There was one time I took my 3-year-old daughter shopping with me. Back then there wasn’t much money for me to splurge on something nice for myself. But today was the day. I got her all settled into her stroller. She loved stroller rides. She could see the world pass before her. I packed her little backpack with the necessities, and off we went to the mall.
It was in the JC Penney fitting room that I realized that all shopping should be done without children present. I had obviously taken a G-rated child into a PG-rated situation. It was however, a comedy. I would park my daughter along the racks of clothes as I’d scan through looking for just the right thing. As I moved down the racks of clothes, I’d move the stroller too. Every now and then my daughter would chime in, “I like this one.” It always had some sort of sequins or beads on it. So I’d smile and tell her just how lovely it was, and then I’d move on. Then as I glanced back down the row we’d been in.. there were dozens of tags laying on the floor. Price tags, labels describing the article of clothing, etc… All laying there on the floor. The exact same row my daughter had been ‘shopping’ in. She’d pulled off all the tags. I picked them all up and sheepishly took them to the sales clerk and apologized for having such an eager helper with me. She was kind about it, but I knew I’d just made her day.
I don’t really remember the outfit I had wanted to try on. I’m not even sure I tried it on. What I do remember is the fitting room. The dull beige carpet, the faded maroon curtain to pull across the doorway for privacy, and the ever popular dull yellow wooden bench to sit on while you were dressing. I maneuvered the stroller inside the fitting room and pulled the curtain. I stood there admiring the outfit I’d picked. I asked my daughter what she thought about it, she smiled and took a drink from her sippy cup. Every now and then another shopper would come into the fitting room area too. They’d look for an open curtain and begin trying on their items. Once in a while my daughter would peek out the curtain to watch and see who was out there. As I pulled off my sweater and jeans, she was watching me in the mirror. In the sweetest most endearing voice she asked, “Mommy, why are you fat?” Now, three-year-olds are known for asking questions.. why is the sky blue, why do donuts have sprinkles.. things like that. You can pretty much find a suitable answer as you go. But before I could think of a response, chuckles were coming from the other fitting rooms. Apparently, they’d brought a 3-year-old shopping once too.
Being on a dating site is like going to an online shopping center for men. They come in all shapes and sizes. Light hair, dark hair, lots of hair, no hair. It’s not the physical characteristics that get my attention. It’s their profile. I look for the ones that state something out of the ordinary. The guy that takes a few minutes to share something real about himself. Those are the ones I pay attention to. I figure if they can’t spend a few minutes to make a good impression, then they won’t take a few minutes for me either.
Lucky’s profile was a nice one. He had a picture posted. In it, he was well-groomed and smiling. He looked happy and had a devilish glint in his eyes. I liked that. I liked it enough to give him a call. By the end of this call, he asked to meet me in person. I was a little uncertain after my last meeting. But I said yes. He wanted to pick me up for dinner on Friday evening. I asked that we meet at the restaurant. I wasn’t comfortable giving out my address to someone I hadn’t met before. He said he understood. He asked me to choose a place for dinner. I listed several restaurants and the type of menus they had. Together we chose Ge-Jo’s by the Lake. An Italian restaurant that faces a beautiful lake and park.
After work on Friday I rushed home to get ready. I decided to make a quick dessert in case things went well at dinner. Then as I went to get dressed I realized that dating was kind of like ‘trying on’ a new outfit, to see how it would fit.
I was excited to be actually having a date. I even got a little nervous as I got into my car. I called Tammy and gave her the specifics of the date plan. She offered to call 15 minutes into the date in case I’d want an escape,. I told her I was thinking positively and was sure it would be alright. She told me to have a fun time and to call her when I got home.
It was a cool fall day, a little bit windy, but the sun was shining as I parked my car. Lucky arrived just after I did in front of the restaurant. I greeted him with a hug. He was all smiles and a little bit nervous. But he took my arm and we walked into the restaurant.
We were seated side by side in the main dining area. Our table was perfectly located to be able to view the sunset over the lake. The ambiance couldn’t have been more perfectly ordered as wonderful Italian aromas wafted from the kitchen. We took a few minutes to gaze through the menu and chose a pasta dinner for two.
As we waited for our dinner to be served, Lucky commented how glad he was to be meeting such a gorgeous woman. I thanked him for the compliment, but I have to admit I felt a little bit self-conscious. Thankfully, our salads arrived. All through dinner we conversed. Lucky shared more about his life, some struggles he’d managed through and about his family. The conversation seemed kind of deep for a first date. But he seemed very comfortable sharing these things.
It was dark when we left the restaurant, we’d missed the sunset altogether. Lucky held my hand as he walked me out to my car. It was then I asked if he like to join me for dessert that I’d made earlier. He smiled and agreed to follow me to my apartment.
I gave him the brief tour. Not because I was hurrying through, but because it was such a small apartment. I ended the tour in the kitchen. Lucky helped me serve the pie and coffee in the dining room. Quickly the conversation turned back to Lucky’s history. I tried to change the subject, asking about his hobbies and things. But it always meandered back to his past.
I thanked Lucky for such a nice evening and for dinner. He said it was his pleasure and told me how comfortable he felt with me. He helped me clear the dishes to the kitchen and then hugged me. He was indeed the gentleman he’d described in his profile. He asked if he could kiss me good night. I smiled and nodded. He stepped forward as I looked up at him. His bright blue eyes still had that devilish glint as he pressed his lips lightly on mine.