“Once you’re divorced, over sixty, you’re done,” my divorced sixty-one year old friend Melissa says.
“Done what?” I ask.
“Honey, done. These divorced boomer men want twenty-ﬁve year old Swedish nannies. All they want to do is take you to Viagra Falls.”
“Well, I still believe in love,” I persist.
“You have to go out, be seen. It’s the only way to meet someone,” I argue.
“Good luck. These divorced boomer guys are mentals.”
Tonight, I’m at a restaurant opening. All these hot looking waiters wearing nose rings and attitudes are passing tiny potato caviar puffs. I’m drinking like mad. There are these free great little apple martini shots; I’m feeling no pain. Dressed to the nines in my latest mixture of used Versace and H&M, I’m standing in a corner, watching the crowd. When no one is looking, I put potato puffs in my purse and hope that when I close it the puffs won’t get squished. This rather short man with thin pale hair, but well dressed in a hot couture pin stripe suit, stands in front of me.
“Hello. I’m Dr. Alan Birnbaum. Divorced a year. I pay taxes and I drive a Jaguar.”
“Whooptdy do,” I say. “I’m Cleopatra.”
“I know who you are,” he says, with a smirk. “I read your columns. I recognize you from your photo. I don’t usually date women your age but you look pretty good.”
“Wow. Thanks,” I say.
He has smooth spray tanned skin and too white veneers.
“You skewer men,” he continues, standing so close to me I can see the tiny hairs in his nose.
“I do?” I tilt my head like I don’t know what he’s talking about.
“Skewer,” he repeats, as if to no one.
So anyway, he starts shooting the breeze about divorce, how really “hot it is, and that he should have done it a hundred years ago. Then he tells me that he loves
‘quality food,’ and ‘quality women.'”
“Uh huh. Fabulous,” I murmur, still thinking about the cheese puffs in my purse.
“It’s important to eat the right food, and to drink the right wines. Clean food,” he adds, pressing his lips into a line. “Food poisoning is rampant.”
“My ex-wife was always sick. Always on Imodium. She almost died from a pea. She didn’t wash the vegetables.”
“She’s a pistol.”
“Say, I like you,” he says, as if announcing a right answer. “I want to take you tonight to Coo Coo for dinner. It’s the only restaurant with six stars. We
can talk then.”
“Sure,” I say, telling myself. “why not?”
He could be a good column, plus I’m tired of living on spaghetti. We’re in his low shiny black jaguar and he drives like a maniac, crouched low in his seat, and the windows are shut tight. At stop signs, he sprays this antiseptic stinky stuff, and wipes his hands with hand-wipes that stink like Clorox. I’m gagging and my tear duct is watering and I can’t breathe.
“Can you open the window, please? I can’t breathe.”
“Bugs,” he answers.
“Bugs? I ask.
“Bugs are everywhere,” he shouts, driving in two lanes. “I can’t open the window.”
“I don’t see bugs.”
“Honey, you can’t see them. They’re in the air. They’re all around us.” The last woman I was with let her sheets go for a week, and I got bed bugs. A lot of these
divorced women are dirty. They weardirty underwear and stained clothes. You can’t be too careful.”
“Uh huh.” Shame — he’s Howard Hughes reincarnated.
I hate his too neat Gucci suit, too neat car, too shiny Gucci shoes, and too white teeth. I hate that at every stop sign he puts his cold clammy hand on my knee. I hate Coo Coo. It’s too serious. Drab. Military. Gray fabric wall,s a painting of a yellow dot, cranky looking waiters that speak only French and move like they’re gliding. I hate the endless wine. I’m dying for my vodka straight over, and I hate the huge plates with a tiny mussel ﬂoating on it, and the ﬂowers on top of the soup. While he’s slurping up the food, he’s raving about how his wife was one of the top chefs in the world.
“Honey, she was on Oprah, won awards. She wouldn’t eat anything but good food.”
“A pistol and a foodie, Wow. Why are you getting divorced?”
He stops eating and looks at me as if looking at me for the ﬁrst time. A ﬁlm of sadness comes into his drab tan eyes.
“She wasn’t… clean. She had a bad odor.”
“A tragedy,” I say. “Say. I’m not feelings too well. Do you mind? I have to get home.”
“Sure. We’ll do this again. You’re interesting.”
“Yes, you listen.”
Outside, as the valet helps me into the car, I place my hand on car door.
“Oh my God!” he shrieks.
“You touched the car!”
“It’s just… smudged.”
Now he’s crying. You got it, he’s crying, ranting that he just spent two thousand for a “friggin’ paint job!” He takes pictures of the smudge with his cell phone. Then sprays this stuff around me to keep the bugs away. Maybe the next one will be the one.