Originally uploaded by lapinfille.
Remember Lina from the gym? The one who won herself a wide coterie of friends by starting snappy and outrageous conversations with strangers, then telling them they look like a certain movie star?
Well, the other day she came in with big news. After 26 years of happy solitude, she had a date this coming Saturday night.
I responded excitedly, eager for details, but Lena was coy.
"Really, he's not much to look at," she said. Then leaning intimately close, she added, "Please don't tell the others, but he's a frightfully boring man."
"Then why are you going?"
Lena laughed, then rechecked her lipstick by peering into a pearly compact.
"The poor man is mad about me," she said, clicking the compact shut. "I was afraid he'd be shattered if I said no. And besides, he's taking me to an elegant restaurant where I intend to order oysters and a good bottle of wine."
She sashayed off. Seventy-five, a former stroke victim, but clearly in full possession of her allure.
I could hardly wait to see her on Monday morning. She showed up wearing her usual blue bathrobe over her gym clothes, and her thick white headband.
When I asked how the date had gone, she clutched her heart. "The oysters were superb."
"And the man--your date?" I asked before she went into another rapture about the wine.
"Oh, the poor man--really has no idea of how to carry on an a conversation. And would you believe that at least three times during dinner, he pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose."
A handkerchief! I remembered my mother ironing the perfect white squares for my father when I was small. It's funny how items that were once considered a wardrobe necessity suddenly become anachronisms.
"Really, that's not so bad," I said, suddenly defensive of Lina's date with his sodden handkerchief and poor conversational skills. "All the men of your generation used them, didn't they?"
But Lina was unforgiving. "That doesn't make it any less disgusting, does it? Blowing your nose and then stuffing the snot in your pocket? It's positively revolting!"
Hmmm...I'd never quite thought of it that way. I guess it is kind of...well, revolting.
"So you're not going to see him again?" I asked, feeling disappointed on behalf of her tongue-tied suitor.
But Lina just wrapped the belt tighter around her bathrobe, accentuating her former waist.
"Oh, I don't know. There's this play I've been dying to see. If he gets tickets..."
She kissed my cheek and shambled away mysteriously--but not, of course, before telling me how beautiful I looked in my Baxter's Clam Shack t-shirt and my old black yoga pants.
"Absolutely gorgeous. Just like that actress--what's her name?"