Commentary

Snow: Three generation roads to romance are varied

ColumnistMarch 23, 2013 

When I was young and chasing the sweet bird of youth, I had my one and only blind date.

It was not an evening to remember. For some reason, she imagined that I was married.

“I don’t have nothing to do with married men. I’m not a home wrecker,” she kept saying.

The dating game, as old as time itself, has a history of change.

My mother’s romance was unusual. My grandmother, widowed with seven kids, including four daughters, kept an eagle eye out for prospective husbands.

She believed as Jane Austen wrote in “Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

So, one Sunday, as her 16-year-old daughter was leaving for church, Grandmother said, “Ida Victoria, if you’ll bring Byrd Winfield Snow home for lunch, I’ll knit you a new dress.”

Byrd Winfield Snow was then one of the best catches in the county. And, widowed with two teenagers, he definitely was in want of a wife.

That Sunday, Byrd Winfield Snow’s feet were under my grandmother’s table, and he was soon raving about her Southern fried chicken.

Not long afterwards, Mom spent her honeymoon at his house, cooking and cleaning for a ready-made family.

I met my wife-to-be at a Greensboro dress shop where I had gone with a buddy to help select a red coat for his wife’s Christmas present.

When we worried about the coat’s fit, the saleslady said, “No problem. A young friend who teaches at the university (now UNC-G) is back in the fitting room also buying a red coat. I’ll get her to model for you.”

After a pretty girl with green eyes and a bright smile did so and left, I was smitten.

“Anybody would just love to find this coat under her tree on Christmas morning,” the saleswoman gushed.

“I’d be thrilled to find the model under MY tree,” I quipped. That led to introductions and a trip down the aisle some two years later.

Fast forward to today’s highly popular Internet dating, where one can go online and peruse a cornucopia of available social contacts, pretty much as people choose sweet corn or watermelons at the Farmer’s Market.

A just-turned-50 friend – pretty, intelligent and with a sense of humor – recently has been testing Internet romance.

She did so after some disappointing experiences at other social outlets.

For example, at a community dance, an older fellow declared proudly, “I want you to know that everything I’ve got is real and works!”

Another warned as the band struck up a lively tune, “Can we wait for a slow one? Those fast ones cause my pacemaker to act up.”

Once, when she turned down a date offer from a man she labels “jerk of the year,” he said: “I sure hope you’re better at sex than you are at dancing.”

Enraged, she retorted: “It’s a pity for you that you’ll never know,” and left him standing alone on the dance floor.

Laurie, not her real name, has had better luck online, developing friendships with a couple of interesting men for dinner and dancing.

One of them, as a result of some unhappy experiences from online dating, has posted this set of rules on his website:

• “If you think fine dining on a Saturday night is the Waffle House, don’t contact me.

• “If you think an exciting date is to hang out at Wal-Mart, don’t contact me.

• “If we go out on Friday night and you knock on my door early Saturday morning with a casserole in one hand and a suitcase in the other, I won’t answer my door.

• “And, if I come to your house and see inside furniture on your front porch, I won’t knock.

• “If we meet for a date and I can’t recognize you because the picture you posted is either 20 years old or of someone else, the date is over. This is fraud.

• “I’m sorry if this seems harsh, but I bring a lot to the table and don’t want to waste your time or mine.

As author Carson McCullers wrote, “The heart is a lonely hunter.” So let the heart go where it will in search of solace. But let it proceed with caution.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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