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The Oracles of Dating

January 19, 2010

Lately I have been reading online books on dating and uncovering a trove of wisdom.  The books appear in vast colorful print on my screen and are written by people with soap opera-sounding names like Christian and Paige. They are REAL PEOPLE, but to me they are like angels. Who knew people could be so wise?  They tell me, for example, that the fact that my most recent date hasn’t called could be an indication that he likes me so much it is making him nervous.  Now that’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.  So when days pass and I hear nothing I can think: this is a GOOD SIGN. He’s right on schedule!

Still, my 49-year old heart is not what it was at 20, or 35.  It is not so resilient.  Like the seven or so years not having a GPS in my car has shaved off my life, this new habit of dating is costing me in shattered nerves. After a few weeks of the new routine I am not sporting a glow in my cheeks or a spring in my step. In fact, I am looking a little frayed. Right as they may be about what the not calling means (it means I’m POPULAR), it doesn’t feel so good on my nerves. I need to visit the chiropractor, then the therapist; I need the occasional glass of above average wine; I begin to see why courting is reserved for the young. I sit down and look at the books again, to cheer me up. You have to date several people at once, they tell me.  You can’t stop at one.  THAT’S IT!  So this feeling I’m having, I can triple it.

Christian is engaged to a wonderful woman and Paige is married.  I met them in cyberspace when I looked up the three day rule: the unspoken custom that a man, after a first date with a woman, will wait three days before calling her. Paige explains it well. It is in a man’s nature to pursue a woman, and her job is to let him know if she likes being pursued.  She can do this in a number of ways, which do not – MUST NOT – include calling him.  So I have nothing to do but wait. Nothing, that is, except buy the next book, which Christian is offering for a special introductory price to those who’ve read the first. Like the soap opera from which these characters seem to have sprung, their wisdom is parsed out in a slow, expensive sequence.  You can’t know it all at once, say the keepers of the oracle.  And it’s going to cost you. Little by little, it’s going to cost all you have.

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