In elementary school I think the adults start planting ideas in your brain like if you’re a girl you should want to be a nurse when you grow up, or a housewife with many kids and lots of cookies baking in the oven. If you’re a boy, maybe you wanted to be a baseball player or a policeman, or maybe G.I. Joe. The only superhero we had in those days was Superman and didn’t refer to him as a Superhero until the 1970’s. But if you wanted to be Superman you probably didn’t tell anyone because it would be like me saying “I want to be Marilyn Monroe when I grow up.” You almost knew someone would say, “Whattya crazy? You can’t be Marilyn Monroe the movie star, for Pete’s sake.”
Your best bet back then if you were a guy to get in the Teamster’s Union or the Plumber’s Union and get a steady job with benefits and a pension, like your uncle Louie. And if you were a girl and weren’t a nurse you could be a school teacher. Yup, that was the plan for you. And you better meet that handsome guy in college and get married because that’s a part of the plan as. Girls who never got married, well, they were “funny” if you know what I mean.
So we all did what we did, made mistakes, came away poor, came away rich, and now we’re 60 and when we think about dating we need the air sickness bag, fast, because it’s just too much work and I’d need a Valium the size of a golf ball to get through the first date. My friend and I were just talking about dating and I swear, I broke out in hives. You meet a guy, not Carey Grant, more like Gilligan, kind of harmless and once you go out you know that sex is on the menu next time, even if it’s just “making out.” She and I took it further and at the same time we said, “Eccchhhhhhhhhhh, he would see me naked and I would have to look at him naked too, and holy crap, what do you say to this nice man who had no intentions of making you have a nervous breakdown but now it’s done. God help me.
How did we do it back in our twenties? Ah, well, the title of that show would be “My Chemical Romance” because we had better living through chemistry. Some of those pills and potients made you fall in love with a frog, or maybe a doorknob, and the next day, thankfully, you probably forgot what happened the night before. I have literally started shaking when someone starts a conversation with me along the lines of flirtation and I was so good at that when I was stoned, and now I suck.
I mean, think about it. All those great love songs out there…well, you have no one to sing them to. Where is that “free area” between meeting someone new, not doing something stupid and parting friends? I think, as we get older, we get a lot worse at this than better. Is there a formula for dating someone where there’s a safety zone you can always run to, or do you have to be brave and just go through it? I mean it COULD work out. ( I’m just saying that, it’s a lie.)
I just read this on CNN: Sex can be scary, especially if you haven’t dated in 30 years, so don’t let yourself get rushed into something you are not comfortable with,” Eaker Weil says. “Say, ‘I like you and think you are attractive, but I need more time to get to know you,'” she suggests. Put another way: “Let’s have the appetizer now, and we will have plenty of time for dinner and dessert later.” “You need to plan ahead and talk about sex before it occurs in a relationship. You may no longer need to worry about pregnancy, but you need to be aware and informed about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them.” How did they go from appetizers to STD’s? Oi Vay.
Romance is lovely. I think. My memory’s not so good these days. I would really like people to reply to this and tell how they cope with dating or not dating, and maybe offer up some tips on how to deal. Until then, I’m going read a good book. And then take a cold shower.