coffee. It tasted okay.
He started to make his case for us dating. I’m having difficulty concentrating and all of a sudden, I wondered which bra I’m wearing. Is it the one that makes my breasts look demure and librarian-ish or the pink frilly one from Victoria’s Secret that said, “Hello there, lookee here, I’m not as old as you think, parts of me are pretty good and I have the money to buy what I need to counteract gravitational pull”? I am so ashamed. Then to make matters worse, verbal sluttiness set in. I rambled, I teased, I enticed. I lost my mind in the opiate haze (and loneliness).
After four hours, I said, “I can’t possibly date you for six months”. Where did that come from? It’s got to be my kidneys or still lower regions. Definitely not my brain. In hindsight, it might have been a last-ditch effort to buy time.
He smiled and said, “Take all the time in the world. You’re worth it”. His pupils dilated again, and nostrils flared. Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Surprised and stoned, I looked behind me, to the right, to the left, and then realized he’s talking to me. I giggled, I cooed, I swooned, nearly, from the painkillers, and other things. “I’m worth it,” I repeated to myself like a popular hair color ad. I may have tossed my hair. I know I swayed walking back to my car. Luckily it was a four-minute swerve home.
So here I am, prostrate on the sofa, help me please. My confession is complete. Grant me absolution. We have six months to come up with a game plan because I have lost my way and am waltzing down the path to slutdome. I will not move from the sofa until I hear from you, except to hydrate.
Dazed, confused, and slightly silly.
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