Confessions of a Twice Divorced Dater

As she rejoins the dating world, she struggles to find the confidence and zest of her youth. 

by Ginger Long • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

“All that and a Pepsi Cola!” That’s what an old friend used to say to me, about me. I think he must have preferred Coca Cola. It might not have helped that when he said it, I always asked for lemon. “Make sure you save room for the lemon twist,” I would add. I think that made it clear that I was probably going to be a little bit of work, and would certainly need to finagle my two cents in. I wasn’t going to be altogether quiet and go along with things. I haven’t learned all these years later how to smile demurely, bat my eyes and say, “Oh you big hunk of man, you! Stooooppp.” Which would mean, “Go onnnnnnnnn.”

I explain to friends that dating post divorce is one of the biggest nightmares for me. “It’s impossible,” I tell them. I have even shared this with a potential date or two. It doesn’t take too long for the potential dates to believe me and slowly back up and run down the street in the opposite direction. The friends don’t buy it so easily. They typically roll their eyes, and say something to the effect of “Oh C’mon, You?  You’re all that and a Pepsi Cola with a lemon twist.”

I’m not. I’m fair to middlin’ and about average. But in the scheme of things and if you shop at Walmart, or have ever been to the DMV or a water park, fair to middlin’ is looking pretty damn good these days. They also tell me dating is hard for everyone. At this point they roll their eyes and mutter, “Why does she think she has the worst problems in the world? Jeeeeeeze." And they snuggle up to their partner, spouse, significant other, or lover and feel fortunate not to be in my boat, leaving me to paddle away, but I drop my paddle and fall into the lake attempting to retract it. The friends roll their eyes and look away.

Thirty some odd years ago, the last time I was in this position, there was help. Or, at least, I considered the large metallic barrels with pumps and spigots attached "help," and they were indeed very helpful. I suppose they were really called kegs, but why get lost on the technicalities, the minutia? The helpful kegs would loosen me up, (easy, here…I mean they would help me relax socially and not be so intensely crazed and all sorts of nervous tension) Of course everyone was getting help, and everyone looked good, and everyone was happy we weren’t drinking Pepsi. Maybe it’s time to get help? O.K., not really, not that kind of help. Although, my son might think that was a great idea, or he might slowly back away and run to his older siblings and try to get answers regarding my new approach to life.

I was explaining to a friend that I seem to have two methods in dealing with attracting a hot stud, or a dull stud, or a fair-to-middlin’ one for that matter. After seeing my new haircut and winning smile, a friend was encouraging me to get out there and "work it". "I’m not so good with ‘working it.’ I'm like a character from a horror movie," I share. “I’m either the evil, satanic protagonist or an extra from whichever town filming was taking place in. In the case of the latter, I’m usually playing a dead zombie, lifeless and unmoving in a field.”

I don’t start out as Satan’s spawn, but it inevitably goes there when I remember there is no keg in my kitchen, or garage, or near the dance floor, or over where the band sets up. I seem to be attempting to over compensate for the fact that I know I will become intensely shy and awkward and dim witted, until I have nothing but a blank stare and a lifeless, spineless and torpid manner to offer. These are not good manners to present when one is attempting to win another over or look remotely attractive. It’s like flat Pepsi, when you reeeeaaaallllllly need a Pepsi. 

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