I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
Read more here.
I turned around and ran like hell in the opposite direction. I would be so pissed if I missed my flight out of The Bahamas. I kept thinking positive thoughts. “I will not miss my flight. I will not miss my flight.” The airline had called the Homeland Security office after all, so they knew I was on my way, right? I refused to think for a second that the plane had left without me.
I arrived at the gate, panting, to find three flight attendants standing at the desk. The door to the plane was closed, but as soon as I arrived one of them grabbed my boarding pass and checked it while a second person opened the door for me. I half jogged, half speed-walked down the ramp, trying to catch my breath.
Note to self: Lose some fucking weight! That might make running a little easier should I ever have to run for another flight, escape from a burning building, or flee another date’s raging fiancé.
I entered the plane and was greeted by angry glares from my fellow passengers. Yay! They were the same annoyed looks I usually flash anyone who shows up late to a flight…or a meeting…or pretty much anything. ”How dare you think your time is more valuable than mine,” their faces seemed to say. Luckily, I had an aisle seat near the front, and I quickly stashed my bag under my seat, got settled in, and the plane was soon on its way.
I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to get back to Seattle.
My weekend with The International Player was fun, and as far as dates go, it was pretty damn fabulous. I mean, none of my other dates have taken me out of the country or taken me to swim with dolphins. He had shown me an awfully good time. Yes, he was a little too insistent when it came to kissing and he needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life. But overall, we had great conversations and hung out easily together. It was not a bad date at all.
If you’re wondering, The International Player and I are still friends. He’s even developed a website for me, and we still chat occasionally on Facebook. There’s little chance for a serious, romantic relationship given that he screwed up his visa and can’t get into the country, but he’s asked me to meet him in Montreal at the end of the year for his birthday. I’m seriously considering it.
After my adventure in The Bahamas, I came back to Seattle and started working on building a business. I had made small efforts to do so for the past year, but in March I went for it full force. This, in part, my friends, is why you have not heard as much from me. My boss is a bitch!
There are still many dates to share with you to bring you up-to-date, and another career move along the way, but my date with The International Player opened my mind a little when it comes to dating younger men. With enough intelligence and a little maturity, I think dating a much younger man would not be entirely out of the question. For all of my fears about what my sons would think, in discussing my travel plans to The Bahamas, I found my sons were more amused than horrified that MOM was going on a date with someone their age. I don’t know how that would change if I ever wanted to marry a man their age, but upon finding out Man #42′s age, K2 said, and I quote, “you go mom!”
I’m a young 45, and I find most men my age extraordinarily boring. Sometimes I want to dress up like a rock star and go out dancing. I want to occasionally drink bourbon until three in the morning. I like to sometimes act silly or make inappropriate jokes, and I want to occasionally say what everyone else in the room is thinking without getting a look of disapproval. I need a man who will laugh with me or build upon my jokes instead of trying to suffocate me, and unfortunately, I feel suffocated a lot around men my age. I need to breathe. Let me tell you; there are a lot of old fucking men out there at forty-five.
I don’t know what will happen with The International Player, but for right now, I’m trying to decide if I have a coat warm enough for Montreal in December.
My first and second day in The Bahamas blurred into each other, a combination of bourbon, conversations with strangers and The International Player, and the unmistakable feeling that, at 44, I could not spend this much time awake when I was supposed to be asleep. I’m too old for this shit.
After our night of drinking and dancing, actually not much dancing, mostly drinking, my alarm jolted me out of a deep sleep only five hours later. My head ached, less from the alcohol, I think, and more from the fact that I had only had 8 hours of sleep in the past 51. I sat up on the side of the bed, and was hit by a wave of nausea. I shuffled to the bathroom and stood over the toilet, one hand on the counter, the other on the edge of the bathtub, trying to decide if I needed to hurl.
“Oh god,” I thought, “This is not sexy.”
I took some long, deep breaths and decided that if I could get through my shower and down to breakfast, I could find some coffee and I’d be fine. Besides, there was no way in hell I was going to miss out on dolphins. I just needed some caffeine. I showered, dressed with a swimsuit under my sundress, and packed a bag with sunglasses, a book, my sarong, and sunscreen. Easy peasy.
I went down to the hotel lobby to find breakfast and discovered that since I was one of the late-comers most of the good stuff was gone. I poured myself a cup of coffee, found a blueberry muffin/hockey puck, and sat down. The coffee, the elixir that would dilate my blood vessels, ease the throbbing in my head, and fuel my day, was the most god-awful tasting shit I had ever tasted. I could only handle two sips, one to taste how horrible it was, the second only to confirm it. Geezus. What was I going to do?
The International Player found me there in the dining room. He said he was struggling with the early hour as well, given that he normally slept until mid-afternoon after a night of drinking. I took some comfort in knowing that feeling like death warmed over had less to do with my aging ass approaching perimenopause, and the fact that there are just certain limits to the human body. Even for a young buck like Man #42, at some point you have to sleep. My trip to The Bahamas was starting to feel like a sleep deprivation study.
After breakfast, we boarded a bus that transported us to the boat to Blue Lagoon Island and the Dolphin Encounter. Throughout the boat ride, Man #42 wanted to hold my hand. The hand holding and some kissing had started the night before in the bar under the influence of alcohol. In the morning, it made me uncomfortable. He just looked SO young in broad daylight. I kept struggling with the question in my head, “why would he be interested in me, an overweight, middle-aged woman with sons his age, and not a young woman his own age?” Every time he told me I was beautiful, and it seemed like he did it a lot, I didn’t believe it.
