I have married myself. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to meet the male version of me, right down to the weight insecurities and the penchant for fart jokes. Between us our combined age is somewhere around 19.
This brings me great joy.
I had decided after many long distance phone calls from my sister that I really wasn’t going to meet a nice guy by sitting on the couch in my living room. I needed to get out. “You’re not getting any younger,” she egged me on. “You know, those kids are going to grow up and leave you and then what are you going to do?”
So one Saturday night I let the kids help doll me up and I drove about 10 miles due north of Syracuse to St. John’s Church in Liverpool. They were hosting a St. Patrick’s Day dance, and by God, I liked to dance and I didn’t care at that point if I did it alone.
I tried psyching myself up on the way there.
“Okay, God, it’s like this,” I said aloud in the car, “I want to meet somebody tonight and I want him to be funny and I want him to be bigger than me and most of all I want him to be kind.” I had been reading a lot of self-help books about the power of positive thinking and one of them suggested I just say aloud exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately, I failed to say “and I want him to be rich.” I can just hear my mother’s voice in my head, “It’s just as easy to marry a rich man.”
Anyway, I looked around for the group of friends I had invited myself to join that night. I found them and sat down at their table. I fortified myself by bringing a couple of little airplane bottles of Jack Daniels in my purse. When I sat those down on the table, the guy next to me perked right up. I grabbed a Styrofoam cup of ice and a diet Pepsi from the parish hall church ladies. I noticed an unfamiliar liquor bottle on the table in front of the guy who I now noticed looked to be a bit of a sourpuss dressed like a canary. I had Jack Daniels. He had 99 Bananas and was wearing a shirt that matched the drink.
He looked a little sheepish, which of course went straight to my heart. He watched closely as I set myself up with a little Jack and Pepsi and proceeded to get a grip. I think I picked up his 99 Bananas, examined the bottle and asked if he’d like to try some of my drink. Of course he did, embarrassed that he’d brought something you'd find at a Florida frat party.
He still hung his head, though. A mutual friend kept coming by and talking out of the side of his mouth to my banana friend. I saw him jab the poor guy with his elbow more than once. Our friend introduced us and I found out the shy guy was named Chris. I could work with this. Finally, Mr. Yellow asked me to dance.
We went out onto the dance floor, which I’m pretty sure was in a room where more than one wake had taken place, and the “disc jockey” looked to be close to 80. His sideline was probably bingo caller on Sunday nights.
We started off with a little light dancing. I didn’t want to bust out my award-winning moves right away. I could already tell he was a nervous wreck, no sense in overwhelming him. We made it through a couple of songs and we had a nice rhythm together. I definitely wanted to try him out on a slow number.
Finally DJ Jazzy Gramps played a slower tune and we went out on the floor.
“So,” I said to him. “Are you divorced? Have you been married?”
“Yes,” he told me. “I’ve only been divorced a year or two. I was married for 17 years.”
Well, I thought to myself, he’s got my first marriage beat by six years.
“I was married for 11 years and I’ve been divorced for around 11 years,” I told him.
“Yeah? Well, I’m not ready for anything,” he told me.
“Well, that’s too bad, because I am,” I said out of absolutely nowhere.
He got a little quieter, but we kept dancing the rest of the night and lightened the conversation a bit. I’m about as subtle as a hurricane, I thought to myself. The music came to an end and he hadn’t asked for my number or made any indication he wanted to see me again, so I pulled on my coat and drove home, happy at least that I had finally gone out and glad that I had a good dance partner. Not just anyone can keep in time while I’m doing it up Davy Jones-style.
I kept thinking during the days ahead that I wanted to find a way to see him again. I wondered if he ever thought about me. I wondered if he had other shirts besides that god-awful banana sweatshirt.
Finally, about three weeks later, my friend came to me and said, “Chris would like me to give him your email, but I wanted to check with you first.”
Was she crazy? “Yes, yes, give it to him!”
Ah, he did think of me.
That was six years ago. He still emails me and he still takes me for a spin on the dance floor, only now it’s in our kitchen while I’m making dinner. We don’t go out dancing much anymore, life has gotten in the way. We both have someone to share it with now, though, and that makes all the difference.