The art of dating through civilization has always been difficult

Just showing up, clean clothes, trying not to insult

First date awkwardness, forced laughs, and clumsy touches

And she’s judging you every minute hoping to avoid groping clutches

So a couple of dates go by, a restaurant, movie and a kiss at the door

You need to get her to your place to show you’re the one to fall for.

She accepts the invitation to see your place and have a meal

It sounded good when asked but second thought on the way home less than ideal

The refrigerator has it’s usual inventory of out of date stale stuff

Two leather like cheese slices, half a flat beer and a slightly green cream puff

In the freezer there are three ice trays entombed in frost and two TV dinners

The dinners are called Manly Gut Busters and don’t sound like winners

“I’ll go to the grocery and pick up some bagged salad and linguine.”

“That’ll look a lot better than freezer frost and that green cream puff thingy.”

Off to bed secure in the knowledge that you can serve a decent meal

And she might just form the opinion that your much more than a sexist heel

At six in the morning the boss calls and orders you immediately to work

New clients are coming and need to be appeased or Head Quarters will go berserk

Trudging into work you know full well that in just twelve hours

You’ll need to call on all your very limited chef like powers

The day drags on, the clients aren’t all they were cranked up to be

Big talkers, lots of demands, and limited credit fit them to a tee

The six hour rear numbing meeting ended with nothing resolved

Later, stuck in traffic wondering from what form of algae they evolved

It’s now seventy minutes and fourteen stoplights until your date arrives

With a goal to get home and prepare a dinner everyone survives

At light number six you pull into a store to buy the supplies

After a five minute wait at the register, you get your surprise

Your wallet is in your jacket pocket hanging on the office coat rack

The checkout person is now staring at your groceries already in the sack

Mumbling a lame excuse about your wallet was left in the car

You race out across the lot swearing at the stupidity and jump into your wheels

Trying to put a meal together that doesn’t look like the fast food dollar deals

Struggling through the last stoplight and the apartment complex maze

Remembering there were still two frozen dinners and three ice cube trays

Maybe something’s there because by now she is on the way

Desperation arrived first, the Gutbusters will do and let the chips fall where they may.

Opening the freezer door, the dinners are pried up with a spoon and the heel of your shoe

Wiping off the the film of ice hoping the instructions weren’t to fogged to view

They read to remove dinner from package and to preheat oven to 500 degrees

Roll back the foil to uncover the Apple Brown Betty but don’t expose the peas

Looking at the the frozen glob of exposed food it reminded of cleaning a February dog yard

And at the requested temperature you hope it doesn’t end up charred

The oven is loaded with the two foil dinner trays squeezed side by side

In ten minutes the oven was belching smoke from old taco cheese that had dried

Hoping the smoke would subside by full speed oven exhaust

There wasn’t much else to do but keep the fingers crossed

Remembering the drinks, perhaps serving ice water in stemware

Would make the meal look like it was prepared with thoughtful care

Only twenty more minutes and Miss Right should be coming through the door

When the text message tone on the phone buzzed in too loud to ignore

“Something’s come up,” wrote Miss Right. “I’m going to have to cancel for the night.”

There was no name attached but that might be considered polite

That was followed by the little yellow emojli with the big frown

Add the person who created those to my list of who I’d like to track down

Ten minutes notice, a smoke filled kitchen and two half done TV dinners

Obviously this evening wasn’t designed for winners

So twenty minutes later you’re dining on four emaciated drum sticks and thirty two peas

Added to that two spoons of mashed potatoes and bubbling brown goop of at least 1000 degrees

Later sucking an ice cube to nurse the mouth blister from the Apple Brown Betty burn

You rationalize the evening as one to live and learn.