Now, I realize these are my issues. When he told me I was beautiful I simply said thank you and tried to accept his compliment. Inside, however, I was suspicious. What did he want with me? I couldn’t get past my body issues and my insecurities about aging. I didn’t believe it. I just didn’t.
We docked at Blue Lagoon Island and were directed first to sit on rows of wooden benches where we learned about the dolphins. There was some basic anatomy involved, specifically the locations of the belly button and the genital slit. Yes, that’s right. These two locations on a dolphin’s belly are very important. Apparently, dolphins are very easily aroused. Touch them anywhere south of their belly button and it can mean the difference between a lovely date with a dolphin and a dolphin encounter of another kind. If you know what I mean.
Actually, come to think about it, that’s good dating advice in general. Proceed with caution when touching anyone below the belly button on a first date.
Once Dolphin Anatomy 101 was finished we were instructed to put our street clothes in lockers and put on wet suits. I was self-conscious about how my body looked in my bathing suit, but The International Player and I stripped down to our suits and stuffed our clothes into a locker. It wasn’t until I turned around that I realized that the three Bahamian men handing out wet suits to tourists were eying me with concern. They were talking quietly and one of them was looking from me to the rack of wet suits. You know, wet suits look really tiny when there’s nobody in them. My mind filled with dread as I scanned the group around me. Almost everyone in the group was smaller than me. What if my big ass couldn’t fit in one of the wet suits available? The water was too cold for me to go in without one. What would happen then?
I slowly approached and was handed a wet suit. I felt relieved as the suit expanded to slide up over my thighs, then my butt, and belly. I finally put my arms in and hoisted it over my shoulders. The next thing I knew, there was a man behind me pulling the zipper up. He got it to the top, and it slid back down. “Oh geezus,” I thought, “now my back fat won’t fit.” He pulled the zipper up again, and it immediately unzipped. Zip. Unzip. Zip. Unzip.
Oh. For. Fuck. Sake. I was horrified.
Another man came over to help. They hoisted the zipper up to the back of my neck. I’m sure it didn’t help that I was taller than them and have the shoulders of an offensive tackle. Finally, the third man came over, they hoisted, and this third man instructed them to make sure the zipper was latched down into position so it would stay in place.
Thanks, dude. You might have instructed them to do that earlier.
Back fat safely secured in my wet suit, it was time to get in the water. We descended some metal steps to a algae-covered platform about three feet below the water’s surface. The algae was extremely slippery, and since I don’t know how to swim, I was terrified that I would slide off the platform into the turquoise depths of the lagoon and drown. I kept grabbing for The International Player to keep me steady.
The interaction with the dolphin, Cacique, started, and my fears of the water started to dissipate. First we knelt on the platform and let him come up and kiss us (as in the picture above.) The International Player was in this picture too, but to protect his identity, I cropped him out for this post. Then, we all stood on the platform and Cacique swam past us first on with his dorsal fin up and next with his belly exposed so we could touch his belly. We were again warned to stay away from his genital slit. No funny stuff. We were instructed to put our arms out and he came up and hugged us.
Then, we were instructed to put our arms out and he popped out of the water. I held his flippers as the dolphin trainer sang, “I like to move it, move it…,” and I got to dance with Cacique. He wiggled and moved his head around to “dance” and then spun around in a circle.
It was awesome.
After the dolphin encounter was over, The International Player and I went to the gift shop to check out our pictures. He bought me a stuffed dolphin toy wearing a pink hoodie. I named her Trayvonka Martina. The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, and lounging on the beach.
Lounging on the beach gave me a chance to relax and take a tiny nap. After laying in the sun for a while, The International Player and I walked in the sand along the water’s edge and talked. He kept wanting to stop and kiss me, and after a while, it just felt like too much pressure. I stopped him and explained that I was dealing with my body image issues. He said he liked my intelligence and thought I was beautiful.
Well, what am I supposed to do with that???
We walked to another section of the island where we found two lounge chairs and again laid in the sun holding hands and talking. After a while, he asked me to share the same lounge chair with him. “What the hell,” I thought. “Why not?” But, I found it hard to relax. He wanted to kiss me and touch my skin, and after a while, I rolled over so I was facing him.
“I know,” he said.
“I don’t know you well enough, to know what your intentions are. You contacted me through my blog, and although that’s flattering, it also brings up a lot of questions. Maybe you’re one of these guys who’s trying to be famous by proxy. Or what if you brought me to The Bahamas for some sort of bragging rights? Like, look at me; I had sex with that picky bitch from My Dating Prescription.” I paused. “All of the kissing is starting to feel like too much pressure, and it’s not going to happen. Can’t we just hang out?”
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about sex with The International Player. He had told me that unlike The Mystery Date, he had no problem with travelling downtown. It had been way too long since my last sexual encounter, and I really could’ve used a good orgasm. For a brief moment the night before, I had formed an image in my mind of The International Player with his face buried between my thighs, but it didn’t feel right to act on it.
So, I didn’t do it.
We finally caught the last boat back to Nassau in the afternoon. It was Superbowl Sunday, so we made plans to shower and take a quick nap before going out to a viewing party that evening. When we got back to my hotel The International Player sat down on my bed and looked like he didn’t plan on leaving.
And with that, I’m sorry readers, but I have to get ready for a party.