The last time I dated was in 2002, when I met my future husband during Contracts 101. My daddy had given me two pieces of key advice in my life. First, never marry a Yankee. Second, never marry a lawyer. I did not listen. I’m hard-headed.
Immediately after my divorce, I met the most wonderful man in the world. He truly is just that. However, after a year of dating, we became engaged, and I realized that it was not the right time, situation, circumstance, something. As phenomenal as he is, God has other plans. I am trying to listen to my Father this time. It hurt, and I am still stubborn as a mule.
So, here I am, post-40, mother of two young children, and in the dating game again for the first time in almost 15 years. It is surreal. When I dated before, I owned a cell phone, but it was not “smart.” Facebook had just been invented and was only for college kids; and the major way people communicated was over the phone. My answering machine was my best friend. I would rush home and check my Caller ID and would gleefully listen to voicemails over and over again. Star 69 and *67 were things and, occasionally, if I happened to be bored with Torts or Gratuitous Transfers, chatting on America Online instant messaging was getting real fancy on my dial-up modem.
Oh, and the dates themselves? Even up until I met my ex-husband, dates occurred after frequent communication. The kind that involved dialing a number and talking on the phone and actually hearing each other’s voices. If there was a connection, after several such exchanges in which you asked questions and listened in order to get to know the person a little better, the man would ask you out. For me, because I am old-fashioned, that meant coming to my house, picking me up and taking me out some place nice. I loved long, romantic dinners, a great bottle of wine, laughter, holding hands across the table, staring into the other’s eyes and still do. Back then, the man paid and took you home, walked you to the door and left, like a gentleman. Rinse and repeat.
It is worth mentioning that the one and only time I have ever paid on a date was with my ex-husband. On our first night out, we ended up at a popular college bar, and he offered to split pitchers with me. I laughed and whispered ever so softly in his ear that a lady never, ever buys her own drinks. The next day, he asked me to brunch. We went to Waffle House, he went to pay, and he had conveniently left his wallet elsewhere. Or so he claimed. Sigh. The joke was on me.
Around the time that our marriage ended, a show premiered on Bravo called, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.” I do not watch much television, and this is really juicy stuff, but it became my guilty pleasure. It is about a group of women my age and older who are dealing with divorce and relationships. It is raunchy but so funny, and it is still one of my favorite shows. However, even as graphic as it gets, nothing, including this show and frequent gab sessions with my young and single friends, has prepared me for the modern dating world.
I feel like a dinosaur or one of the “Golden Girls.” So much has changed.