Dating has never been my strong suit.  I am the kind of girl that guys like to have around to be their buddy and prove that guys and gals really can be “just friends.”  When I would try and ask my guy friends out on something that resembled more of a date, they would laugh at me, thinking I was joking.

Finally, I gave up.  The situation was obviously beyond me.  A friend mentioned eHarmony, so I thought I would give it a try.  The entrance quiz consisted of more than an hour of multiple choice questions, ranking personal attributes, describing my values and dreams.  At the end of it, the website said “We are unable to match you with a suitable mate at this time.  Please try again in six months.”

I had failed a personality test.  I make a point on never failing tests, ever, I was one of those rare college students who actually continued to give a shit and study well into junior and senior years, and now eHarmony is telling me that I have FAILED a personality test.

So then I really gave up.  And I know that the adage is something along the lines of “You’ll only find love when you’re not really looking for it,” but let’s be serious. We are always looking for companionship.  I mean, Maslow and his hierarchy of needs spells it out clearly.  After we have food, water and shelter, love is the next thing we start to look for.

I wonder about what dating was like before Facebook, Google and online dating websites.  People were fairly limited, geographically speaking, in terms of the pool of available dating options.  You basically had to actually run into your potential date, or have a friend who knew someone who knew someone.  So, it was extremely likely that you would end up with someone who lived in the same state, who was of the same socio-economic status and probably had the same religious and political views.  And as a woman, you were most likely expected to start popping out babies and taking time off from being a teacher, librarian or stewardess to be a full time mother.

Now, we have more choices.  We can actually set the geographic radius of how far we’re willing to go to meet a potential mate.  I had a friend in Minnesota who communicated with this guy in Texas for weeks and they actually flew to meet each other in the middle, in St. Louis or somewhere, and as soon as they saw each other in person, they were sure it was love.  Six months later, she moves down to Texas and now they’re engaged.

I think that the old system of doing things still sticks around a bit.  Guys, even young guys in their twenties, still sort of expect that girls will do the more domestic side of things.  It’s annoying.  I am not domestic.  I have no desire to become more domestic.  My dream guy loves to cook and clean and is happy with me just being smart, witty beautiful and a snappy dresser.

I’m not even sure I want kids.  Which I feel makes the pool of available men even smaller.  It’s all crazy-making.

This is why I cannot put too many eggs in the Anders basket.  And here are some of the reasons why:

1.)  He probably just thinks this is an academic field trip. If he does think it’s more than that or maybe wants it to be more than that, he better make that abundantly clear.  I have gauged too many situations incorrectly in the past and have made myself look like and overly horny, awkward and oblivious fool.

2.) I get neurotic.  Obviously.  I freak out about this kind of thing way too much and overthink it.  Before I know it, I’ve fast forwarded to his proposal and picking out bridesmaids’ dresses.  (What color should I choose…)

3.)  I don’t even know if he’s single.  I have misappropriated the faculty database to ascertain that he is 32 years old and not married.  But that doesn’t mean he’s not seeing someone.  (Who is she?!  That crazy hot Spanish professor from Columbia?!?!?  She’s going down.)

4.)  I don’t even know if he’s straight.  My gay-dar sucks ass.  (Wonder if I could get it re-calibrated.)

5.)  He’s only here until the end of the school year.  It’s true that he may be offered an assistant professorship, but there are no guarantees.  And I don’t feel like moving to Norway.   (Well, maybe I could…)

6.) And possibly, most important.  I don’t know if I even want to date someone right now. It would be nice to get a little bit more of a social life, but it’s not really necessary.  I’m finally feeling comfortable in this job, and maybe it would be nice to be single for a while and focus on my work.  (What am I saying?  Not even I believe me.)

This is the inner monologue that runs through my head Monday night through Friday morning.  I come to no conclusions other than to stay calm and research ice-breaking types of questions.  And to play it cool, really cool when Anders comes in Friday morning.  But not too cool.  Breezy, but not frigid.

Friday morning, I switch outfits at least a dozen times.  I settle on black dress pants and a coral cardigan/camisole combo.  I wear my hair down, but make sure to wear my glasses instead of contacts.  I put a lot of mascara on to make my eyes pop, and run a bit of blush and a smidgen of lip gloss over my cheeks and lips.


