FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 27, 2013 —
This column by Daryl Fisher appeared in West Sacramento’s News-Ledger newspaper recently. Enjoy!
Note: As you may recall, a few weeks ago I wrote a column about a friend of mine who went out on a blind date that didn’t go so well, and in writing that column, I was reminded that the horrors of dating never really change. And below is a column I wrote many years ago confirming that fact!
Recently, my daughter and her longtime boyfriend broke up and she has started dating again. The other night, after returning from dinner with a nice young man she had met in one of her college classes, she strolled over to the chesterfield (why did they ever start calling them couches?) where I was reading an interesting book on the subject of why most of our best American writers have been drunks. She plopped down beside me and asked, “Dad, was dating this stressful back in the old days?”
“Well,” I said, trying to recall what going out on a date was like back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth, “if I remember right, it was never as much fun as it was cracked up to be. Why? Didn’t you have a good time?”
“Oh, sure, it was super, but it’s so nerve-wracking talking to someone for the first time.”
“But I thought you said you and Mark talk all the time in class.”
“We do, but this was different.”
She looked over at me as she often does when she’s pretty sure I don’t have a clue and said, “Oh, that’s okay, Dad, I think I’ll go talk to Mom about it. You probably wouldn’t understand. It’s girl stuff.”
As my daughter took off in search of her mother, I sat back in my davenport (in case you don’t want to call your couch a chesterfield) and was suddenly flooded with ancient memories of some of the pressures and tensions that went hand-in-hand with dating.
First, there was the terror of actually asking the girl out (and why was it that back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the guy always had to ask the girl out? And why did that all suddenly change about a week or so after I got married?).
Second, back when I was a teenager, a guy had to worry about the answers to some of the following questions:
What if she says no? What if all my friends find out that she said no? Worse yet, what if she says yes? Will Dad let me use the good car? Will he give me some money so I’ll be able to put some gas in the good car? Where do I take her if she says yes? Will she want to go to a movie? If she does, will I be able to talk her into going to the drive-in (where it cost $1.50 a carload) or will she insist on going downtown to one of the fancy indoor theaters? What kind of movies does she like? Will I get stuck going to one of those romantic ones? Will she want to go somewhere less boring than a movie? Where will I get the money to take her somewhere less boring than a movie? Will she want to go to dinner? Please, Lord, not dinner! And if I do have to take her to dinner, will she notice that I sometimes make strange noises when I chew, even when my mouth is closed? Will something green or black (it was always one of those two colors) get stuck between my teeth? Will she wait until dessert to inform me that she has an extremely jealous former boyfriend who wants to be a Mafia hit man once he graduates from high school? Will her mother and sisters be looking out the windows when I walk her up to the front door? Should I kiss her goodnight? How will I know if she wants me to kiss her goodnight? If we do get close enough to kiss goodnight, will she notice that I only have one long eyebrow, instead of the two normal ones that most guys have?
Plus there was always the unexpected, like the chilly fall night in 1965 when I was motoring along towards the old Alhambra theater with a young lady I had been trying to get to go out with me for over a year. She was everything I had ever wanted in a girl — pretty, funny, and liked by everyone. We were both a little nervous and we hadn’t said a word to each other for some time when, with absolutely no warning at all, she (although she still tells people it was me), well, she cut the cheese.
With the radio not working (Dad had made me take my own car) and the windows rolled up tight, it sounded like a bomb had gone off. Did the young lady and I even look at each other? Nope. Did we in any way acknowledge what had happened? No way! Did I have the courage to crack the window and let in some fresh air? Absolutely not! Instead, we both just looked straight ahead, tried real hard not to take any deep breaths, and pretended that absolutely nothing had happened.
When it comes to dating, I think Jerry Seinfeld had it right when he said, “What is a date really, but a job interview that lasts all night? And the only difference between the two is that there aren’t many job interviews where there’s a chance you might end up naked at the end of it.”
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Copyright News-Ledger 2013