My teenage foreign exchange student got me thinking about romance again! Let me explain.
I have become a curmudgeon about dating. At sixty-four, my patience runs thin meeting new men who have more issues than I have dogs. I’d given up dating until I tried it again this past Saturday night. The evening started out well, but landed in the same pile marked “bad dates, let’s write about them” as my previous dating attempts. My posts on how silly dating is are famous with my friends. A free meal, and material to write about, things could be worse. But somehow, with the holidays here, I wanted to find a bit of romance myself. It just didn’t happen.
My student was out of town with another host family for Thanksgiving week. That left me plenty of time on my hands. A new man contacted me. I am on a dating site, not actively, but my profile is up…just in case. My just in case contacted me.
I’m working on a screenplay. I see you write. Want to get together and talk?
Did I ever. Alone all week, I was lonely.
We chose a little pub close to my house. Dinner at 7PM on Saturday sounded like fun.
Bring your book. I want to read it.
I’d bring it. He could peek at it, but I didn’t want him reading my thoughts, before I got to know him better. He left with my book. I won’t get to know him better
We talk from 7PM until the restaurant closed at midnight. He grabbed my book. I talked about the shop I used to own, the events I hosted at it, my six dogs, and my foreign exchange student. Someone was interested in what I had to say and I said whatever came to my mind. Laughing and drinking coffee we had a ball.
“I brought my guitar.” He smiled at me. “Care to sit in my car and I’ll sing the songs I’ve written.”
We sat with the lights on in his car in front of the restaurant. I nearly froze to death as I listened to him play his heart’s songs. He was cute.
At 1:30 AM he put down the guitar and asked a question.
“Do you want to talk about where we go from here, or wait until later?”
Expecting an invite for another date, I answered, “Now is fine.”
My evening went flat within the first thirty seconds.
“You are great. I’ve had fun. But your energy level is too high for me. I don’t see a future for us. I’d like to call you, say, in three months, as a friend, and catch up.”
How do you reply to that? I was kinder than usual, since he was new at dating. I have four years of dates behind me!
“My advice to you, if you want to date. Don’t ever say that again at the end of the evening.”
I had gone from having fun, to actually having my feelings hurt. He was not going to be my soul mate, I knew that from the beginning, but it was fun to have fun for a change with a member of the male species.
Then because he was nice, just naïve on what to do with dating, I rated the date for him.
“As dates go, this rates an A-. It would have been an A+, except for the final critique.”
I went home depressed. I didn’t care about another date with him, but his remarks made me doubt myself.
Sunday the curmudgeon in me resurfaced. I swore of dating. Yet again.
My student was back in town, and due home at 9 PM. She went to the movies with the girls. Dinner was with the male friend she sorta, kinda, liked and dated. As much as host mom (me) lets her date.
On my way home. I got her text message right before nine.
Within minutes a car pulled into my drive. She and her boyfriend came up to the door. She’d been gone all week, I’d forgotten how pretty she is. Her face was flushed. She was radiant. The boy, who I like a lot, carried in her bags from her trip with the other family. He said his goodbye at the door.
“Oh, mum, we need to talk!” She flopped down on the couch, clapping her hands.
I knew she and the boy were sweet on each other. She had told me they were not officially ‘a couple’ yet.
“Look what he made me!”
She pulled a frame from her backpack and handed it to me. It was a portrait of her, drawn by the boy, so perfect, at first I thought it was a photograph. There was a sweet saying about the future being open to them at the bottom.
“He asked me to be his girlfriend!” She was so excited it was infectious. I got excited.
A small panic followed. What does this mean exactly? I kept that to myself. I am not ready to be the kissing police. I don’t know what teens do. Remember to ask the other host mom for advice. I made a mental note.
“Nothing has changed. But it is official. We won’t do anything different than we do now. You know, hang out with our friends.”
A bit of relief on my part.
She was so lovely, so happy, my heart melted for her. It also melted for me. I felt the curmudgeon leave as memories of my late husband surfaced. It was wonderful to be in love. She is just learning about romance, I had a long history of it.
They say history repeats itself. My teen student made me realize love could appear at any moment and in any form. She is infatuated with a really nice boy. I am falling in love with her. Who knows, maybe I’ll still find a date for the holidays.
As a new, kinda, sorta, ‘mum’ at sixty-four, it is amazing what you can learn from teens!
Barbara Barth, CEO of Life