“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.
I’ve only recently started this new and disastrous technique. I sort of decided that I want to live life full on, and worrying about being shy and awkward is not going to cut it. Only my new approach is going to cut and slash and bludgeon small villages if I don’t reign it in and figure out how to just present me, as I am without a keg, or a sharp instrument or a firecracker popping, tap-dancing, fire-eating, juggling routine. So far I’ve noticed I talk too much. Like way too much. Like I have to explain and share and retell every thought that comes to mind in the madcap hopes that one of my thoughts will be appealing or important. I think they just come off as desperate or intense instead. You know like a man's worse nightmare, a woman who wants to explain every last detail of almost nothing. I think I also start blabbing and vomiting information and explanations because I’m not being asked, and I want to make sure that nothing goes unnoticed. At which point the potential stud is left praying for pea soup or blood instead of my verbal upchuck. I don’t allow for mystery or intrigue or fantasy and high hopes. It might also be O.K. to decide if the potential stud isn’t asking, that could very well be a signal for me to back-up and run in the other direction. Maybe it just means that we’ll get there, in due time, if things work out.
I believe this new ineffective approach has been enacted because I want to somehow present that just because I’m divorced, twice, doesn’t necessarily mean I have loads of troubles or that I am Satan’s spawn. Except that my attempts sort of validate that I must in fact be and have satanic-size troubles. I also believe I want to be active and participate, compensating for a long period of inactivity and becoming an unlikely and unwilling spectator of nothingness.
I seem to be acting like a rubber band as I move along the road toward single and confident. Occasionally I am keeping up and then I go too far ahead until traffic stops and builds up in perhaps an attempt to stop and quiet me. A few false starts and failed attempts isn’t such a bad thing. I’m not supposed to be in a rush here. I’m not looking to hook myself up to a hitching post and grab on tight to anything that comes along (although there is the appeal that I could be released from this part of the nightmare).
I have realized that talking and texting is not going to be my area of strength but being severely quiet and lifeless will not work either. O.K., fine, I didn’t just realize this. I have known it for quite some time. I have been considering setting up a lemonade stand on my front lawn and selling cold drinks and kisses. That might be enticing to some hot, dull, or fair-to-middlin’ stud somewhere, dontcha think? If it doesn’t work, I wonder if eBay sells "help" or kegs.
I suppose patience is a virtue, and I am missing two of the four cardinal virtues these days — prudence, restraint, justice, and courage. (Feel free to guess which ones I have.) Fortunately, I still have, hope, faith, and love. Oh and a really good haircut.