As I contemplated what to do about Man #47, I continued taking my dating prescription and responded to an email from a man who we will call “The Golf Coach.” I met him on my newly-acquired eHarmony account, which Sam had set up for me. There is no mention of golf anywhere on my eHarmony profile, but Sam posted a photo of me putting a foam golf ball through the streets of Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. This photo seems to draw a lot of attention…for some reason…from male eHarmony daters.
Man #49 and I first went through the “guided communication” on eHarmony, a series of conversation starters and intro questions meant to help you flush out potential deal-breakers. Then, when we finally got to emailing, he asked if I play golf. He apparently golfs at least once a week with his buddies.
“Define what you mean by ‘play golf’,” I responded. The truth was I hadn’t played golf in over a decade. My ex-husband didn’t play golf, which meant I had rarely played, and my clubs sat in the basement covered in a thin layer of dust. I had kept the ex from selling them at a garage sale, but I hoped my golf shoes hadn’t become moldy in our wet Seattle climate.
Mold happens to clothes and shoes here sometimes, and it’s pretty gross and disgusting.
At one time, I played a lot of golf. Fifteen years ago, I worked at a golf course, and the best perk was getting off work by mid-afternoon and getting nine free holes in before heading home for the day. I played Nicklaus North in the pouring rain while a black bear crossed the fairway in front of me, and I unexpectedly stole the ladies long drive contest from a long-time, consecutive multi-year winner at a tournament at Desert Aire. The truth was; I was itching to meet a man who played golf.
I gave Man #49 my golf history and let him know how much I wanted to get back to hitting that little dimpled ball. I told him not to expect any greatness, however, as I had no idea how I would hit the ball after such a long hiatus.
“Well, how would you feel about a date at the driving range,” he asked.
“That would be awesome,” I said.
“And don’t worry,” he said, “I’m a really good teacher.”
“No,” I said.
“No, don’t do that,” I said.
“Teach me. Don’t try to teach me anything unless I ask for your help.”
“Fifteen years ago, I would go to the driving range and there’d always be some doofus there, talking during my backswing and thinking he was going to “teach” me something. Then he’d step up and hack the shit out of the ball. I don’t need that. Are we clear?”
“Absolutely. You got it,” he said, “I won’t say anything unless you ask me for advice.”
“Ok. Cool. Then we can go to the driving range.”
“Ok. Good,” he said. He was laughing at me already; I could tell.
On the day of our date, we met in the parking lot of the driving range, got our buckets of balls, and walked out to the stalls. I sat my clubs down at a stall, and when The Golf Coach went to sit his clubs down in the stall behind me, I moved to the stall behind him, kind of like a game of driving range leap frog.
“Where are you going,” he asked.
“I’m going back here where you can’t watch me,” I said. “It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so I want to be out of sight for my first few whacks at the ball.”
“Oh, ok.” I also didn’t want him staring at my ass the whole time. I had enough to worry about as I wondered if hitting a golf ball would be anything remotely like riding a bike.
It’s not. There’s a lot to remember in the set-up, and I’ve always believed your set-up to a shot is everything. I’d hoped I could grab the club and everything would feel instinctual, but it didn’t. I started to go through a checklist in my head. My forefinger and pinky were interlocked. Where were my thumbs? Where was the ball in my stance? What was my left shoulder doing? Were my knees flexed or stiff? I breathed in and let out my breath as I pulled back and then swung through.
And this, my friends, is golf. My first ball was a worm-burner that never made it off the ground. My second was a bad slice, but at least it got some air. Between each shot, I went through my set-up checklist. Something didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I struggled through several more shots. Between swings, Man #49 and I would chat or comment on our respective shots. Though frustrating, it was a fun, casual date. After several more attempts to figure out what I was missing, I asked Man #49 if I could come watch as he hit his next ball.
“I just feel like I’m missing something,” I said. I went and stood in front of him.
He hit the ball, which flew nice and high and straight. I watched as he set up for another shot. After his second swing, I had it. “It’s my thumbs,” I said. “My right thumb isn’t in the right place,” and went back to my stall.
Now, as far as first dates go, I don’t recommend a driving range date unless you have two people who have golfed before and who aren’t worried about making a good impression. I once had a guy ask me what I thought about him taking a woman who had never golfed before to the driving range for a first date. My response was, “are you insane? That’s a horrible idea. What the fuck is wrong with you?” And as you might guess, I had no opinion on the idea whatsoever.
I know there are men out there who think that if they can teach a woman something they’ll come off as some sort of hero, but the fact of the matter is, things like teaching a date to golf, ski, rock climb,…etc., are better left to a professional. Go do something where both of you can have fun! Taking a date out to teach them something is just begging for frustration. Get your partner a couple of lessons, and then, and only then, make it a date.
Even for me, a woman who has golfed before, the driving range date is a little weird. Golf, for me, is half social and half introspective. With the set-up to each shot, I’m all in my head, blocking everything else out and concentrating on how my body feels right before I wind up and hit the ball. Blocking people out is not a good thing to be doing on a date. Just know that.
The Golf Coach finished his bucket of balls before I did, so he came and stood right behind my stall.
No, that’s not distracting at all!
“Maybe you should take a couple of practice swings,” he said.
“I don’t take practice swings.”
“Nobody ever swings the same during a practice swing as they do when they’re actually hitting the ball, so I don’t do practice swings.”
“You know, I have a friend who says the same thing. He never takes practice swings either.”
“Well then, there you go.”
I teed up another ball. This one flew nice and straight.
“You have a very athletic swing,” he said. I just looked at him. What did that mean? I had progressed through my shorter clubs and finally teed up a ball to use my driver. I swung again.
“Wow, that was nice,” The Golf Coach said, as the ball flew out high and straight in front of me. “You really have an athletic swing,” he said again.
I just smiled at him as I teed up another ball. “Do you want some of these balls,” I asked, offering him some of mine so he’d go back to his stall and leave me alone. The “athletic swing” comments were starting to feel a little creepy.
“No, you go ahead,” he said, anchored to his vantage point behind my stall.
I hit another sweet shot with my driver.
“Maybe you should have started with your driver,” he said. “You REALLY do have an athletic swing.”
“What does that mean?” I finally had to ask. During a golf tournament later in the year, my friend, Paul, informed me that this “athletic swing” nonsense was just code for “he was watching your ass.” However, The Golf Coach insisted he just meant that my swing and follow-through were “very fluid and strong.”
“Oh,” I said. Fluid and strong, huh?
Let me think about that for a second. Fluid and strong…
..ok…yeah, that’s me…
…fluid and strong.
With the legalization of gay marriage in Washington, a number of my friends have been getting married after years in committed gay relationships, and Samantha called and asked if I would help her plan the bachelorette party for two of our lesbian friends. They had already married in a small, intimate ceremony amongst family and friends, but we wanted to invite both of them to an informal, raunchy, girls’ night to celebrate their union.
Sam and I met almost twenty years ago when I hosted a friend’s bridal shower, and she threw the bachelorette party. We’ve been friends ever since, and she thought I’d be the perfect bachelorette party co-host. I was honored.
“You need to come over so we can plan this party,” she said, “Really, Really Nice Guy will cook dinner. I’ll open the wine, and we’ll make sure the hot tub is warmed up.”
“Ok,” I said, “I’ll be over around six.”
When I arrived, Sam was already on her computer searching for bachelorette party games. Most of them were very penis-centric. That would never do.
“We should probably find a way to make this more about vaginas,” I said. I’m not a lesbian, but beyond the occasional strap-on, I figured vaginas presumably figure more prominently in a lesbian relationship. I was just guessing, of course, as I have no first-hand knowledge.
“I agree,” said Sam as she typed ‘lesbian bachelorette party games’ into Google.
“Remember how you set up the buffet with all of the phallic foods at the last bachelorette party you hosted,” I asked.
“Yeah, a friend of mine was working at a catering company at the time and helped me set that up.”
“Well, I think we should do something like that,” I said.
“Yeah,” Sam said, as she searched for ‘vagina shaped foods’. “We could have cantaloupes for breasts.”
“That’s kind of cliché, don’t you think? We can do better than that,” I countered.
Google was not yielding good results. “What if we make a cheese ball and shape it to look like a vagina,” Sam asked. She was serious. Really, Really Nice Guy, who was sitting across the room, snort laughed.
“You mean take a cheese ball and shape it so it looks like labia,” I asked. “You really want to do that?” I just sat there, looking at Sam, horrified. I wondered how we were friends. I started to visualize a cheese ball formed into an oblong shape with lips and,…God forbid, rolled in…nuts. I felt we were headed down a dark path that was not only extremely tacky, but perhaps…unhealthy. “For the record,” I stated, “I just want to say that I think there is something inherently wrong with a cheese vagina… I’m just sayin’.”
