During over 20 years of marriage, I’m guessing my attitude toward other women was like most guys with a reasonable level of integrity. Or at least most guys raised Catholic. Married other women could be friends if they a) were married to a friend, b) were friends of the wife and the spouse wasn’t a deuchebag, c) had a kid in a common activity or d) were co-workers. Single woman pretty much had to be co-workers, period. The only other women allowed to be noticed were the hot ones, discreetly and then purely from a distance. Or possibly ogled depending on company and level of drink consumed. This experience left me fully unprepared to select women I might want to date.
I needed a strategy, some guidelines to help on this new quest. Other guys opinions on the matter were essentially useless excepting Joe’s suggestion that I lie about my age by five years and opt for women who professed to be at least that much younger than me. A sound start. Clearly I didn’t want to pursue any women who reminded me of the former wife. Nor would I date anyone I already knew. Soon it became apparent that “setups” from friends were also an unacceptable option. I would approach this with a clean slate, a tabula rasa. I would tackle this on my own and seek out the undiscovered. My primary objective would be to avoid the potentially boring. The only bad date would be a boring date . . .
AD-8 (8th woman after divorce) represented a particularly daring choice. I’d had only one date over two months of a work induced slump following four fun months with the delightful AD-5 and a month and a half with the stimulating but borderline boring AD-6. I needed to shatter the box. It was a surprise that 8 accepted my invitation, her being a dancer and me, well, not being much of one. No matter as her form of dance was performance. Belly dancing. We met on a Friday night for a nice evening at the pub. Fine. Good conversation, not boring, an encouraging goodnight kiss. For the first and only time in my dating experience, we met for date II the following night. I don’t offer this as a warning, merely recommendation as risky protocol.
Date II with 8 proceeded well with a late dinner at my favored italian restaurant. Very nice. At quarter to 11, 8 asked if I’d be okay going to see a dancer from her troupe at the local Arabic night spot. Said Arabic establishment would prove to be the size of a small Walmart with a large stage and sea of packed tables surrounded by howling Arabic men. 8 and I were informed no one ever left, and directed to the bar where a houka soon appeared. Her friend the dancer performed. I was suitably impressed. For the next hour, a fat male singer performed his lounge act in Arabic while I awaited the next dancer. Then another hour. What the hell, why was this guy still delivering vibrato throaty screams in another language? More troubling, why was the crowd enjoying it with such fervor? I apparently knew little about the culture, said 8. This guy was the main event. Fine, at least it wasn’t boring. In fact I kinda got into the evening, danced with the dancer, enjoyed the houka and numerous cocktails until it was time to depart. That will be $240! Again what the hell? You mean the houka was rented by the minute and all those shisha refills weren’t complementary?
I was invited back to 8′s place. It would be okay. On arrival, I was ordered to remove my shoes. The decor of the place was fascinating. A cross between bedouin and circus tent. And then they caught my eye. Two fabulous scimitars (i.e. curved Arabic swords) hanging on the wall. 8 returned to the main room, noticing that my interest had been piqued. Want me to show you, 8 asked. “No” would have been an absurd answer under the circumstances. The show commenced. 8 placed one scimitar on top of her head, blade side down. She then placed the other atop that perpendicular, again blade side down and proceeded into her dance. Extraordinary. The scimitars never wavered . . . until she grabbed the handles and swirled the blades madly as she rotated . . . blades passing swiftly within inches of my throat. Great balance, beautiful form, fabulous fake scimitars. What a great date this was shaping up to be.
The dance ended. Wow! Let me check out those fake . . . er, wait a minute. Those scimitars are real! And f’ing sharp! My head was still attached to my neck only by the grace of, of, of skills that could have taken out Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. My God, how many drinks had she had? Why hadn’t Quentin Tarantino found her? Horror. Intense Excitement. Fear. Intimidation. Desire . . . to cite a few of the emotions I may have been feeling . . .
. . . Skipping forward, I wouldn’t see 8 again after that. There would be other factors to preclude my comfort to proceed. Nonetheless, I always will remember 8 fondly, a special evening. Not boring. Not at all.