Monday, June 9, 2008

Misery Date

Remember Mystery Date, the board game where you’d pick an outfit, spin a spinner, and hope you were dressed properly to match your ‘date,’ the cardboard, two-dimensional guy behind the ‘magic door?' Perhaps my imagination was a bit over-active, but that game used to scare the living daylights out of me. After spending years reading Shakespeare, Voltaire, and Oscar Wilde, this game came along and insinuated that my time would have been better spent tweezing my eyebrows, applying nail polish, and perusing Tiger Beat.

Besides, since I secretly liked the way the ‘messy' guy dressed there was obviously something terribly wrong with me so I should just as well stay down on the farm with the livestock who understood where I was coming from and would never ever expect me to yank my eyebrows off one hair at a time and pour acrylic chemicals on my fingernails because that was just so… so… wrong.

Back then the mere thought of dating petrified me. Now it only terrifies me. Now, whenever I’m asked out, my imagination runs a flashback montage of past dates, complete with laugh track. Instead of a lightbulb lighting up over my head, there’s a big question mark – why? Why try? What crackpot idea makes me think this time will be any better than the last 37 times?

I'm sure this question mark shows on my face. It probably looks something like the stunned, cold silence usually reserved for a horribly embarrassing faux pas, like giggling at a funeral. You're asking me out? Are you out of your ever-loving mind? As you can imagine, they rarely hang around waiting for a verbal response.

Created in 1965, Mystery Date is now (gasp!) over 40. When we first played the dating game there was nothing past forty except fiber and reading glasses. Now we're squinting to read the small print on our box of bran flakes, and the thought of touching that stupid, white, plastic door handle still makes my palms sweat.

We've all heard that over half of marriages end in divorce. With so many couples staying together 'for the children,' then splitting, dating at forty and beyond is way more common than you'd expect. An added, bizarre bonus is that now your children can help you set up your profile for an online dating service. They can probably also advise you as to whether you'd be considered a hottie. Oh, joy.

You're nearly halfway to the century mark and you're free for dinner Friday night. Did you see that coming in third grade when you were deciding how many kids you and Robby Bonderman were going to have? Me, either.

We're no longer playing with Monopoly money. We’ve made a few mistakes and hopefully learned a bit. Now we're humbled to the point of just wanting to spend the rest of our lives with someone who won't irritate us to the point of needing expensive, non-generic medication. Choose wisely,baby boomer - your sanity, as well as the quality of your retirement home, depend on it.

I’ve paid my dues. Hell, I’ve probably paid your dues. I've earned the right to say, “Bite me, Milton Bradley, I’m not playing anymore. Let the doorknob hit you where the good Lord split you.”

If you need me, I'll be out back with the horses. And my 'messy' guy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Online dating is alot like the game Mystery Date. After all you don't really know someone or what they really look like until you go for the dreaded "coffee date". Starbucks should give me a commission for all the cafe mochas have been bought for me.

I also wonder when I have one of these caffiene dates, am I really going to all this trouble for a stranger? But I'm a cup is half full gal and think about the "gotta kiss alot of frogs" thing. Hope I don't get warts!!!