No, it’s not what you’re thinking (and I know what everyone’s thinking, didn’t you know that?). As of 3 weeks ago, saying YES is my new response to every social invitation that comes my way these days (OK, I haven’t said yes to doing THAT yet, because I haven’t even been asked. Besides, I’m much pickier than all that…). I know there’s a new Jim Carrey movie coming out called The Yes Man, but really, that has nothing (nothing!) to do with my new policy, which by the way, I instituted after my last major breakup a decade ago.
So I’ve been spending a lot of times in alcohol-enhanced situations lately and let me tell you, there’s a big difference between being 41 and single and being 51 and single. Back in 1999, I joined Parents without Partners, a good organization that screens its members before it lets them join. And while there’s a screening process to weed out the obvious abusers and otherwise dangerous people, you can’t screen for what I like to refer to as Just Plain Loser Status. And let’s face it, we’re divorced folks. This means we didn’t screen our own partners very well, or we got blindsided by jackassedness later after the I Dos were said, or we knew they were jackasses but thought we could just ignore that little fact. After a few organization-sponsored dances down at the VFW (OMG, the fucking VFW, people), I started calling PWP The Loser’s Club. “No, I won’t be able to do that. I’m going out with the Losers tonight!” I never dated anyone from PWP, not that I didn’t have plenty of opportunity. I just wasn’t interested in dating at that time, only in socializing and meeting people. I’d like to say I made at least one lasting friendship from that experience, but it never happened.
And now, fast-forwarded one decade, I’ve come to one conclusion: You generally don’t meet interesting people in bars. Especially when the median age is about 10 years younger than your own. And the most scintillating conversation to be had revolves around who fucked who and who’s pissed off about it. I think I’m more like a beatnik. Sitting around, drinking wine, wearing turtleneck sweaters and making intelligent conversation while some dude plays the bongos sounds more like my speed. Groovy.
One upside of hanging at the bar here in our little slice of Heaven is the fact that you can still smoke in bars here. Having a decent gin & tonic (heavy on the decent dose of gin) while sucking down a cigarette in a public place is a priceless experience these days. Even when surrounded by throngs of mindless youth. Had I not said yes to these nights out, I would never have met some of my own neighbors.
And I’m really looking forward to actually talking to them someday when we’re not drunk and every other word out of our mouth is Fuck.
Along with my current Yes! experience, I am throwing an actual New Year’s Eve party at Casa Observant. And being the insecure nutjob that I am, I have frequent visions of me, sitting alone in my house waiting for guests that never show up. Then one by one, I blow out the candles at midnight, crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep.
Don’t feel too sorry for me. I have this anxiety-ridden vision before each and every party I’ve ever thrown in my entire life. I actually went to a baby shower once where I was the only guest who showed up. The expectant mother was in the hospital with premature labor. The hostess was pissed! I, myself, chose to see it as an opportunity to drink all the wine myself, which I did – secretly grateful it was her party that nobody showed up to, and not mine.
So, in the spirit of The Yes Girl, I’m really putting myself out there with this party. And if nobody shows up, I’m drinking all the wine myself.
You hear that, people?