Category Archives: Dating

I remember

downloadTo my wife:

I remember our first date.

I remember you being late and rushing in the door of the bookstore like a gust of wind.

I remember you laughing and me smiling, not really sure what to make of you but thinking I would like to know more.

I remember walking to the pizza shop that sat at the top of the hill where we ate cheesesteaks and french fries.

I remember how quickly you handed over the money for your half of the bill as if you didn’t want strings, even for a few seconds.

I remember your big, brown eyes, bright and curious like a raccoon’s.

I remember your mask, too, and wondering what was underneath it.

I remember you letting me buy you a beer at that old bar down the street.

I remember sitting on the bench back behind the shops at the end of the night. The small patch of green grass an island for two. “Can I give you a hug?” you had asked, and I said you could.

I remember how you smelled like flowers and patchouli and how hard you hugged me like you were trying to tell me one last thing before we parted and went our separate ways.

* * *

This was from an exercise in today’s writing group. W’s birthday is on Friday, so I thought I’d post today as a small pre-birthday gift. What do you remember about a first date? First love? Start with “I remember” and see where it takes you.





First date anniversary

imagesA471BH9G.jpgLast night, W tells me it’s the ten-year anniversary of our first date.

I tell her how surreal it all seems.

When I look ahead to the next ten years, I picture my life with W by my side.

But when I go back in time to when we were first dating, it’s weird to think we ended up together.

When we talk about that first date, we always say we didn’t have any expectations, that we weren’t looking for anything serious.

That’s a lie. Everyone is always hoping for the best. For a love connection. For something as serious as a heart attack, but maybe not so life threatening. Serious like a foreign film or that season of the L Word when Dana gets cancer and dies.

Plus, we’re lesbians, which means, technically, we were only two dates removed from renting a U-Haul and moving in together. Talk about serious.

When I look back on that first date, I remember:

W insisting we split the bill at the pizza place where we ordered a couple of cheesesteaks, even though I would have been a chivalrous butch and picked up the tab.

W wearing jeans and a white ribbed tank underneath a black sweater. Her curves like a right hook.

After dinner, we walked to a pub and had beers.

Then we walked back toward the pizzeria and found a bench off the main street.

We talked for a while.

When it started to get late, W told me she didn’t want the night to end.

She hugged me long and hard as if she was trying to hold on to the night like that.

After a decade, parts of that September evening are fading from my memory.

I don’t remember what I wore or the words printed on W’s ribbed tank.

But I still remember the way her patchouli perfume smelled sweet and spicy.

The scratch of her sweater on the side of my cheek that reminded me I was alive.

The way her hair shined under the street lights.

How she felt solid in my arms.

I didn’t want the night to end either.

I didn’t tell her that.

I was too busy trying to remember all of the little things about her because I wasn’t sure how long it would be until our next date.

* * *

What do you remember about your first date?


WelderLast night W apologized for being weak.

I told her she is the strongest woman I know.  Even though she has trouble lifting the 40-pound boxes of cat litter into the cart at Target.  Even though I am the designated pickle jar opener.

She didn’t believe me.

When W and I were dating, I first fell in love with her hands.  They are not slender, porcelain model hands.  They are the hands of a real woman.  A capable woman.

W wears silver rings on her fingers.  I like to watch her sew or write or fold sheets.  I like to watch her fingers busy in task while light sparks off her rings as if she is a welder.  It is so sexy it takes my breath away every single time.

Hers are the hands of a doer, a survivor, a finisher.  They are the hands of my lover.

She is strong in all of the places in which I am weak.  When I see myself reflected in her eyes, I feel whole.

Love conquers all, even evil cats


You had me at popcorn.  And girl.

When W and I were first dating, she invited me over to watch the movie Rent. She’d put the kids to bed early and make buttered popcorn. Would I like to come over.

Sure. This red-blooded lesbian had Melissa Etheridge’s “I Want Come Over” playing over and over and over in her head.

Here’s the catch. There’s always a catch. W had cats. Two of them.

And in direct conflict with the laws of nature and lesbianism, this lesbian was allergic to cats.

They only look innocent.

They only look innocent.

For as long as I can remember, cats have made me itchy and scratchy and caused my eyes to seal shut.  The last time that I had played with a cat — a cute little kitten at a college kegger — my eyes got all red and itchy and eventually swelled shut. Two of my friends had to guide me back to my college apartment as if I were Helen Keller. Miracle workers, both of them.

