After my husband died, I remembered hearing that, according to the Jewish religion, a widow was required to mourn for 30 days and then she could “get back out there.” And, what’s more, the brother–in-law was expected to marry his brother’s widow….OH BOY, that wasn’t gonna happen! With the Old Testament as a guide, I decided to try to go out several months after my loss — when I could bear to face the world….
And then I came to my senses…“Are you kidding? I have to date? I have to be judged, and maybe get rejected? I have to sit through an evening with some bore?” Are you familiar with the Kubler Ross 5 Stages of Grief ? Well, I added one of my own…and now I was deep into the PISSED OFF STAGE!
And then all my worries were for nought–no one was fixing me up with anyone. “Doesn’t anyone have any friends for me to date?” I polled the girlfriends. NADA! Hey, I was 48 and a widow, and frankly everyone could not believe I was asking. My husband had died just six months before.
And so it happened that I was on Fire Island with a few girlfriends, and one of the women stepped up to the plate.“I want you to be happy. I have an idea of someone you may like.” I was taken aback. I’m sure I looked like a swollen-eyed widow but still I couldn’t help wondering why no one until then had offered to fix me up.
I was so excited! An adventure! My tummy was all butterflies just imagining sitting at dinner with a date.
I got a call from this man a week later….”Oh yes, of course I would be happy to meet you. Oh, you want me to suggest a place? OK, how about this quiet little restaurant in the next town over? Perfect!” We were set– he sounded fine–no more, no less, just fine.
I changed my clothes three times, checked my hair, and headed out into the night with a sick feeling in my gut. Yes, this was so typical of me. I wasn’t ready to date–I really wasn’t, but I pretended I was just to give myself a push. And now I had to deliver. I had to show up on this date.
He called me–he couldn’t find the restaurant. I tried to help him with directions, but he wasn’t getting it. First judgment on my part: “What a dolt! Why didn’t he just use Google maps?” “Down girl,” I told myself. He obviously hadn’t put much thought into this date…that’s good…it would be a really relaxed evening.
I sat parked in front of the restaurant, and he finally called to say he was parking across the street. I got out of the car and saw a dark-haired, middle-aged man walking toward me. He seemed old. I knew he was 54, but that just seemed old. “Felice, shut your brain off, girl. Just chill and try not to assess.”
I smiled and said hello and we walked into the restaurant. I was nervous, and he was not; at least he didn’t seem to be.
My first glass of wine went down fast. We went through some of the preliminary background stuff, but each time I tried to explain something, he would ask me more questions that felt wrong–just wrong. “Oh, you lost your husband…did you love him? Why are you staying in the house that you lived in with him? What are you planning on doing workwise? What kind of movies do you like?” OMG! Was I really going to have to put my life in list format? Couldn’t we just talk about “stuff” and get a feel for humor, intellect, energy? Oh dear! (And by the way, his looks were not growing on me.)
“Another Chardonnay, please!”
He said he was involved with this organization that does a lot of lobbying. Great! I was psyched…we were going to talk politics. And then he started in on his position on Israel. (Needless to say, it wasn’t my position.) The conversation was escalating. I told him he was close-minded, and then I think I called him chauvinistic in his thinking. And what did he do? He laughed! He was getting a rise out of me, and he liked it, but I was getting ready to rise and leave.
Dinner was over…I ate everything on my plate and I finished my wine. He looked straight at me and said, “So, I don’t know why Margie fixed us up. We have nothing in common.” I laughed–this was the first moment I liked him! I loved that he laid the truth out on the table. Big exhale. “I agree,” I said. “This is my first date since my husband died, and frankly I had a great time. I loved arguing with you. I don’t want to date you, but it was fun to banter, disagree and know that I don’t have to end up with you. Ever!”
Out on the sidewalk there was a pause that needed to be filled, and he said, “You are terrific, and you will find someone wonderful. Thanks for a good time.” Back at ya buddy! We hugged and parted.
I called my girlfriend immediately and thanked her. “We argued the whole evening, I hate his politics and he’s a chauvinist, but he’s smart and frankly, I needed a break from myself. Thank you so much….Got anyone else in mind?’
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- Dating After 50
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