Ok, Cub Scouts. Everyone sick
I can’t promise much of

There’s a new show on

There’s a new show on TLC called Date Patrol. It goes like this: Someone requests an overhaul by the Date Patrol, who promises to “make the undateable, dateable.” This team observes the hopeless loser…um…person in need of some direction, on a “demo date.” Then they swing into action, helping them into the world of the dateable. The fashion consultant makes them wear clothes they hate and cut their hair. The communication expert helps them learn how to make conversation. The body language expert teaches them how to move, sit, stand, and make eye contact in an open, appealing way. By the end of the show this person is a whole new man/woman. And they’re irresistible to the opposite sex. Life is good, and the Date Patrol rides off into the sunset.
This bothers me. I don’t know, the people on the shows I’ve seen seem pretty happy at the end. They’re glowing with gratitude to the team that overhauled them, and they have full and promising social calendars. But I wonder. It just seems dishonest, on some level.
I used to be good at all that stuff. Oh, a decade or so ago, in my life before marriage. I was a flirt, truth be told. I remember once, when I was a college kid, hanging out with my roommate and friend through the ages, Kim. We were listening to the radio and decided we wanted to hear a certain song. I called the DJ to request it, and when he answered the phone I said “Hey, can you do me a favor?” He replied in his best smarmy DJ voice, “What flavor can I do ya?” And without missing a beat I returned, “Cinnamon…with the emphasis on SIN.”
Ok, on reflection that makes me sound fairly trashy. I wasn’t trashy – really. I was just messing with him. And I got my request played in record time. My point is that I was unafraid. Confident and interested in what the world might have to offer me. And all my nonverbal cues said as much.
Fast forward to today. Recently I was in a bookstore, without the kids for some reason. As I started to leave, a man stepped up to the door and held it open for me with a big smile. Mid-step I decided he must be holding the door for someone else, and started to move out of the way, toward the other door. But half a step into that I realize, no, you moron, he’s holding the door for you, and moved back toward him. But then I thought NO, what if you’re wrong…
So I did that stupid stammer step in front of this guy for what seemed like about a year, until I was thoroughly disgusted with myself. I squared my shoulders, glared at the floor, and marched past him, muttering, “Uh, thanks.”
Ok, did I look like an idiot? Well…yeah. And everything I said, non-verbally, screamed, “Don’t talk to me! I’m freaked out at the very prospect! Leave me alone!”
I’m sure the Date Patrol could help me. They could have coached me to look him right in the eyes and smile ever so slightly. They could have dressed me in flattering clothes, showing just the right amount of leg/cleavage/shoulder/back – whatever skin is deemed sexy this year. They could have prepped me with some light topics of conversation to get the communication going.
But it would have been a lie. In my head I would still be screaming, “Don’t talk to me! You scare me! Go away!”
I don’t think it’s a problem that I come across as undateable. When my marriage first broke up, I spent a lot of time just sitting and staring. There was this reality in my head, this fact that my marriage was over. And I had to come to believe it, to understand it. It was like there was this huge file, downloading from my head to my heart, and while that was happening many other functions were inaccessible.
I’m mostly past that now. But there are still a few bits of my heart that aren’t back on-line. I’m ok with that, even if it means I look like an idiot in Borders sometimes.
One day, eventually, a guy will smile and hold the door for me. I’ll smile back, and he’ll say hi.
God alone knows what I’ll say then.
But it’ll be good.
And it’ll be the truth.


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