Um, uh, like, really? So I get points for prescience, since my powers of prediction proved to be spot on. But just in case my instincts were wrong, I dressed nattily (I'm down to a nicely chiseled 189, thank you very much) made sure my grooming was all it could be and arrived at Malibu Country Club ready to dramatically improve my life (but knowing that I was kidding myself, since my gut told me otherwise).
I practiced my putting, and without question, on greens that were like greased ice, I putted better than I ever have. Yesterday's practice proved beneficial, and I putted for 20 minutes without a three putt. I move to the chipping green, settled the first chip a foot from the cup, then sank the next one. I aimed for the next-farthest pin, and did the same thing, then delivered five balls within five feet of the pin 20 yards away. Anyone watching would have accused me of being a golfer. I was ready. At least for the golf.
But then the "dating" event began, and I use the word "dating" instead of the word "clusterfuck" because, well, that word wasn't in the emailed invitation. As the "group" gathered, a group that consisted of a total of 12 people, including myself and the other three guys, I noted that if I had been smacked out on heroin, blind and fatally horny, I would have considered making a play for one of the women. Had I had completely unresolved Oedipal issues, and a complete lack of a moral code, I would likely have been out of debt in a month and borderline rich soon thereafter, since these ... what's the word for a cougar's grandmother? ... elderly matrons were obviously dripping in lucre, and, hell, they, too, were alone and grasping at straws on Valentine's Day.
I was introduced to my partner, and she turned out to be kind of my Dad's boss at the local theater company at which he volunteers. She turned out to be fun, but since Harold & Maude was just a great movie to me, and not a lifestyle choice, a "dating" match we did not make (though I wouldn't have minded if she had offered to let me drive either her Corvette or her Ferrari). We did catch the other woman in our foursome cheating ... oh, I'm sorry, I meant mis-counting her strokes ... twice in 7 holes. And although that woman was relatively attractive and geographically desirable, I scratched her off my non-existent list (the one I didn't write when I saw the pickins).
So the round ended (I hit a few decent shots but wound up with the worst nine-hole score I've shot in a very long time, having been blocked by trees or landing on a root or ... just plain not being nearly the man I was on the practice range), and we all headed into the "dating" component of the day. Hah, and again HAH! I say to the whole endeavor.
The "organizer" (which is a euphemism for "incompetent nincompoop") gave us ten minutes to make outfits for ourselves out of toilet paper. Only three women and three men elected to participate (two of the women probably would have been more game three face lifts ago), and, although I contemplated setting myself on fire in the middle of the festivities as a diversion so that the others could escape without further humiliation, I crafted a mighty stylish chapeau and a no-tape, all-friction "jacket," and, accompanied by "I'm Too Sexy" as I modeled my bathroom couture, I took top honors, winning a free nine holes and a wine tasting at the nearby winery.
The next event was equally stupid but at least almost had an icebreaking component to it, and, even though I vowed not to participate and paid no attention as the activity was unfurling, I couldn't help myself (aided by the fact that the geriatrics in the room appeared to be napping), and I won that event, too, duplicating my previous prizes
(I gave the wine tastings to my parents).
So as I drove home, having not changed my opinion one iota about my least favorite day of the year (the last time I actually celebrated this most contrived of holidays with a significant other was 1989 ... try not to be depressed when that realization hits you in the face like a sack full of deflated dreams), I tried to feel joyful for the countless embracing couples that stood along the ocean's shore, declaring undying love for one another, or at least getting felt up, but I couldn't quite muster the joy for them that I would have liked to have felt.
Had I won no prizes (even though free golf is always welcome) but met a distant possibility, a smart, attractive, kind woman bearing oodles of hope, perhaps I would feel more upbeat than I do right now.
As it is, I wish I'd made the birdie putt at the last. Two excellent shots—a scorched 5-wood off the tee, and a chocked-down-on wedge from 90 yards to 12 feet, put me in great position and filled me with hope. Alas, I misread the putt egregiously (befuddled by an unseen ridge that shot the putt left when the entire green sloped hard right), and, predictably, didn't make the eight footer for par, either.
But if the life of a writer can be looked at as "research," then all disasters are good disasters, all heartbreak is worthy of being spun into tales, and all dating snafus at least generate a few laughs.