Hard to Bear
Recently, I have come to realize that a possible contributing factor for my two offspring remaining single (with a capital Sing) may be my tendency to “Make Inquires”.
I will not make excuses. I abhor those reality shows on TV with the weeks of endless bickering, sniveling, and Kleenex wadding moms tiptoe around a dance coach, a cheerleading consultant, or mid wife. I am more of a Liam Nielson ‘Taken” charge type of gal. I would rather get a helicopter and a team of dogs to conduct a search for a lost pet then trust a squadron of mini-vans driving up and down the macadam with moms whistling off key from powered windows.
An unfortunate side effect of making inquiries is that eventually those closest to you tend to stop offering snippets of information. My daughter, as the oldest, was the lead-off batter so to speak. She dated a young man for a year and right before her 19th birthday, they broke up. I immediately began ‘making inquiries’ and discovered that the young man was basically an assclown to her at the end. The usual, “it’s not you, it’s me” mixed in with “I want you to keep this Gund bear I’ve had since I was a baby, because as long as you have it, you’ll know that I still love you.” So his parting gift, a twenty-three year old mildewed polar, who had seen two decades of sweats, pukes, and pissings, was to be her talisman in the recovering weeks ahead.
Okay. If I’m honest, I did get a bit of the “no-one puts baby in the corner” mantra. But, this was my baby, and her hurt and disillusionment were hard to watch passively. She, or course, would hear no words against the bearer of such sad partings, so I was muted. Or so it seemed.
My inquiries however uncovered some useful information. The young lad had an unusual fear of insects. Within a few months he and his male roommates were said to have encountered a bombardment of crickets, spiders, and flies that had come to roost in the bachelor digs. It was quite the infestation. I also heard he made it on the “Do Not Fly” list which is particularly difficult when trying to make connections in a German airport.” He may or may not have received a photo of the bear wearing a belt around its neck—secondhand information is never totally reliable.
Eventually, my daughter began dating another young man. She told me only that his name was “Rick”, that he drove a black truck, and that he lived in a town a few miles from her own apartment. Within 10 minutes I had his complete name, vehicle and driver information (Oh Rick likes to drive fast!) and photos of the house he had purchased the previous year. Rick was quite a handsome young man and he had several mood candles in his bedroom, most burned very low and seemingly often. (I can’t remember if I mentioned I was Criminal Intelligence Officer for 15 years, but never-the less it is not important).
Rick. Rick. Rick. A few inquiries later revealed that Rick was quite the ladies man. He also rented a house in Sea Isle every summer with 10 other young men. So it seemed young Rick wanted to play Jersey Shore with my daughter. My daughter actually turned him down--she is not one to want to use a toilet that is aimed at by a fleet of drunken men, and also because she has some pretty high standards. But I didn’t know that for sure because she tends to toy with my emotions of stark raving and lunatical (yes it is a word, or would be if Shakespeare were still alive) and told me initially that it was hard to get a place at the beach on short notice.
The details would be boring, but bottom line here was Rick got transferred to Texas in two weeks. He forfeited his summer lease and rented out his candlelit bedroom to another co-worker.
My daughter does not “date” much now. She tells me she “plays it out in her head first and just saves people a lot of trouble.” Smart Plan, I think. Cuts down on the riff-raff. But now that she is approaching twenty-four, I fear I may in some small way have created a minefield of sorts for her dating life. Although this does not seem a huge problem to me as one who likes challenges and the whole seek and destroy, well…seek and incapacitate….hell….seek and disarm, has its subtle attractions, but it seems young males today are not quite interested in this type of foreplay. I worry that her skills of dealing with the wily male will get stale and rusty.
My son, fourteen months her junior, has never had a long- term relationship. He tells me he is too busy at the moment in pursuing life goals and the rigorous demands of study in a medical field. He is fortunate to have several good female friends though and one in particular that he spends time quality time with. Her father takes him to football games, and he attends their family outings and New Year’s Eve parties to help alleviate stresses that impact young life. When I make inquiries, he just looks at me and says, “What…” in a quiet voice.
So now I must put my skills in a backward motion, or backward mapping if one comes from the educational world. I must find a few acceptable candidates that might be “dating material”. This is a difficult task as there may be “word on the street” so to speak, that there are complications. Or, “it’s complicated” as so many statuses are today. All because I make inquiries. Ask questions. Take names.
And maybe because I know where that old Gund bear currently resides-- wrapped tightly in a cotton-like shroud, sealed in a plastic bag, and buried deep in a lead barrel underneath the hemlock tree in the back yard. Just in case…..