Fall is my favorite time of year. I don't relish the cold Northern wind, but the smell of wood burning, football games, sweaters and snuggling get me going! Only one problem -- who's the likely candidate for snuggle partner? Guess that means the hunt is on, and we aren't talking Easter eggs.
As luck would have it, an invitation appears for a Final Fall Party at a couple's house in Turpin. Nice house, great food, bartender and lots of people dressed in suede, angora and Polo.
I'm traveling solo, as my invitation didn't suggest I bring a date. After a couple of women insult me at the door with the "Oh, you're divorced" statement, I head for the bar and a vodka tonic. Mr. Polo appears, and the host introduces us. He's eye candy and, though I've already forgotten his name, I'm happy to listen to his story.
His ex has "issues," and he has custody. He works too many hours and never ventures beyond Mount Lookout. He grew up there, lives there and, well, need I say more? We do know some of the same people and agree that couple parties in the 'burbs are tough for us solo types. I decide he's potentially future snuggle material if he has a fireplace and I'm truly cold and lonely.
Next venture out in my search is a blind date on Sunday night. I usually reserve Sunday nights for "Monday dread" depression but, hey, the temperature is dropping as we speak! The meeting place is Trio's, which is quiet, dark and by far the best lobster bisque in the city. Unfortunately, the friends who line up this introduction must think I have no taste in men.
By Wednesday I've dusted myself off and climbed back on the proverbial dating machine for another round. This time it's Rock Bottom Brewery at 7 p.m. with a developer who's 50 but well traveled. I usually prefer under 45 but then remember Sunday night. He appears late but apologetic, so I smile and look up from my Savage Love in the latest CityBeat.
Again, I'm taken aback. When I told everyone I know that I'm in the market for fix-ups, I didn't mean that I like home-improvement projects. This guy might be 50, but he looks 65 and dresses like he's in construction. As my mother always reminds me, you can dress them, style their hair and choose their glasses, but only plastic surgery can remove 15 extra years of weather from the face and Weight Watchers alone might not be enough to tackle the tire in the midriff.
Rock Bottom is warm and inviting, so we chat about travel and favorite places. He has excellent taste in beaches and owns a home in St. Croix. He goes to Italy twice a year. Venice and Naples draw him in, and even I can find no fault in either of those.
We drink our Pale Ales, observe the loud Wall Street types having a meeting next table over, eat the Gorgonzola steaks and part company. We're no worse for the wear and seem glad that the world has no boundaries for either of us. I promise I'll check to see if my mother is available to travel this January.
The weekend looms. I know that after Sunday and Wednesday most would be discouraged, but I'm strangely invigorated. Friday I decide to try Carlos & Charlie's for cocktails. I drag Mary along. The place is packed. The band rocks. The drinks are strong. The decor is decidedly overstated, but I imagine myself and one of the waiters in the gondola after hours, sans raw bar and ice. Unfortunately, the patrons are scary propositions with the men in suits at 11 p.m. and gold chains visible. Gee, is this the divorced-and-desperate party? If so, I want an invitation to the employee Christmas party, because the servers are the best-looking men here.
Saturday the only answer is to dig in the closet for the costume that could solve my snuggle candidate dilemma. It's Halloween, so don't be a weenie -- dress up! I have a fond memory from five years ago when a girl pal and I tried Dayton's Oregon District Halloween Bash on Fifth Street. I dressed up as the Robert Palmer girl from his hit video -- black turtleneck, mini, slicked-back bun, mascara and red lips. I was looking fine, and no one knew what I was until ... I found the only Formula One driver in all of North America driving for Isuzu at the time. He was from London, loved Robert Palmer, had a terrific accent and blue eyes.
Is Cincinnati ready for another French Maid -- and I do mean French stockings and lace? Probably not, but my feather duster is ready to get the cobwebs off my social life!