(Alpha Girl reclines on the lounge and eyes me venomously. “So when are you going to get out and meet someone? I know it’s hard, you being a loser and all, but other people do it.”
Beta Max thumbs his Xbox controller and nods. “She’s right you know. You’ve been a hermit for too long, man.”
Through artful manipulation of multiple controller buttons I eliminate his on screen avatar, turn and smile at them both. “I’ll have you know that I’ve thought about that. I’m writing a blog about it later.”
Alpha Girl rolls her eyes. “Now you’ve started that blog you’re in the house even more than you were before. If you get out and meet a girl maybe you could move out. Or get a job. Or both.”
“Yeah,” says Beta Max. “Don’t forget to come over and play me on Xbox, though.”)
Two years ago I broke up with my wife. Around the same time I resigned my job of twenty plus years. It was more than a mid-life crisis – really a case of kicking myself in the balls for an extended period of time. Since then I’ve done a lot of soul searching, complemented by much self-loathing and despair. Aside from a good dose of psychological therapy, I also found comfort in God. I became a Christian, found a great church run by a good friend, and started getting my crappy life back together.
It’s been about ten years since I’ve been on a date with anyone other than my wife. I find that I’m struggling to work out how to do it, especially in light of my new found status.
I’ll lay it out for you: I’m mid-forties, fighting fit with a great gym bod (so I’m told), I’m reasonably good looking, reasonably smart, reasonably lovable, have no home, no possessions and little money (those last ones hurt), and have Christian values, so sex before marriage is off the table.
(“I thought your blog was to improve your writing,” cries Alpha Girl from the kitchen. “It’s just an excuse to meet women.”
“Whoa,” I reply. “That is not the reason – I’m providing context.”
Her head appears around the door. “And you thought I couldn’t get a rise out of you.”
So how do older Christians find someone to date? I guess I could meet someone at my local church. The ladies there are lovely, however all of them are either 1) too old, 2) too married or 3) both.
I spoke to a charming woman who told me a long story about meeting her husband via a Christian online dating service. Now I dabbled in online dating a few years back when my girlfriend (who later became my wife) and I split up briefly. It was a pretty depressing affair that sent me running back to her to propose (details? I went out with thirteen women in three months and none of them were a patch on her).
I can’t really hang out in clubs anymore because the average age of club goers appears to have dropped to that of teeny boppers, making me feel like a freaky old grandpa stuck in a literal twilight zone.
There’s another problem. Possibly the biggest (not that – get your mind out of the gutter).
I cannot read the signals that women give off. You know what I mean – when someone is interested in you they give you a few subtle signs and whammo, you know they like you. I am completely unable to spot these signals. Example: I remember a party some time ago where I sung an impromptu duet with a gorgeous girl. She told me how cute I was and I told her what a great singing voice she had. It wasn’t until after she split that I realised the error of my ways.
(“You pick up on my signals easily enough,” says Alpha Girl.
“Contemptuous disdain is one I can’t miss,” I reply. “Oh, a tautology. I’ll need to write that one down.”)
This has never really been a problem for me in the past. The women I’ve gone out with have expressed themselves in no uncertain terms (that is, hit me over the head with a pile driver and literally jumped me on the spot). This is what I like to call the “shoot first, ask questions later” approach.
Of course, being a Christian complicates things a bit. Since we’re going to get to know each other first (the “ask questions” component), and we’re not going to actually do the “shooting” bit, I have to learn how to interpret the signals to know if a woman likes me.
Having been blind to these signals for so long I’m concerned that I’m going to miss the love of my life unless she has a blazing neon sign attached to her head saying “It’s me!” In fact, I’m a bit worried I may have met her already and never recognised her because she didn’t have that aforementioned flashing sign on her.
So I’m praying for some pretty big signs. And a pair of big eyes so I can see properly.
And an eventual cure for my semi-patented disability.
And a woman who recognises the love in my heart. A woman who doesn’t care about a big bank account – and no, that is not a euphemism.
(“I think I’m going to vomit,” says Alpha Girl.
“Didn’t like the sentimentality in that last line?” I say.
“No. I just don’t like you.”)