Married early and widowed at 50, my limited dating experience did not prepare me for realism. It’s odd how some days my healthy self-worth was in the lead, so much so that I was totally unaware when men were not interested in me. Here are some pathetic excuses I made for potential suitors:
- “No, he hasn’t called, but I think he was going to New York to visit his family.” What? Even in the year 2001, I think there were phones in the state of New York.
- “You saw him out with a woman on New Year’s Eve?” My response: “Maybe it was his sister. Yes, he did say his sister was coming to visit.” Yeah, that’s it, Clarice. All 50-year-old men go out with their sisters on New year’s Eve.
- “Yes, I know he sounds like a con artist, but he could be telling the truth, couldn’t he?” This coming from a woman whose husband was able to convince her that rabbits lay eggs by using this closing argument: “Where do you think they got the whole Easter-Bunny-Easter-Egg thing?”
On other days, my low self-esteem beat me down, and I became a people-pleaser with a death wish. I was paralyzed by doubt and second-guessing. Rather than hurt someone’s feelings or confront them truthfully, I accepted invitations from men I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, were not even close to Mr. Right-for-Me.
I even made excuses for their inappropriate behavior, like licking their plate at the dinner table (really did happen) or loudly snorting lungas the whole evening (really did happen). I didn’t want to appear impolite. Sheesh. Impolite? I wasn’t the one licking my plate and/or snorting snot.
Why did I do that? More to the point, why did they?
Our egos can do strange things. You can have a first date made in hell instead of heaven, and you can know there is no chance of a second date, but we still want them to call us back. Does that even make sense? We dread having the whole it’s-not-you-it’s-me conversation, but what we dread more is rejection.
Our taunting egos whine, “Well, the least he could have done was call me back. Not that I wanted him to call me back. In fact, I’m glad he didn’t call me back. I hope he never calls me back. I wonder why he didn’t call me back?”
And when the plate-licker and snot-snorter don’t call you back, your self-esteem plummets you into therapy.