Mysterious Dating

When I was in high school, actually a boarding school, we weren’t allowed to go out much. The day students led seemingly normal lives of cookouts and parties and shopping trips with moms. We boarders had housemothers who drank multiple bottles of vodka to forget about us and a our penchant for convincing them we were taking a taxi to “see a movie,” fake IDs at the ready. Yes, of course we rolled up our jeans under the skirts the rules dictated we wear “off campus.”

The rest of the time, we did homework or thought up ways to get around curfew. Mostly, we played a lot of board games. I am a baby boomer, although somewhat at the end of the boomer era. So work with me here when I tell you, “Mystery Date” was the best of the board games, the top of the heap, THE GAME. Second best: “Barbie Queen of the Prom.”

Our 1960s version of Mystery Date–a particularly sweet vintage, by the way, thanks to a friend’s older sister who had “outgrown” the game–boasted a colorful cast of politically incorrect characters, from a “bum” to a country club guy to our skinny, buxom Barbie role model. There was a plastic door in the center of the board, and we all cringed and shielded our eyes when we had to open it to realize, for once and for all, who would be our “mystery date.” I loved that plastic door and the simultaneous moment of fear and exhilarating expectation it held.

I thought of Barbie and her prom dates and her mysteries, when I had several “dating” experiences this past week. Does meeting up with someone to watch sports on TV in a sports bar after work, surrounded by dozens of strangers, count as a date? Does a random conversation at a bar, while waiting for said date, about how I should be this somebody’s booty call and let him move in with me and sleep on my couch that I don’t yet own, count as a date?

Ahem. Do people “date” these days? No matter. It is the Barbie meaning of the term “date” that provides the context–a minefield of hopeful opportunity. Or, is it just a minefield?

I marveled at myself for primping and getting the hair just right and the shirt and jeans just so for this date. It was really only a chance to get out of my own four walls after work and mingle with the masses. But still, a gal likes to look her best.

He complimented my appearance, and I ordered a glass of wine. He talked too soon about wanting to see more of me, and I drank another glass of wine. He said I was in a netherland between marriage and non-marriage, and that if it were really true that I was hopeful that I might someday get back together with my husband, why was I watching hockey with him in a bar?


He then began the first of many minutes of texting a bunch of someone-elses, and I thought, “Crap, this is what my Wonderful Friend complains about–that disconnect thing that people do when they are out with one another, but then look past one another, in order to be with another.

And here I was, on my first sort-of date, with a guy texting away, when my hair for once didn’t look like beach hair. What a waste.

Poindexter, I am not your gal for the Prom. Ken, you only have eyes for Barbie, and you know it! The other three guys from Mystery Date? What were their names–their identities, their roles, their game-playing strategies in the end, anyway?







14 responses to “Mysterious Dating”

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  2. Suz Avatar

    If a pompous ass asked me what I was doing with him in a bar in my circumstances, as he did to you, I would have lost all polite society manners, and told him right before I walked out of the bar, “I was passing the time, jackass.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Tinker Avatar

    Your guess is as good as mine, when it comes to making dates in modern times. I get the impression its a “Mass Effect” procedure, but then everything since 1972 is a closed book to me, so I’m kinda sure that I must be wrong.

    I’m trying to figure out how it works, “hey, do you wanna hang out at the mall with Tuesday evening?”

    “Who else will be there?”

    “The whole damned School, of course!”

    “Forget You!”

  4. Kim Ayres Avatar

    Dating. Haven’t a clue. Wouldn’t know where to begin. Hopefully will never have to. But you don’t have to put up with rudeness, I do know that.

  5. Jennifer Avatar

    I would love nothing more than to tell you it gets better. However, I like you and your writing far too much to lie to you like that.

    What it WILL do is continue to provide you with wonderful fodder for your blog!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. maureen Avatar

    At 40 I reentered the dating world after over almost 20years Like you I ask questions like ithis what it’s like now ???It wasn’t until I decided I didn’t care what it’s like now . When I’m looking for a life partner The only thing I care about is what I like . Once I made that distinction I seemed to find the kind of guy’s I wanted to be dating . I’m engaged now to a guy who might even be more old fashion than I am . He opens car doors & brings floweres for no reason.
    PS I also decided I wanted some one who could make laugh rather than swoon luckilyI found both

  7. K Avatar

    I really get irritated with dating. There seem to be too many options now-a-days where men think they can just keep dating the field without getting to know one person. I’d like to have th opportunity to just date one guy and get to know him but apparently that’s not the norm these days.
    I’m getting sick of it, and 1/2 the time, I give up.
    But I know eventually it’ll happen, and for that I unpatiently wait.

  8. Katie Avatar

    Dating and trying to figure out the rules gives me a headache. If I have fun, I hope to receive a phone call for another date, if not, chalk it up to experience and move on.

  9. Robin in Ohio Avatar
    Robin in Ohio

    (singing) “Open the door…for your Mystery Date!”
    Yes, I remember playing that game at slumber parties in the early 70’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here’s a commercial for it. It looks like the same “guys” I had in my version of the game. I’m guessing it’s yours, too.

  10. Laundramatic Avatar

    As I am approaching my mid-twenties, I can say this much about dating – it’s hella confusing. So far, the two predominant types I’ve been meeting are the players who are only after sex and the clingers who want to get married. NOW. The cute, honest, funny, sweet guys are far and few in between, but they’re out there and I’ll find one some day ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. jalii Avatar

    I HATE dating, but more than that , I HATE someone texting constantly in my company or talking on the phone. I’ve walked away from someone who answered 3 calls in the middle of conversation with me.

    I went to dinner at a gentleman’s house and he actually gave me the phone to say “hello” to his mother. His mother. The meal wasn’t worth the annoyance.

    I have a better time hanging out with girlfriends (yes, I’m thinking about you and lex) than I do on dates.

    I’ve never played “Dream Date” but it’s a new option for me now. (smile)

  12. Brave Astronaut Avatar

    Oh, Good God. Why is it that some men, when presented with a situation with a beautiful woman, they will find ways to screw it up. Keep at it, Gal. You’ll find what you are looking for.

    As to dating, I’m with Kim. I am unsuitable for the dating environment. Thank God I have the woman of my dreams and will not have to do that ever again. Then again, my father has decided to date, a year after my mother died. And he’s 78. This would be an example of the extreme, “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”

  13. RG's Wonderful Friend Avatar
    RG’s Wonderful Friend

    Ugh, the texting. It irritates me to no end. Its as if that person is waiting for someone better to come along. It wasn’t worth my time, and its definitely not worth your time! Its just beyond rude.

  14. Divorce Coach

    Restaurant Gal » Mysterious Dating