Years ago, while we sat together on the front porch, Grandpa suddenly felt the urge to impart to my brother and me his “rules for dating.” At the time, he was 81 years young and still active on “the dating scene.”
A little background on Grandpa, affectionately known as “Pop.” Grandma had passed away some thirty years before. He loved her and would say that he had never met a woman so grand. Since her passing, he had come to fancy himself as quite the lady’s man. He sported an Errol Flynn-pencil-mustache. He drove a Cadillac with white walls, smoked cigars, frequented the race track, wore a pinkie ring, was an amazing billiards player, fancied himself as a great dancer, and was an engaging story-teller. Yes, you’re right, quite a character!
I remember that he had a regulation sized slate top pool table in his basement. When he moved to Long Island from Flatbush, Brooklyn, it was essential that the basement be able to accommodate his pool table.
My first time in a pool hall was with Pop. He told me that he had grown up in pool halls. After watching him play, there was no doubt! He claimed that he could beat anyone who bent their knees when they shot. I thought to myself, “Isn’t that just about everybody?”
The last time we shot pool he was about 80 years old. He took the unlit cigar stub from his mouth and said, “Okay, I’ll rack ’em, you break.” (He probably didn’t want to throw his back out from the torque caused by breaking.) “You’re still bending your knees.” Then shook his head.
If I didn’t pocket a ball on the break, it would be my last shot of the set, every time! Whenever I missed, he would finish the set. While he shot, he would occasionally whistle. He had a beautiful fullness of sound and keen sense of intonation and phrasing. He loved to whistle melodies from Verdi and Puccini operas. (Funny that I would much later marry an opera singer who sings Italian arias like a goddess!)
OK, so here we were…I’m in anticipation of what I know will be the quintessential rules for dating!
Here are his rules, in his words:
1. Make sure you take her out dancing…because if she can’t dance, she’s no good in the sack!
2. Make sure you see her in the daylight…because they all look good at night!
3. Make sure that she doesn’t have a dog…because if she does, then she doesn’t need you!
4. Watch to see if she takes off her white dress gloves while dining…because if they remain on, she may be hiding the shakes.
5. Also, take note as to how fast she drinks…because if she drinks too fast or too much, she could be an alcoholic!
6. Beware if she starts asking questions like; where do you like to dine, buy your clothing or vacation…because she might be a gold-digger!
7. Check to see if she has a tan line on her left ring finger…because if she does, she could still be married!
To me, this was all quite hilarious. NOW, I know how to date my friend’s Grandma! With a closer look at his rules, you may see some application.
Pop was so much fun and yes, quite the character. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore!