I should’ve turned around and gone back into the house as soon as I saw him. That would’ve been really silly since he’d already spotted me.
Eugeena Patterson, what’s wrong with you? Get it together, woman.
I took a peek at my neighbor again. A quiver started in my stomach as I walked down the stone pathway in front of my home.
— Eugeena, Deep Fried Trouble
Cora and I were out to brunch one Saturday and she asked me if I’d thought about dating or even getting married again. I put my fork down and looked her dead in the eyes and said, “I’m not keeping company with any man. I’m fine by myself.” Now I love her dearly and given I had passed mourning my deceased husband, Ralph, I had just begun enjoying the sound of my quiet house. I almost felt guilty for being glad that I didn’t have to cook on demand and that after 30-something years I could finally hear my own self think. Humph, I rolled my eyes at her.
Should’ve known I was going to have to eat those words. I was just too emphatic about keeping to myself. God must have a hearty laugh when we make those types of declarations. You know the ones that begin with “I will never…” and “I am just fine…” and “There is no way…” And then it seems He delights in proving you wrong.
He proved me wrong when I noticed that Amos, my next door neighbor, made my knees buckle and my tongue tie up when I spoke to him. My stomach would flutter at the sight of him. Remember that scene in Waiting to Exhale the movie? Loretta Divine’s character walks away from the character portrayed by the late and very fine actor Gregory Hines wondering if he’s looking at her. Lord, I did the exact same thing with Amos. And he was looking too!
Well, some time has passed and me and Amos are keeping company. He will sometimes join me on my daily walks; we go out to dinner every now and then and on lovely evenings we’ve been known to sit quietly on my porch and stare at the stars. Now don’t get me wrong, I love his company, but I still love my own and unlike those pesky twins at my church, I don’t believe every man you spend time with is your husband. We haven’t reached that understanding yet.
Still, I was thinking that there are some things I’d like to share about dating with single women of a certain age. I hate to admit it but there really is no fool like an old fool, and it can be real easy to act silly when the opposite sex pays the slightest attention.
So, here are my tips for dating, which are really my rules.
- Relax and let the relationship take its natural course. You can miss out on some enjoyable moments trying to rush things along or make something out of what can become nothing.
- Learn to like yourself and stop thinking that if you had a man you’d be happier. If you like yourself and do things for you, then a man that respects you and is easy to get along with is icing on the cake.
- If you can be happy being single, then you can be happy being in a relationship. Happiness doesn’t begin once you get a man. It begins before and with you.
- Stop trying to be a wife and focus on being a friend. Focus on allowing someone to be a friend to you.
- Plan activities jointly, meaning plan to do things that are mutually enjoyable but comfortable. If you like to walk, then go for walks. If you like movies then go to the movies. Keep it light, keep it simple and keep it mutual.
- Make sure you’re being treated well and kindly. The best way you can figure this out is by treating yourself well and kindly.
- Don’t make wedding arrangements five minutes after meeting a man. Don’t buy a dress or put a deposit on a reception hall or tell anyone God told you ‘That’s my husband.’ That’s not faith, that’s foolishness.
Time is too short for us women of a certain age to behave like we did as young women. Who’s got time for that? I know I don’t have that kind of precious time to waste. So if you’ll excuse me, Amos and I are going to sit on my front porch and sip some sweet iced tea.
Take care of yourself!