My version of “Once upon a time” is “So I met a guy in a bar . . .”
Hence was the beginning of “Kiss & Tell” in 2002 when I met then editor Tom Clavin at then writers’ hangout Nichol’s and pitched him a column, which was a cross between Candace Bushnell and Erma Bombeck.
“Relationships are fascinating but sometimes just breakfast is funny,” I explained. Such began a journey which lasted almost eight years and was truly some of the most fun writing I have ever had (maybe not so much for the men in my life).
Back in 2002, “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback was topping the charts, Mimosa Monday was the local holiday, my dad was still alive, and my heart didn’t have a set of treadmarks yet.
Now it’s 16 years later, and the dating world is about sexting, ghosting, and adulting. Seriously, adulting has to be a verb to avoid maturity? #MeToo is a very serious matter — not “I only like enough orange juice in my mimosa for color.” “Oh my god, me too!” And the bar to intimacy is set as low as swipe right.
Romance is also abbreviated. What was once a passionate longing for love in a hand-written letter is now “K,” like “OK” took too long to write. Emotions are so complex they may need numerous emojis like heart, hands clapping, fist bump. There is Tinder, which I keep confusing with tender, and in a sailing town, it’s always awkward when asking for the small boat which takes you to the larger boat.
To re-enter the dating world at a certain age requires a great deal of courage. Trust is difficult, and even if you may get hurt, you still have to open your heart for the authentic experience to have a chance at success. It requires a well-developed sense of humor, adroitness at apps (and I don’t mean the mini crab quiche), and a knack for getting Spanx off unnoticed like some sort of girdle Houdini.
On the good side, experience is a blessing to know yourself and what you want and to have a bit more compassion for the human condition. No one gets to a certain age without experiencing first-hand the ultimate joys and absolute cruelties in life. People fall somewhere on the sliding relationship scale of security to freedom — from the matching windbreakers to the condom in the pocket. There is something to be said for a lifetime of memories as well as the thrill of a first kiss.
In my very first column, I quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, “There are no second acts in American lives.” I challenged him to a drink at Bobby Van’s on a Friday night. At this point I suppose I am on my third act, but that’s just when things get interesting.
You never know because hey, I just met a guy at a bar . . .
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