‘Happily tethered’ woman gets first-date dish from a middle-aged divorcee

I am a happily-married, middle-aged woman who lives vicariously through her friend who dates.

This friend – I’ll call her Libby – was married once before. It didn’t go well. But Libby is an optimist. And as the friend of an optimist, I feel it is my duty to quiz her on her love life.

“I’ve got you on speaker phone because I look like a gargoyle,” I told her on a recent Sunday morning. “I’m way too scary looking for a video call.”

I smoothed my wrinkled pajamas and plopped down on the sofa. The cat curled up beside me. It was time to get the scoop.

“So tell me about this new guy. Is he cute? Is he funny? How many grandkids does he have?”

“Well, for a 69-year-old, he’s pretty hot,” Libby admitted. “He doesn’t look his age. He used to be a detective.”

“Ohhhh. I love detectives! I’m totally addicted to ‘Dateline.’”

The phone call got better from there. Though I am not at liberty to divulge all the details of our conversation – some might recognize my friend even with the pseudonym – I can share that her first date ended with a Richter-scale kiss.

I can also divulge that my husband – who walked past the couch as I was talking with my pal – couldn’t exit the room fast enough. If we were discussing fishing or golf, he might have stuck around. But romantic girl talk doesn’t fall in his wheelhouse.

Last week, Mark and I celebrated 32 years of wedded bliss. I remember our first dinner date like it was yesterday. I had a bit of a cold so I ordered Hunan Chicken to open my sinuses. The spicy peppers gave me the hiccups. Back then, he thought that was adorable.

Such would not be the case today.

“No long-term relationship can continue with first-date intensity,” my BFF Lydia Kachigian has told me more than once. “The racing heart beat. The weird feeling in the pit of your stomach. That would make you crazy after a while.”

Yet three decades later, I still think my husband is Hunan Chicken hot. Sometimes he makes me laugh so hard it takes my breath away. Oh I’m not saying we always see eye-to-eye. But he is the yin to my yang. The string that tethers my balloon. Without him, I might float away.

I sure hope my friend Libby finds someone who makes her equally happy one day. Who knows? It might just be that first-date detective.

As they say on “Dateline”: Stay tuned.