I was teaching a course at the local Community Center, and Mandy was one of my students. She was too young for me, too material, and too expensive; muy caro! I have no idea why we went out that first time. Maybe the ‘scared single male syndrome’ reared its ugly head. What I do know, is that one day I just realized we were involved. My ‘wingman’ Rich said I should have met Mandy right after I got divorced; describing Mandy as the sports car of mid-life crises.
My best friend Donna cornered me one afternoon at the grocery, “You have gone out with her now, for what, almost nightly for three weeks! What the hell is wrong with you?” as she felt my head. Donna just rolled her eyes and asked, “HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND! I think you once told me to slap you if you ever lost you mind, so be grateful we are in a public place!”
“I do have fun with her.”
“’Fun’ is relevant. Spending money disproportionately to any return on equity is not ‘fun’.” She holds up her hand, “Daah…don’t mention sex; that, you can pay for without the added dinners and trinkets!”
“Do you have to put it in such dehumanizing terms?”
“Her…or is it you, being dehumanized?”
Donna was right. What happened was very simply Mandy taking charge of the situation. She relentlessly set the ‘what for’ of our dates. It was just a situation that got out of control. Every time I approached the subject of slowing down, Mandy already had plans for another excursion through my wallet.
If I learned anything from the ‘Mandy Affair,’ as Donna called it, I recognized both the vulnerability of single people, and that I had changed. The old me would have just walked away, never giving Mandy a second thought. Even though I was lost for a way to cool the relationship, I was not going to run away from it. I also recognized the final conversation was not an up-front one; I took advantage of the circumstances.
I have learned that people can try to hide their true personalities, but the oddest things will give them away. Donna had made a comment concerning Mandy’s pretentiousness. I thought about it.
Five weeks into the relationship, while Mandy and I were on our way to a trendy café she liked, Mandy raved about the desserts the place offered. I asked if they had cheesecake. She was in shock, “Cheesecake has become so…so passé.”
She might as well have told me the moon is no longer in the sky just for lovers. So I gave her the ‘Oreo Cookie Pretentiousness Test.’
“Mandy, how do you eat an Oreo Cookie?”
“An Oreo Cookie? You mean the ones with the white stuff?”
“That’s the ones. How do you eat them? Do you pull the two sides apart and eat the cream filling first. Or maybe pop the entire cookie in your mouth all at once?”
“Stuffing the whole cookie in your mouth,” shudder.
“OK, so what technique do you use?”
“I don’t eat Oreo Cookies.”
“They’re…so…so childish. Adults do not eat them.”
“So you’re telling me, you never sit in front of the TV and eat Oreo Cookies?”
“Would you even consider sitting with me and dunking a few Oreos in milk?”
“This conversation is pointless. I stopped eating those things when I was a kid, and even then, I would never ‘dunk’ a cookie in milk!”
This is the basis for the ‘Oreo Cookie Pretentiousness Test.’ If she, or he, thinks dunking Oreo Cookies is childish, or does not have the desire to twist the two sides apart and savor the cream filling like it was gold, be forewarned! As for Mandy, I understood her problem. Dunking cookies endangered her jewelry, and most definitely her nails.
We reach cafe de jour. Midway through the meal, Mandy tells me the waitress keeps looking at me. A door has just opened.
“Our waitress. What are you blind?”
“No, just wanted to make sure;” and I purposely said it in a way to leave doubt as to what I meant; not ‘shoving it in your face,’ but ‘read between the lines.’
Mandy looks at me to read my face, and I just continue to eat as if the comment was just a comment; but she knows it was not just a comment. “Are you interested in THE…WAITRESS?”
Very polite, nice, “If I was, I would keep it to myself. As long as I am with you, you have my full attention.”
Again she reads between the lines, and I could tell she was weighing ‘as long as I am with you.’ “Are you saying that you would consider going out with her?” Definitely a ‘with her’ comment that bespoke of ‘are you really comparing me to her.’
“Consider…I have to say no. However, I would consider going out with any woman that I was attracted to.”
“Are you seeing someone beside me?” a not so subtle accusation.
“Mandy, I never said you were the only woman I was dating.”
The chill began to rapidly frost the air, the room became too small for her, and her eyes flashed goodbye. Mandy saved me from facing the hard task of being up front and saying ‘stop, it’s over.’ The next day she called and said that she forgot about whatever and, well, our shopping trip was a no-go. And so was our relationship.
To set your mind at ease, Mandy started seeing a recently divorced doctor who needed an expensive woman to be seen with in his new BMW.
(Adventures in Dating: Mandy, is work of fiction, copyright 2010, Steven S. Walsky, and is adapted from Through a Stranger’s Eyes, copyright 2005, Steven S. Walsky.)