Another three short lessons learned from Dona on dating. In the last story, we had left my past self wondering if a girl friend-zoning one guy meant the same for all guys. I found that not to be the case.
Now forward a bit in time.
Common Dislikes Bring People Together
Each college spring break, the Baptist Student Union would pack a bus and head for Colorado Springs where we’d have a conference and workshops to encourage us to know better a particular Man who had the nerve to come out of His grave about 2000 years ago.
Along with the training, there was plenty of time to hike and hang around and whatnot. Why, two days were entirely devoted to recreation, and we had the opportunity to travel higher into the Rockies and ski at Breckenridge. I did that my freshman year and swore off the experience ever after.
From whence comes my saying, “Don’t trust any sport where you have to rent footgear.”
For us whimpy non-skiers, another bus went north into Denver. It wasn’t as exhilarating as skiing, but at least I was never run over by a chair lift again.
The second day of skiing during my senior year spring break, Dona showed up on the bus heading to Denver.
“I thought you were skiing,” I said.
“Hated it,” she replied.
Hmm… And a good thing for me, I thought.
Lesson: It’s not always common likes that bring two people together, but sometimes common dislikes.
Intelligence is Attractive in a Woman
That day in Denver, Dona and I hung around in a small group of students. We toured the Natural History Museum. Afterwards we aped out on the lawn taking pictures. We males struck our best GQ poses. The gals gave us their fashion mag looks, too.
There was even a picture with Dona in the foreground holding out her hand and me on a rock way in the background. In the two-dimensional photo it looked liked she was holding a small man in the palm of her hand. How prophetic! But I can’t find the confounded picture.
Then the bus headed to Casa Bonita, where we hoisted our red flags for refills on tacos and watched the fake-cliff divers (fake cliffs, not fake divers).
Time to go and we tromped to the bus for the long journey back to Colorado Springs.
Remember, this was before Facebook and cell phones. We had to entertain ourselves by actually speaking to each other’s faces. On the way back Dona told us riddles.
These weren’t ordinary riddles like why the fireman wears red suspenders. These were mind benders. She’d give us a short scenario then we’d have to figure out the why and how by asking her only yes-or-no questions.
And Dona wasn’t one to give hints.
Some people are too impatient to get through these kinds of riddles, but there’s a nice ‘aha!’ or ‘O, man!’ moment for the soul who stick it out.
But in Dona’s somewhat twisted humor, I recognized how incredibly smart she was. Wit is a sign of intelligence. And intelligence is attractive in a woman.
Any girl can doll up and look this way or that, and beauty does do the work of initial attraction. But the mind is what keeps interest going.
At least for a sensible man.
A Second Choice Can Be the Right Choice
Once we got back, I was ready to date.
Ah, so I called Dona, you think.
There was another.
I sound like Yoda. But actually there was another girl I was thinking about, too.
None of us had wedding rings on. We were all free agents. You keep your dates above board, your emotions in rein, and your pants on, then a date isn’t a lifetime commitment.
I picked up the phone. Dona? Gertrude? Which?
I called Gertrude.
Gertrude was nice about it but wasn’t free for the day in question. Was this a ruse for a flat ‘no’? I don’t know. At the time, I didn’t think so. But whichever, it was immaterial.
I was not deterred. I hung up the phone and called my second choice: Dona.
I never did date Gertrude. Months later, Dona and I were leaving Applegate’s Restaurant and there sat Gertrude. She was cordial. The three of us chatted a bit. Gertrude was sitting Indian-style in her chair.
What’s the big deal about that?
Well, I was more than a bit fastidious then. Feet in chair at restaurant appalled me. And I thought, ‘Drew, you made the right choice.’
How immature, you might say. And yes, I was but 21. But as years and experienced heaped up, I came to realize what a wise choice I made. Not because Gertrude was a bad choice – I never knew what happened to her – but because Dona was the good choice for me. It had nothing to do with Gertrude. It had everything to do with Dona.
You know, I think that Man who walked out of His grave knew that.