So, yeah, I was nervous about spending time at W’s place. What if my eyes swelled shut and I couldn’t drive home? It was a 45-minute drive, depending on traffic. How embarrassing what that be for this big, bad, I-can-take-care-of-myself butch?

But there was to be hot buttered popcorn. And a movie. Oh, heck, there was a hot girl in the picture. Who am I kidding? She could have been covered in cat hair or wearing a cat-hair sweater and I would have been there with bells on. Maybe not bells, because they are kind of girly.

The big date night arrived, and I found myself sitting in W’s apartment on W’s couch with W.  And her two cats. I was petrified. I tried to ignore the cats but they were curious. You know how cats are. One kept brushing up against me. I was careful not to touch my face or rub my eyes.

The movie started and with one slick move I slid my arm behind W.
Every so often, I took a bodily inventory. No sneezing. No itchy eyes. No scratchy skin. Just a little bit of heavy breathing, but that was to be expected.

Turns out that I didn’t have an allergic reaction that day and haven’t any day since. W and I now live together along with three cats and other assorted random creatures.

Not to throw W under the bus (here’s me throwing W under the bus), but she had mentioned to a friend about me and my cat allergy and basically said that it was a deal breaker. So sad, the friend remarked. She seemed so nice.  She was so ready to dump me for the cats.

Is there a moral to this love story?

It just goes to show you that love conquers all, even deadly allergies.

Cats are diabolical creatures and have broken up many a pair of lovers. They are narcissistic and evil like that.

Take your pick.

* * *

What about you? Any pet-related dating stories to share?

Me and W k-i-s-s-i-n-g in a giant heart

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this week I thought I’d share some snapshots from Middle-age butch and W, the early years.  We were young — well, younger than we are now — and in love.  Some things never change.

I remember one date that took place at the Franklin Institute, a cool, hands-on, interactive science museum in Philadelphia.  We had the kids with us, and spent the day playing and flirting and darting into dark hallways to steal a kiss or two.


Lub dub, lub dub.

We held hands as we walked through the giant, anatomically correct heart and kissed at the tippy top.

It was all innocent fun, like we were schoolgirls, even though school had let out decades ago.

It’s the day that we formally announced to the boys that we were girlfriends.  It was official.

I don’t remember what I was wearing or what W was wearing.  I just remember being in love and feeling excited about the future.  Who knew what could happen?  On that day, anything seemed possible.

Even walking hand-in-hand through a ginormous heart.

Giving thanks

Happy ThanksgivingIt’s Thanksgiving Eve, and we’re busy preparing for tomorrow.  When all is said and done, there will be 15 of us sitting down to turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Six years ago, W and I had been dating for about a year when she suggested that we host Thanksgiving together.  We would use my apartment because it was roomier and invite both our families.

She looked at me with those big brown eyes and smiled that big smile.  What was a butch to do?

I thought it was a crazy idea.  Our families had never met.  In my family, “pass the crescent rolls” means someone will throw one in your direction.  There was so much that could go wrong above and beyond superficial crescent roll-related injuries.

imagesNCWFCGVNBut I was in love, and love makes people do crazy things.

So, we bought groceries and set up card tables, and W cooked.

I wore my best flannel.

It was a great Thanksgiving.

We’ve hosted Thanksgiving as a couple ever since, although now we do it in the house that we share.  Both of our families come and enjoy each other’s company.

We have certain traditions:  There’s the pumpkin-shaped ceramic dish that W likes to use to serve the crescent rolls.  The baking of the pumpkin bread that has been passed down from W’s grandmom to our youngest boy.  W makes stuffing early in the morning, fries up a small sample, and we all have a taste.  I’m probably biased, but W makes the best stuffing in the world.  My dad brings and pours the wine.  The good stuff.

Thanksgiving has always been W’s favorite holiday.  She’s always hosted it at her house.

I would tell you that now Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, too.  But I don’t want to sound all soft and mushy and sentimental.  That’s not very butch.


Inside, I’m just like this.

Maybe tomorrow for at least a few moments I’ll let myself be a little soft and mushy in the inside — like mashed potatoes.  I’ll think back to that first Thanksgiving, and I’ll give thanks.  Thanks for family and friends.  A roof over my head and clothes on my back.  A feast to share with those I love best.  And stuffing.  Thanks for stuffing.

But I’ll give a special thanks to W for giving me a push to open up and dream big and live life and let others in.

* * *

Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for? 

Date night

W and I had a date night on Saturday.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that we don’t have a lot of those.

