People often ask how I get my dates. My first choice is a personal reference . . . like my friend Jill works with a decent guy, and she sets something up. My second choice is stretching that one degree . . . like my friend Jill has a friend who works with a decent guy, and she sets something up. But if I don’t know anyone in a state, or know anyone who knows anyone in a state, then I have to get creative.
Mr. Maine was referred . . . by a stranger. A girl sent me an email saying she’d found my website and knew a good guy in Maine for me to go out with. She said he was a lobsterman, which I found very interesting, thinking that going out with him would give me an authentic Maine experience.
I met Mr. Maine down at the dock. The pier? I don’t know what they call it. Anyway, he was just finishing up a day on the boat. He was even wearing the overalls. Awesome.
“We’re gonna go have a beer,” he hollered. “Wanna come?”
“Sure,” I yelled back.
He and two of his buddies came off the boat (minus the overalls), and I immediately realized I’d have to breathe through my mouth. Wow. Fishy isn’t a strong enough word to describe it.
We walked back toward the parking lot where he’d told me to leave my car before coming down to find his boat. Well, the boat he worked on.
“I’m over here,” I said, pointing towards Cherry Cherry. “Should I follow you?”
“Nah, we got the beer right here,” he said. Oh. I thought we were going somewhere. Nope. We were drinking in the parking lot.
A cooler was produced from the back of a truck, and each of the guys started downing a Bud Light.
“I’m good,” I said when they offered me one.
“You don’t drink?” one of the guys asked.
“I don’t really like beer,” I explained. They gave me a look that said, “Who doesn’t like beer?” but didn’t say anything.
They were pretty entertaining. They told me how they baited the traps and brought traps back up and how seagulls follow the boat when they hose it down. It was foreign to me, but at least I could understand what they were talking about, unlike some of the guys I’ve dated in this adventure.
“So what do you want to do on your big date in Maine?” Mr. Maine asked.
“Um, I was kind of hoping to try lobster, being in Maine,” I said. “But you probably hate lobster . . .”
“Nah, I know a great place,” Mr. Maine said, pushing himself off the tailgate. He threw his empty can back in the cooler. “See you guys tomorrow.”
I’m pretty low maintenance. I mean, I'm pretty much living in my car right now. Even in more stable circumstances, I don’t spend a lot of time doing my hair or my make-up. But I do shower before a date. I generally assume that a man would shower before a date, too. Not so this day. Mr. Maine was leading me along the waterfront, and I was trying hard to keep up a conversation while breathing through my mouth.
We stopped at a little restaurant that was totally dead.
“How about we sit out here?” I suggested, pointing to the outdoor patio. I couldn’t imagine sitting across the table from someone stinky in a small, confined place.
“Sure. You’re the outdoorsy type, huh?”
“Yep, that’s me,” I replied. Outdoorsy with a sensitive gag reflex.
I’d planned to get lobster in Maine for a long time. It seemed the thing to do, being right there by the ocean. The waitress suggested I order the “Lazy Man’s Lobster” which was lobster meat that had already been taken out of the shell. I wouldn’t have to crack it open and wrestle out the meat, she said. Or look at the poor little creature as I ate it. I found it odd that a person who felt sorry for lobsters worked in a place where she served ‘em up every day. I took her advice and it was good, but I felt a little cheated afterwards. Cracking the thing open would have been the real experience.
While we ate, we talked about life and love, like I’d done on most of my dates. Mr. Maine explained that his friend who had emailed me had told him he should do this because he hadn’t dated anyone since his girlfriend moved out. Hmmm.
“So . . . you were living with someone?” I asked.
“Yeah. For seven years,” he said. “And then she just left. Said she couldn’t do it anymore. So I guess it’s time to get back out there on the scene and get my moon juice back.”
I tilted my head in that confused way, wondering where to begin. Maybe with the why she left . . . Tired of waiting for him to marry her? Tired of him smelling like lobsters and fish bait? But I went a different direction.
“Your moon juice?” I asked.
“Yeah, you know. Getting back in the game. 'Cause I haven't really dated anyone in a long time, you know.”
Another confused look from me.
“Do you mean, you’re trying to get your mojo back?” I clarified.
Now it was his turn to look at me confused. He pondered it for a while before speaking.
“Is that, like, a shortened way of saying it?” he asked. “Like slow motion is slo-mo?”
“Hmmm . . .” I debated being gentle or being straightforward. “If that were the case, it would be moo-joo.”
“Moo-joo,” he snorted. “That would just sound stupid.”