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This article by DeeinPrinceton was prepared for the February 25, 2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Remember being in your early 20s, living in New York and hanging out at singles bars? Remember seeing a 30-something across the bar and thinking to yourself, "God help me if I am in my late 30s and still hanging out here?"
We had such picket fence ideals!
Well, a century, a husband, a divorce, and a few kids later, as I find myself back in the singles scene (but this time in suburbia), staring at men and women in their late 40s and early 50s, I tell my friends to just shoot me if I am still frequenting "The Triumph" at that age. I also find myself looking at the 20-somethings and thinking that they have no idea about "the real world" – and are soooo damn naive (but cute enough to date)!
Here are a few examples of some of my "suburban dating experiences/observations" – which I am sure many single women can relate to.
Suburbia, when you start to believe that Chuck E. Cheese is no longer hell but actually single daddy heaven. Friday and Wednesday nights it’s chock full of single dads who don’t know what to do with the one night a week they have their kids….dress sexy, girls, bonus points if you help them locate one of their missing children.
Suburbia, where men wear sneakers out at night and think it’s fine! Where flannel and plaid are staples in their wardrobe. Note to men: Hawaiian shirts never look good!
Suburbia, where men think that a sports bar is a fine dining establishment.
Suburbia, where many men are paying huge alimonies and child support. Most can’t afford to take you out, so you "meet" for a drink.
Suburbia, the land of mommies wearing Disney World sweatshirts to Gymboree (and they know every word to every song) – and I am wearing Prada pants with a Target tee shirt…Help!
Suburbia, where the pool and lawn guys start to look good, and the UPS man is the excitement of your day! Time to order more from eBay!
Suburbia, where most of the PTA moms are sporting the same hairdo (way too old for them) -and their husbands are out "with the boys" once a month flirting with us…ick!
Suburbia, where most of the local bartenders actually remember you by name. Does this mean you are popular? A regular? An alcoholic? Or just plain pathetic?
Suburbia, where a man in his 40s can have "fake furniture" that he puts together himself (all made of particle board)…his collection of baseball caps hanging over his bed…and cinder blocks holding up his TV….
Suburbia, where "the bagel boy" continually puts his phone number in your bagel bag each morning.
Suburbia, where you find yourself hanging out at the EMS store waiting for handsome active men to come shopping…note to self, apply for part-time job?
Suburbia, where it is actually possible to meet a successful, handsome (sometimes married) man at "the food court" during lunch hour…I guess it’s kind of pathetic to search for my "next ex-boyfriend" on my lunch hour but what the heck.
Suburban dating, where you date a grown man who still has a roommate. Aren’t we too old for this?
Suburban dating, where you receive love letters via snail mail…this is the new romantic thing to do. Remember when men sent flowers? Now if you get an actual card or letter that is not sent via E-mail, it’s got to be true love!
Suburban dating, where it’s impossible not to run into an "ex" every once in awhile. There are sooo few places to go out. My most favorite experience was running into an ex who was on an Internet blind date…good times!
Suburban dating, where you admire a successful business owner from afar and pretend with your friends that you are dating and madly in love. "Oh, he is just ignoring me because it would be unprofessional for him to spend all of his time at our table"…"Oh, look how cute he looks pretending to not even notice me"…giggle….
Suburban dating, where you meet a married man who doesn’t mention the married part until after you’ve exchanged phone numbers, and he proceeds to call and call and leave message after message – even after you tell him that you are not interested in anyone who is married.
Suburban dating, where the pool of men is so limited that you almost have to date a male friend of an ex-boyfriend (OK, sometimes it can be a revenge thing).
Suburban dating, where you have as many "male friends" as "female friends." At times this can hurt your chances for meeting somebody new. How many men are going to introduce themselves to a girl hanging out with a group of guys? Well, not that there are really any men to meet most nights, but it’s easy to blame your lack of romance on your male friends.
Suburban Internet dating…The man who came to our date wearing sooo many gold chains he resembled Mr. T. – and to top it off he had wads of cash held together with a big gold money clip. My kinda guy!…not!
Suburban Internet dating…The man who doesn’t drive in reverse (obsessive compulsive disorder). We had to wait for the car parked in front of us to leave so he could "pull thru" the parking space.
Suburban Internet dating…The man who wants to start calling you his girlfriend on the first date because you spent way too many hours getting to know him on the phone before you met. You inform him you don’t feel any chemistry after meeting him – and he gets very angry with you (that was a major lesson learned).
Suburban Internet dating…The "manic depressant" who falls soooo hard soooo fast and then ends it for no reason, then tries to get you back…and then ends it…and so on and so on….
Suburban Internet dating…The "I have bisexual tendencies man," and I would like you to watch…note to self, trust your initial impression.
Suburban Internet dating…The "body builder man" who shaves his chest, and when you actually touch it, it hurts!
Suburban Internet dating…The man who cried on our blind date over one beer because his dog got hit by a car five years earlier….
Suburban Internet dating…The first Internet date without a picture or a phone call. He described himself as successful, tall, dark, and handsome…he had an excellent command of the written word…so you agree to meet for a quick lunch. It turns out he is European, I can’t pronounce his name. He has such a thick accent that I spend the entire hour saying, "Excuse me"…"What?"…and to top it all off, he is married!!!!!
Suburbia, where the city is just a train ride away, the beach is close enough for day trips, and it’s actually fun to hang out with really good, kind, sometimes way too normal friends….
Editor’s note: DeeinPrinceton is the online name for a Princeton area resident who is employed in retail.
Among Friends, 609-915-4788. Social get togethers for ages 40 to 60. First Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Princeton, Cherry Hill Road. $7. Contact: Bonnie Williams.
Book and Movie Club, 609-587-7265. Small informal discussion groups, biweekly trips to movies, ages 40+, meetings alternate Fridays, 8 p.m., P.J.’s Pancake House, Nassau Street, Princeton. E-mail: KlassicKorner@aol.com.
Fifty Something Singles, 215-493-6494. Buffet and discussion at the Princeton YMCA, second and fourth Thursdays, at 7 p.m. $1 if you bring a dish, $5 if you don’t. Contact: Steve.
Mercer County Single Volunteers, a non-profit with the motto: "Connect by Helping Others." Meetings held first and third Tuesday of each month at the Hamilton Township Library at 7 p.m. Www.mcsvnj.org.
Professional and Business Singles Network, 800-537-3859. House parties, dances, seminars, barbecues. Also Voice Personal Ads and an introduction service for shy singles. Median age is late 40s. Events hotline: 800-537-3859. Contact: Ralph Israel, 888-348-5544. Www.pbsninfo.com. One-year membership, $65. Upcoming events: Friday, February 27: TGIF After Work Social, Christie’s Bar & Grill, Sheraton at Woodbridge, Iselin, 5:30 p.m.
Princeton Indoor Tennis Center, 609-799-8214. Tennis parties first and third Saturdays March and April.
Somerset Hills Single Hikers, 732-863-4909. Meet at the realtor’s lot across Hillside Avenue from Willie’s Tavern, Route 202, Bedminster, 2nd light north of Route 287. Bring water. No reservations required. Upcoming hikes: Saturday, March 7, Lewis Morris Park, Morristown.
Weekend Racquets, Brunswick Hills Racquet Club, 1020 Route 18 Shopping Plaza, East Brunswick, 732-432-7728 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Sunday tennis parties for intermediate to advanced intermediate players only, 6 to 10 p.m. Tennis balls and liquid refreshments only. Mix and mingle on the courts. New price: $20. Upcoming dates: March 7, 14, 21 (no party March 28). Contact: Sherman Mark.
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