Everything I'm writing here is 100% true except for the names. I may have written about this before in my old Paperlicious blog. I'm not sure. If you are a long long time reader of mine, and read something similar before, I apologize.
My twenties and early thirties were interesting, meaning I could sell the rights to those years to the Lifetime movie channel. (At first I wanted Sally Field to play me because she is so cute and could fly and all that. But then folks might confuse me with Sybil.)
After getting through the muck, I woke up on New Year's Day 1988 a relatively sane and healthy woman and decided it was time to jump start my social life. My resolution for 1988 was to date 5 different guys.
By February I had managed to attract the attention of Ralph, a lawyer in my office. He was a bit of an old soul, but essentially quite nice. After one Thai dinner, Ralph asked me to lunch. Woo hoo, a second date. He told me that dating a coworker was a bad idea and that was that. Rejected! Hey, buddy, you started this..... but thanks for being Guy #1.
So March, April and May came and no numbers 2 - 5.
Back then we had something cool called magazines and E Harmony was just a mish mash of musical terms. To put the times in context, here is a picture of the car I drove back then:
So there was no internet dating. Instead there were the "personal ads" in the back of these magazines like this:
M/W/M iso of ? with S/M/D/W/B/A/W Daytime only. (Translation: Married White Male in search of a lot, but certainly not lunch, with any woman at all -- single or married or divorced or widowed; black or asian or white. I'm busy in the evenings with my wife and kids so don't even think about anything more.)
Yuck. But there were other ads from supposedly single men and women looking for true love. A typical ad from a "normal" guy would read:
S/W/M, loves dogs, ISO of LTR with S/W/W under 40 for walks in the park, dancing in the rain and cuddles in front of a fire and who knows where it will all lead. No fatties. (Translation: 50 year old white guy thinks he wants a 25 year old white woman for a long term relationship but really can't commit and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the fact that I live with my mom. Must be very thin.)
I mean really, what was I supposed to do?
So I took out my own ad: Pretty happy SWW ISO of a nice guy 35 - 45. Commas cost money back then. Let the nice guys figure out whether I meant that I was pretty and happy, or almost happy. I paid for the ad to run one month and for the magazine to provide a mail box. The magazine agreed to send all responses to me in bunches once a week for 4 weeks.
So I waited. After two weeks of publication, I got a manilla envelope from the magazine with 37 responses. I set them aside unopened and waited the full 4 weeks. And then I had a party. I invited all my girlfriends over for brunch and we opened each envelope and took turns reading aloud all 128 of them.
A few shockers: My friend Chris opened a letter and and screamed, "OMG this is from one of my clients. He is creepy and going bankrupt." And then she tore up his letter so we never learned his last name. Chris for the win! Then Angela opened a letter and shrieked that it was from her husband's best friend, George. Well, isn't this interesting...
George was Guy #2. Dinner. Another lawyer. He wanted to know my I.Q. Goodbye George.
My friends and I had selected only George and one other guy as possible dates Picky bunch.
But Guy # 3 turned out to be someone I had met years earlier. I bumped into him on the subway one day and we exchanged numbers and met for lunch and dinner a whole bunch of times. Nice, but way older than I (James was probably 48 - 50 but at the time he seemed really old). He wanted a serious relationship; I wanted to be friends. Good bye James.
Guy #4 was the other ad responder who had been hand picked by my friends. Larry said he worked for an advertising agency or a company that sold water bottles -- I just can't remember -- but he had a job and a car and said a few things that were not disqualifying. He included a picture. Not bad at all.
I met Larry at a restaurant and had a great time. I accepted his offer for a second date and gave him my address. Apparently that was "clue number one." He picked up me and we had dinner and a movie and came back to my home. I invited him in for coffee. "Clue number two."
Larry wanted more than coffee. When I demurred, he told me that I had sent a lot of signals -- see clues #1 and #2 above, and proceeded to try and enjoy himself. "What did you think, inviting a virtual stranger into your home? I could be a r**p*st."
Out of nowhere I reached into the recesses of my brain and demanded to know if he had seen Fatal Attraction.
Quietly I looked him in the eye and told him "Leave now or I will become that woman in Fatal Attraction and spend the rest of my life destroying your life."
Tick. Tock. Seconds of pure terror, and then he got up and left.
By then it was September and I decided there was no need for a Guy #5. Single was awesome. Do I what I want when I want.
Then in November 1988, at work, I ended a phone conversation with a particularly difficult person, noisily hung up the phone and muttered under my breath, "Jerk." Looking up, Guy #5 was standing there looking for my office mate.
Hmm Guy #5 was cute. So I thought about it and married him....