Rebecca was a 36 year old. I was pushing the envelope. I had come out of dating semi-retirement for about a week, and had suffered a string of bailouts and humiliating rejections in order to get this date. Even a 47 year old had flaked out on me -- thank God!
Rebecca had suggested a coffee shop in Central Square, Cambridge at seven o'clock p.m., a nightmarish parking scenario. I would need to leave at 5:30, get there at 6:00, and hope that I find a parking space within an hour without having a complete nervous breakdown. I kept looking at my cell-phone for text messages expecting her to bail like most women who are at least 7 years younger usually do. I'm always grateful when they do bail because I don't really want to date them, but I always get angry at them for jerking me around, yet never say anything. I took 2.5 mg of Valium before the drive. This was just to take the edge off. It's not the date that really freaked me out but the rush-hour drive and the nightmare parking. I normally don't need to take Valium.
I looked myself in the mirror before I left. I was about 15 pounds heavier than last year, had a little of the beer belly back, but had lost that sickly, gaunt look in my face. My skin was a little more leathery, I had a little less hair, but my face had filled out and the skin was taut. This was the old Ed I was seeing. The old Ed was back and he looked good for 43. Fuck all this dieting bullshit. I'd rather have the beer belly than look gaunt.
I had not allotted myself enough time to avoid taking the Mass Pike. I saw it looked trafficy before getting on it. It was a mistake to get on it. Had I avoided it, I only would have lost 10 minutes at best. There was a tremendous traffic jam on the Pike. It was crawling. I felt trapped and claustrophobic. My heart started racing. I had so much trouble trying to retrieve 5 mg. of Valium from my pillbox (attached to my key chain) while negotiating traffic. By the time I got the Valium in my mouth I was horribly panicked. My heart was racing.
At 6:15 I reached Mt. Auburn Hospital. This would leave me only about 35 minutes to find parking. This time I decided to make a smart move and act conservatively. I parked the car and set out on foot. Hopefully I used enough Right Guard to mask any sweat I produced on the long journey, but if I didn't, fuck it. People shouldn't expect people to park in some of the worst places in the Boston area at seven o'clock and expect them not to work up a sweat.
I got there ten minutes early. It was a good move to walk. There was not one empty parking space. As a walked in to the coffee shop to use the bathroom a woman in her 20's gave me the look. I have not seen the look for a long time, but that was definitely the look. And she was hot too. I know the fucking look when I see it. That was the look. Those fucking assholes on the PlentyOfFish dating site give my photo a 2.5 out of 10 rating in the 20-30 year old age range. If I'm so fucking homely to 20-something year olds, why is a hot-looking 20-something year old giving me the look. The fucking assholes! Even the 40+ year olds on PlentyOfFish give me only a 4 out of 10 looks rating. Cocksuckers! Apparently I'm not nearly as unfucking hot as they think I am.
Still no text message from Rebecca calling off the date. I didn't want to date Rebecca or anyone. I wanted to date Cheryl. What the fuck was I doing with 36 year old's? My heart was still racing. It was like I had taken a shot of epinephrine I was jacked out of my mind. It ocurred to me that I should take another Valium. The Valium I had taken thus far had been like taking vitamins. But I couldn't take the Valium. If she didn't bail, Rebecca would be there soon, and I didn't want her to see me popping pills. I don't think the Valium would have mattered anyhow. What I needed was Heroin not Valium.
Rebecca arrived on time. What could I tell you about Rebecca? She was a class act. She had bought her tea so fast while I was deciding what I wanted, that I had not realized it until it was too late. She didn't need to not thank me, because I never had the opportunity to buy her anything. She had vastly underrepresented herself in her photos as many women do. She was spectacularly cute. I couldn't stop smiling at her because it was so wonderful to be with someone that was both young, attractive, and polite. And she had the cutest little nose. Good Christ! Yet, it was clear from very early on that we had trouble finding topics to talk about. Once we started a thread we were fine, but once we lost the thread we had trouble. She tried very hard and thought up a lot more shit to talk about than me. I was a little too jacked up to think of things to talk about but could carry a conversation.
She was very polite. She said she had to go. We left together. We seemed to be walking in the same direction. We continued to have trouble with uncomfortable silence. I asked her where she was headed. She was walking towards Harvard Square as I was. There was no way I was going to have an awkward walk with this woman for the next 10 or 15 minutes. I hugged her goodbye, tied my shoes and waited for her to get well ahead of me. I was grateful to be able to have had an opportunity to date such a beautiful and vibrant and pleasant young woman, even if it didn't work out. There would not be many more Rebeccas.
On my way tot he car I stopped by an exceptionally nice looking and peaceful coffee shop that I've never seen before. I had a double espresso. Good thing to drink when you're heart is pounding away. I thought about Rebecca and how classy she was, but mostly about Cheryl.
I bought a 40 oz. bottle of Miller and drank it along with my usual beer drinking companions -- potato chips and pumpkin pie. I had hoped that the beer would sedate me, but I have never drank so much beer and felt so sober. My heart was still racing. It hadn't made a dent at all. I thought about Cheryl. I really missed Cheryl. I was obsessed with her. How could I be so obsessed with a woman I had only had one date with? Maybe I built her up in my mind. Maybe I loved her. It didn't matter. I'd botched it. And I still couldn't accept reality. Every day I wake up hoping that she will e-mail me. I'm in denial. I had fucked my life up so badly. How could I have done that? How could my heart still be racing? I knew that if I continued to date it was going to physically make me ill. It's too anxiety-provoking to date and not have a real job. I was probably having a mild panic attack. I should switch to Plan B: Stop dating. Try to make enough money to make a living in one the poorest, most backward countries in the former Soviet-block such as Moldova or Albania. Find the hotest, youngest, and most educated woman I can find, try to make her my wife and make a baby. I still looked good for 43. Albania is a hard-up country. It is not out of the question I could find a 30 year old in Albania, even if I'm 50. It is an outside shot. Plan B is crazy, but probably less crazy than Plan A, which is trying to find a domestic woman. Plan C, which is giving up trying to breed is probably the most sensible solution, but I don't like Plan C. If I had to live under Plan C, I'd start to get existential and suicidal. I can't let that happen.
I was too jacked up to sleep. I took 10 more mg. of Valium. That took the edge off and I could finally sleep. The next day I wrote this woman who had been stalking my okaycupid account who was looking for sex in her profile. Doing something like this would be unthinkable under Plan A. Sex was the last thing on my mind under Plan A. It was a waste of time. Under Plan B, it makes sense because it would keep me straight while trying to make enough money to make it in Albania.