During a particular low time during the divorce process, I got hooked on reading a relationship advice column online. There’s something validating in reading about other people’s relationship issues. It also let loose my inner, cigarette-smoking, world-weary vamp named Blanche. I just rolled my eyes at the 20-something writer who declared the person who just dumped him was the One and what should he do now? But Blanch took a long drag on her cigarette and exhaled a pointed stream of smoke at the advice seeker’s post. “No such thing as the ‘One,’ sweetheart,” she declared in her gin-soaked voice of gravel.
Another advice seeker claimed everything in the relationship was perfect, except she wanted a child and the partner didn’t. Could the partner be won over? I thought not, but stayed quiet to be polite. Blanche, however, tapped the worn wood of the bar twice next to her empty shot glass, watched the bartender fill it up with Gordon’s, tipped it back and slammed down the glass. “Not gonna happen. Put up or get the hell out.”
The ill-fated office romances and those contemplating divorce after a few years of marriage when a new “soul mate” appeared on the horizon got nothing more than Blanche’s derisive snort.
It was a pretty fun game for me and Blanche until the law of averages started to catch up to us. You read enough of these letters and sooner or later you’ll get to situations that are uncomfortably close to home: midlife folks asking about the rules of dating in the world of Facebook and texting. When to introduce the kids. And yea gods, trying to decide on divorce number two! Being solitary by nature and still processing my marriage and divorce, I have no interest in dating or finding another partner. But if I’ve learned nothing else during a 20-year marriage and subsequent divorce, it’s never say never. My guilty pleasure at making fun of the advice seekers transformed into an uncomfortable dread of having to face this situation at some point, no matter how unlikely. Then I would be one of the letter writers: “I finally got an interesting email on Match.com, what do I do now? Help!”
Blanche will flick her dangling cigarette ashes at me, before raising her shot glass. “Get back on the damn horse, girl, and let it ride.”
photo credit: Fooyoh.com