In between younger men, I have gone out briefly with age appropriate men. Two, to be exact. I had a date Saturday last with an age appropriate man, and it made me think of the other two before, and how much divorced men over 40 are alike. This blog is a trilogy. Let’s start with Coach.
When I first met him he was introduced by name. He was the Athletic Director for the school district. He said, “You can call me Coach.” Uh, no, I don’t think I can. But, for the purpose of this blog, we shall. Coach was handsome, soon to be 50, with silver hair and an athletic build. We flirted. Extensively. He got my number. He called that same night. He wanted to see me again, but he was honest in saying that he was hesitant knowing my very recent split. We had that talk. We were together for three months. He was a little intense, but, kind, funny, and silver fox sexy. Timing is everything. Had I not been fresh from my second divorce to a man 13 years my junior, we could have had legs for days. This is how I know. Maybe a month and a half in, we were laying on his sofa watching a movie. I fell asleep pretty early in, snuggled and spooned. I woke up with a start, because of a fart. Mine. It was loud enough to wake me from a dead sleep. Pass the hemlock. Or let me smother in a pillow. I pretended to still be asleep. He, of course, knew I was not, but he played along, God bless him. Ten minutes later he fake woke me up with a kiss, saying, “Baby, you’re missing the end.” He gave grace to my mortification. We ended a couple of months later entirely because of my stupidity. I left him to give husband #2 another chance. Regret gets you nowhere, and I try not to carry many, but this one stays with me.
After the relationship with ex-husband #2, including the post-divorce disaster, had bled out and died a slow, painful, and final death, I started talking to Brum. Ex-husband #1’s best friend (although, they didn’t know each other when we were married). He had actually set me up with Brum. Life is weird sometimes. Brum was 52, 6’2″, salt and pepper hair, and an Arkansas accent that made him sound like a good ole boy. We were together for a few months, but they were long distance relationship months, so all told, a lot of phone conversations, and a handful of times of getting together. He was also twice divorced and skittish. He and I together were like thoroughbreds at the starting gate; lots of nervous energy and ready to bolt. He called me one day and apologized for this. He said he wanted to be with me. He needed my help to not be afraid. I said we could help each other. But distance breaks things down fairly quickly without a solid foundation, and we drifted apart after a few months, remaining friends to this day.
The Politician messaged, asking me to dinner. He said you can google me so you know I’m not a nut job. I, of course, did. He is established, successful, and altruistic, on paper. We set a date to meet at a restaurant on the next Saturday. Little did I know the Cowboys were playing that night and the restaurant was packed to the hilt. I got there early and waited at the bar. I ordered a drink and a conversation was struck with the gent to my left. He looked 30 (meow), but was 45 (score). We had a few laughs while I waited for the politician. He found me. We Duggar hugged. He told me, “This place is far too crowded. Let’s go across the street to a place where we can talk.” We did. It’s…wait for it…Red Robin. We sat. To my dismay and the her horror, he made dad jokes and cheesy puns to the waitress. She rolled her eyes to me. I don’t know if you know this, kind reader, but The Red Robin serves steak fries (for free!) as an appetizer. The Politician was shoveling them in, chewing mouth — wide — open. We started the dance. Yadda yada, divorces, kids, the standard operating procedure of first dates. He’s beating his chest some, and I’m pretty lukewarm to him. He asked me, “Are you wanting to hook up or get married?” I say, “Neither. This is just a kick the tires, meet and greet.” I felt the climate change. He was doubled down and hoping for the hook up. As soon as The Politician knew he wasn’t getting laid, things winded down quickly. Godspeed. He walked me back to the original restaurant (my friends were picking me up there). We side hugged a second time, and he bolted. I went back in, and lo and behold, my 30 looking 45 year old was still there. My girlfriends were quick on the draw to get me, and a potential blog post is lost forever.
These three men are very high, medium, and low. They are my experiences with men my age. What they have in common is one, superficial, and the other, substantial. First, the superficial. The starter pack for the divorced man over 40 is thus: the most pointy, shiny, black cowboy boots on the market. Pointier the better. Next, an untucked guaybera shirt, and far too much hair product – even hot Coach, but just for going out. I’m not a fan, but the next time you’re at a bar look around. Older gentlemen, no ring- check out the shoes. I’m not wrong.
Now, the substantial. The beginning with younger men is always fun. It’s easy. It’s not supposed to be anything but fun, but in each case it evolved into something deep, something considerable, something real. The start is unencumbered because we both think we don’t have any skin in the game. With suitable-aged men, the beginning is like a job interview. We’ve sat down with our tremendous baggage and taken measure. There is an ingrained cynicism at the start, with the impression that skin is already in the game. After risk management is assessed, there is the potential for fun. We are far more vigilant on protecting our battered hearts. For better or worse.
Go forth and conquer.