Breezy, yes, breezy.  Playful, but still intelligent.  Cool, collected, but still warm and personable.  I can do this.  I can hide the crazy.  I will sweep it under the area rug of myself…somewhere.  Would that be the ego hiding the id?  Oh, AP psychology, don’t fail me now…

I choose to drink tea instead of coffee, so as to not give my nerves any more fuel to be jumpy.  I recite affirmations to myself.

“I am beautiful and everyone loves me.”

“I am beautiful and everyone loves me.”

“I am at peace with my sexuality.”

“I am at peace with my sexuality.”

“I am worthy of love.”

“I am worthy of love.”

The last one catches in my throat a bit.  Why is that the hardest one?  Some people say that we get the love we think we are worthy of receiving.  Ugh.  This is too heavy of a thought for a Friday morning when I am trying to be breezy.

I whisk out the door and head over to the library.  Parking my car, I resolve to work in my office until 8:25 and then leisurely saunter upstairs to open up the room for Anders’s standing appointment.

I am answering emails in my office, when my phone rings.

“Hello, Dorothy Watson, how may I help you?”

“Oh, hello, Dorothy, glad I caught you.”


“Yes, it’s me–we have an emergency Foreign Language faculty meeting and I will not be able to make my appointment this morning.  I am very sorry, but it just came up.”

“Oh, yes, well, good luck with the meeting.”

“I was hoping that we could perhaps make a plan to meet at the library parking lot tomorrow around 10:45 and then we could leave for the lecture?”

I am actually slightly relieved.  “Yes, Anders, that would be fine.”

“I will see you tomorrow then.  Dorothy.  Thank you again so much for being willing to do this, to drive us.”

“It’s my pleasure.  I will see you tomorrow then.”

“Yes.  Tomorrow.  Goodbye, Dorothy.”

“Goodbye, Anders.”

Well, that takes the pressure off the morning.


I keep resolving to pack my lunch, but have yet to get around to it.  This means that I walk across campus for my lunch break and eat in the Oneota Market in the main building.  I could eat at Marty’s Cafe downstairs, but Marty’s is usually filled with students.  The seating area around the Oneota Market upstairs is usually less densely populated.

I usually make myself a salad from the salad bar and supplement it with a bowl of soup.  If I’m feeling especially hungry, I’ll add a role and maybe even ice cream.  I sit in roughly the same spot every afternoon and look out the window at the rolling expanse of the Iowa hills.

I pay for my meal and go to sit down.  There is a handsome young man who is older than I student but unfamiliar to me as faculty.  He is sitting near my usual spot.  I decide I will use interacting with him playfully as a way to gear up for the long care ride with Anders tomorrow.

“Mind if I sit here?”  I am gamine, all angles and smiles, radiating wit and beauty.

“No, sure, have a seat.”

Mystery man has black hair, green eyes and blindingly white teeth when he smiles.

“I haven’t seen you before.  Are you on the faculty?”  I inquire.

“In a manner of speaking.  I’m an actor, from the Commonweal Theatre, up in Lanesboro?  We have a contract to teach a class or two each semester in the Theatre/Dance department.  I have an appointment to meet with faculty there and see what they would like in way of a J-Term class.”

“Oh, sounds like fun.  I’m a big fan of Jeff, the department head–very organized.  Nice guy, smart.  Always happy to look up something for him.  That’s where I work, the library.”

“I get it, the sexy librarian act, huh?”

Oh my.  I am in a bit over my head.  Try, Dorothy, damnit!  You got this!

I emit a low giggle before answering, “Oh, I like to think of it more as like Marian the Librarian.  You know, kind of uptight until a handsome stranger rolls into town and sweeps her of her feet.”

Wow.  That when better than I expected.   Dayumn, girl.

“I see.  Well, madam librarian, what’s your name.”

“Dorothy.  Dorothy Watson.”

“Ok, Dorothy, I got to run to this meeting, but how about I swing to the library around 4 and see if I can sweep you off your feet.”

“I’ll be waiting, Mr…”

“Just call me Jamie.  Until, then, Madame Librarian….”  He starts singing the song from The Music Man in a rich baritone and I melt a bit.

Holy crap.  Two dates in 24 hours?  I guess those affirmations are doing their thing!