When I met Doug, my husband, almost two years ago I was 44 and he was 51.  Ok, he was 51 for one day.  Our second date was his 52nd birthday.  I hadn't dated since I was 17 years of age.  No matter what people tell you about dating again later in life, it's all a lie.  It is NOT like riding a bicycle (it all comes back to you, you never forget how to do it....blah, blah, blah).  It is strange, out-of-bodyish, unknown, a bit frightening though thrilling and a great lesson in speed reality!

I am a pretty open and free-spirited person.  And age has its own way of causing you to be more accurate in how you see yourself, caring less about being someone other than who you know you are, and fully embracing and accepting the person you have become over time.  But there is a sort of dance when you begin dating in the middle years of how to truly present that real and unabridged person you are without compromising who you are and without scaring the hell out of the other person.  I was right there when I met Doug.

On the second date with Doug I knew that he was the man for me.  I knew it like I knew God filled the space all around me at all times.  I knew it like I knew the outdoors was my happy place, that I could never stop loving my daughter, or that the expression of words was part of what made me flourish inside.  There was not a doubt, a quiver, a hint of maybe.  Nope.  I knew it clear through to my soul.  It was the oddest sensation and the most freeing experience of my entire life.

Big D, my great and wonderful friend, asked me in those first few days with Doug, "Nancy, have you told him of your diarrhea issues?  Have you told him you shop at Goodwill?"  She laughed between the words that defined parts of who I was.  I was poopy at times, and able to find a great outfit for $4.00 that had been previously worn by someone else.  Putting it that way made it seem so gross and tacky.  How could I break those facts to someone who seemed to think I was the sexiest woman on the planet?  Did I want to risk that title with that revelation of information?

Doug was anything but a Goodwill shopper.  He was a Banana Republic sort of guy.  Skimping on style wasn't his way.  Every time he told me I looked great in an outfit I giggled hard inside knowing that it had come from a Goodwill store.  I wondered if he would think me a carrier of the plaque if he really knew where most of my clothes came from?

"No", I told Big D, "I gotta find the perfect time to let those parts out!"  Maybe it was because I thought he would think less of me, it would alter the magic of a blossoming and passionate love.  Maybe I wanted to know that love had taken root before I let it all out.  And diarrhea just isn't a subject matter than manifests readily in conversations, unless Big D and I are talking then it is a fairly common conversation topic.

Eventually I told him the outfits he so loved me in were purchased at Goodwill.  Dress, $4.  Pants, $2.  Coat, $4.  He would at times try to buy me brand new things and I would squirm at the cost of things.  It was just clothes and I just couldn't see the need for spending lots of money on them.  He was beginning to see the unabridged and rough and tumble Nancy.  And, he loved me for it.

Diarrhea's disclosure came when, after being together pretty much non-stop after the second date, he saw my very frequent visits to the bathroom.  It was fully disclosed when I read him my humorous blog post entitled, "CAN IT GET ANY WORSE?"   And he was completely initiated into the world of my digestion when I had a massive bout of non-relenting diarrhea for 2 days.  He still loved me.

I have never made Doug go into a Goodwill store until this past weekend.  Though I continued to shop there, it was never ever with him.  I was looking for something to put on my dining room table that would be fallish.  A large iron candle holder, a big bowl, something.  As we entered the store I could palpably feel Doug's uncomfortableness rise to panic levels.  The clientele in that particular store is rough, economically burdened and hygienically borderline.  

As we returned to the car, I pulled an anti-bacterial wipe from the car door and handed it to him after using it myself.  He laughed, "So, even you wash after being in that store!"  I smiled as he began to process a world he had never experienced up close and personal.  "Yep!  I love a bargain but not germs."

I asked him, now that he had really seen where I have gotten a great many of my clothes, did he think less of me, was he grossed out by me?  "No, you always look great.  You wash em first, right?" he asked with a shitty little smile. 

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