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The Graduate

Published: August 12, 2014

The Magician and I scheduled a proper date: Saturday night, dinner and a show. We met in my neighborhood and he took me to dinner at a funky Middle Eastern hookah bar. I am old enough to be his teen mom, but he paid for everything.

Magician: I can’t help, myself. These are gender rules.
Me:  I don’t have a feminist problem with that at all. Thank you so much.

I had been all too ready to give up on men after too many awful dates. Instead, I gave in. I took the Magician back to my place. I am now Mrs. Robinson.

The good news is I have met a perfect guy. He is beautiful, tall, creative, generous, funny, and he seems to adore me.

Magician: I had no idea you would be cool, I just thought you were hot.
Me: Some 19-year-old is going to be so lucky someday.

The bad news is that dating a kid is about as likely to end happily as dating a married man.

Magician: Why do you keep insisting this can’t be a thing?
Me: Because I want to move forward with my life. I have to find someone who is ready to start his.
Magician: So I just have to deal with you dating other men?
Me: Poor dear.

Dating the Magician is an act of capitulation. Every date with every Josh has become a chore. It is so lonely looking for a partner.

Seeing the Magician is an act of joy too. There is so much to recommend youth. Twenty-five-year-olds are better than grown-ups. So. Much. Better. He is at his most beautiful, his total physical perfection right now. Today.

The Magician is not merely younger than I am; he is young. He doesn’t have a credit card. He is homesick for his parents. He has three roommates. He had never been above 59th street in Manhattan until he stayed the night. He hasn’t been wounded by a woman or the world. He is guileless and adventuresome. I’m the adventure. I’m his life experience.

I bear the burden of not hurting him. I don’t want to give him the hollow zombie-eyed stare men my age have from their exes. I can’t be the woman who breaks him. Or even who breaks him in. Maybe the Magician will give me my groove back, but I have to leave him as I found him. Or better off.

Magician: Shouldn’t I have the burden of not hurting you too? Isn’t that true of all relationships?

There is nothing fair about us. He has all the time in the world. He can fall in love, bounce back, and live happily ever after with someone new, again and again. I’m running out of chances.

The Magician isn’t real. But he sure is fun. Coo coo ca choo.

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