by the scribe
An amusing look at Dating in middle age
|THE DATING GAME
Sitting in the coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon, I wondered how I had let my kids talk me into this. I looked at my watch; it was 12.45pm. That left me fifteen minutes to make a run for it. I smiled to myself at the thought. No, that wasn't going to happen. I had agreed to give it a go, and that's what I was going to do. What was the worst that could happen? Well, he could be a sex maniac. Then again on a more positive note, he could be George Clooney's double. Realistically I didn't think either would be the case.
I had been on my own now for 8 years. In fact I quite liked being on my own; no one to tell me what to do, T.V control to myself, glass of red wine when I fancied it... yes, life wasn't too bad at all. So why was I here? I had always felt sorry for the sad people that felt the need to resort to internet dating; after all, we didn't need a man to make us happy. Or did we? I didn't think I did, but then again I would be 50 next year, and that was quite a scary thought.
The kids were all grown up now, with their own lives to lead.Yes, they still needed mum when they wanted a babysitter, but they were the ones encouraging me to get back out there. "Mum you are still young, you should have someone to share things with" said Kelly only last week.
"Yes and someone to take you on lovely weekend breaks to Paris." said Clare her romantic younger sister. I had giggled to myself, if only it were that simple.
Then there was my friend Liz who wouldn't let it go either. "Go for it Gill, you only live once." She was right of course, but that didn't make it any easier.
I had to admit some of the disaster stories I had heard from my ever so helpful friends were a bit off putting. For example, I had laughed for a week when Susie told me about her friend who met her date in the cafe of one of the big stores in town. Apparently he seemed fine until he asked if he could he take her to the lingerie department to buy her some stockings and suspenders. Not quite what you would expect on a first date.
Then there was Kate's friend, who was expecting a six foot dark haired bloke, only to be met by a short bald tubby. OK, not quite the fairy tale ending, but not the end of the world either. What is it they say? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. As this was my first attempt I wasn't expecting miracles. I would be quite happy with a couple of hours of pleasant male company. Anything else would be a bonus.
I had made a special effort for this date; hairdressers, nails and make up. Nice new outfit, nothing too fancy; after all we had only planned a pub lunch.That's assuming we didn't hate each other after our coffee.
The girls had been full of praise before I left home. "You look great mum, the new hair style takes years off you". Then came the role reversal. "Make sure you have got your phone charged, in case you need us to come and get you". How many times had I used those same words when they were young?
I started to think about Steve, where did it all go wrong? We met at 17, married at 19, madly in love or so I thought. Kelly arrived at 21 then Clare two years later. I thought we would be together forever. Life was good for quite a while, but then the cracks began to show. We probably married too young, but then again I don't suppose the affair with his 25 year old secretary helped. That was all water under the bridge now. We had a good relationship, well, we were on good terms for the girls.
As I looked at my watch for the tenth time I wondered what I really wanted from all this. Admittedly, it would be nice to have someone to talk to at the end of a hard day. Someone to share the good and bad times with, and yes maybe a little trip to Paris wouldn't be so bad.
I was going over the profile in my head, fun loving 55 year old, looking for like minded lady who enjoys the theatre, nice food and country walks. Well there was nothing sinister there, in fact he sounded just what I needed. His name was Ian, good strong name, he was quite tall, still had most of his own hair. Not a bad looking bloke at all. Well photos don't lie, do they?
After I finished my second latte I took a quick look in my compact mirror. No lipstick on the teeth. For a mature lady I scrubbed up quite well, if I say so myself. The door opened, I looked up as a young couple walked in and headed for a table behind me to join their friends. They were followed by a tall rather good looking bloke, I took another look; could this be Ian? He was heading my way, I felt like a silly school girl I was so excited. I was just about to wave when he stopped and sat down a couple of tables away from me. What a shame as he looked just my type, but on a closer look nothing like the photo of Ian.
I was starting to think he wasn't going to turn up as the door opened. No! this couldn't be my sophisticated Ian who was going to take me to the theatre, and on little trips to Paris. He was waving and smiling at me. He looked as if he had come straight from the gym, in his jogging pants and sports top. Yes he did have hair, but at the moment it was stuck to his head, either because he had actually been to the gym and worked up a sweat, or he had spit on his comb and run it through his hair. Neither was very appealing. Maybe photos do lie after all.
I thought I should at least give it a go, but at the same time checked my phone on the table. Yes, charged and ready for the rescue call I felt sure I would be making soon. As he approached my table, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves.
"Hi Ian," I said with a smile.
He leaned over the table with an outstretched hand. I put my hand out, only to be met with a clammy, sweaty palm. This was getting worse by the minute. He needed to pull his best trick out of the bag to make this work.
"Sorry I'm late Gill. I thought I had given myself plenty of time, but by the time I had finished in the Gym I didn't even have time for a shower".
Was he for real? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"I'll order you a coffee Ian, if you want to nip to the bathroom to freshen up".
"Okay Babe, I wont be long".
That did it. Since when did I become his Babe? I couldn't sit here a moment longer. I picked up my bag and phone, and headed for the door. I had to be quick though, as he didn't give me the impression he would be spending much time freshening up. That's if he even knew what the expression meant.
Once outside I called Clare."Hi Love, don't worry I'm fine, but I would appreciate a lift home".
"On my way mum, you can tell me all about it when I get there".
Even though I was disappointed, I knew the girls and I would have a good laugh about it later. A couple of glasses of red would make it all the funnier.
One thing I knew for sure, this would be the first and last blind date I would be going on.