The New M.E. Generation

Maybe it has to do with his pictures. In one he’s sitting on a staircase in a house, wearing a shirt, jeans and flip-flops. I think it is the shoes; they give me the feeling of someone bohemian, relaxed, laid back, a beach lover.

In the other photo he’s outdoors, like in the mountains, standing below a tree wearing a cowboy hat, long-sleeve shirt and jeans. He looked sexy to me probably because I’ve never known a cowboy or rancher. But, is he?

Oh. My, he’s European (yes! even better!). That hasn’t happened to me either, and (no!) he’s younger than me, by about seven years. (Will this cougar phase ever end??)

Funny thing is that he doesn’t look that much younger than me. He did look, though, that for a first online date, he would be worth a try.

So during the day we kept exchanging short emails through which we asked questions to each other, to get some info from one another. He told me his name was Ivan and was born and raised in one of the former Soviet block countries.

Then, on one of the last ones, he asked me the most dreaded question, ‘Can I have your phone number?’ Once again, nervous of how to address this, I told him to give me his, and prayed he wouldn’t pull a ‘Jesse’ reaction (‘Where I come from, that means you will never call me.’)(Please refer to ‘Another Cougar Moment’.)

Lucky me, he gave it to me, no comments made. My last email to him read, ‘Great! I will be calling you soon.’

And what does that entail from my end? For starters, I thought to wait to call until the evening so not to look desperate and to ensure he would be available to talk.

Now, got to decide if I make the call and he doesn’t answer, will I leave a message? I’ll probably freak out and hang up and try again later. I mean, the number will appear as a missed call, but it doesn’t guarantee that the receiver will answer it if there’s no voicemail.

No, I should be brave and leave a message. I mean, haven’t I been brave enough for giving online dating a try?

All right, in a few hours I will make the call that (maybe) will change my life.

I did get my wish of dressing up for a Halloween party years later in 2004, but not for the big one.

My then spouse and I had just completed remodeling our house and he wanted to celebrate his birthday, which is very close to Halloween, in a combined costume-birthday party.

“When I was a kid, my birthday parties always celebrated both, and they were a lot of fun,” he always said.

We planned the event in much detail and were thrilled about our first major party in our newly remodeled home. Shortly before the actual date we were only missing our costumes.

So off we went costume hunting. We made a first stop at a vintage store that sells them during October and I tried on a short dress in a size Small that required long white stockings. I came out of the dressing room and he stares at me for a second. He makes a facial expression in which he moves his lips up to clearly communicate of his disapproval.

Then he dropped the bomb. “It makes your thighs look fat.”

I looked again at myself in the mirror. I know I have a Latina body, but am I really that big? I’m still pretty much on the same weight when I married him (115 pounds).

This body issue had been escalating throughout the years, but I never thought he would insult me this way. He also hated doing shopping of any kind and is getting restless. He wanted to leave.

“Forget it! Let’s go.” I tell him very angry.

I’m sitting on the car and kept repeating myself that it was his party, his birthday. He had also briefly separated from me a year earlier. Deep inside I knew I was not happy with my marriage, but I was desperately trying to stay dressed up for the part of a married woman. Even though the show almost ended the year before, I was determined to stay on this character, no matter what.

et cetera