25 rules of dating

Rule #3: The next time I’m tempted to go too far, I’ll try texting myself a photo of my glorious chicken soup.It may not help with fighting sickness or bolstering self-esteem, but honestly, it can’t hurt.

The truly flawed nature of my being must have somehow become visible. Who would possibly want to go out with a woman four years his senior? Who did I think I was to believe, even for an instant, that someone like that would be interested in me? I am educated and smart; I work as a graduate-school professor and author. Is this the core shame at the center of every human, that hideous inner knowledge we spend as much of our lives as possible trying to keep hidden? And how, please God someone tell me how, was I to be free of it?He’d glimpsed it over those three hours and had high-tailed it out of there as fast as he could. With no warning whatsoever, I was 13 again, certain that the “cool kids” would never let me join their group, listening as they said, of course they’d love to come to my birthday party while harboring no intention whatsoever of showing up. I’d asked him some pretty blunt questions; writers are always looking for the story behind the story. My students think I’m amazingly cool because I ride a Harley. I sat with the feelings, talked them out with friends, meditated, and decided that the dating experience was here primarily to teach me about myself. I checked email regularly, looked at my Facebook page, hunted for texts that might have somehow been overlooked. I had foolishly thought that a date now and again would enliven my life, would give me something to look forward to, a reason to buy a new blouse, a more active social life. I began to consider how little experience I’d had in this realm.I was certain I’d made a fool of myself, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how or where. I was already learning what I might one day want in a partner (if I were ever to decide I’d like to be partnered again), what I didn’t want, what I found attractive, what bored me, and had come to appreciate how much I enjoyed my own company. I was old enough, experienced enough, and happy enough on my own to not take any of it too seriously. My dating history, if all pulled together, added up to about a nanosecond.Some women flirt by sending pictures of themselves in scanty little underthings to the man they’re hoping to attract. “Sexting” is most prevalent though, the media tells us, among teen girls. Only, instead of texting racy photos of myself, apparently, I send pictures of homemade soup.Or at least, that’s what I would be doing if my friends weren’t actively trying to stop me.

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