I should have listened to my late wife. She always said I was a born softie. But how was I to know I’d find myself dating another mature person after 18 months. Lovely name too – Lizzy. Charming lady, energetic, full of fun. Lovely blue-eyes, gorgeous flowing hair, trim-figured, and looks after her health. A voice full of honey, molasses and promise. But she sits on so many volunteer committees and charities I’m scared I might never get a word in.
But why did I do it? Too much alcohol. And today is the day of the date. Too late to back off now. I know I sometimes feel like sharing my life with someone new, but I’m starting to get cold feet.
It’s her fault, of course. Why did she accept? Too many crème-de-menthes? Perhaps if I telephoned her she might let me off the hook. Even better…she’s forgotten. No chance. She called me asking what she should wear, remember? Me! How would I know? I mean at her age, if she doesn’t know what to wear on a date, why not ask a friend? Oh dear…maybe she hasn’t got all that many real friends. What have I landed myself into?
I don’t even know what to wear myself. I’ll make a call…that’s it. I’ll call my 35-year-old son. No that’s not a good idea… for a start, he’s a bachelor plus he’ll only spread the word that dad has finally found someone to share his life with. No! And there’s always a risk he might urge me to go for it! Nothing for it but to see what I have in my wardrobe. What wardrobe? The last time I wore a suit was at Sheryl’s wedding, and that was 25 years ago. It fitted…just. Oh, I had to loosen the zipper slightly when I sat down and then forgot to do it up when proposing the obligatory toast. What was all the fuss? Nobody noticed till the photographs were printed.
At Gloria’s funeral I used the excuse that it was too hot, and I made do with an open shirt, a pair of fashionable jeans and the obligatory hat …which I remembered to take off at the service itself.
I look through my odd assortment of clothes. I haven’t been on a date for over decades. The only dress shirt I find is a fuchsia-coloured one that was all the rage in the 60s. You know the one. Outsize collar that invited you to tie a shoelace around it (this was the period when country and western was even more popular than it is now). No shoelaces… I now wear slip ons. And I can’t wear a tie because the only ones I possess are hand-me-downs with painted lurid ladies that, these days, would make people nauseous. I’ll have to make do with a sports shirt. What a shame, I can’t show-off the gold cufflinks that Gloria bought me for our 25th wedding anniversary.
So that’s settled. Sports shirt. I’m now forced to dump my original idea of dining at some romantic hideaway. Ah well, they do tell me they serve a superb smorgasbord at the local leagues club. Good! That means we won’t have much time for idle chatter…we’ll be too busy getting up and down to talk about anything of any great consequence. Things, at last, are beginning to brighten, but I’m still wishing I could call it off. She’ll never stop talking. By the end of the evening, I’ll be nodding my head so much and making out I’m interested in what she’s saying, I’ll finish off looking like a country-fair glazed clown.
One more problem. Trousers. The only trousers I have are those cheapies with the maker’s name on the thigh. I realise I have the most sought-out thighs in Australia, but do they have to be encased in some unfashionable promo? I grab a pair of scissors and start hacking away but that doesn’t alleviate the problem, only makes it worse.
I hurry over to George, my neighbour. Yes, he has a pair he can lend med. What are neighbours for, after all? I try them on. They fit quite nicely but have an extended crotch hanging between my legs. I borrow them. I’ll keep my legs crossed, and if required I’ll double-cross them. I only kiss on a first date, anyway.
Should I shave? No, I’ll keep my rugged, out-doorsy look. My nervousness is beginning to make me sweat profusely. Quick shower. I’m beginning to feel much better now.
As I’m dressing the phone rings. It’s Lizzie’s daughter. “I’m sorry,” she says with great earnestness. “My mother won’t be able to come tonight. She fell over trying to stand on her new high-heeled shoes and broke her hip.”
I laugh nervously. What a relief! I can uncross my double-crossed legs now!