What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Claudia?

Sometimes life isn't spicy enough. The regular ebb and flow of daily interaction proves alternatively interesting and difficult, but it occasionally needs a small dose of excitement added in to make it truly provocative. I had one such dose a few weeks ago when I visited my local bank to make a routine deposit. The teller who handled my business was, you guessed it, an attractive brunette with a captivating smile. She moved swiftly between orders before calling "next," signaling my turn. Hers was a gentle grace that would be more at home in a museum of art than a pecuniary cesspool like my local bank.

I wonder how many other bloggers have had occasion to use the phrase "community pecuniary cesspool” today. I feel special.

Her nametag read "Claudia." I said hello. I don't remember what sort of small talk we engaged in, but I do recall that it was simultaneously provocative and inconsequential. In other words, it was spicy. Ours was the verbal repartee appropriate of two singles in a big world of hormones. She flipped her hair and I smiled too big. I imagine the behavioral psychologist observing the whole episode through the bank security system was on cloud nine.

I did not ask her number or give any indication of interest besides my subtle flirting. My attitude was, in the immortal paraphrased words of the late great Charles Dickens, “really cool.” Claudia felt, I'm sure, that my departure from her service window marked the end of the story.

At this point, it is appropriate to borrow a trick from the great novelists of yesteryear by jumping to a seemingly unrelated topic only to reveal its tangential connection in a paragraph or so.

Meet William, or Bill as he likes to be called. Bill is a venerable septuagenarian who works out at my gym. We became fast friends a year or so ago when he offered to spot me and I discovered his freakishly muscled build. His is the physique that amazes and frightens. He has the build of a much younger man. If I didn't know better, I would guess Bill supplemented his rigorous diet with MLB level animal steriods. But I do know better. Bill's physically dominant form is due only to his diligence in the weight room and a God-given predisposition for massive muscle.

As it so happens, Bill was behind me in line at the pecuniary cesspool (2!). He was the next customer to talk to Claudia. And, he told me later, the conversation went something like this:

Bill: So, Claudia, do you have weekend plans with your boyfriend? [This may seem like a weird question coming from a super buff 74 year old, but trust me, it's not.]
Claudia: I don't have a boyfriend. I'm just chilling with friends.
Bill: No kidding. Have you met Cody? ["Haaave you met Ted?"] He's the most responsible derelict I know. And he's single (between us, his relationships always seem to suffer from early exit syndrome). Have you thought about going out with him?
Claudia: Well, I think he's cute.

She thought I was cute! Can you believe that? No girl has ever told me that before (or yet, because Claudia only told Bill who parroted it back to me). Cute. As Bill recounted these words over the bicep press, I knew it sealed the deal. I was going to ask Claudia out on a date. The only question was how to make the request epic and legendary.

My chance came one short week later. I walked into the bank and saw Claudia on break. She waived waved to me. I waived waved back. As I took care of my banking business, Claudia sat down by the exit to fiddle with her iPhone. I had to think quickly. I signed my name on the withdrawal slip and collected my receipt. Finished. I marched toward the exit and Claudia where we had the following exchange:

Me: Hey! Claudia, right?
Claudia: Yeah? [Smiling -- what a smile!]
Me: Did you take my deposit last week?
Claudia: Yeah...
Me: I think you missed something...you didn't give me your number.

I had pulled a pen out of my pocket and extended my receipt toward her with a smile. She was surprised, but jotted down her digits. I took the paper, said I would call and walked out to my car. Epic and legendary.

The next day I set up the first date. That date turned into a second and the second a third. Things were going well. Claudia and I had chemistry and she seemed to enjoy my company almost as much as I enjoyed hers. But dark foreboding clouds loomed. Utopia is unsustainable.

After a movie on our third date, Claudia and I went for a walk in a local park. The conversation was light and she seemed cheerful, although a little apprehensive. I wondered at the cause of her reservation. Eventually she asked if we could sit down. Feeling the significance of her impending revelation, I acquiesced.

Claudia: C, I need to tell you something.
Me: Mmmhmm, what's that?
Claudia: I'm married.

Thunder and lightening! Fire and brimstone! Christopher Columbus! For the love of Brad and Angelina! She was married!? Married, as in a ring, a husband and a shockingly easy to void state license?

Me: I'm sorry. Come again?
Claudia: I'm married. When I was a teenager I married this guy. My family didn't approve. It was a mistake. He cheated on me. We are separated now.
Me: But you're still married to him.

Claudia spilled all the salacious details which, for the sake of brevity and innocence, I will mask here. It suffices to say that relations between Claudia and Marco were at an all time low. Only the delusional would predict an optimistic outcome.

It's hard to convey the gravity of that situation on a humor blog without portraying the picture with undue flippancy. I like and felt for Claudia. By her account, she'd done nothing wrong. Circumstances had victimized her terribly.

Claudia obviously wanted a disposition from me. She wanted to know if her marriage sounded the death knell for our budding relationship. I thought about giving her an answer, but knew that doing so would cheat the faithful FCN few out of a valuable opportunity to weigh in on my personal life.

So I put the question to you in all its glamor. Should I date a married woman? Is there a clear moral compass on this issue or is it an ethical vague area open to exploitation on emotional and or subjective whims? What would you do in my shoes? Let me know in the comment section and I'll make a decision based on your input.

11 comments:

DTH Rocket said...

I think the Bible's pretty clear on this:

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a cerificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

~Matt. 5:31-32

So with that in mind, weigh your options carefully.

Anonymous said...

I would never date someone who waived to me. If she had waved, maybe, but waived?

Seriously, I would do like Jane Eyre - run away in despair and come back only when the obnoxious husband has done away with himself through some convenient mechanism.

a.wanna.be.music.junkie said...

You could easily argue that the husband annulled the marriage by committing adultery. It might be wise, for the sake of clarity, to insist on a formal divorce.

Practically speaking, it is always going to be a thorn in the side of a future marriage. Whether you have to deal with Marco in the future or just the memory, it will always be a problem.

Jonathan said...

Ever read Joshua Harris's book, 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye'? It might keep you out of scrapes like this, though removing a source of good blogging material.

As for whether to keep going, ask God (see DTH Rocket, above), then ask the said husband.

Give Bill my regards,

Jonathan Potter

Anonymous said...

I say stay with her because you guys have chemistry. If she doesn't leave the guy in a few months, you can reevaluate.

AdamKauk said...

This isn't dating advice, but you used the phrase "pecuniary cesspool", then you claimed that you used the phrase "community cesspool". You should change one or the other.

Mrs. L said...

In the immortal words of Papa G: Flee!!!!!

or is your dating life so boring that you want to enliven the rest of your mortal life with ongoing, unnecessary, emotionally-draining drama?

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself why she hasn't divorced him.

Anonymous said...

seriously? we're having this conversation?

Levi Bendixen said...

Not to be mean, but the Bible is pretty clear on things.
Pro 7:19 "For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home."
(This is the strange woman talking.)

Just because she's "separated" from her husband doesn't mean she should be going out with someone else.

We've done plenty of terrible things against God and He still holds out for us. The same is true in marriage.

I hope this wasn't too mean. Tryin to help!

Rachel said...

She told you on the third date??? Seems to me that's kind of late to be announcing something like that.