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Thursday, March 25, 2004 03:31 pm

Grace about town 3-25-04

Staying away from farmers

It's been a while since all that speed dating, and I thought I'd keep you apprised of events.

I went to another speed-dating session, a few weeks after the first one. A friend wanted to go and thought it would be fun if we went together. I said OK. But then she wasn't able to go because suddenly it was sold out. So I went by myself.

It was perhaps more fun than the first session.

But that's the last one I'm going to (of course, I should never say never, because sometimes I change my mind so fast that even I can't keep up).

It's not that I didn't like it. I think speed dating is a fabulous concept and that it should be required for everybody who wants to meet more people.

I mean, why stop at speed dating? Why not have speed good friends, or speed mentors? Speed interesting-other-couples-to-do-things-with? Something useful.

Not that dating isn't useful. If there were no dating, some men would never be forced to speak to women.

One day as I was stair-climbing to nowhere at the Fit Club, a guy was working out next to me. We didn't speak (in keeping with my firm policy of "never talk to anybody if you can avoid it"). Soon another guy climbed up onto the StairMaster on the other side of me.

They started discussing sports -- basketball, I believe; something about shooting. I was unable to grasp what they might be talking about. I quit listening. Suddenly, though, the word "touchdowns" floated into my brain, and it finally registered that they must be talking football. It felt strange that this unfathomable discourse was happening all around me; I might as well have been in a foreign land.

I wonder whether they converse with their wives or girlfriends. What do they talk about?

But I digress. Back to the speed-dating aftermath.

I had coffee with one guy who was visibly nervous. Panic-stricken. Extremely edgy. I tried to be attentive and interested so he'd calm down already -- which he did, eventually.

But then he started telling stories -- and they were boring.

So I don't want to date him anymore.

I had lunch with another guy who told me to call him after I got back from a trip, and I said I would. But he called that very same night. "Wanna come over?" he asked. No, I'm not coming over. While I was gone, he called again and said he wished I was there to keep him warm. Come on, fella. I don't keep men warm whom I don't even know, unless I'm giving a needy person a blanket.

Here's something ironic. One of my part-time jobs is giving chair massages to the families of people who are having open-heart surgery at St. John's Hospital. It's an unimaginably stressful time for them, a perfect time for a massage to relieve tension.

I've gotten quite a few marriage proposals on the job, mostly from old farmers, which makes me wonder: Does this mean that all a man truly cares about is a woman who gives a good massage? Would he assume I'd spend the day massaging him? He wouldn't care about who I am as a person, what my political leanings are, whether I can spell or whether I have 10 small children or four ex-husbands or whether I'm some kind of deranged psychotic lunatic? Most baffling.

So if I wanted to marry an old farmer, I'd be set. I think I'm going to start saying yes to them, just to see how they react.

But here's the puzzling thing about farmers: I encountered a few younger ones during speed dating. They seemed nice. I picked the farmers but was surprised to learn that none of the farmers picked me.

This tells me I'm not appealing to young farmers. The old ones I gave massages to were ready to take me home with them then and there. But the young ones? Not interested. I can't figure this out. Maybe I'm not sturdy-enough looking for the young farmers. It seems as if being a farmer's wife would involve some heavy lifting -- picking up cows, that sort of thing. Washing horses. Tending crops. Plus getting up early. Do I look like a person who ever gets up early if she can avoid it (and I'll do almost anything to avoid it)? And is that a repellent quality in a woman whom a farmer might otherwise consider datable?

Anyway, speed dating is a lot of fun, and you should try it. But don't get your hopes up, thinking you'll find a nice farmer to spend some quality time with. I have a friend who's a farmer who said, very somberly, "Grace, stay away from farmers." So I'll take his advice. There goes my idea of hanging out in the various animal barns during the state fair, trying to catch the eye of a farmer shearing his sheep. Or my plot to buy a tractor and drive it around the countryside, asking farmers for directions. I guess my future doesn't include any farm-fresh eggs, unless I go out and buy them.

Late-breaking dating news: I just met somebody. To see the video clip click here.

Unable to view the video? Download Quicktime now!

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