The other day my husband and I actually got to go see a movie together—it was not animated and it was not rated G. Needless to say, it was a big day for us. The movie itself was awful but thankfully we had a bucket of popcorn to distract us. But even eating my body weight in popcorn couldn’t keep me from thinking about the storyline. The movie was about the dating antics of twenty-somethings and I think it was intended to be a romantic comedy but the funniest thing I saw in that theater was the woman in the row ahead of me who pulled an entire submarine sandwich out of her purse to snack on during the film.
I couldn’t help but look over at my husband and smile, thinking about how grateful I am to have him. The first reason is because he never brings oversized sandwiches into movie theaters and secondly, because he saved me from the hideous world of dating.
Fun, excitement, desperation, and degradation all rolled into one huge ball of confusion we commonly refer to as dating. I’ve been out of the dating scene for over ten years now and have threatened my husband with bodily harm if he ever leaves me. Okay, we love each other a lot too, but fear is a good motivating factor and the fact that I am the only one he trusts to fold his underwear properly has sealed our marriage in foreverness.
But I can still remember the utter frustration that came with dating. The first hurdle to dating is where to find date-worthy people. Someone once told me that the laundromat was a great place to meet people so one day I grabbed three weeks of dirty clothes, a bottle of Tide, and a hundred dollars in quarters and went to find myself a man.
What I actually found was a creepy guy with a parrot on his shoulder washing a comforter with a picture of The Last Supper on it, a woman who took off the underwear she was wearing to throw into the washing machine, and an old Portuguese woman who swore at the change machine each time she passed it.
I decided to stick around and do my laundry because how else was I going to get rid of all those quarters and unlike the woman I saw earlier who shimmied out of her underwear, I had run out of clean undies the previous day and it would feel good to wear undergarments again. I had to force myself not to look at the man with the parrot because I was dangerously close to yelling, “Ahoy, Matey!” and I don’t think he was stable enough to get the joke. I did, however, join the little old Portuguese woman who was swearing at the change machine and she really seemed to appreciate my support.
I had one last load of laundry in the dryer; it was a load of towels and a few pairs of those big, comfy, cotton undies that no woman wants to admit to wearing; I had already folded all the cute pairs and hid them under some jeans, away from the prying eyes of Captain Parrot. I found myself mesmerized by the tumbling of the load of laundry, watching it intently like the ninth inning of game seven of the World Series. Wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly when a very good looking guy walked up and stood right beside me.
He made some small talk then I saw him glance at the dryer I was using. I was fairly certain that he saw those giant cotton undies tumbling around, so I quickly made up a story about how I do laundry for a home for the elderly. I got so into my story that I threw my arms out for emphasis and ended up slamming right into the change machine. “Damn it,” I muttered under my breath. Right then the old Portuguese woman came running over and high-fived me then swore at the change machine.
That good-looking guy backed away slowly from me like I had parrot on my shoulder. I knew this was a bust so I just said, “Hey, that woman over there isn’t wearing underwear, so you might have better luck with her.”
I was just thinking I could probably get used to dating a man with a bird fetish when I remembered some great advice someone once told me, never settle for anything less than the fairytale.
So I didn’t.