The Dating Life (15) By Jan Cordele
“No, God, please not that; anything but that!”
My silent plea went unanswered as my date for the evening cradled the repulsive purse on her lap and folded her arms over it as if the door was going to be pried open any moment by a swarm of terrorists intent on snatching the hideous handbag from her grasp. We were traveling at a modest 45 miles per hour down her neighborhood street in order to outrun the skateboard crew who were making screaming-faces at us.
“I think you ran over one of their skateboards,” my date said, slyly lifting one arm to insert a hand into the strange black-and-silver bag on her lap.
If she pulls out a lipstick tube I’ll just ram us headfirst into that old oak tree ahead, I told myself.
She did pull out a lipstick tube, faded fake gold over what appeared to be industrial plastic last used in the Space Shuttle, but I had already paid for our concert tickets and really didn’t think I could sell them to a friend in less than 10 seconds. The oak tree roared past.
My date slowly – oh so slowly – rolled the tube so a good amount of the apple-red substance shone brightly at its tip, somewhat resembling the magic bullet that killed JFK. She applied the color to her lips so that her pasty white skin took on that beautiful corpse-like pallor that thrills undertakers after they embalm their client. My date had powdered her face with cement, I think, with a hint of gravel tossed in for that windblown effect. Her hair glowed in the street lights, most probably from the toxic formula she had recently used to give the old follicles the look of a royal Egyptian woman unearthed in the desert after three thousand years underground as a mummy.
She wore a stunning pants outfit that subtly revealed her upper neck, and nothing more. It was the old school look circa 1947. Therein lies the rub. If this woman were only a few decades older she would look almost exactly like my Aunt Jewel, who guarded her purse constantly, even at home, where she crammed it under her bed or plunked it behind the mayonnaise jar in the fridge. Aunt Jewel wore ridiculously red lipstick that she applied every five minutes as if the act of breathing would melt it from her lips. I don’t know why but these traits had distressed me as a kid. Now I was trapped with a woman who was obviously channeling Aunt Jewel.
Edna Merle may have been in the Big House but I was in the Nut House; the real world, in other words. The inmates here are insidious and highly dangerous, and that is just the suburban crowd. Before I met and married Edna Merle I was just another prisoner of modern American life.
Here is what I thought at the time: Dating at my age is composed of equal parts of fear and revulsion layered with sheer terror, at best. When I get lucky on a date now it means I’ve been able to get out of there without having to fake a kiss. Either women over 50 dress like they are 19, to highlight their wrinkles and age lines, I think, and end up looking like they are 75, or they dress as a cadaver, just in case they have to visit the funeral parlor before the night ends. It can’t end soon enough for me.
As we parked the car and approached the outdoor concert venue, my date of the evening was droning on about her prescription drugs, the tiny red ones for her heart, the big red ones for her liver, the green-and-white for her stomach, and the gold ones for her ass; No, really, her buttocks, rear end, tushy, bum. Seems these were the only pills doing their job. She was obviously trying to turn me on by detailing her night sweats and hot flashes and urination schedule, which was set to begin at that very moment, so she needed to take one of her white pills. She scurried off to the Porta-Johnny while I contemplated dashing back to the car and driving to Asia or maybe Antarctica. Any small country would do.
But no; I instead took my place in the half-block long line to get a $7 glass of wine poured into a plastic glass from a large cardboard box. I could have filled out my 1040 long form while waiting. Instead, I listened to the two women in front of me discuss their prescription drugs: the tiny red ones for their heart, the big red ones for their liver, the green-and-white for their stomach, and the blue ones for their husbands. “He still only gets it up half way. Thank God it is only once a month,” one said. “Oh, Lord, we only do it on special high holidays,” cackled the other.
I ordered three glasses of wine when I finally got to the counter, with my date still nowhere to be seen, and downed one of them before walking away. Standing next to the kiosk selling $35 t-shirts of the group we were about to see, I downed another glass of the watery wine. I felt the slightest buzz at that point so I figured, what the hell, I chugged the other.
Just then she appeared looking white as the swirling flashes I was experiencing. “My blood sugar seems to be running low. Could you get me a glass of wine,” she asked, holding tightly to that damned purse.
“You look tired. Let me show you to our seats then I’ll come back,” I said, plotting my getaway.
After crawling over several tables replete with enough food to feed a Third World country, we arrived at our seats only to find the two women from the line, still discussing their predilection for prescriptions, on the bench next to us. I left my date to join in the chat about incontinence.
Back at the wine stall, after waiting long enough for the opening group’s four-song act to come and go, I paid $28 for four glasses of the boxed wine and downed two of them before leaving. I contemplated drinking the others as I lumbered around a middle-aged couple with day-glo hair and matching outfits that had clearly last been worn during the Carter administration. But I resisted the temptation. I did, however, treat myself to someone’s chicken wings and pickled artichokes as I scaled the tables filled with grub.
As I slid into my seat I noted that one of the women was reading from a portablePhysician’s Desk Reference book about Astrointhricane or some other commonly used pill for GI troubles. My date sat enthralled and barely acknowledged my presence. She took her glass of wine and sipped at it for the rest of the night, her purse now snuggly ensconced between her unyielding thighs. I slurped mine down as the main act was being introduced by some old geezer who said he was once a DJ on the local AM radio station. He looked like my grandfather, if he were still alive at 109.
It was hard to believe the men who took the stage had once been young, vibrant musicians who could party all night and day and still play a concert to thrill 30,000 screaming teenagers high on pot and cocaine and whatever else they could throw down their throats. The drummer had to be helped up to his high rise by two roadies. The guitarist needed another assistant to find the plug to connect into his amp. The bass player sat on a stool, evidently drooling into a bucket strategically placed by what looked like a male nurse. Only the lead singer appeared to be capable enough to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. But he was dressed in one of those half-halter tops that allowed his beer belly the freedom to flow over black stretch pants that had enough fabric to cover the amphitheater.
The band’s tepid rendition of their minor hits from the mid-70’s had the crowd roaring in delight. But that didn’t stop the tête-à-tête regarding topical creams versus emulsified ointments from raging next to me. If I had not been blocked by a pile of hummus and a container of pita chips, I would have gone back for yet more wine.
Soon the group ran out of breath or had to be hooked back up to their IV bags. They locked arms for a final bow and were whisked away, still interlocked, I believe, so they could remain standing, by a brawny group of men dressed in white t-shirts that I swear had a geriatric hospital logo on them.
I had to tear my date away from her new found friends, but not before they all exchanged phone numbers for their primary physicians, optometrists, urologist, podiatrists, neurologists and chiropractors. The wine had long ago left my system so I drove at a modest 75 miles per hour back to my date’s home, where I briefly deliberated simply throwing her out without stopping. But my gentlemanly character prevented me from such a cowardly act. I bravely walked her to her door where, purse safely held against her non-existent chest, she gave me a peck on the cheek before closing her door and fastening her deadbolt securely behind her.
I smeared the red lipstick from my cheek. For the first time that evening I felt euphoria come over me, but then I realized it was just a full bladder.
Such was my life before Edna Merle. Thank goodness she has made me feel young again without the assistance of prescription medicines. And I constantly thank her for saving me from The Dating Life.
One Response to The Dating Life (15) By Jan Cordele
- Barbara says:
This should be a reality show. Super funny.