I was on a first date last week. I wasn’t really planning on dating again as I’m currently very happily married and have been for almost seven years, but things happen. Don’t tell the Turk. He’d probably be a bit hostile to find out that while he was hard at work purifying the nation’s water supply, his wife was on a date at Starbucks.
While it was momentarily exciting to dip a toe back into the dating pool, this was perhaps one of the most uncomfortable dates I have ever been a part of and for a gal who didn’t get married until after 30, that’s saying something. This particular date had several awkward silences and one sided conversations and if I were a betting woman, I would put my money on this being a one- time event. But I don’t really have a lot of say in setting up a second date as I was only the third wheel. The date was intended to be an intimate gathering between Sharon and the Fireman, but Sharon’s inability to speak in a low voice and the Fireman’s choice of seating at the other end of my table thrust me right into the middle of all their first date misery. And while I wasn’t officially invited to be a participant in this E-Harmony love match, I so was.
Initially I had no idea I was about to plunge back into the dating world as I sat comfortably enjoying one of my few Midget-free hours of the week at a neighborhood Starbucks, sipping a little chamomile and cranking out some Hemmingway-esque phrasing on my laptop. Had I known, I’d have spruced up a bit and gone beyond jeans and sensible shoes- though I wouldn’t have taken it as far as Sharon with her sky-high hair and sparkle-top in daylight hours. When a man I’d later come to know as the Fireman, took the seat next to me at the adjoining table and popped open his laptop as well, I welcomed the arrival of a fellow wordsmith and set back to my creation of literary brilliance. I turned up the volume allowing the sounds of Turkish rockers Yüksek Sadakat to fill my earbuds and awaited the arrival of genius.
About fifteen minutes of blazing Turkish backbeats later as I clacked away on my laptop, my productivity was halted with the arrival of hurricane Sharon. Sharon was a relatively attractive woman in her middle years clad in too much make-up and poured into pants that surely were going to cause urinary tract issues later if she opted to wear them for the duration of the day, but those lapses in judgment aside, Sharon looked good for her age as long as that age was somewhere around 60. Upon breezing into the uncharacteristically large Starbucks, Sharon spotted the Fireman in the back of the shop. The Fireman- whose real name was never allow to escape due to Sharon’s conversational domination- did not instantaneously recognize his counterpart leading me to believe that Sharon had pulled that oh so common trick of posting photos from 1990 on her dating profile.
Sharon opted to forgo procuring a caffeinated beverage, plunked herself down and began to issue a profuse apology for her tardy arrival. It seemed Sharon was having some issues with her back last night that kept her tossing and turning until about 4:00 am when she sought medicinal relief. Unfortunately, the relief was so successful that she missed her alarm completely and awoke only 15 minutes before her scheduled meeting time with the Fireman. And clearly, the extra 45 minutes it took Sharon to successfully don those trousers and paint on her face attributed to the fact that she was an hour late.
This meeting could have been a job interview, acquaintances meeting or simply the beginning of a business venture but the tone in the Fireman’s voice and Sharon’s nervous progression of instantaneous informational purging revealed instantly that this was in fact, an attempted love match. It was at that moment that my Turkish tunes were muted as a train wreck was on the horizon and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the action.
Sharon is 47, both parents are dead, she never married, desperately wanted children but never had them so she dotes on her niece Tori-short for Victoria- from her sister and her brother’s son Johnny. Johnny once wanted to kill himself when his mother abandoned him but they got him help and now he’s a happy twenty year old. The Fireman reminded her of her father – bad move Sharon, never reveal that crap on a first date. Her father restored cars and made her drive them - they occasionally broke down but he always came to save her save. Her bad back is a recurring problem but she goes to the chiropractor regularly and takes medication for it which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Sharon works at ITT Tech in admissions but is looking for a new job. She has great coworkers but most of them are much younger than she is and all they want to talk about is celebrity gossip and while she does enjoy gossip, she needs more. One of her coworkers has a twin sister who is only 23 and wants to get married but her father won’t let her. Sharon thinks that’s the right choice because 23 is just too young to marry, though 47 is a little old (insert series of uncomfortable giggles). She loves to play guitar and wants to visit the Gibson Factory in Nashville this summer, perhaps the Fireman could join her (though I would venture a guess that isn’t going to happen Sharon). And all of this information was volunteered by Sharon after only 5 minutes. Good choice avoiding the caffeinated beverage Sharon, you might have shared too much on a caffeine high.
As for the Fireman? He’s a fireman. He has a 31 year old daughter. He didn’t get another word out the entire time I was privy to the conversation. He looked miserable but thankful that his date wore hoochie clothes and had huge hooters.
After the first five minutes, the four other people at neighboring tables included in on this date and I decided to step away and allow catastrophe to occur without the benefit of onlookers. As we each slowly packed up and left, I think I saw tears of ‘take me with you’ stream down the face of our Fireman friend. Sharon didn’t notice because she had moved on to the problems she was facing with early menopause.
As my little slice of 'me-time' came to a close and I returned to reality- running errands for the Turk before heading home to finish his laundry and pack him up for a business trip, I let out a little sigh of relief. Marriage might not be glamorous and every day is certainly not a Hallmark moment, but I'd never trade my Turk for the world. Sometimes all it takes is a first date to realize just how good you have it with a husband at home.