Thursday, April 11, 2024

Inga's Guide to Post-Divorce Dates From Hell

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published April 15, 2024] ©2024

OK, so I’m guessing my local readership is a little tired of broken appliances and streetlights at this point.  I get it.  So maybe it’s time for a little lighter fare, like Inga’s Primer of Post-Divorce Dates from Hell.  I confess I was inspired by inadvertently cruising into a web site where people (read women) can vent – and more importantly, advise - about disastrous dates.  Where were these ladies years ago when I was newly single and needed them? 

I was engaged to my first husband at 20 and clueless about dating when I was divorced at 35. Let me just say that the learning curve was hugeIt’s a bit of a toss-up as to which of my early dates was the biggest creep: the criminal lawyer with a cocaine habit and herpes? The newly-certified massage therapist whose date proposal was giving me a massage at half price.

Then there was the commodities broker who invited me out for drinks. I'm guessing he should have gone short on pork bellies instead of long.  The passenger side door of his ancient two-door sports car was broken which meant climbing over the gear shift - in a short skirt - from the driver's side to get to my seat. Could he have warned me in advance? Or was this all part of the plan?  

But here's some dating advice from me: never let your date pick out the rental movie.  Of course, this advice is fairly useless since rental movies have pretty much gone the way of the rotary dial telephone except at the public library where you can get them for free.  But rental movies in the pre-streaming world used to be a big thing. It would be a mob scene at movie rental places on weekend nights as people vied for the latest flicks. It behooved you to develop a friendly relationship with one of the desk people who might be persuaded to hold a copy of the latest Star Wars for your when someone returned it. 

Anyway...shortly before my marriage ended, my then-husband and I had bought a 100-movie package at Video Library, the earlier incarnation of Blockbuster Video on Fay Avenue.  (The Flower Pot Cafe now occupies this space.)  Even after we separated, my ex and I retained joint custody of the  package.  The Video Library clerk knew both my former husband and me well; we frequently both had movies out on the same night. 

One Tuesday, when the kids were going to be at their dad’s, I suggested to a date that we cook at my house (I couldn’t afford to take him out to a restaurant but wanted to reciprocate his hospitality) and rent a video. Since the video store was on his way to my home, I suggested that he might stop by and pick out a movie on our plan. In retrospect, I can’t even imagine what I was thinking. Video Library at that time had a back room with pornographic titles. My kids (aged three and six) loved to crawl under the curtain and giggle at all the “boobies” on the boxes.

Still, I’m thinking my date is going to pick out a nice rom-com, so it was with no little dismay on my part when he shows up with “All American Girls in Heat, Part 2.” I just Googled it and yes, this flick is still out there (although I’m guessing not at the public library), summarized as "A rich woman gathers her old college girlfriends for a free weekend on a tropical island so they can relate their wildest sexual experiences." 

I can’t imagine what Part I was like, but frankly porno flicks have never done much for me. On the big screen particularly, a tumescing organ just ends up looking like a bald cyclopic version of the Monster That Devoured Cleveland. Suffice it to say that my date loved the movie. He never even noticed I’d gone off to do the dishes.

Returning the movie the next morning was problematical.  There was no anonymous drop box then like Blockbuster instituted later; you had to actually bring it to the desk and have them check it in. As I stood there clutching the paper lunch bag disguising my video (in case I ran into someone I knew), the video guy pulled up our family membership on his screen. “Looks like you guys have two movies out,” he notes. Then he bursts out laughing. “I’m not even going to tell you what your ex-husband rented. It’s probably the grossest movie we have. Let’s see, you’re returning The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings?”

I was actually recounting this story to my adult sons recently.  I think this may have been a mistake.  I predict this story will be told at my funeral.  And I also predict that I’m going to get Part 1 for Christmas. 

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