Don't Go Anywhere Near Anyplace That Says "Singles" Anything
One day I saw in the newspaper a notice for a meeting of the local “Singles Club.” It sounded like a respectable place to meet people (read: men). Surely it wouldn’t be like a bar, full of unscrupulous creeps just waiting around to take advantage of a susceptible, lonely divorcee. A “club” suggests warm, friendly people, there to socialize with others in a safe environment. What could be safer than the Methodist Church basement on a Wednesday evening? I marked it on my calendar.
Wednesday evening, I hurried home from work to prepare for my big adventure. I looked in my closet for something to wear that would be flattering, but not overtly sexy. I didn’t want to be obvious in my attempt to be attractive. I decided on the black pants, fitted, but not too tight, and a red sweater. My reflection in the mirror stared back at me. “You’re forty years old, dummy. Don’t worry about looking too sexy. Just pray that you won’t be the oldest person in the room.”
I turned away from the mirror in a fit of self-doubt and decided to stay home. Just accept the fact that you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life, I told myself. It’s too late to put yourself out in the meat market.
No, silly! There are bound to some nice, older single men out there somewhere.
Yeah, but they’re all looking for younger women. Every old fart in the world probably thinks he can and should get an attractive younger woman.
But I’d be a “younger woman” to an older man!
Right…but you don’t want an older man, do you? You’d like a man younger than you, too.
Damn straight! And I’m not going to find one while sitting alone in this apartment. That settles it. I’m going to that Singles Club and test the waters. I have nothing to lose but what’s left of my pride.
I found the church, walked quickly to the door that displayed a sign marked “Singles Club Meeting.” Once inside, I saw what seemed to be a sea of women milling about, punctuated here and there by a man. The ratio seemed to be at least four to one. Wherever a man stood, he seemed to be surrounded by several women, hanging on his every word. I knew no one, of course, and busied myself by heading over to the refreshment area and accepting a cup of coffee from a smiling woman behind the table.
“Is this your first time here?” the woman asked.
“Yes, how can you tell?” (Is it the fact that I am sweating profusely? Or because my eyes are darting back and forth like a crazed animal caught in a leg trap?)
“Oh, you just look a little nervous. Relax. We don’t bite.”
I thanked her for the coffee and the advice, and walked back toward the center of the room. A loud voice announced that the meeting was to begin. Everyone moved to the next room, where several rows of folding chairs were arranged, facing a podium. I moved with the others and found a seat toward the back. To my great surprise, an attractive man sat down next to me. He smiled and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Mike. Is this your first time here?”
Good grief, I thought - is it written on my forehead? “I’m Z. Yes, it’s my first time. How did you know?”
“It’s written on your forehead.” He laughed at his little joke. “No, I just don’t remember seeing you here before, and I’m sure I would have remembered such a lovely lady, if I had.”
I could feel my cheeks burn. What a line, I thought. “I read about tonight’s speaker in the newspaper and thought it sounded interesting.”
“Financial Planning for Singles? Yeah, I guess it would be interesting to me too, if I had any finances left to plan with. But my ex-wife took care of that.”
The club president stepped up to the podium, welcomed the audience and introduced the speaker. I was vaguely aware that there was someone up there moving his lips and gesturing occasionally with his hands, but all I could think of was the man sitting next to me. He had positioned his chair so that it was against mine. Every few minutes he would move his leg in a way that it would brush, ever so slightly, against me. I glanced at him quickly, and saw him looking directly at me, smiling. I could feel his masculinity, his heat; or was it my heat? Oh my God, I’ve been without a man for too long.
Eventually, the man behind the podium stopped moving his lips and after a polite smattering of applause, people started scooting back their chairs and standing up. Mike touched my hand and said, “Why don’t we just sit here for a while and talk? I’d like to get to know you.”
I hesitated for a moment, and then sat back down. “What would you like to know?” I asked. But I was thinking, I’m divorced, I haven’t been with a man since I left my husband a year ago, I’m horny and you’re looking real good to me right now.
Mike smiled and leaned back in his chair, pushing his hips forward slightly. “Oh, I don’t know…just who you are, what you do when you’re not attending meetings, things like that. But maybe this isn’t the best place to talk. Would you like to go somewhere for a drink? Or a cup of coffee?”
Other people in the room were drifting away. Apparently, the meeting was over. I felt nervous, wondering why he had chosen me to hit on, when there were so many other women there, younger and better-looking than I was. But I soldiered on. “Sure, coffee sounds good. I could meet you over at Denny’s. They’re open late.” My heart was pounding so hard that I wondered if drinking more caffeine would give me a heart attack.
“Why don’t we drive there together?” Mike offered. “I could bring you back here, afterwards, to get your car.”
His green eyes held me captive. I couldn’t look away. “Okay.” He extended his arm and we walked together to the exit.
We didn’t make it to Denny’s. When we got to Mike’s car, he said, “I have coffee at my place. Why don’t we just go there?”Alarm bells rang inside my skull, but I silenced them. “I can’t think of a single reason not to,” I said.
The next morning, back in my own apartment, I could think of several reasons why I shouldn’t have.
Number one: I felt cheap. There had been no pretense of coffee drinking when we entered his apartment. We had immediately started kissing and tearing each other’s clothes off.
Number two: It wasn’t worth it. Wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am. Only he didn’t say thank you.
Number three: When it was over, he got out of bed and started getting dressed, explaining, “I don’t like to mess around afterwards. I better get you back to your car.”
Number four: He didn’t even ask me for my phone number.
And, number five: I had to go to work that morning and I felt like hell.
I headed for the shower and stood under the very hot water as long as I could stand it. I scrubbed every inch of myself with soap and a rough washcloth. When I came back into the bedroom, I saw the clothes I had worn the night before. I picked them up gingerly and carried them to the wastebasket, stuffed them all the way down and closed the lid.
I got dressed, drank a cup of tea (no more coffee, uh-uh, never) and went to work.