Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Side Effects

I walked out into the foyer of my bank to catch the tail end of their conversation.

"...I wouldn't get remarried," Myra said, shaking her head.

"Me neither," said Terri.

"Are you talking about divorce or death?" I asked, leaning against the wall and waiting for my coworker to put in her security code so we could leave.

"Death," they replied in unison.

"And you wouldn't get remarried because you'd miss your husbands so much, or because it's just a lot of work?" I fished my sunglasses out of my purse, resting the big black frames on top of my head in preparation for going outside.

"I just wouldn't do it," Myra elaborated. "Too much work."

Terri piped up. "I don't want to get to know someone all over again,"

"Or have someone get to know me," Myra shooed away the notion with her left hand, her wedding band big and gold against her narrow fingers. "I don't have that kind of time."

"If my husband died, I'd have to fill this new guy in on all the details of my life. And that's already - ahem - forty some years. That's a lot of details." Terri glanced inside the bank to make sure everything was okay. Our coworker rushed out of the building, hurrying to beat the set alarm.

"I might date," Myra added, "but not seriously. I just really can't even stand the thought of somebody getting to know me again." The door opened behind her and Betty emerged. The alarm was set and we were free to go.

We filed out of the air conditioning and into the thick five o'clock heat. "But you don't know that," I said, holding open the door for them. "It could be great."

"Yeeaaahhh...No. I don't think so," Terri said. "I'm tired just thinking about introducing myself and all my baggage."

"But that's what I thought a few months ago," I offered, lowering my sunglasses over my eyes. "I remember coming home from one of my horrible blind dates and saying 'I'm so tired of telling these people all about me, introducing them to the cast of characters in my life. I don't have the energy.' But it was just that I was going out with the wrong people; of those guys I dated, I didn't want any of them to know me."

And it's true. I was sick of wasting my breath telling these people about myself when I knew I'd probably never see them again.

But then I went on a good date.

Three good dates, actually, with the same man.

And, suddenly, the idea of telling someone all about me didn't seem so strange.

I've been on five or six blind dates. Two of them went well. But the rest of them were just exercises in futility. I had grown weary of walking into a restaurant not knowing who it is I was meeting, of making and collecting first impressions over the clicks and clangs of other diners, of trading life stories in front of bartenders. And I had exhausted a well-rehearsed speech about myself. I was raised in Las Vegas, I didn't finish college, my dad is a retired Army Major, I'm an administrative assistant. But when there's no chemistry between you and the stranger across from you, it's hard to get excited about what you're saying or what you're hearing.

At the end of the night, I'd leave feeling frustrated. Full from dinner, but empty from the date. I'd phone my mother the next day to give her a full report, unable to work up any enthusiasm. "It was alright," I'd say. "He was nice. But there was nothing there."

And, over time, I'd forgotten what happens when you go on a good date.

The anticipation.

The foreign bundle of nerves in the pit of my stomach as the moment of his arrival drew near.

An uncharacteristic shyness creeping over me.

Acting coy.

The what-happens-now feeling when the date is over.

The first sweet, slow kiss.

The intoxication that comes from an unexpected flesh-on-flesh encounter: forearm grazing forearm, fingertips on my accidentally exposed hip.

The first time our hands embrace palm to palm, fingers entwined.

The weight of a strong hand on the small of my back.

A quick kiss out of the blue.

Feeling giddy.

Catching myself smiling for no reason at all.

Excellent side effects, indeed.


kate said...

Damn. I would enjoy some of those side effects. LOL.

The Zombieslayer said...

I'd already discussed death with my wife. She's not sure, I'd remarry. I know no other woman could be like her, but I wouldn't want a replacement.

As for good dates, I don't think I ever had one of those. Even with my wife, we only went on one real date before we got married. Dating's becoming a lost art over here.

Jason said...

I had plenty of good dates, but usually they didn't lead to actual relationships. Those just sort of happened.

As for death -- depends on a lot of variables. I'd probably need someone who could step up to be a mother to my kids, which would rule out 90 percent of the available women. Hopefully I never have to find out.

Heather said...

I admire your guts to date. I've never really dated since I married young and never had any boyfriends, but even if my husband were to die there is no way that I could ever date, because that just isn't in me. I'm too weird.

Good luck with your's fun to see somebody happy!!

Amber said...

I just broke up with my boyfriend, and just today I was thinking the same thing - "getting to know someone/letting them get to know me all over again just seems exhausting..."

But you're right. There's something very delicious about the thought of having a few more great first dates when I'm ready for them.

Kristi said...

The right person will just know you without having to hear all the details. It all just appears to come naturally.
I'm soo happy for you Laurie!

Its better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all!!

Those women don't have a frippin clue what they are talking about!
They've probably never been on their own. Or maybe they have.
in any event, don't listen to them.

Enjoy your good dating!
You deserve it!

Scoot said...

Can't say I'd rush out to get married again. Unless of course it was for money. A lot of money ;)


Popeye said...

If you're one of those gifted people who's pretty good at marriage, why not re-marry?
Happy to read dating happiness. I've said it before but the process of falling of love is one of my favorite things in the world. . .