Dating Moments

by Susana Rosende

Dating at any age is full of awkward moments.

We've all heard the story of the young couple on their first date, who had to pull over in the snow after a day of skiing so the girl could relieve her bladder. Unfortunately, when she leaned her bare bottom against the car, she stuck to it, and was only able to come loose when her new date came to the rescue the only way he could... by urinating on her!

Well, they say truth is stranger than fiction! And dating after divorce is even more full of a sense of the ridiculous. (And I'm not talking about the surprising occasional fling with the ex!) After years of marriage, one does not know the "rules" for courting. And it seems like things haven't changed much since the awkward teenage years, but only become more complex with the need for babysitters and the fear of new and more dangerous diseases.

Although I haven't dated in the five years following my second divorce, in-between my marriages, when I was between the ages of 27 and 31, I did. The following is the most embarassing dating situation I encountered.

"YIKES! Wrong Bedroom"
by Susana Rosende

John, my little brother's co-worker, was the first man I dated after divorce.

"Susana!" Jorge said, "I gave John our phone number and he's gonna call you. Give it a chance."

"I'm not ready," I told Jorge, both amused and horrified. "I've given up on men."

"But, you've got a lot in common," he insisted.

"Oh yeah, like what?" I asked while changing my son's diaper, "Is John divorced? Is he a single dad? Is he working two jobs and back in school?"

"Well...no...," Jorge shook his head, "but he just moved back in with his parents, and you're both 28!"

"Oh, wow, he sounds great!" I said sarcastically, secretly wondering if Jorge was plotting for me to move out of our parents' 3-bedroom condo. As it was, 20-year-old Jorge was sharing his bunk bed with my 2 1/2-year-old son, Brian, while I was sharing a room with my 14-year-old baby sister, Melissa. I figured the "Susana Invasion" was taking its toll.

Yet, I DID date John, an attractive, slightly-arrogant, and funny college-and-Army grad, who none-the-less knew how to have fun. If nothing else, the dinners, movies, miniature golfing, boat rides, dancing, and even church dates became a fun diversion the summer my ex, Michael, moved down to Florida and I was forced to deal with weekend dad visitation.

Despite John's best intentions, however, dating felt awkward to me. Holding hands with and kissing a man other than my ex-husband felt strange and wrong, even though I'd been divorced for almost a year.

However, the awkward first kiss paled in comparison to the first (and last) time we made love.

After our final date at the end of that summer, John drove me back to his parents' instead of home. Because it was late and his parents were asleep, we tiptoed through the house in the dark, until we reached his bedroom.

After talking for over an hour, during which time John displayed drawings he'd created while in high school, and pictures of his Army and college pals, we sat on his bed and kissed while he fumbled with my blouse buttons.

Shy and modest, I asked to undress under the covers, and he was obliging until I asked him to wear "protection."

"What?" he asked, "You've gotta be kidding me! I haven't used those things since high school!"

"You've got to be kidding ME," I countered. "I'm a mom. I have to be responsible. I'm sorry, but if you can't wear one of those things, I'm going to have to ask you to take me home."

When he returned from the drug store, John proved to be an adept lover, but afterward I felt empty. He was a friend, but I didn't love him. Worse, I felt sick to my stomach. Was it the love making or the dinner? I needed the bathroom FAST!

"Go down the hall, turn right, turn left, then go to the third door on the left," John directed, "but, whatever you do, DO NOT turn on any lights, and DO NOT flush the toilet. My parents are very light sleepers."

"No lights?" I thought as I stumbled through the maze of hallways, "I'm blind!" Worse of all, by the time I finally found the bathroom, I was so nauseated and crampy that I KNEW the toilet would need flushing!

So I did it. I flushed. When the water level started rising, I pictured the wastewater flooding John's parents' home. "What a nightmare!" I thought as I turned the water off and lay on the cold tile floor, trying to settle my stomach.

Finally, I felt well enough to re-enter the maze of dark hallways and attempt my way back to John's room.

I could hear him snoring, and when my eyes adjusted to the darkness, saw him huddled under the covers. Carefully, I lay on the bed beside him and whispered, "John, please, wake up. I've got to get home."

Again. "John, please wake up!" I murmured, as I stroked his hair.

I thought I heard a sound from the other side of the bed. I realized there was a woman in bed with him.

No, wait! "This isn't John," I thought as I struggled to see in the dark. It was his step-dad! I was in bed with his parents!

Holding my breath, I slowly climbed out of bed and back-tracked to the door, stubbing my toe on furniture. I froze and held my breath while the elderly couple stirred in their bed. Convinced they were still asleep, I tiptoed out and quietly shut the door behind me.

Finally back at John's room, I confessed I'd accidentally wandered into his parents' bedroom. Appalled, he waved his arms about, "How could you DO that? Did they wake up? House rules say I can't bring girls in. They'll have a fit!"

I assured him they didn't awaken. I didn't confess the toilet needed plunging.

The next day, John and his parents invited me to lunch and a boat ride on the Banana River behind their home. His parents were gracious and sweet, and to my relief, there was no mention of the clogged toilet or my visit to their bed.

Afterward, John revealed his plans of moving to California to join his brother's real estate business.

He moved that weekend, and I never heard from him again.

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