Monday, February 9, 2015

Clown Down

"There is nothing special about dying. We all do it. It's how we live that counts."

Caught in a Hope Floats moment, what I told my Tinder date after delivering the crib note version of my cancer crusade and witnessing his pathetic, clown down face.

The End

I am dating again. Which means that my on again, off again, marriage has reached it's final chapter.

It took me a long time to get to this point but in the end, I made the choice to let it go and it is a relief. I no longer feel hurt, disappointed, or angry. I don't blame anyone, especially not myself. We are now at the beginning of a civil separation which I am certain will lead to a happy divorce.

And because I am impatient, I leaped back into the dating pool. Date number one made me cry. Date number two got a black eye.


From the get go Radish (not his real name) was cocky, overbearing, and dismissive - ego based qualities that I typically loath, but in my raw, newly single state, found appealing.

Physically, he is mildly attractive with a big bear stance, HUGE paws, and warm eyes.

In his mind he is successful, strong, sexy... a player and a great catch.

In my mind, he is highly amusing, uncouth, and ambitious.

I was surprised when he asked me to dinner because of our significant age difference (he is 10 years my junior). When I questioned him about it he said, with a broken Central European accent,"This not problem for me. This problem for you?"

Typically, my choice of men would be one that is totally smitten by me. A man that I could control and manipulate. This cantankerous, cocky man, would be a challenge.

We had numerous arguments (via text) and two breakups in the days leading up to our date.

The first came when he sent me a scandalous selfie taken in a public locker-room and the second when I engaged my PI side and searched public court documents to determine if his wife was aware of his pending divorce (she is).

Determined to let him lead, when he chose a sushi restaurant that I had dined at the night before with my daughter, I said nothing.

Uber escorted, I arrived fashionably late and visibly nervous in new, black stretch straight-legged jeans, an elegant cashmere sweater, and kick-ass Tory Burch boots. Not knowing what his idea of dress-to-impress might be, and half expecting a sea of gold chains across an over-exposed, bushy chest,  I was pleasantly surprised by his classic, conservative attire.

He immediately took charge, ordering a boat load of sushi (an actual three foot long boat full of food) and I passively drank what he ordered (a blood orange margarita).

Avoiding the squid and focused on the tuna, I ate not out of hunger but to steady my nerves and tequila infused sea legs.

On the advice of my daughter, I avoided conversations involving my three failed marriages or my three rounds of cancer and instead let him expose his underbelly.

And so he talked and I listened. But mostly we laughed. We laughed about the simplicities of everyday life. We laughed about ourselves and the comical situations we had wiggled our way into. We laughed until we were the only patrons in the restaurant and the staff grew impatient. We laughed until he leaned over our corner table for four, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "We can be lovers but there can be no love. You are too old."

This is when the laughter stopped. This is when I broke into tears. Not just a few, well-timed teardrops, but I openly sobbed. Because my white cloth table napkin was not absorbent, it took me two trips to the ladies room to compose myself enough to leave the restaurant.

Our effort to salvage the evening with "dance" failed when JHouse, the local "disco," was empty. Instead he drove erratically to the harsh, repetitive beat of Polish house music while I rambled on, and on, and on, about my cancer.

By the time he dropped off me at my front door, we agreed never to see each other again.

This is why people take a self-imposed, time-out between relationships. This is why women give up on men all together. This is painful.

Because you can't keep a good clown down, I got home and immediate reactivated my Tinder account. Determined to find a man who did not think I was "too old," I skimmed through countless profiles while my eyes were still swollen from tears.

Silly Shannon...

After tweaking my five, put-your-best-face-forward photo's, I was convinced that this Shannon was not "too old" for anyone between the ages of 46 to 60.

Like fishing in a well-stocked trout pond, my late night Tinder trolling sparked several bites. The first was Johnny Manicotti (not his real name), a fit, stable (by his own definition), 52 year old, newly divorced bachelor currently residing in North Carolina but visiting family less than a mile away.

PERFECT - no strings and no time for tears.

His best-face-forward picture was of a trim, well-toned, topless man, lounging on a sun-drenched beach chair, so I suggested our first date be a walk at the beach.

After juggling the complexities of our desperately single schedules, we agreed to meet the next day at 10:00 am.

I armed myself with a double layer of down, sensible, waterproof boots, shades to conceal my still swollen eyes, faux fur hat, gloves, and my 95 pound Bernese Mountain dog.

He, avoiding the advice of his mother, arrived underdressed in pearl white sneakers, a light-weight wool baseball jacket, bare head and hands.

I offered him my hat, a desperate attempt to avoid the glare of his newly dyed (scalp still stained), pitch black, deeply receding clown hair, but he declined my offer.

So, with the wind at our faces, we set out for an uncomfortable stroll on the beach.

