I was recently
filling out some form that asked me about my “marital status,” and it
got me to thinking, which is something I like to do more than actually
working. Marital status. It seems a rather strange term. I can’t recall
where being married ever got me any status, per se. Some good times,
some gray hairs, but never any status.
Now when you get
divorced, I suppose your “status” goes from married to divorced. This
makes some sense, but for how long? At some point, don’t you just turn
back into single? I mean, what if ten years has gone by since the big
split. Are you divorced, or single? What if you were divorced, then
re-married, then were widowed, and then ten years had passed? What the
heck are you then, other than unlucky? Think about this, or you may lose
all that status.
It can’t be much
fun to be “single” these days. So much has changed. Back when I was
young and single, my mind was often on the opposite sex. Okay, so some
things haven’t changed. But today, sex can literally kill you. Back
then, it was her father who would.
Recently a single
fellow I know brought up the subject of dating, and where one could take
a first date these days. He is a single father, so he’s not exactly
rolling in money (I see heads nodding). The date couldn’t cost and arm
and a leg, as his ex-wife had taken those in the settlement.
Always ready to
help in the cause of love (or lust), I immediately decided to give the
chap the benefit of my creative powers, as I was unwilling to give him
It was more
difficult than I thought it would be to come up with a workable
first-date plan for him. The options are somewhat limited. Take the old
standard, the movies.
First of all,
there’s the price of admission. Going to the movies is no longer
inexpensive. I know they have to give Jim Carrey a gazillion dollars a
flick, but I didn’t realize they wanted it to all come directly out of
my pocket. And what sort of slug wouldn’t spring for popcorn and drink.
Do you want her to think your a cheapo, or worse, insensitive? So the
kid behind the counter passes you a medium-sized garbage pail full of
popcorn and a small drink. Did I say small? Yes, just the four-liter
size. You drink this sucker and she’s going to think you have
Plus, what if it’s
a steamy movie? She’ll suspect you’re some sort of pervert. If the film
has any scenes showing brutality to women, you’re going to get that
look that says all men are pond scum. And you can’t talk during the
movie, so how do you know if you’re with an airhead? How does she? Nope,
forget the movie idea.
How about a nice,
long walk? Women like to walk. You can tell by reading those personal
ads. They all like long walks and sitting by a cozy fire. You never see
an ad for a lady who likes to dine out on lobster.
On a walk, you can
talk, it’s very inexpensive (unless you walk by a guy selling flowers),
and it’s healthy. The only potential problem is the weather,
particularly if it’s very cold outside. It’s hard to impress your date
with your suave and debonair manner while you’re shivering profusely and
stuff is starting to come out of your nose.
The best I could
come up with was brunch. This is a good idea for a number of reasons.
For starters, you can go to brunch without taking out a second mortgage.
I suggested going relatively early, say around 11 a.m. That way, if she
belts back five or six Black Russians, you know she either has a
drinking problem or she just gets a big kick out of spending someone
else’s money. The former can be cured, but the latter is hopeless, and
it’s best to find out about these things right away.
If things are
going swimmingly, you have all day to get to know each other better. If
it’s heading down the crapper, you just pretend to choke on the French
toast, and ask her to call 911.
Michael Beninger is a freelance writer living in Victoria, B.C. He has had two wives and one divorce.