The Goose was raised in such a bland, 60s American household that he looks with distrust at anything that smacks of the exotic, such as bagels. Croissants are suspect as well. Goat cheese, avocados, Fiats, purple grapes and Brazil nuts are way out of his scope of well being. God forbid someone suggest gelato, which he insists on mistakenly calling “spezio”, causing Cricket and me to snort water out our noses every time he does it.
For 18 years, while growing up, he knew to expect roast on Sunday, hash on Monday, Tacos on Tuesday, and chopped steak on Wednesdays. You get the picture. I’m happy to say this put no undue expectations on him marrying a good cook. At 50, he still expects his food to be brown and white and finds brussel sprouts out of the question.
He is now trying to change his diet. Not because he is overweight. On the contrary, he is one of the lucky bastards who can awaken in the middle of the night, consume a sleeve of cookies and go back to dreaming the dreams of those with outrageous metabolisms and no body fat. During the night, his calories creep across two dogs and a cat on the bed and over to me. While I exist on the only foods that don’t cause me middle aged digestive trouble now, kale, gluten free rice crackers and chardonnay, he dives nightly into two bowls of ice cream, pans of brownies, and chocolate turtles all washed down with liters of Mountain Dew, the undisputed nectar of the gods.
All my preaching of vegetarian, water-drinking, low sugar lifestyle has fallen on deaf ears as I clench my jaws in a show of sheer will while I watch his free-wheeling sugar orgy.
Now, he’s read an article that says sugar isn’t good for you. Oh, really? You don’t say? And, in a turn of events as unexpected as him donning a dress, he has ventured into the organic and alternative section of the grocery store, without wincing. Twice he has taken a walk and yesterday, just yesterday, he hiked with Cricket and me.
Middle age is a wacky time. We’re both feeling a little confused as our parenting period comes to an end and we are faced with lots of hours to do what we want. All these years our hobbies were our kids. Yeah, there’s a lot of golf on his part and a good bit of running on mine, but now the horizon is wide and we are committing to taking a walk together most days. I appreciate the fact that he suddenly cares about his health because I really don’t want him to die, causing me to have to go on a date. Honestly, I am so thankful that he likes routine and has such ingrained inertia that he would never leave me.
I have several close friends who are dating again. I have lots of questions about this that I am not too shy to ask. Here are five:
- Are there bases at 50? Are they the same as they were in high school, the last time I had a date? I think there are new sexual things that have come into practice since then and so where do these fit? Base second and a half?
- What about boobs? I have a friend, Steve, who for years has said “Any boob is a good boob.” (Our mutual friend challenged this once by showing us her post mastectomy boob before she had a nipple tattooed on, but it’s all better now.) Middle aged bosoms though, are a little, um, changed. Unless you were one of the lucky ones to get a boob job before you got old enough to know better, the rack might be affixed a little…lower. Does one have to display it on one’s arm or, better yet, in a lacy number from the lingerie department? I guess this problem doesn’t just apply to women. There are a lot of unperky manboobs at this age as well. And along those same lines, do women have to lie only on their backs when naked so they can tuck the “extra” parts underneath them to look skinny and smooth?
- Just how truthful does one have to be? I have a friend who has been married four times. We only count two of them, though, because she was too young the first time and the third one was a rebound aberration whose name we don’t speak. Truly, these guys were jerks and she’s a remarkably normal girl. In fact, she’s super cool. I have another friend, twice married, who recently confided that he’s “PROBABLY” still married to wife number two. This continues to make me laugh and I delve into this situation as often as I can without seeming creepy. Apparently, they went their separate ways and just moved on without ever thinking about getting a divorce. When should that come up in conversation?
- At what point can one pull back the curtain? My friend recently asked me when he should tell a girl how much he loves his cat. Even I, animal person in the extreme, said NEVER. A man also should not discuss the bathroom, how crazy his ex was, or the fact that he cries at movies. I think, by middle age, women must surely be looking for normal and non-stressful, if it’s out there.
- What does one tell their kids? If The Goose or I ever tried to date, our daughter would make sure every date failed. She would be the step-daughter from hell. Even though she’s almost 20, I can dig that. I’m sure every kid wants their family to stay in tact. Do middle aged daters spend as much time sneaking around behind their kids’ backs as we used to behind our parents’? There really is nothing more disgusting than thinking of one’s parents, ANYONE’S parents, having a personal life.
Its scary out there. Dating must surely mean that these friends are not able to put their jammies on at 6:00 during the winter. While it does mean that they’re getting good food, in real restaurants, with waiters and bartenders, it also means that they’re having to keep their bras on during these dinners, I guess. (Maybe not. Those are the dates I really enjoy hearing about.) What is exciting, though, is that these friends are putting their best selves forward, trying new things, going to concerts instead of just watching them on TV, making new friend groups, fitting into their “going out” jeans every day, not just twice a month. I guess that’s what we old wives could take from this so we won’t become old wives. Damn, I guess that means I should probably change up my flannels with the penguins on them.
Anyway, although I could spend hours on the phone listening to the exploits of my friends’ dates and envying their active social calendar, I’m off to blend up some vegetables, put some unsalted nuts with antioxidants in a bowl and pour The Goose a big, refreshing glass of water in the hopes of keeping him alive. Truthfully, I’m scared about the type of old lady I’d be if I was turned loose on the dating world.