“A man walks into a bar with a cheese sandwich under his arm. “A pint of Guinness for me and the cheese sandwich,” he says to the barman.
“I’m sorry, sir,” replies the barman, “we don’t serve food in here.”
My wife and I had dinner with her family recently to celebrate her Mother’s birthday. The restaurant we went to has a very nice bar and patio area that, at 6:30 pm, was filled with people my age, who, by all appearances, were single and ready to mingle. I had heard this bar was an old folks hangout and that was confirmed for me when I was leaving. I saw two recently divorced guys that I knew, drinks in hands, wearing their best casual threads, cruising through the crowd of middle-aged, available women. I gave them a smile and a thumbs-up.
I have thought, not often mind you, what would happen if my wife a) left me, or b) heavens forbid, ran off and joined the circus. Where would I, how would I meet the next Mrs. Ends and Beginnings?
I was invited to a lunch recently and sat beside the daughter of a man I adored. He died about four years ago and I asked her how her Mother was doing and her response, “Lonely”. She had gone out a couple of times but dating for her was, in a word, unfulfilling. Her Mom, a beautiful and smart woman, is very introverted so striking up a conversation in a bar, with some random stranger would not really be one of her strong suits. She told her daughter that the she understood within the first fifteen minutes why the handful of guys she had gone out with were single. Honestly having that realization that early into a two-hour dinner would make for a very long and painful evening.
I met my wife in a bar. Something I swore I would never do, meet the mother of my children, the women I would spend the rest of my life, or her life with in a bar. My daughter met her mister wonderful, the son I never had, in a bar.
I told my friend’s daughter that I can imagine how hard it is for her Mom. When you have been married to the same person for over thirty years it is hard not to compare everyone else to that person. Dating requires a certain amount of entertaining, creating a persona or even putting on airs when all you really want to do is curl up on the sofa in your favorite pair of sweatpants and watch television.
For whatever reason my wife and I know a lot of couples our age that are divorcing. The reasons run the gambit from infidelity to just being tired of each other after thirty years. The one thing I have learned about marriage is, like life, marriage runs in cycles. From hard to easy, from exciting to boring. Don’t like where you are in the cycle, just wait, like the weather it will change. But I think now to many people won’t wait or feel like they can’t. If it is an abusive situation I completely understand but if it is a grass is greener I think many people will ultimately be disappointed and lonely.
When my daughter got married I gave her and her husband a wooden bowl. I told them that this wooden bowl was created from a tree that began its life as a simple sapling. Depending on where this sapling took root the odds of it growing into a mature tree were risky. Any number of things could have prevented it from growing, but we could see by the rings in the bowl that this tree not only survived it thrived.
I continued that each one of these rings conveys a story. There are thick rings which tell us it was a good season for growth, and there were thin rings which reflect a harder season, a season which this tree had to dig deep, spreading its roots into the soil to find what it needed to survive while slowing its growth on the outside. Each ring told a story, but this trees story wasn’t based on just one ring, or one season, it was the story of all the rings together.
A man walks into a bar…..
I hope that the only reason I have to walk into a bar is to drink a handcrafted stout or porter and not to find a mate. I remember how hard the dating game was as a twenty year old and it certainly couldn’t have gotten any easier as a fifty or sixty year old. But I am convinced that there is someone out there for everyone you probably just got to kiss a lot frogs to find that someone. Bring some ChapStick, leave your sweatpants at home and don’t give-up, don’t give-in but most importantly, don’t settle.
“A dyslexic man walks into a bra.”