Really, Really Nice Guy agreed.
“Just because we’re doing foods that look like pussy doesn’t mean we can’t be elegant,” I said. “I’ll make clam linguine.”
“I’m gluten-intolerant,” Sam said.
“This is not about you. Don’t worry. I’ll get five pounds of clams and only put half of them with the pasta. We can have a cheese plate with figs cut in half instead of your cheese ball vagina.”
“Yeah, figs,” I said. “Have you ever looked at the inside of a fig? In Italy, ‘lecca la fica’ is how you say ‘lick pussy’. Fica is also the word for the fig fruit in Italian. That’s not an accident.” I told Sam I would order a boob cake from The Erotic Bakery in Wallingford as she continued to search for other foods shaped like body parts.
“Really, Really Nice Guy can make my dad’s potato pancake recipe, and we can use a dollop of sour cream for the nipples.”
“While we’re at it, why don’t we just strap on some bratwurst,” I said sarcastically.
Oh god. I didn’t think she’d take me seriously. Although I didn’t really think potato pancakes and bratwurst went with clam linguine and figs, I would argue against a cheese vagina, but I would acquiesce to her potato pancakes. I happen to love her seventy-year-old father’s potato pancakes despite the fact I’d seen him cooking them shirtless after a hard night of drinking when my then husband informed me that he didn’t love me. (That run-on sentence calls for another blog post me thinks.)
“Ok, Really, Really Nice Guy, when you make my potato pancakes, just make sure the left one is slightly larger than the right one. Ok?”
“Ok,” he said, blushing.
Sam is a much better mixologist than I am, so she was in charge of the booze. There would be three different types of shots: buttery nipples, purple hooters, and screaming orgasms. The fact that all three took similar ingredients was a bonus.
Then the question came to games. What should we play? Sam had already found an online video game called Orgasm Girl. We would connect her tablet to my television so our guests could play it on the big screen. Based on my experience with this game alone, I have ascertained that I do not possess the skills to be a good lesbian. I never made it past Level 1, and I probably better stick to penises.
“We should have some of the women bring their sex toys and play a vibrator game,” Sam said.
“You mean, like guess what it does or where it goes?”
“No, like ‘Name that Vibrator’ or something,” she said.
“I like that,” I said, “Let’s call it Vibrator Vernacular, and the person who comes up with the best names is the winner.”
“We can give out a new vibrator as a prize.”
“I like that too. Let’s do it,” I said.
With the food, alcohol, and games out of the way, we were ready. I had no idea what our friends would think of their party. Having two straight women plan a lesbian bachelorette party seems inherently flawed, but I hoped they would appreciate the sentiment and forgive us for any ignorance in our planning.
After dinner, Sam and I sat in her hot tub with our glasses of wine. “The California dude thinks vibrators are gross,” I said.
“Geesuz! When are you going to dump him?” Sam had been telling me to dump Man #47 from the moment he sent me a dick pic.
“I probably should. I had a man once before who made me throw away my vibrator, and it was a disaster. I don’t think I’m willing to do that again.”
“Why are you still even talking to this guy?”
“I guess there are some things I like about him, but I have to figure out if they’re enough to outweigh some of the other issues. You’re always telling me that I need to meet my intellectual equal, and with this guy, I feel like I have.”
“Yeah, but you’re too young to spend the rest of your life having bad sex.”
“Well,…yes, that’s definitely true,” I said. I thought about that for a moment. Let’s say I did talk to Man #47, gave him a few pointers. What were my chances for success? Really? Even if his skills improved by an optimistic margin of say…20%, that still wouldn’t cut it. I didn’t really see him putting out the kind of effort needed to make that kind of improvement. The key problem was that sex for Man #47 was all about him and not about a shared pleasurable experience, and in my experience, selfish lovers are rarely open to suggestions.
“I may have to become a lesbian,” I said. “I need to find a lover who understands what THIS is all about,” I said, circling my lady parts with my hand.
“I think you’re supposed to be born that way.”
“So I’ve heard,” I sighed, “and I’ve never even been bi-curious.”
“You just have to meet the right man who will accept you AND your toys.”
“Yeah,” I said, taking a drink of my wine. “The good, the bad, and the Lucid Dream No. 14.”