W asked me out, which is always nice.  I might be a butch, but I’m certainly not adverse to being asked out.

We went to see the movie Bad Teacher just because Ms. Diaz was in it.

We went to see the movie Bad Teacher just because Ms. Diaz was in it.  Does this make us bad people?

We went and saw this cute movie called “In a World …,” which is a small rom-com about the voice-over industry.  It’s a smart, funny film.  Lesbian comedienne Tig Notaro was in it.  As was Cameron Diaz, who played the leader of a group of Amazon women who battle a tribe of angry cavemen in the film within the film.  That’s the movie that I’d like to see next, ’cause Cameron Diaz and Amazons.

The movie was showing at our local art house theater and it was the first movie to be shown there in digital format.  So, that was exciting.

After the movie, the theater was presenting a special showing of Rocky Horror, and we got to see everyone dressed up for that.

We ordered dinner from an Italian restaurant across the street and went to a bar and watched the end of the Penn State/Michigan game while we waited for our food.  Penn State won in fourth overtime, which was exciting, especially because I’m a PSU alum.


I’m sensing a theme here.  Are we that predictable?

We headed home with our dinner and ate Italian food in bed and watched a few episodes of season four of Modern Family.

There were some adult activities after that, but this is not that kind of lesbian blog.

Anyway, it was a pretty sedate evening, but it was really nice to have that alone time with W.  One thing about having kids, it makes you appreciate when they’re not around, at least for an evening or so.

Here’s the thing: I like that after all of these years, we still enjoy each other’s company.  We don’t need fancy or exciting or expensive.  Just being together is enough — sharing popcorn and a movie, Cameron Diaz, a football game and decadent desserts in a take-out containers.

Why love is like tiny cheeseburgers

My brother is getting a divorce.  He and his wife have been married for 14 years.

“We are no longer in love,” he told me in a text message.

I relayed the information to W.

“Is it possible to fall out of love?” I asked her.

This question has been occupying my thoughts.

I vividly remember falling in love with W.

Love is a lot like this

Love is a lot like this

I know why someone somewhere once referred to this process as falling in love.  It’s a lot like falling down a flight of stairs or an elevator shaft.  There you go, head over heels into the darkness.  You can’t stop plummeting, even if you wanted to.  It’s all a ginormous adrenaline rush.

But can you fall out of love?

You can fall into a whole lot of things.  Traps and clutches and cracks.  Pits and holes and trouble.  You can fall into place or fall into line or fall into a kiss or fall into someone else.

What do people fall out of?  Maybe a plane if you are extremely clumsy and unlucky.  Or, a window (see clumsy and unlucky in previous sentence).  Generally speaking, people do not fall out of things.

W and I have been together for about seven years now.  Often when I write about her and us, people say that they have been waiting all of their lives to find their W.

Obviously, I only post snippets of our lives.  Situations that I find amusing (like the time that we trapped a groundhog inside our house) or sweet (when she brought me home flowers for Thanksgiving) and that lend themselves to the telling of a story.

Our relationship has not been without conflict.  We have weathered our share of ups and downs just like any other couple.

But even at our lowest point, I have never fallen out of love.  Not even for a second.

Love looks like this, too

Love looks like this, too

Our love looks very different than it did seven years ago.  I couldn’t keep my hands off of her back then.  Our kisses were hot and heavy and urgent.  We steamed up our eyeglasses and our windshields on a regular basis.  Everything was urgent.  Me and her and us together.  We made time even when we didn’t have any because, yes, we had to be together.  Now.  Right now.  Things were new and fresh and hot.  It was like getting a half dozen warm Krispie Kreme donuts from the drive-thru for free every single time that we were together.  Heck, it was better than warm donuts.

Things aren’t like that anymore.  I still can’t keep my hands off of her.  Go ahead, ask her.  What’s missing is the urgency.  Now has turned into how about Wednesday night?  Or, maybe sometime next week.  And that’s ok.


More love

In those first few months of a new love relationship, you never know how long it’s going to last.  So, yeah, there’s a sense of urgency.  I mean, if you heard a rumor that White Castle was closing down in a month or two, you’d probably make a lot of late-night runs for sacks of tiny warm cheeseburgers.

But when you’ve committed to someone for the rest of your life, where’s the hurry?  Sure, life is unpredictable and tomorrow is never promised.  But the beauty of commitment is that that person is there, has agreed to always be there, through good and bad, thick and thin.

