“I can’t believe I let her do it to me again,” Bill said. “We’ve been doing this dance for almost 15 years and I fall for it every time.”
“What the hell is wrong with you? I thought you were too tough to get snookered by some broad,” Liz said.
“She told me she loved me. I mean, that was big!”
“But 15 years?”
“She was a teller at a bank when we met. We connected right away. I went up to her window to deposit a check and she gave me that smile, you know the one girls give you when they’re interested.”
“How much was the check for? Do you think that may have had something to do with her smile?”
“C’mon Liz. She told me how unhappy she was in her marriage—and…”
“Her marriage? You have been holding the torch for a married woman for 15 years?”
“She was going to leave her husband. She said she couldn’t stand sleeping in bed next to him let alone having sex. We started seeing each other two weeks after we met and 15 years later I’m still listening to her excuses. I moved to California, then to Colorado, got some chick pregnant and now I’m a dad but my son has the wrong mother. It should have been her.”
“I don’t think so. And anyway, he’s got the right father. At what point did you get it that she might not really leave?”
“Last night. She finally pushed me too far and now I’m sitting here watching the ball game sulking, pissed off at myself for letting this happen. I came here for vacation just to see her and in two weeks I’ve spent less than an hour with her. I could have taken my boy to California.”
“Who is this woman? What’s her name?
“Summer? You fell for a girl named after a season? I’ll bet she was born in December, too. I had a co-worker named April once and I asked her which day was her birthday and she said August 4. And her parents named her April. Explain that to me, would’ja?”
“Well, I’m heading back out west tomorrow and I’ll see my other girl—not girlfriend, just a friend. That will make me feel better.”
“And what’s her name?”
“And I’ll bet she’s from New Jersey, right?”
“Okay, Bill. I’m going to give you some rules on dating. It’s obvious your rules, if you have any, aren’t working or at your age you’d be married.”
“Go ahead, I’m game.”
“It’s all in the name. Do not, did you hear me? Do not date any woman whose name is a city, especially if she’s not from that city. Or one whose name is a season, especially if she wasn’t born in that season. Are you with me so far?”
“Yeah. Is that it?”
“Nope. Pay attention now. No stripper names, you know what I mean. Think about it. Why would a mother name her daughter with a name that sounds like a stripper? Candy? Pepper? Ruby? Sapphire? Foods and precious gems are out—they mostly sound like stripper names to me anyway.
“If the woman’s name is a noun of any kind, forget it. If she has two first names walk away. For instance, I would never date a man named Ronald Conrad. And on top of that, nobody with two last names—I once dated a man named Smith Young. Well, you can see that didn’t work out. My last name isn’t Young, is it?”
“Whoa. Liz, you’re really starting to scare me.”
“I’m not done, Bill. Planets and flowers, definitely avoid them. I know flowers sort of fall under nouns and Venus probably could be a stripper name, but there’re women named Moon or Sunny, too, even though the sun’s not a planet it still counts in my theory.”
“So what are you saying? If I meet a woman named Tuesday I should just say, nice to meet you, I’ve gotta go? What if she’s attractive and seems like a nice gal?”
“That’s how you got into this trouble. Attractive. Nice. You don’t have good judgment in women. You’ve proven that. Nice, attractive women can become stalkers or be married. Married women, especially if they’re unhappy, make it a point to make themselves more attractive if they want attention outside the marriage.”
“I never thought of that. Makes sense, though. Men do the same thing—or so I’ve heard. Having never been married—I was in a long term relationship once and when it was closing down I made it a point to get right to the gym before it ended.”
“See what I mean? Why don’t you just go on match.com like everybody else? At least you can start out with eliminating names and that’s important. People tend to mold themselves to fit their names even though they had no choice when they were born.”
“I’ve got too much pride to go on match.com.”
“A year ago I wouldn’t have advised you to use an online dating service but it has finally sunken in that it’s no more dangerous than picking up a stranger in a bar,” Liz said with conviction.
“That’s true. Well, you’ve been married for almost 20 years, way before online dating started. How did you meet Chris?”
“Didn’t I ever tell you that story? I was meeting my roommate in this little pub because her boyfriend’s brother was playing in the band. Chris was there with his softball buddies because one of them was the drummer in the same band. We met at the bar and it was love at first sight. We were married about two years later.”
“Wait a minute. You never told me his name was Chris. You always referred to him as your hubby. You’re giving me advice about women and their names and you married a guy named Chris Cross?”
Excerpts from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me during conversations that took place during the 2 years we knew each other. I also write humor, flash fiction, celebrity interviews, real and made up stories--see if you can guess which are which.