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Outsourcing Dating

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And now for something completely different

Perhaps this already exists; God knows I’ve been out of the loop for a long time. But why aren’t there “professional daters” – a surrogate who can step in before an actual date, test the waters, ask pertinent questions, demand to see current medical records, administer a simple lie detector test, and play back-to-back Woody Allen films such as Love and Death and What’s Up Tiger Lily to properly gauge the humor barometer and, if necessary, check for excessive back hair? I’d pay good money for that service.


As my friend, Janice, lamented, “It doesn’t get any easier in your 40’s, in fact, the angst of dating and the very things we agonized over in our teens, are the very same issues we’re fretting over now. At least we can have cocktails while we strategize over how to get rid of a zit.”

That’s part of the twisted humor of aging and being single; we can still get zits at the same time we’re watching our breasts forget how to lift and separate without the help of inflated gel packs.

I hate small talk. In fact, I just can’t do it. I need to cut through the B.S. as quickly as possible and get to the meat of the issue. See what I mean? I can’t even write politically correct, how will I ever wean my way back into the dating scene? It’s not for wimps. I need a surrogate dating service to interview any prospects, see if they’ll tolerate or at least, not find objectionable my unintentional suggestive-speak or guffaws, if they get the jokes, if not the neuroses.

I have great respect for the challenge men have taken on throughout history in asking women on dates. Needing such a backbone and nerves of steel would have me high-tailing it for warm, buoyant waters that would keep me afloat while I contemplated swimming with the fishes. This is where the inflatable gel packs would come in handy. But as it now stands, I’d sink to the bottom like a sack of molly bolts.

The art of rejection is not easy, especially for a novice, and while many women are comfortable asking men out, others, having been pursued most of their lives, find it foreign, off-putting, nausea-provoking and necessitating a daily dose of Pepto Bismol. Be warned, however, Pepto Bismol can leave your tongue black.

Dating surrogate: be sure to look at all prospects’ tongues.

I may or may not have an impending date. But as it may happen, I’ve gone into a faux calm tizzy, pretending to be in total control of the situation, all the while feeling like a hormonally plumped vixen from a Fellini film or one of those great B-movies where the women are always clad in animal print loin cloths with windswept locks and a crazed look in their deer in headlight eyes – arms and legs akimbo – never quite sure of the direction in which to flee, from what or whom they are actually fleeing, and if, in fact, they are not actually being menaced by nothing more than a flea. This is how I feel.

To make matters worse, it is a full moon and I am south of the border in excessive heat and blazing sun, and believe you me, these things, when mixed, are explosive. Ask any woman and they’ll tell you this cocktail is lethal.

At night, beneath the skylight directly above my bed, I can see that teasing, tantalizing moon, la luna, blaring full light upon my middle-aged, angst-ridden right brain, and I feel like my pupils have gone all horizontal on me, diamond-shaped slits, like a leopard’s, my body shackled, in chains, barking, growling, hissing, frothing at my tormentors on the outside of my prison, waiting to be released so I can menace small dogs and curb mice. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t froth, but still…

Let me back up. My emotions and excessive sweating are getting the best of me. For the first time in a very long time, I have tentative plans to meet someone for a drink. Almost instantaneously, at the asking, I felt sick to my stomach. I regretted the very moment, the very breath. I regretted being born. It was one of those very real Obama moments when your worlds collide and you contemplate turning to God and guns. But instead, I took an anti-diarrheal. Rather than looking forward to an impending drink with an intriguing man I had just met, I felt like I had eaten blowfish in a restaurant on a Monday – a restaurant south of the border, land-locked, temps in the low 90’s, no refrigeration, and no blowfish in abutting seas.

To forget my chronic nausea, I made a list of mandatory items to buy before having a drink with someone of the opposite sex. With my friend in tow, we entered the world of one-stop shopping where, with reckless abandon, I tossed products new and tried into my basket. Body bronzer, clear gel deodorant, which by the way, is a running joke by gringos in Mexico. I have gone through more deodorants that swear they go on clear and dry clear, without any of that nasty white residue, and I can tell you, they are big fat liars.

Finding a new bra in a one-stop shop that won’t let you try them on, and that also sells iceberg lettuce, toilet paper and dog food isn’t going to guarantee a good fit or promising end results either. Sizes here are frighteningly different. You make one small mistake, miscalculate or forget you’re ABCD’s, and you’re either crammed into a harness that will suck the living daylights out of you, and currently being tested as a new CIA torture strategy, or swimming in padded vessels that could provide housing for a clutch of eaglets.

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Jan Baumgartner is the author of the memoir, Moonlight in the Desert of Left Behind. She was born near San Francisco, California, and for years lived on the coast of Maine. She is a writer and creative content book editor. She's worked as a grant (more...)

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