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Sex, Beer and Okinawa -- My First Date After Divorce

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Last night I went on my first date in 14 years. It may be another 14 years before I do it again. My best friend set me up with a doctor -- I think I should have started with a paper boy.

On my drive home from the date that night, I replayed in my mind every excruciating moment -- and I had a feeling I'd broken all the dating rules ever written. So when I arrived home, I Googled "dating don'ts." Sure enough, I had unwittingly trashed the top six:

  1. Do not talk about your ex on a first date. I practically told my ex's life story: his dreadful childhood, his resultant baggage, his brilliant mind, and the fact that, although he is my ex, we're still good friends and I love him. At this point, I'm sure my date was wondering how long it would be before my ex and I were back together ... unless he was too busy looking for the restaurant's emergency exit. Thankfully, I left out the part about my ex having intimacy issues and all that that implies. How I managed to contain this part of the story, I have no idea. I must have actually let my date speak.

  2. Do not mention sex. Technically, I didn't break this rule, as I believe you're not supposed to
    ask for sex on the first date. When I told my date that I was working on an article about
    teen trends, he asked me what the research shows. Now, I could have talked about
    cyber-bullying or texting and driving, but I had the uncommon good sense to mention the
    trend of girls giving boys oral sex as routinely as we used to French kiss. Only I didn't
    say "oral sex." I said "blow jobs." Talk about polite dinner conversation! I think this is
    grounds for an immediate end to any date, unless you're actually offering said blow job. I
    didn't score any points in the lady-like department when I tried back-pedaling, "Don't get
    me wrong, I'm all for oral sex."

  3. Do not bring up marriage. Actually, my date brought this up, asking me what I believe
    makes a good marriage. I have always thought Katherine Hepburn's definition of what
    works is dead-on: "Married people should live near each other and visit often." My date
    was clearly not a Hepburn fan.

  4. Ladies don't drink beer. Not only did I drink beer, I explained that the restaurant we
    were visiting used to carry a fabulous beer that is no longer available due to the fact
    that the brewery, which had been owned by a woman, recently shut down and I was
    disappointed because it was one of the best-tasting beers I had ever had and if I could,
    I would buy that brewery. I said it all in one breath, just like it reads here. At which
    point my date said, "Oh, you really know your beers." I don't think he meant it as a

  5. Do not reveal your shortcomings. Toward the end of the evening, it became
    obvious that I am a geographical dimwit. In fact, I can sum up the entire date in a
    single word: Okinawa. Turns out, my date was very well-traveled. When I asked
    him what his favorite place was, the noise level suddenly rose and he said, "Nawa."
    That's all I heard: "Nawa." I asked, "Where?" (If only I had said "what?") And he said,
    dryly, "Okinawa. You know, Pearl Harbor?" Which I translated to mean: "You actually
    graduated high school?" By now, the notion of excusing myself and climbing out the
    ladies' room window was looking like my best bet.

  6. Do not kiss good night on the first date. Gotcha. You don't think I actually had the
    opportunity to break this rule, do you? Instead, I did the awkward shaking hands with
    my non-handshaking hand thing. It was like I was possessed by my grandmother.
    Needless to say, there was no "I'd like to see you again." It wasn't until I got into my
    mini-van (violation of rule #10) that I realized I hadn't taken a breath for the past three hours. Surely the lack of oxygen was responsible for my geeky behavior? If only I had
    passed out, the evening would have gone much better.

  7. When I called my folks the next day to give them a brief synopsis, I heard my father yell to
    my mother, "Cancel the wedding planner, honey." I then explained that I would not be telling
    them about any future dates since I never again wanted to make the day-after-the-date
    phone call. For this, my mother has not spoken to me in a week, which is pretty much the
    silver lining to this whole ordeal.