Charlotte found herself getting ready for what she hoped would be her last first date. She really had become weary of the hype, and wanted to be in a relationship where Spanx and small talk were left far behind. At this stage in the game she was tempted to get another cat, a pair of elastic waist slacks, sturdy shoes and surrender to singlehood. As she fiddled with the scarf that would camouflage her turtle like neck, she lamented that just as a scarf had become a necessary accessory, her hot flashes had kicked in. 47 was definitely too old to be standing in front of a mirror wondering how the night would go. Her biological clock was ticking…not the baby clock, but the “my looks are fading” clock, and she felt the weight of her past and the uncertainty of her future closing in on her. Her mother was fond of saying, “there were worse things than being single.” It was easy for her mom seeing as she had been married for 48 years. And frankly, just because there are worse things than being single, isn’t much of an endorsement.
At 47, Charlotte had experienced most of her dating after the age of 40, and had learned very little. Conversation topics now included joints (not pot, but knees and hips), and menus were perused with reading glasses. Red meat and cheese were off limits at least until the 4th or 5th date, and gone were the college dates that lasted well into the next morning. Where had the time gone? Back then she had been able to get ready within 30 minutes and be confident she looked cute. Now it took at least an hour of fighting with her lycra undergarments and age defying bra to be remotely presentable. Just to get out of the house required more preparation than most drag queens, and sadly with less pleasing results. As she applied her eye liner the way the makeup counter girl had instructed, she realized the desired cat eye effect looked more like a stroke victim. It wasn’t too late to call and cancel. She could feign illness and stay home eating popcorn and watching reruns of The Real Housewives. At least if she did this, she would be assured of an entertaining evening as well as feeling smug knowing she was not nearly as vain as those women. No, she would venture out and try one more time for the brass ring. Maybe this time, she would finally meet someone who didn’t refer to himself as a loner or wear his hair in bangs. And maybe for once, he would be a gentleman and be able to make her laugh. This guy might even accept the check at dinner without hemming and hawing until she pulled out her wallet and paid her share. She sighed, blotted her lipstick, grabbed her keys and headed out the door to face the unknown. In a way, she was a little like Amelia Earhart; scarf jauntily wound around her neck. She just hoped she didn’t go missing. That reminded her, had she told anyone where she was going? The thought of being found in someone’s freezer, next to the fish sticks was a little unnerving.