Ode to a Frog

11_8_11.jpgKim's blog this weekend got me thinking...fondly reminiscing about the "joys" of dating again. This blog isn't really a poem...more of an epic journey, the story of a quest.

I met my husband at the ripe old age of 16, and married him at 22. We did date other people for a while in college, but really - he was "the one" from the beginning. Fast forward through marriage, college, grad school, the birth of a wee one, and a deathly battle with cancer....(not to go quickly through that important stuff, but those fabulous years are not the topic of this blog). The scene is set with a suddenly widowed 36 year old woman wondering...WTF now?

At first, I had no intention of dating, and had clearly stated "NEVER". Really? Who wants to go through that? If there is a 100 percent chance that we don't make it out alive...I was not interested in the odds of reliving widowhood. It sucked once, but twice? No way. Besides the obvious risk of death, there was also the equally obvious: my husband was awesome, and those still single this late in the game are single for a reason. I didn't want to find out why they were single. They could stay single far, far away from me.

But, as a woman who had been happily married and really missed it, I eventually became curious. Could I find something like that again? Initially, I went out on a few dates as a horrible experiment. Horrible is really the magic word here. Not good at all.

I had a couple of dates with "sensual in public man" - quite charming and entertaining, but inappropriate PDAs when there was no private interaction to back it up. Cool as a cucumber when we were alone, and hot for me when we were in public. Awkward. I'm pretty sure he was gay and trying to prove to his friends that he wasn't.

Next came "I will fix you" man. This one saw me as his pet project. His goal was to erase my past and replace all hurt with happiness and light. We only went out for a few weeks, but his agenda was clear: make poor hurt woman forget about past - eradicate all painful memories by replacing with flowers and jewelry. This was interesting for a short time, but the pressure was intense. I took a break from him and from dating...I think I was dating out of boredom, but my heart just wasn't in it.

About a year later I met "Delegation Man" - this guy was charming and fun for a while, but was intent on engaging me in the running of his life. He effectively managed all things in his life via delegation. It took me a little while to figure out how useful I was to him and how much my work load had increased since I'd met him. I was an only parent with a full time job and suddenly had an additional dependent. Not good, and his expectations only grew over time. He wasn't looking for a partner, he really needed an executive assistant. On the other hand, the experience with this one made me realize that although he wasn't the right one, I missed having a last call before I went to sleep at night and a date for the Christmas party. Maybe dating wasn't all bad, just dating this one wasn't good.

Shortly after ditching "Delegation Man" - Michele and I dared each other to try eharmony. She signed up first and a day later I joined the madness. She met Michael the first day...and is now living happily ever after. I was not so fortunate. The list of frogs grew with my eharmony membership. Fortunately, it was a relatively short list. I can usually tell in a single coffee date whether there is something amiss, so no kisses required to weed out the bulk of them. BUT, a few made it pass my initial inspection. I went on a few dates with a fellow widower, but the chemistry just wasn't there - he wasn't really a frog, and I didn't kiss him, so I guess he doesn't really count. Next, I dated "I'm almost divorced" for several months before determining that "almost" has a variety of definitions. He served an important purpose though, "almost divorced" made me realize I was capable of letting down my guard and allowing someone in my life. He wasn't Mr. Right, more Mr. Right Now, but he wasn't without value. He taught me a lesson and prepped me for the future. He helped me to see some of the things I didn't want and solidified for me that I did really want someone in my life.

There were several others, most one or two dates at the most - "gift giving man", "i hate women but you seem different guy", "dirty texting guy" (only a single drink for 30 minutes led to a dirty texting episode...awkward), "you're my best friend now guy", etc. I hope you get my point here. There were multiple attempts to try to get back into dating, and multiple breaks to decide if it was worth the hassle. I kept telling myself you have to "kiss a few frogs", but how many???? I'd taken about an 8 month hiatus when I decided to try eharmony again at the suggestion of Grayson, who said "how do you expect to find someone if you're not even trying?". Whatever, don't use your powers of logic on me, punk kid....
Okay, okay. I'll try.

I'd been back on eharmony for a day or two when Carl turned up in my matches. A few days of fun electronic correspondence followed by a drink that turned into a four hour conversation, a few fantastic dates and a crazy impulsive trip to New Orleans (we booked the trip on our 3rd date and hadn't even kissed yet...stupid....but it worked out!) and suddenly we were inseparable. It was a few months before I could believe the frog was indeed a prince, but he's fabulous and I can't believe my luck.

Wait a minute....LUCK? No way. Perseverance is more like it. I'm lucky Carl came along, but it wasn't because he fell into my lap. I decided I really wanted to find someone special. I kept looking, hoping he was out there, and I kept risking the frogs in the hope that the prince would appear. Thank goodness he did.

Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.~Charles F. Kettering


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