San Francisco First Date: Shock and Awe?
We met online, exchanged e-mails and agreed to meet.
Don was funny and we shared several interests. What the heck, he lived in the City, was single, my age, height and weight… we were “a match.” Kind of.
He was much funnier on paper. And taller…
We met at the St. Francis Hotel. San Francisco natives know that “Meet me under the clock at the St. Francis,” has been the beginning of dates and trysts for decades.
We met and amiably walked upstairs to the lobby bar. Easy conversation flowed. We were having fun. Then came the obligatory, first date question, “Why did you divorce?”
My answer was easy and well rehearsed, “It wasn’t the lying, drinking, cheating it was the snoring.” Ba da Bing!
His answer was far more complicated.
His wife of 20 years had developed a “What you did wrong this week” list. Evidently, every Friday she would sit him down and present him with a list of his faults, shortcomings and flaws.
Really? Someone would do that?
Twisted Sister a.k.a. one sick puppy
She sounded very sick. Mean. Spiteful. I did 60 seconds of aghast. Then he asked me if I had heard of a local newspaper columnist. I did. I loved her writing and clipped a few of her columns.
She was his Ex-wife. Ms. Merry San Francisco, full of advice, was the author of weekly poison pen lists.
I couldn’t decide if I felt sorry for him or more shocked that my idol was promptly shoved off the pedestal and relegated to a sicko, mean girl.
I couldn’t even imagine the weekly excoriating.
Gradually, we moved past the ugly truth of his painful marriage and moved to happier, lighter topics. He had numerous interests. Had seen the recent MOMA and the de Young exhibit and loved the small art galleries on Sutter Street. We both loved Litquake, film festivals and Indian food.
It was a fun two hours, however, hovering over us with the black cloud of the angry Ex: the evil wife with a penchant for Friday night fright.
We saw each other a few times; he was so over her and had moved on. I couldn’t dismiss the abhorrent image of the cruel kitchen table attacks. Years later, we are still very good pals.
“A wife lasts only for the length of the marriage, but an ex-wife is there for the rest of your life.” Jim Samuels