Friday, March 22, 2013

Mix and Match Up

Life can really be complicated, even when something great happens.

I met someone recently.  It was a random thing.  We kind of hit it off.  She told me, even though I've only known her a few days, she thinks about me all the time.  I don't know what to think.

While this could be a very exciting thing, I'm scared to death.  There's a bit of an age difference between us.  The age thing always gets in the way.  She's 27.  I'm 43.  That's a pretty big age gap.  And it isn't just the years.  It's the life experiences, the generational differences, the expectations, the fact she's young and cute and I'm a bit...aged.  Plus there's the fact that I'm old enough to be her father!

I've often joked that my wife did me a major disservice by leaving me in this life at a time when I was just beginning to approach over-the-hill status.  I didn't think I would be back in the dating pool, let alone having to keep myself in shape to make myself attractive to the opposite sex.  Teresa & I used to kid each other that we were so thankful we had each other because we hated the dating process so much.  It felt good not having to worry about it ever again.  Then she died.  And now I'm worrying about it again.

I've been down this road before.  Several years after Teresa passed away, I was set up on a blind date.  This wasn't your typical blind date.  My pastor and his wife set me up with a young lady they knew from our church, thinking that we might be a good match.  They prepared an incredible evening of entertainment for us.  We were blown away.  It was amazing how much work they put into the preparation.  It was an unforgettable evening.

First, Mark, my pastor, had me come to the church to pick up a package.  Then we were instructed via email to meet at the Joanne Fabric Store in Columbia, and to take a stuffed animal with us so we could identify each other, at 5 p.m. on the following Saturday.  So that's what I did.  I took a stuffed animal puppy with me to Joanne's and walked around looking for a young lady carrying her own stuffed animal.  With a little trepidation, I approached a woman holding a stuffed monkey.  I figured she must be my date.  I'm glad I was right.

We introduced ourselves to each other and exchanged pleasantries.  Then I pulled out an envelope from the package I picked up from the church that told us what to do next.  We were to go to the Arundel Mills Mall and go to the Bass Pro Shop, then open up the next envelope.  So off we went.  We chatted a bit on the way.  She seemed really nice.  Mark & his wife, Lu, had also given us a list of questions to ask each other, so we got to do that, too.  At Bass Pro, we were instructed to go to the shoe department and ask an employee if we could try on waders.  This was kind of different....  The employee pulled out a couple of pairs for each of us.  They looked like thick rubber pants.  So we put them on.  We then were instructed to ask the employee to take a picture of both of us using a throw-away camera they supplied.  We were both rather embarrassed, but it was fun and a good ice-breaker.

The rest of the evening was much more of the same.  Kind of a combination of fun activities and scavenger hunt.  We chatted quite a bit, too, and it gave us the opportunity to find out a lot more about each other than we probably would have under any other circumstances.  We were even given a gift card for a nice dinner.  Mark & Lu really went all out.  It was so kind of them!  I'm so appreciative of their generosity.

The only issue I had was that I had doubts about just how much we had in common.  She was a teacher. So was Teresa.  She even kind of resembled Teresa, in some ways.  It was clear that we may have been matched due to her similarities to my wife.  The other issue was the difference in our ages.  It was clear she was significantly younger than me.  She had just turned 30.  I was 37 going on 38.  Once I knew that, I kind of doomed us.  Though there were clear differences between us, and we really weren't a very good match, once I knew the age difference, I backed off.  Way off.  I just wasn't comfortable with it.  And she could tell.

We actually went out a few more times, but I broke it off with her.  I never told her it was because of our age difference, but I think she knew.  Mark & Lu also mentioned to me later that their success rate with these match up dates, of which they had planned several, was a big fat 0%!

So what do I do about this new young lady?  She really is pretty awesome, and awesomely pretty.  I just feel so dirty.  I'm not supposed to feel this way about someone that much younger than me.  What a dilemma.  Why are women so complicated?

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