What about love though?  Can it just disappear?  Can you fall out of it?  One day, you’re eating tiny cheeseburgers and loving every bite. The next day you can’t stand the sight of a mini burger.  Is this even possible?


How we loved you, marinated artichoke hearts

When I was in college, my roommate and I would go to the grocery store every week or so.  We were on a tight budget and bought economical college staples like ramen noodles, peanut butter, bread and pasta.  We always splurged by purchasing a single jar of marinated artichoke hearts on each shopping trip.  We thought we were fancy and sophisticated and that we deserved such a delicacy to go with our peanut butter sandwiches and cans of Busch pounders.  Eventually, we tired of jarred artichoke hearts and stopped buying them altogether.

Had we fallen out of love with marinated artichoke hearts?

I don’t think so.  We had just eaten too many in too short a period of time.  We hadn’t spaced them out enough.  We were young and impulsive after all.

The truth is we would always love marinated artichoke hearts and tiny cheeseburgers and warm donuts.  You can’t change love.

You just have to give it room to breathe sometimes.  You have to be patient and understanding and give it space every now and again. But know in your heart that it’s there forever.

First dates and first anniversaries

W and I celebrated the first anniversary of our commitment ceremony today.

Our six-year relationship has been fairly consistent from the get-go.  Pretty solid and steadfast with very little drama, which sometimes makes me forget that we’re lesbians.

I’ve been thinking back to our first date.

W and I met online and arranged to meet at a local Borders bookstore and then grab some dinner.

I arrived way ahead of time.  That’s what I do.  I am neurotic and anxious and operate by different time rules than the rest of the world.  It’s like Middle Age Butch’s Excellent Adventure without the phone booth. Or, 12 Monkeys and a Lesbian.

My usual rule of thumb is to arrive ten minutes early for routine appointments like teeth cleanings and parent-teacher meetings.  I allot 20 minutes for outpatient procedures and job interviews.  A first date warrants an arrival 30 minutes in advance of the scheduled meeting time.

The extra time allowed me to stake out a strategic spot in the bookstore.  I wanted to be able to see W when she walked in the door and have her see me.  I didn’t want to have to search her out or have her sneak up on me.  Why I was preparing for an ambush of sorts is beyond me as this was just a first date and not a drug deal or Little Bighorn.

I tried out a spot near the front door right by the bargain books.  This made me look cheap and anxious.  W would learn soon enough that I possess these qualities.  But this was way too soon.

Next, I tried out the benches in the fiction section.  I sat facing the O’s for Joyce Carol Oates.  Too pretentious.  Then the B’s for Rita Mae Brown.  Too obvious.  The S’s for David Sedaris?  Too dark.

I moved to the magazine rack.  It had a great view of the front door but wasn’t too obvious.  And, I could rest one Doc Marten on the bottom part of the rack and look casual.

Now to find just the right magazine to leaf through.  Curve.  Too cliché.  Maxim?  Too distracting.  I needed to pay attention to the front door while looking like I wasn’t paying attention to the front door.  A magazine filled with breasts wouldn’t help me do that.  Muscle and Fitness?  Too manly.  Cosmo?  Too girly.

I ended up “reading” some French book review magazine that had an article critiquing Stephen King’s latest work.  Look, I’m sophisticated and smart, this choice said, but not pretentious.  Yes, I am reading in le francais.  But, King is very accessible.  I mean what’s more down to earth than cannibalism and burying people alive?

So, I planted myself at the magazine rack and waited.  And, waited.  Glancing at the front door every 30 seconds or so.  So very casually.  Oh, who, me?  I was just reading le critique.

Finally, W came through the front door.  The first thing I remember seeing was her smile.  Or, maybe it was her big brown eyes and the way they reflected the light.  Or, how time stood still when she entered the store.  For just a second.

She didn’t even ask what I was reading.

I think of the voice-over to the lesbian classic Go Fish:

Don’t fear too many things, it’s dangerous.
Don’t say so much, you’ll ruin everything.
Don’t worry yourself into a corner; and just don’t think about it so much.
The girl you’re gonna meet doesn’t look like anyone you know.  And when you meet her, your toes might tingle or might suppress a yawn.  It’s hard to say.
Don’t box yourself in; don’t leave yourself wide open.
Don’t think about it every second but just don’t let yourself forget.  The girl is out there.

My grandmother always said there’s a lid to every pot.

I’m not sure who’s the pot and who’s the lid in our relationship.  I have an abnormally small head (think Beaker), so I might be the pot.

Anyway, I found “the girl” that night and I haven’t let go since.