Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Year's End Reflections

I have been reading Stitchy McYarnpants http://yarnpants.blogspot.com/ and Queer Joe, 100 things about me, http://www.queerjoe.blogspot.com/100%20Things%20About%20Me.htm and I find it irresistible to follow suit and define myself to you in similar fashion.

HOWEVER, I can't do it without listing some of my failings or regrets, which feels a little like confession, or apology. Does anyone see the connection to 12 step programs here? It's one thing to do the list as a lark, for entertainment, and if it were sunny, and June, I could easily do that. But it is raining and December, the end of the year and time to look back and honestly evaluate.

I was lying in bed last night (waiting for the cats to demand re-entry) thinking about the parts of my character that need work. 27 years ago, between husbands, I found myself feeling pretty vague about who I had become, and being in transition, made the decision to do an 'improve Melody' public works project. I made a list then too, and despite the adage that a leopard can't change his spots, decide to redesign myself.
I can recall that one of the bad habits to change was to learn to graciously accept a compliment. Another, and this is crucial, is to enter into relationships with my eyes wide open. I wanted to fall in love again, but this time with my brain intact and then let my heart in after the 'all clear' was sounded. In order to do this, I needed to set limits on my dating patterns. I would give each new beau a six weeks term to evaluate his possibilities and then scrap the bum if he didn't pass muster. This was my plan and while the fellas were none the wiser, it certainly gave me a goal and wasted very little of my precious time. I was thirty, after all!
Being a goal-oriented gal meant that I couldn't wait for the guys to do the asking. I made up my mind who was next and then I set up the dates. At the time, the late great 70's, I went to Willow Creek Church, which was filled to the brim with single men, mostly gay, but lovely and well behaved for the most part. Asking one out required something gutsy, but I did it before with my first husband and it worked, getting the relationship started at least.

As I recall, I worked my way through about four candidates, and some didn't even make the six weeks cutoff. And then a new man appeared at our store. (Did I mention that I was working at Jewel as a meat wrapper at the time, a real low point, but not as bad as cocktail waitress at a country and western dive that shall remain nameless. ) He was a butcher, a category that was definitely not on my list. Most of the guys I worked with were disgusting, foul mouthed, unfaithful husbands, with bad teeth, smoking and drinking habits, and I wanted no part of them. I had to have a church-goer, with education and good social skills. Is that asking too much?
But this new butcher...he had a walk...and hands that were so soft and clean...and his teeth were perfect and his eyes were so blue.
On the other hand, he had very thin white blond hair and I knew that he was at a disadvantage with most girls since his hair was almost gone and then he would be out of the running...except for someone with vision, like me!
There was one little problem. I was much older than him. At lunch one day I blithely asked him his age, which apparently was often asked of him. I guessed at 28, but he revealed he was 22.
O, geewhiz.
Now what should I do? I was dumping a church-boy that week and ending a flirtation with someone else from work, and ready to move onto the next recruit, but this not-on-the-list fella was compelling, yet vulnerable. Would it be fair to do this to a co-worker? A woman in the deli warned me not to hurt this poor defenseless boy, and she meant it.
I wouldn't. Really.
I asked him out. We met at a bar at 9 pm, after my church group left my apartment. We, no I, talked til 1 am. I gave him my whole life story, just as I would have to my church-boys, which leaves him wondering what in the world has he gotten himself into? At the good-night kiss, I got a cheek peck. Hmmm. Where did I go wrong?
He went on vacation for a week and when he returned I was already a goner. Smart play on his part, even though he may not have known he was in the game.
Second date, I asked him for a beer across the street at Mrs. Robinson's pub. Ironic, I know.
By the second pitcher, we were leaning across the table, having a real smooch.
That was August 17. By December 9 we were married.
It's all happened so fast. Twenty six years later and I'm still mad about the boy.


1 comment:

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