When I was in my 20’s and living on my far South side neighborhood about an hour away from the big city, I had a large group of friends, both men and women friends who all lived downtown. We often went on outings and parties and socializing as a group. We all would add some of our own friends to the group, which was fun and an interesting mix of people both young and middle-aged. I look back on these years before my marriage at 30, to be very, very, happy times. These were the days when one only had to worry about what to wear to the next party, or sailing party, or pool party. We would worry about who would be arriving and if you were dating someone or looking for someone else to meet and date in the future. I see myself as carefree, single and a gloriously selfish girl. One of the main characters of our group was a funny, interesting and often hard to pin down personality. She whisked into and out of parties as well as whisking in and out of people’s lives. She invited me into her large, large, group of friends as a very kind gesture to me because her parents were good friends of my parents. My father and mother split up for good the same week I arrived back home from college in Europe with my new B.A. degree in World History and English Literature held in my hand. My mother and my little sister were devastated by my father’s departure. I knew almost immediately that my father had planned to leave our home and coordinated it with my return. I am sure he believed that I would be responsible for my mother and my little sister’s well being. Thank heavens, for this friend, whom I will call, Jenny (not her real name) who opened up her friendship to me at a very difficult time in my life. Jenny was tall, and slim, and pretty, with a big smile and a very big heart. Her one failing and it really wasn’t a failing but really like everything else about her, this slight failing, was charming, Jenny liked to gossip. She liked to tell people what she had learned while talking to or questioning friends and well yes, maybe things she learned by snooping. It was always good-natured gossip that wasn’t in any way to hurt anyone.
Over a few glasses of wine one night at Jenny’s apartment she announced that she had some very interesting gossip. She looked directly at me. There was a man in our group that we all liked very much. He was nice and nice looking and if I remember correctly, I believe he was an up and coming banker and maybe a lawyer too? I knew him and liked him however, that is all. I hadn’t considered him as a possible boyfriend. I just enjoyed talking to him casually at parties. My friend visited this young man’s apartment for a date maybe?? I honestly don’t know? She saw that he had a black leather personal address book on his desk. Jenny felt it was her duty to, at the very least, take a casual look inside to see what she could see… so to speak. She opened the book, and noticed my name and address and phone number listed with a star next to it. Right next to my name in this man’s date book were a few words, “Pretty girl, nice, good personality, Geographically Undesirable.” Jenny looked deeply into my eyes to witness my expression. I realized at once that this fellow had chosen the right profession. Everything he said was pretty true at the time. I lived an hour or more away from his apartment. I thought then and still think that his description of me was quite amusing as well as hitting the nail on the head. This was a very practical man. He wasn’t going to get into a relationship that would be wasting hours of time driving back and forth or having to spend long periods of his time on the phone setting up dates and or meeting places. This guy thought I was cute and nice but clearly not worth the time or the drive. This did, right then, and has still, made me aware of what is important to me and to other people when considering a relationship.
Funny, however, the first serious relationship that appeared not long after the “Geographically Undesirable” incident, I met a man who lived an hour or more away from me. How, interesting that this man didn’t find distance to be a problem. This man, I will call him Jim, was several years older than me and he delighted in visiting me in my family’s home. He often picked me up and drove over an hour away to take me out. He would make me dinner or take me to a big city restaurant and drive me all the way back to my house far away on the South side. Then he would drive back to his own apartment. Why would he do this for over a year until I moved myself to an apartment downtown on my own? To him I was worth the time and expense.
Later, still in my 20’s I met a man thought mutual friends. He arrived with a male friend or two and I often arrived with a friend or two of mine. We were both immediately attracted to each other. I fell for him instantly. He came alone and left with men friends. Once and only once I met him on the street he was actually with a beautiful actress on a date, she wasn’t famous then, now she is. I was also on a date that night. We exchanged hellos and later goodbyes. Something hurt in my stomach. I realized that I was with the wrong man and this man who I really liked, was on a date with the actress and not with me. We kept meeting at parties and talking. I thought that he was interested in me. I had a dinner party and called him at work to invite him to my party. He had given me his phone number at work. The dinner party was lots of fun and this man that I liked so much, stayed later than everyone else. When he was leaving he grabbed me and kissed me. I have to say that this kiss wasn’t like any kiss that I had ever had, before in my life. We fell on the floor and he continued to kiss me. Then, suddenly he jumped up and helped me up and he apologized he thanked me for the dinner and left. I was very puzzled by his abrupt parting. A few weeks later he asked me out. We went to an outdoor concert. He brought the food. I brought the Champagne. Later I learned why he hadn’t asked me out earlier. He was going through a divorce. He told me that he knew that I wouldn’t go out with a married man. He only asked me out after he was free. In other words, he thought that I was special. I was worth it. I was desirable.
BTW I met my “was-band” in Monaco. When I returned home to the U.S. A., after our first meeting, (my “was-band” who was, and still is, French and at the time of our meeting, he lived in France) he sent me flowers, called me, wrote me, sent me gifts and flew from France to see me several times. I visited him in France too. We got married a year and a half after we met. We are still married but separated. We are friends. Okay, it’s because I am a saint. I’ve said that before but it is true. However, distance was not a problem for my husband. I think even if you met him today … I believe he would say that I was worth it. I was worth the geographic distant. So much for being “Geographically Undesirable.” If you care, you care… geography has nothing to do with real passion. Got to say however, I still think that the phrase “Geographically Undesirable” is still, really, really, funny!
Until Next Week…