A number of years ago, I found myself “suddenly single” at mid-life. After recovering from shock, I eventually began to realize that unless I intended to be single for the rest of my life, I had to seek opportunities to socialize with – yes – members of the opposite sex, i.e. “try to meet someone.”
Mustering up the courage to tackle the singles scene after mothering three children and living my entire adult life as one half of a married couple was not easy. But, I’ll admit it – I was lonely – so I began to try to make the rounds of various singles organizations and special interest groups.
After figuring out that few available men venture into these “women’s places,” I began to wonder just where it was that all the eligible bachelors hang out. I tried spending as much time as possible at hardware stores. That seems like a “male place,” and the advice books all said that I must attempt to create “social opportunities.” However, I could only lurk around the nuts, bolts and screws for so long until I began to be suspected of shoplifting.
Finally, I came up with a bright idea. Guys go to bars to meet women. After trying everything else without much success, curiosity won. I took the low road and decided it was time to hit the singles bars.
By now, I had developed some poise in meeting people, not to mention my hardware expertise, and I felt pretty confident that I could handle most situations. Besides, I wasn’t meeting any eligible men in Sunday School.
Now some women tell me they have fun going to bars, meet interesting men, and have tons of fun. I wish I could find that bar. Whenever I go into a bar, I seem to magnetically attract the attention of every truck driver and wannabe songwriter in the joint. I don’t know if they have radar or if I have “fresh meat” written all over me.
Before my eyes can even adjust to the dim light, I am approached by an Elvis look-alike. “Wanna dance?”
Well, I came to have fun, didn’t I? He only asked me to dance, not to get married. Why refuse and hurt someone’s feelings? So, I agree and we go to the dance floor. All the decent looking sorts in these places are invariably busy with other women. Elvis, it seems, comes here often and knows all the ropes. He glides too smoothly to the music and dances way too close.
After the dance, I excuse myself and hide in the ladies restroom for a while to regain my composure, then decide to venture out and look for a table in a dark corner where Elvis can’t find me. Trouble is while I am losing Elvis, Bozo spots me and start to move in.
“Can I buy you a drink, babe?”
I’m not a “babe,” but why argue? He wouldn’t understand anyhow.
“Well, actually, I’ve already ordered one.”
Bozo is unfazed, sits down at my table without an invitation and begins to tell me the story of his life, all about what a lousy bitch his third wife was. After I have more experience, I will know that no man ever admits to more than three wives – regardless of the actual number. Of course, in about five minutes of conversation, it is possible to see why he has been divorced so many times. He’s a loser.
Everyone smokes in a singles bar. It is hot and stifling. The music is too loud, the drinks too strong. Is this what I have to do to meet someone, I wonder? Maybe I’d rather be lonely. But, I’ve already paid a cover charge, so I stay. I smile, I dance and I listen to all the Bozos and all the stories and hear about all the disappointments, the failures, and the lost loves.
After a drink or two, Elvis begins to look a lot more like Robert Redford, and I think that maybe it is not such a bad place after all. Maybe I am being too particular, too critical. Maybe I could actually date one of these guys – if it were just not for the cologne! The smell of Old Spice is overwhelming. Does that stuff come in gallon jugs?
If I could meet just one decent man with a scent from the men’s section of a good department store instead of the special from down at the truck stop, I’d be his!
After a couple of “hunting expeditions” to the bar, the stories and guys all start to blend together like a country song. I try to sort them into categories that my mind can comprehend: jerks, losers, and assholes. So many ruined lives, so many lost dreams – so many construction workers! I’d never even met a construction worker until I became single. Now I’m sure that at least half the male population must work in the profession.
The men who are half-way decent are usually married – but separated, at least for the night. Eventually, I realize that it’s easy to meet someone here – but difficult to meet the type of person I want to meet.
Bubba wants to take me out to breakfast. I go to the ladies room and out the back exit. Bubba will be disappointed that I did not at least let him walk me to my car.