Saturday, 5:20 p.m. In ten minutes I'd depart my apartment for the lobby where I'd use my cell phone to call Lyft for a pickup. My destination's address was memorized, ready to submit to the driver-- a Thai restaurant on Lawrence Ave. --where I'd meet, in person, a 77-year-old male from OurTime.com
Before this, I had stood before my bedroom's full-length mirror and surveyed my image: pricey black-and-white Eileen Fisher tank top and unconstructed grey jacket over black Gap jeans, black Stuart Weitzman strap sandals. I gave my outfit two thumbs up.
Along with my fashionable getup, I had enhanced my image by upgrading face and hair products. Instead of everyday Mac makeup, I used special occasion Sisley. Shampoo and conditioner got elevated, too. Kevin Murphy swapped for Bumble and bumble. The only part of my body that hadn't been creamed or painted was my nails. I hadn't had time for a professional manicure, so I removed chipped polish and applied a clear base coat. My bland nails would have to do.
Then, the phone rang.
"Just got in," said my date. "Can we postpone till seven?"
"No," I said, my voice level, but geared for a rise. "That's too late. I'm ready now. I'm all dressed and about to call a ride for the restaurant."
"I need to shower and change," he said, offering no reason or apology for the delay.
"What's the earliest you can make it?"
I'm thinking, should've listened to my gut. In our first phone conversation, he had admitted he wasn't in contact with his adult kids; that's usually a red flag. He also divulged he was bounced from his job. Flag number two. Why had I even made a date with this loser?
"Listen," I said, already angry with myself for using my overpriced cosmetics for a date that grew cloudier as the conversation continued. "You knew you had plans for six; you even confirmed the day before. You should have made it your business to be on time. This doesn't feel good. Let's forget about it."
"But, I have to clean up," he said. "You wouldn't want me to skip that." He was testy; as if I were the culprit.
"Goodbye," I said, stabbing the cell phone's red icon to end the call.
"Sorry," he got out before my line went dead.
All dressed up and nowhere to go, so I started dialing to seek an alternate dinner plan. "Oh, sorry," said my neighbor, Diane. "I'm going to Plum Market, but you're welcome to come along."
My friend Lisa responded, "Just got back in the house from gardening. Going to change and settle in. Any other time, I'd be on my way."
"About to get in the car for an event in the suburbs," said my ex-husband, who has remained a good friend. Sorry this happened to you."
"It's okay," I told each one. "I'm really happy to stay home. And, I'll have material for my blog. No great loss."
Resigned to my revised evening, and relieved I hadn't sprung for a manicure, I changed from my snazzy garb into decades-old leggings and t-shirt. I poured my usual thimble-full of chardonnay, placed a dinner tray on my lap and watched another episode of "The West Wing" and then the pilot of the British series of "House of Cards." Despite my face still in full makeup and my hair coiffed, I felt as settled and relaxed as a baby hippo in a puddle of soothing mud.
Putting the deleted date behind me, the next day I returned to scroll the dating site's latest matches. I had already met two other men, and although I didn't fall in love with either one, or they with me, they were nice, dependable, and stable.
The first two were Jewish (as was the dud), which sort of surprised me because I had chosen this site -- rather than the exclusive JDate -- so I could meet men of different races and religions. But somehow I decided that selecting a member of my tribe moved the game along quicker, like a roll of the dice that allowed your token to skip several stops and land in a prime spot on the board.
Of course, every time I flipped past the Christians, I paused to muse. Tommy was gentile, and we had a compatible, loving 16-year-relationship and marriage. Why was I not willing to chance that again?
So now, I'll shift strategy. My last experience with a clansman has sent me back to ecumenism. This time, though, I'll heed my boundaries and only make plans with a man close to his kids and gainfully employed or retired.
I might even book a manicure.