Winter weekends at the beach are all about the dog. Dogs off leash. Dogs of all sizes. So if you say, "you like dogs," you'd better mean it.

After a quick recount of my failed marriages and my cancer crusade, we coincidentally bumped into Boris (not his real name) - my faithful, freakishly tall friend.

"Look, there are the other two dogs from my Tinder photo, and LOOK, there is my friend Boris!" I jubilantly announced.

Johnny, who is no fool, was cordial but not amused.

It became apparent that Johnny's idea of "likes dogs" was from a distance, when he found himself surrounded by a menagerie of furry's that included a cluster of Bernese Mountain dogs who insisted on sitting on his feet and burrowing themselves between his legs (typical Berner behavior), and he was visibly shaken.

And then, as if the date wasn't awkward enough, corralled in a cluster of canines who, like a school of sharks, sensed his fear, Johnny tripped on a ripple of wet sand and fell forward.

Boris, reacting with the instinct of a prize fighter, extending both arms in an attempt to steady Johnny but instead, Boris's left hand connected with Johnny's right eye.

Later at Starbucks, it wasn't until his second trip to the mens room (nerves or enlarged prostate?) that he noticed his visible bruise.

Later that day I received a text from Johnny stating, "Mom thinks you abused me, LOL."

This time, I didn't bite. Besides, Mom was right.

xo, Monkey ME


  1. Very funny piece, honest and heart warming as usual. I love you, I'm glad you are out there terrorizing men again, I think we should cruse around together sometime, that would be fun and concerning, I'll leave the matches and lighter fluid at home.

    1. Hard to believe I am a clown school drop out...And I love YOU Pinky! yes, I am looking forward to some carefree carousing... safety third!

  2. Wishing you much luck and good fortune in the brave new world of online dating! Yikes.

    1. Stuck my head out... way out. It's tucked back in my shell where it belongs... :)

  3. So glad to see you back on the blog, so sad the dates did not work out - but wow, what fodder for writing! Thanks for the smile!

    1. told my third tinder date that I wrote about date 1 and date 2. That may have been a mistake :) NEXT!!!

  4. I'm sorry you ended up in tears, but I have to say that your Tinder tales make for some entertaining reading. I met my guy on Match and he was the very first I spoke with, the very first I dated, and we've been together for almost 7 years. Thanks to the universe that I didn't have to go through dating hell.

    1. I am convinced that the universe will hide Mr. Right from me so that I have something to write about :)

  5. "In his mind he is a successful, strong, sexy... a player and a great catch... In my mind, he is highly amusing, uncouth, and ambitious."

    Why am I reminded of the opening lines to "A Tale Of Two Cities?"

    "This is why people take a self-imposed, time-out between relationships. This is why women give up on men all together. This is painful."

    This is also why men give up on women...

    own School drop out...

    Damn... I was thinking about going to clown school...


    1. As for clown school.... well.... you have the shoes.

      Please don't make me join Match!

  6. I love your writing! But why oh why are most men such idiots? Are you really sure you want another one?

    1. So glad to hear from you Lesley! I am not sure what I want at this point ... other than to be healthy and happy :))))

  7. Shannon--

    You amaze me. I had no idea how you would top your past real life "stories" regarding past relationships and cancer(s). But u definitely are here to teach us lessons through your life. And, you are the real deal. You tell us everything and I love you for that. You have to be one of the most interesting women I have ever come to know. I look forward to "dating" with you vicariously. You are witty and emotional. And I just do not know that I could ever pull off what you do. You are one interesting woman that is for sure. Looking forward to more stories. Not a dog lover. Has to go. Has to go. Has to go. They have no place in our lives. For we love our little four-legged companions way too much not to have someone treat them with love and respect.

    1. Thank you Stormy! and yes.... we DO love our four-legged friends. They never let me down.

  8. Shannon be nice to are the only you you got. Remember who you are and you will do just fine:-)

    1. :) well, that just makes me smile. Thank you Chris....

  9. Bunny love to my wonderful talented Minkey.<3 Love this chapter! I hope you have fun out there, playing with other monkeys and maybe some other interesting species too.xoxoxo
    DB <3

    1. Guess who will be standing in line at Cosco this year. :)))) love you DB!

  10. Shannon! My goodness you had me howling with laughter. Welcome back to blogging my friend! Your Monkey Tales are not to be missed! So proud of you.

    1. Thank you Renn. "That too old," comment had the potential to weigh me down instead it made me laugh my sense of humor has always helped me to cope it helped me through my cancer and now it'll help me get through dating

  11. Hello! Just FYI, I addressed your "Ask Me Anything" question over at my blog today.

  12. Need ur guidance Shannon. My best friend committed suicide Wednesday, 02/11/2015. Do not know how to feel anymore. StormyDawn


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison