When I lived in Springfield, I had two fairy godmothers. They were wonderful women. The first was Mary Linda, my landlady. Mary Linda introduced me to Mary Ann.
Mary Ann put me into the Junior League. I didn't want to join, as I knew I would be terribly out of place with all these former sorority girls who all knew the secrets to accessorizing and makeup and dressing. I always had the wrong clothes at meetings. Always. But Mary Ann told me that I needed to make friends. I told her I didn't want women friends, I wanted a boyfriend. She pointed out that WOMEN HAVE BROTHERS.
I never did meet any men through the Junior League, but I made some very nice women friends who are friends to this day and I discovered the Junior League Thrift Shop, which is the best place to shop in the world and if you don't have one in your town, I pity you.
I did, however, meet some men through Mary Linda and Mary Ann. They knew everyone in town. I met a guy on match.com - he claimed to be a doctor - and asked Mary Linda, whose husband is a doctor, about him.
"Oh yes. I know who he is. He is who he says he is. His daddy was a doctor and ran away with another woman years ago."
Another guy I was dating - met him on my own - turned out to be a big jerk. Mary Linda tried to warn me about him when she learned I was seeing him. "I go to church with his daddy and I've known him since he was a little boy. He is no good. Nothing is ever his fault. You do not want to be involved with him."
I ignored her at my peril, of course, and ended up nursing a severely bruised heart for a while.
They set me up on several blind dates, none of which went anywhere, but it's like buying shoes: you have to keep trying until you find the right fit.
A friend of Mary Ann's offered to set me up with "Scott." Scott was part of an old Springfield family. He worked for the family business. His parents had servants when he was a kid.
He was also single, which was becoming my only requirement. We met at the coffee shop near my house. We were having a good time talking, so when the shop closed at 7:00, he asked if I wanted to get a drink. No, I don't drink and don't like smoky bars, but how about if you come over to my house, I suggested. I live three blocks from here.
I went home and waited. He didn't show. He didn't show. He didn't show.
Sheesh. If he wanted to blow me off, why did he suggest a drink?
An hour later, he knocked. "I went home to take a shower," he explained.
Why? It's not like he was dirty before that. I was confused, but whatever. Weird guy.
We sat and talked. At 9:30, I told him he had to go home because I had to get up early for work the next day. He left, telling me he would call. Again, whatever.
I told the story to my friends Ross and Ken. "I don't get the shower," I said.
They burst out laughing.
"He thought he was going to get laid!" they said.
"What!" I answered. "That's nuts! I had just met him!"
"But you invited him back to your place," they explained. "That's code for getting busy."
"Sometimes, someone just doesn't like cigarette smoke," I said. "Sheesh."
On our next date, he took me to a noisy sports bar, where he changed tactics. When our meal came, he bowed his head and said grace.
I still didn't sleep with him.
Our next (and last) date was at his house, where we watched a movie. I don't remember if there was any food involved.
"You're pretty smart, aren't you?" he asked.
"Yeah, I guess so," I answered.
"Hmmm," he replied. He was not - how shall I put this? - intellectual. Not that I require an intellectual, but I do like someone who can keep me on my toes occasionally.
Then we got into religion. "You're Catholic, right?"
"Yeah. My parents don't like Catholics. My ex-fiancee was Catholic. They wouldn't let me marry her."
Wait. You're a grown man of 42 and you're letting your parents tell you what to do?
He didn't call again and I didn't regret it. I told Mary Ann about it and she said, "What? Why did she set you up with him? Everyone knows that family is rabidly anti-Catholic! His older sister wouldn't even let her kids come to my house to play with [my son] because she didn't want them around Catholics!"
No loss, then.
A year later, I ran into Scott at the grocery store. He looked me up and down and said, "You're looking good!"
I thanked him, then asked politely how he was doing.
"I'm married and have a new little baby at home," he said.
Even though I was trying to hide my astonishment, my eyes flew open. "How old?" I asked.
I did the math in my head. One month plus nine months - OK, ten, really - equals two months after he stopped seeing me.
He must have seen my surprise. "Yeah, we had to get married. She got pregnant. I have a two-year-old stepdaughter, too."
Now I really had to struggle to hide what I was thinking. A single mom "accidentally" getting pregnant after dating a rich guy for a couple of months?
Oh yeah. That's how it happens.