Scenes From an Italian Restaurant

 I knew even when I was in the midst of divorce that I did not want to live the rest of my life alone, and I included my sister and I living in side by side condos on some old person beach as alone. Where to find a possible life partner, a soul mate, a fucking date?  The only single man I knew was Frankie, my handyman, and he wore his t-shirts like Britney Spears in the 90's and smelled like cheese.  No way.

Short of putting on a leopard tank with black leggings and hanging at the Bonefish bar on  Bang Bang shrimp night, I could see only one way to come in contact with a suitable man; online dating. Navigating this mine field was not easy.  There were dating sites for every walk of life, including obese people, farmers,  and I think even obese farmers.

I chose a basic package with Match.com.  Creating a profile was no walk in the park either. The good news was my Creative Writing classes were finally going to pay off.  Watching The Barefoot Contessa while eating chips became "Love to cook and treat my friends to new and exciting creations in exquisitely beautiful surroundings."  Partaking in the free samples of Alice White Chardonnay offered at Publix on Friday afternoons, became, "Attend weekly wine tastings."
Slapped a few photos up which hopefully did not scream "PICK ME! PICK ME!" and  I was up and running.

 My first date was with a Jewish chiropractor,  I know, I know, but close enough.  I put more energy into preparing for this date then I did for my wedding.  Decked to the nines, I showed up at the meeting place which I thought was going to be a lovely restaurant on the water, but was in fact an outdoor bar on a canal. I surveyed the bar and saw no signs of anyone resembling a chiropractor. Stars of Swamp People, yes, chiropractor-no.  Still though, I waited, hopeful that my first date after 27 years of marriage was going to happen and I would not have to slink back home in utter humiliation.  It didn't and I did.  I went from the bar to my friend's house where I promptly threw back 3 glasses of red wine and then backed my car up into her tree.

Still, I persevered, and after a few weeks it paid off.  I met a physician, yes a real one, who was a member of a golf club and wore an Izod golf shirt in his profile picture.  "Doc" as I will refer to him here, professed to being 50 years old, had blonde hair, and appeared to have all of his teeth.  So far so good.  We decided to meet at an Italian restaurant, not far from my house.

I arrived a few minutes early and decided to wait at the bar.  I sat down and ordered a glass of Chianti, it was weird.  I have never been alone at a bar before.  Did I look like a self assured woman ordering herself a drink or like a pathetic new divorcee, praying her date shows up?  As I contemplated this, an elderly gentleman approached me. "Amy?" he inquired.

"Yes," I answered assuming him to be a friend of my father's that I was not remembering.

"I'm Doc."

"Oh stop it," I wanted to say.  "You are not.  Doc has blonde hair not white.  Doc does not wear deck shoes with socks and he certainly does not wear his jeans pulled up to his nipples with a belt."
Guess what?  Yes he does.

I settle my bar tab, which I now wish had been much larger, and we make our way to the table. Upon closer inspection, I see that Doc is probably closer to 60 then 50, but when he sits down and apologizes because he has to take just one call from a patient, I start to warm up to him.  Two words I love to hear from a date: "My patients."  I casually listen as he instructs his patient on prescription dosage, and think how much my mother will like him.  I picture them at the kitchen table playing with her at home blood pressure monitor.

He hangs up the phone.  "Sorry about that, I promise no more interruptions."

"Oh it's fine, " I reply demurely.

We begin to talk and that's when things take a turn for the worse.  First off, he downs two Chardonnays before we even get a menu.  Chardonnay?  Really?  With Italian food? What kind of person does that?  His gaze which had started out being friendly and interested, now turned to a creepy leer. The only time his eyes left my boobs was when he took a bite of lasagna.

 He did manage to tell me that: 1.  He had sort of a girlfriend.  2.  His four kids were in med school.  3.  He had a very large penis.  Allrightey...check please.

I knew this was really not for me, so I began slurping up my Puttanesca in an effort to end the agony.  Finally the check was presented.  I paid half and then headed for the door.  Still it continued as he followed me to my car, "We'll do this again right?" he asked, getting ever closer.  I opened my door and jumped in with one quick move.  I went to shut the door but he stuck his head in.

"Oh no! Don't stick your head in here!" I shouted.  "My son spilled chocolate milk and it smells like throw up," which, btw, was not a lie.

"I'll call you!" he yelled as I gunned out of there.  OMG.

On the way home I began thinking of my ex, I mean he wasn't that bad.  Just a little adultery, it's not like he tried to kill me or anything. But no, that was not an option.  He and Giselle had just bought a puppy, there was certainly no room for me over there.

 I decided to look on the bright side: this date had actually shown up.  My pride and my friend's tree were still intact.

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