I met the next bachelors, Bachelor #3 and Bachelor #4 (if they qualify as that–I’ll explain later), at a Sunday night religious meeting for singles in Utah.
I walked in the door of the church building to brave my second such meeting and was stunned when four men rushed over and introduced themselves to me in the foyer. Two asked me where I was sitting. (I hadn’t even entered the chapel yet. I didn’t have a seat.) Like a deer caught in headlights, again, I said, “I’m not sure yet. I don’t even know if I’m staying!” I left them and headed into the chapel.
A man came up to me as I walked in the door, shook my hand and introduced himself. He asked me where I was sitting. My answer hadn’t changed. “I’m not sure yet. I don’t even know if I’m staying!”
I went across the room, toward the back, and sat in the corner against the wall–trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. It worked, too, until a very loud man with a shaved head walked in. He walked past my row, glanced at me out of the corner of his eye as he passed by but kept walking, then he stopped, turned around and came and sat down right in front of me! He turned around, introduced himself, and began talking to me. In fact, he turned around and talked to me through the entire prelude like we’d come together or were there as a couple, or at least knew each other! I was mortified. At a break in his conversation, I excused myself.
I went and sat on the other side of the chapel, toward the front this time, but still against the wall.
A man wandered over (Bachelor #3) shook my hand and introduced himself. He asked me what I was doing there. I replied, “Just here to hear the speaker.”
He said, “Aren’t you a little young to be here?”
I was stunned. I thought I was at the Sunday meeting for 31 years old and older. Had I gone to the wrong place? I asked, “Isn’t this for 31 years old and older?” He said yes. I said, “Then I’m at the right place.” He said, “How old are you? Look around–I’m 52 years old. You are by FAR the youngest person here. Do you have kids? What are their ages?”
When I told him I was 42 years old and had a four-year-old, he nodded his head knowingly and said, “I told you you are a little young to be here. No one here is under 50. And no one is going to want a four-year-old at this age.”
I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t feeling like I belonged many places I went as a single, for one reason or another, and then I was being told I didn’t even belong at a singles event for my age group? What else was new?
The meeting began; our conversation ended. The good news? I was alone on the bench!
I sat and listened to the presentation. I didn’t feel like I totally belonged, but I was doing o.k. until the special musical number. A man stood and sang a song I’d never loved, but it had been sung at my mom’s funeral and had affected me every time I’d heard it since then. That night the words hit me in a whole new way. And I wondered what my parents had to be thinking about the disaster-at-times life that was now mine. Tears started rolling down my cheeks.
Not that I could stop the tears from coming, but I thought I was being very discreet about experiencing them. I wasn’t sobbing, or shaking, or anything. Just subtly wiping them away as I sat and listened to the music. And then, from out of nowhere, it happened.
Well, actually, I’m pretty sure it came from behind me.
Unexpectedly, I felt a hand from behind touch my shoulder and squeeze. And didn’t let go. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t dare look back. I didn’t dare acknowledge it. The only thing I felt I could do was pretend it wasn’t happening!
“…It’s all just pretend. That’s what’s fun about it.” (James Spader) NOT.
Periodically, through the rest of the meeting, I felt a hand on my shoulder and a squeeze. Every time, I’d freeze (probably stiffen) and wait for it to go away! I was reminded, again, there are just some things in life you never expect to experience. That night, I got several!
When the meeting was over, I stood up to leave and the man who had been sitting behind me (I assumed he must have been the shoulder squeezer) said, “If you ever want to talk about it…” I thanked him and told him I was fine. He kindly offered to connect me with singles events more my age. I gave him my email as he requested, and headed out the door.
But before I made it to my car, an old man stopped me. Seriously old–probably pushing 70. He introduced himself as a professor at a local university, told me about himself, asked me about myself…and asked me out on a date! I NEVER saw that one coming. Thank you, Bachelor #4!
Before I could respond to Bachelor #4, a woman came by, grabbed me by the arm, marched me away and said, “Just because you’re single, DOES NOT MEAN you have to be kind to everyone. How long have you been divorced? You’ll learn. I just wanted to get you out of there. Save you.” And she walked away.
I ran into Bachelor #4 a few times after that, and every time he asked me out. Each time I got away without answering. How do you reject a grandpa? (Because I didn’t actually date him, I don’t know if he qualifies as Bachelor #4. But to honor him for his tenacity and his quest for youth, I’ve given him a number.)
That night, however, I went home my usual alone, checked my email before bed to get a jump on what was in store for me the next day, and there was a contact from Bachelor #3–telling me how nice it was to meet me, sharing more about himself, giving me a link to a singles site more my age…and asking me out!
How did I respond?
I did what I do best. I ignored it. I thanked him for the singles info and left it at that. I ran into him a lot after that, and he was always friendly. He even started to seem familiar, in a way, and I couldn’t figure out why. Until one time, I was with a man at an event, ran into Bachelor #3 and he asked a little of the history behind my association with Bachelor #3. I explained. He laughed. When I asked what was so funny, he said, “I just never pictured you dating Fred Flintstone.”
As soon as he said that, it hit me why Bachelor #3 seemed so familiar! Yabba-dabba-DOO!
Thank you, Bachelor #3.