Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome to Cougar Land

Where is the last place you expect to meet your next date? Dry cleaners? Drive-thru? Funeral home? Did anyone else mention funeral home? Little did I know that I would meet the next man I would date at the funeral of my deceased boyfriend. I hadn’t slept for days and had been living on a steady diet of Chai Tea Lattes and chocolate when I bumped into him.

Of course, I didn’t noticed the tall man in the dark suit immediately because I was devastated. Between quietly weeping, I managed to give the eulogy. No small feat. Then it was the thank you for coming line. The man was beside me again offering light chatter to keep my mind off the dark day. I thought he was the funeral director. He mentioned he had something the deceased wanted me to have and that he would be happy to mail it to me. I gave him my card before going to the bereavement dinner.

At the dinner, I asked around if anyone knew the man. Was he a cousin? No, people seemed generally perplexed because he only talked to me. After a while, I did hear from Mr. Mysterious who happened to be a student of my deceased boyfriend, a culinary school chef. He sent me articles about my sweetie, pictures from the school newspaper, jokes and cards. It was all very sweet and went on for months. It was a comfort to get a cheerful email from him two or three times a week.

I mentioned this to my co-workers and they teased me about Mr. Mysterious having a crush on me. On me, you’re kidding, he’s a kid, a college student, an older college student, but still good twelve or so years younger than me, I explained. Their response was to roll their eyes and smile knowingly. When my new friend asked me out for drinks, I became flustered causing him to back off and inform me it wasn’t a date. I deferred anyhow and was almost strung up by my co-workers for my actions.

“This as close as I’ll ever get to cougar land,” Mimi whined, “being happily married and all.”

“Don’t’ be selfish, do it for your friends, then report,” Charmaine added to Mimi’s original argument.

I tried to explain that I’d already rejected him that he wouldn’t ask again. You ask him another friend advised. You know he’s going to say yes. So I did, I asked him to lunch as a thank you for all the kind things he did for me as I grieved.

The restaurant was one of those chain places I can’t quite remember because I was so shocked at the sight of my pen pal. At the funeral, he was so somber, but as a nod to summer, he was sporting a Hawaiian shirt, a tan, and a big smile. My goodness, he was gorgeous, tall and young. Our young waitress flirted with him outrageously although he did not respond. Instead he concentrated solely on me, even reaching across the table to grab my hand. I did my best not to do the Linda Blair head swivel to see who was watching. Peppy waitress took a step back and her face fell. Good.

Perhaps, it was a date afterall. We spent the rest of the day together, walking in the park, shopping, going to see a chick flick, then another restaurant. It almost seemed like a movie. Instead of looking up into my date’s eyes I tried to see who was watching since I felt so self conscious. We were in a college town, wouldn’t a co-ed object to me dipping into her pool of prospects. There seemed to be no outrage or surprise besides the waitress.

We actually dated for another three months. It was a fun relationship full of outdoor adventures like kayaking and rock climbing. Not something I can interest most men my age in doing. It ended for a number of reasons. He asked me to marry him which indicated he was much more serious than I was. This was shortly after I had the epiphany on the patio deck of the Red Lobster.

Our clasped hands were on the white tablecloth and I couldn’t help noticing the differences. His hand was pale and smooth, while my hand was dark, scarred and lined—not the hands of a young woman. Why did I spend so much money on face cream and almost nothing on hand cream? Probably because I never knew this moment was coming.

We parted amicably, but every now and then he lets me know he’s still available. I figure the calls coincide with the end of relationships.:) I know now it was a rebound relationship which happens. Have I dated anyone younger again? Once, but I decided he was too much of a wild card. Which brings me once again to how do you meet men?

You tell me about your unusual meeting and next time I reveal some dirty secrets about online dating. I know a bunch!


  1. Are yuu crazy, letting this one go????

    I've had the good fortune to have had a couple younger men in my life, and I wouldn't change it for the world!

    Oh, and by the way, my latest manuscript features a woman who is a funeral director and a younger man!

  2. D'Ann,

    I tried to comment many times, but it wouldn't go through for cyber reasons. I had second thoughts, but no longer. I am who I am.

    Your story sounds interesting. I would love to read it. Let me know when it comes out in print.