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I am single. Have been “officially” since 1993, the 8-year debacle with Completely Clueless notwithstanding. It’s been 5 years now since that ended in a blaze of glory (quite literally – the house burned down, too) and in the time since I have gone from completely swearing off men to now considering that there may be some guy out there worth my time and attention.

Dating, I’ve decided, is a crash course in personal growth. Not only are you dealing with your own vulnerabilities, insecurities and foibles, but the other person’s, as well.  It’s a mine field, at best – but if you approach it from a “what’s there for me to learn” place, it can be quite entertaining, as well.

Take last night, for example.  This guy had invited me over for dinner – he wanted to cook for me. He’s a nice enough guy, so I agreed.  He gave me his address and we agreed I’d come over at 6.

I arrived and he invited me in.  He was fresh out of the shower, had dinner ready to go on the grill and a bouquet of flowers waiting for me. He offered me a glass of wine and asked if I was hungry. I said I was, so he put the shish-kabobs he’d made on the grill.  I milled around a bit, looking at the pictures of him with the Governor of Oklahoma, another with Bill Clinton, some from his days as an army pilot, others from his travels around the world.  I thought to myself, “This guy’s going to be interesting to talk to, for sure.”

He came in from the patio and began to tell some of the stories behind the pictures.  As he lead me around the living room, he reached out to take my hand. I thought – awww…sweet.  Then he turned and planted a kiss on my lips – mid-sentence, no less.  Taken aback, I finished my sentence and then shut up.  He asked if that was ok and not sure exactly what he meant – was it ok that he kissed me, or did the kiss, itself, pass muster – I mumbled some affirmative.

We sat down at the dining room table with our wine and I thought, “Ok…let the stories begin.”  I asked leading questions, trying to draw him out, but between looking at my boobs and checking on dinner, all he could muster were one-sentence answers to my questions. It was beginning to feel like an inquisition rather than a conversation, when all of  a sudden, he comes back in from the patio and proceeds to try and perform a tonsilectomy with his tongue while boldly copping a feel.

Now I realize there’s a whole other agenda in play here. Dinner is served with impatience and it’s obvious I’m on the menu as dessert.  He attacks his shish-kabob with the vengeance of a man on a mission while I look around, totally expecting to see Ashton Kutcher and the “Punk’d” crew hiding around the corner.

I tried to make light conversation, but he kept eye-balling my boobs while he chewed.  Ewww.  It got so bad that without filtering, I said, “You know – if I could twist them off and give them to you to play with, I would.”  That got his eyes off of them, at least.

Half-way through his meal, he stands up, holds out is hand to me, and when I look up confused, says, “This is me trying to lead you somewhere.”  Still chewing a piece of steak, I stand up and take his hand.  Dumb. Ass. Me.

Next thing I know I find myself on his bed with a mouth full of half-chewed steak and him trying to kiss me.  He is trying desperately to put the moves on me, even manages to finagle his way on top of me, only to have me say, “Uhhh…excuse me?  What exactly are you doing?”

“I just want to hold you,” he says.

“Well, you might want to get off me, then, because the lovely dinner that you couldn’t wait for me to finish is now being pushed back up into my esophagus.”

He gets off me and sits up. I sit up and pat him on his knee and said as light-heartedly as I could muster, “Slow your roll, cowboy. Let’s talk and practice our communication skills some more.”

“Well, if it’s practice you need, maybe you should practice your driving skills and go home.”

Slowly, I turned my head to look him dead in the eye.  “You know what?  Thank you.  Thank you for dinner and thank you for that. Buh-bye now!”  I stood up, slammed the bedroom door behind me and was out of his house before he made it out of the room.

That date lasted an hour and 39 minutes, including drive time.

From the “what can I learn about me” perspective, this date was highly educational.

  • I learned that I am over my self-consciousness about how I look and whether a man will find me attractive in all my middle-aged glory.
  • I learned that no matter how long I go without getting laid, my libido does not lead the show.
  • I learned that I really do want to connect with a man on multiple levels.
  • I learned I can trust my intuition.
  • And, most importantly, I learned how to disconnect quickly and effectively when I’m sure there is nothing for me there.

All without getting my feelings hurt or thinking there’s something unredeemably wrong with me.

I bet he’s still mad.