Par for the course

Par for the course

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MULLEN

Monica hated her golfing ex-husband so much that when she felt it was time to start over, she made it a hard-and-fast rule that she would never date a golfer.

That would be understandable if golf had been the reason their marriage tanked, but it wasn't. His string of flagrant infidelities, his drinking problem and his chronic unemployment probably had a lot more to do with it than his golfing.

But the last thing anyone wants to hear just after a devastating divorce is: "We all knew it wouldn't last. No one could ever figure out why you married him." And even though I said it in the nicest possible way, Monica didn't speak to me for weeks.

Now, she's past all that, and she's told all her friends that she's ready to start dating again. That's the attitude -- when you fall down, get back up again. Even though she dreads the thought of dating, she's tough, and she's willing to put up with a lot of disappointment. But even if you say it in the nicest possible way, apparently the last thing a woman over the age of 40 wants to hear is: "You've got about as much chance of finding a man as getting hit by lightning."

Her friends have tried to fix her up with nice guys -- sweet, good-looking, decent guys -- but Monica always shuts them down with, "Does he play golf?"

"I think he does, occasionally," her friend Sandy said, trying to gloss it over. "Maybe twice a year. But he spends most of his spare time as a Big Brother, working in soup kitchens, mowing his elderly parents' lawn ..."

"Sounds like a golf-playing jerk to me," Monica spit out.

Last week, Anita and Debbie took Monica to lunch to give it another try. "Joe's brother Al -- the one who just won the award for raising all that money to save koalas from the fires in Australia? The one who spent all that time in the Peace Corps? Well, he just got back in town after spending six weeks in an ashram in Bhutan," Anita started.

"You mean Al Tompkins? The guy who was named Handsomest Athlete of the Year back in college?" Debbie chipped in, as planned.

"Yeah, that's the guy. Wasn't he valedictorian, too?" Anita and Debbie were rolling now.

"Yes, but he couldn't deliver his speech because he was donating a kidney to a homeless person that day."

"That's right. He wanted to donate both kidneys, but the doctors wouldn't let him."

"And the funny thing is, you'd expect him to be a bit of a snob, coming from such a rich family and all, but he's really a down-to-earth guy. Too bad he's never found anyone that pushes all his buttons." They paused to take long pulls on their strawberry daiquiris, waiting for Monica to ask when she could meet him.

"Does he play golf?"

"No, he doesn't. Well, there is that one-day-a-year charity tournament his business sponsors to raise money for starving puppies," Anita explained.

"And you expect me to go out with a creep like that?! Forget it."

"Maybe it's a little too soon for you to start dating again," Debbie suggested, which apparently was the last thing Monica wanted to hear, even though Debbie said it in the nicest possible way.

"You're all on his side, I can tell," she said as she stomped out of the restaurant. The next day, she apologized to Anita and Debbie. And tonight, she's having dinner with our friend Carl, who follows rock bands around the country, selling their T-shirts and CDs. Even though she might not want to hear it, Anita said, in the nicest possible way, "I like Carl, but I think you should know that years ago, he did time in a country club prison for tax evasion."

"And there was that thing about embezzling the children's fund from the church, but I don't think they ever charged him," said Debbie.

"But you're sure he doesn't golf?"

"Positive."

"I'm dying to meet him."

Contact Jim Mullen at mullen.jim@gmail.com

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