My hands wander up to her stomach.
I love women’s stomachs – especially the kind that aren’t hidden beneath a sweater or two. How do they get such soft skin? I don’t get it.
Do they marinate in oils and lotions a few hours a day? Do they scour their bodies with lemons, tangerines and aloe, and other secret girly stuff?
I’m making a second pass across her soft skin when she tenses and breaks the kiss. It’s kind of odd; she just stares deeply into my eyes. But not in a puppy-dog-love sort of way, more like she’s trying to figure out my intentions, or maybe how I’m going to take something she’s about to say…
“I think maybe you should take me home.”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“No, honestly, it’s been a great night tonight. I enjoyed meeting you and I’d love to go out again.” she leans forward and kisses me a few more times. “But I’ve got to get up early for church tomorrow morning.”
The camera comes in tight on my eyes here and they’re panicked. Church! No! Not a church girl!
“Oh, Ok. ” I say, bucking her seatbelt.
Memo to myself: Why did I just buckle her seatbelt? Figure this weird action out later.
I buckle mine and restart the car. We drive for awhile with neither of us saying anything. This is really weird. How do things like this happen? One minute everything’s going fine and the next she hits me with the ‘take me home I gotta go to church’ line. What am I supposed to be getting out of this? What’s here to be read from between the lines?
As we’re turning down her road I decide I’ll break the silence. “I know I asked you once already. But did I do something wrong?” I turn to look at her and there she is making eye contact. She doesn’t look pissed. “I’ve had a great time tonight,” I say. “Honestly… but this just feels… I dunno. Weird. I’d hate to have the evening end this way.”
“It’s not you. It’s me,” she says.
She plays with a finger nail like she’s deep in thought. I’m about to give her the ‘What about?’ when… “You promise you won’t freak out if I tell you something?” she asks.
Ohhhhh man. Not this. The skeleton’s come marching out, Hurrah! Hurrah! The skeletons come marching out again, Hurrah!
Why are women like this? Why do they feel obligated to introduce you to all of their skeletons on the first date? And if the introductions don’t happen on the first date, then you can be sure they will the first time you go to bed with them. I can’t count how many times this has happened… You know, you’re in bed together. Every item of clothing hit the floor 20 minutes ago. You’re getting to the best part… And suddenly she’s introducing you to Marty the skeleton who encompasses her fear of serious relationships. Or Chuck the scary skeleton who encompasses the memory of that miscarriage she had in her first year of college.
Chuck and Marty make women cry with abandon. There are other skeletons of course. I’ve met them: Fred, Larry, Willie and Pete, among others. I hate them. I want them back in the closet. But I guess that’s what skeletons are all about – jumping in and out of closets and yelling “Boo!”
Don’t get me wrong here. I can be sensitive to anyone’s problems or life tragedies. I have a great deal of empathy and I’m a good listener. BUT WHY ON THE FIRST DATE? Why do they bring it up when they’re lying naked in your arms for the first time?
“I’m celibate,” she says. (“Boo!!” Willie the skeleton screams.)
I nearly drive off the road.
Ok, I’m lying about driving off the road. But it would make for a funny scene wouldn’t it? And I need some humor right now because nothing’s very funny at the moment.
“I don’t want to explain the why’s or how’s or who’s. But I am. That’s just part of who I am,” she says.
A few more blocks pass.
A whistle blows. A football game just started in my head but the linebackers aren’t doing anything other than tearing down the goal posts and beating the shit out of the fans.
“So it’s not you, OK?” she says.
“I enjoyed kissing you though,” she says. “And I think you’re really cool. I feel like I’ve known you for a long time.”
“Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.” Actually I don’t. Shit, I can’t believe this! This would only happen to me. I get set up with a girl who looks like Ms. Right from head to toe. We hit it off. And she’s celibate…
Who the hell is celibate these days? The word just has this creepy ring to it. She could have said the phrase “chastity belt” or “jaundice” and it wouldn’t have sounded any less odd. Actually, a chastity belt would have been a challenge. I used to be a pretty good lock picker. But there’s no challenge here. She’s celibate. End of story.
I drop her off and we really don’t say too much more. No promises to go out again. She gives me a weak smile as I open the car door for her. The house lights are still on. I imagine Darla in there somewhere eating Girl Scout cookies by the handful. But there’s no Lindy in the front windows. It’s 11:30 PM as I pull out of her driveway. I wonder whether or not the Girlfriend Express office is still open. Old Randall is going to get an earful.
And they better not even think of charging me.
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