Note: I started this blog about five years ago and abandoned it. It's not exactly relevant now, but I decided to leave it here, anyway.
Early this morning,* I was sitting at my computer flapping the hem of my turtleneck to make full use of the chilly morning air. I was trying to counteract the effects of the fickle, internal furnace (with some kind of weird short in the wiring) which sprang up within my inner being shortly after turning fifty. And I was wearing reading glasses at a strength of 2.75. It’s very difficult to find stronger ones in the drugstore.
I’m dating a 49-year-old man who has never been married. He’s funny and strong and kind. He doesn’t seem to have many troublesome habits. I imagine myself to be still reasonably attractive, particularly in dim light, and what are a few wrinkles (okay, more than a few) in comparison to my wise, witty, experienced, mature, undemanding personality? I know how to grill stuffed game hens and make donuts. I have less than twelve pairs of shoes, not counting the ones I don’t wear. But contemplating how I must have looked this morning in my plastic animal print glasses, glued, as usual, to my computer, I wondered why, exactly, he likes me.
I suggested, when we crossed the “going steady” threshold, that we write a blog together — the dating adventures of a 50-something woman and a man, who despite being on the brink of 50 himself, wears tennis shoes with lime green laces. The first time I saw them, I clamped my teeth together and forced myself to look up. Despite our differences in style—I study fashion as a soft science and, while I envy some of my friends their seemingly effortless way of tossing clothes together with flair and sophistication, am generally aware of it when a belt, neckline or handbag fails miserably to conform to the current Nordstrom catalogue; he figures “outdated” means it’s missing more than two buttons or the zipper is broken—we met at a Halloween party by appearing, in an ironic coincidence, dressed almost exactly alike, as pirates. However, modesty aside, my outfit was more fashionable. My outfit was accessorized with a sparkly battery-operated ring, a very shinny plastic sword and a large turquoise bird with dramatic, eye-catching feathers. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to write about a new relationship as it happens?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said. “We could call it the Poo-House Blog.”
At the time John and I met, I had a dog, two cats, two ponies and an ex-racehorse (and I was contemplating chickens), all living in and around my house, which I refer to as “The Farmette.” I live in a community on the outskirts of Charlottesville where many of the real working farms have been chopped into large suburban lots. These are populated by people like me, who wish to experience the rural life and have no concept of how limited a space three acres really is when transformed into a home for animals who generally do one of three things: gallop around at breakneck speed and skid to a stop just short of plunging headfirst through the very expensive fence, snatching up by the roots anything green that dares to sprout, and pooping.
The third time John came to pick me up, I had forgotten to set the lever of my manure spreader to Off when headed out to my neighbor’s field and had deposited a week’s worth of horse manure, which is roughly 500 pounds, in a wide swatch all the way up my rather short driveway. I tried to quickly rake it out of the way, so the bulk of it was in smeary little piles along the side of the yard. He didn’t say anything, and he didn’t leave that night and never come back. I considered this a good sign.
John has yet to make a contribution to this blog; it may remain in my hands. He has, however, turned the possibility of publicly embarrassing me into a reformative threat, as in: “Watch out! I'm going to blog about that!" Promises, promises.
*John is now older than the speed limit. I have to get reading glasses from an optometrist, and our relationship is "complicated." I'll hold off blogging about that....