Lunch at HOOTERS?!?
by Susana Rosende

The spring I turned 31, had broken up with Greg for the 30th time, and felt my biological clock gonging, I took a well-meaning friend's advice and answered a personal ad. Mike, 40, and I seemed to have "a lot in common." After all, we both were:

  • Divorced, single parents raising six-year-old sons,
  • Employed in the I.T. industry,
  • Children of immigrants,
  • Raised in New York City.

Well, the last item was not entirely true, but I HAD lived in Queens until I was nine and moved to the South Jersey suburbs. But I was sheltered in our Elmhurst, Queens apartment, where my brother, sister, and I were forbidden to play in the street with the other kids. We also attended Saint Joan of Arc's Catholic School in Jackson Heights, where my mother walked us every morning, rain or shine, and also waited to walk us home after school.

On the other hand, Mike, whose surname rymed with 'stromboli,' had a gritty inner-city childhood replete with an abusive father and teenage gang violence. He couldn't remember the year he graduated high school, which I took to mean he never had.

Despite our differences, we DID have the common bond of single parenthood, including limited budgets and time, as our children and work responsibilities took top priority.

But, the more time we spent together, alone, after our boys were in bed or away on visitation, I realized how little we had to talk about and how much we were 'forcing' our relationship to work. When he started hinting "marriage", I realized how much I couldn't bring myself to say the "L" word.

In the end, the Friday night pizzas and video dates, during which time I'd watch the movie while he snored over his BIG GULP-sized beer, and a revealing Saturday lunch date to HOOTERS, a sports bar known for its scantily-clad, 18-year-old waitresses, provided the final straws.

Not only did he spend the entire lunch flirting with the young waitresses, while patting me on the knee, "Dontcha worry, you're the prettiest girl in the place!" he refused the menus and ordered for us ... two platters of chicken wings (though I don't like them and would have preferered a salad) and beers.

It was as if someone had poured a pitcher of ice water on me. Suddenly, the spot light shone on his lack of class and manners, and I realized, once again, that I was better off alone.

For those of you who wonder where to take
your date for a meal, I suggest purchasing
Dating For Dummies
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