Group Jumping as a Husband Snagging Option

Mr. Vanity Press writes such thought provoking posts, it often causes me to fill up with ideas for my own. Such is the case with this one.

By now you’ve been regaled with the story of my first marriage. Our time together lasted just nine months, but for reasons outside of my control, it took another three years to extricate myself from the man. If you want to call him a “man,” I still think he was gay.

After the divorce, I spent ten years as a single person. This doesn’t mean I was in a monastery or anything. Quite the contrary. By that time, it was the late 1970s and early 1980s, a rather hedonistic era of the 20th Century. I attempted to log in my boyfriends in my journal, but quickly ran out of room. Plus, many of the guys were one-nighters, so I didn’t know their last names. They didn’t even rate journal space. (PUH-LEEZE! Stay with me here… it was the age of disco and pre-AIDS epidemic. Everyone was doing it.) Eventually, I was engaged to a guy who was four years younger. This, also, turned out to be a mistake, but not a huge one, since I wised up in time.

In late 1980, I fell into a job with the federal government. It paid four times what I was making before at the menial jobs I had prior to that. Within a few months, I was living large.

Now here’s where Mr. Vanity Press’ theory about affinity groups comes into play.

My employer tended to hire 30 or so people at the same time. We all stuck together, became friends, and enjoyed our mutual good fortune by partying in our off hours. The previous groups all stuck together, and the later groups were the same way. There was no group jumping, God forbid, probably because the competition for permanent jobs, once they became available, was very high.

After working there for a few years, I got the hang of the secrecy between groups and non-group jumping. At the time, I was pretty much a lemming anyway. I wanted to stay employed and continue to receive big fat paychecks for doing menial labor. I would have sway whichever way the wind blew. I don’t know why. I’m thinking in hindsight it is because I wasn’t fully formed as a person, even though I was in my mid 20s.

However, after a couple of years of forced overtime, my social life was suffering. At the time, I had been engaged (for four years) to that guy, but had no time to spend with him. We drifted apart, me to work unreasonable hours of the day and night, and he to dealing cocaine and snorting the profits up his nose. I only found out about the drug use when we went to book our “honeymoon” trip to Hawaii and the $10,000 we had in the bank was gone. Not long afterward, he was gone too.

I jumped back into the dating pool without a swimsuit. (To be frank, I had been hanging my feet in the water before I ditched fiance Number 2. I know, I know. I was a loose goose, or a fun-loving 20-something, depending on your perception.) It was rough at first. I had been out of the loop. My home was my employment, and my homeboys were my co-workers.

One day, a new group came in for orientation. I remember the day well. It was October 29, 1983. One of the guys in the group was very handsome. I thought he was a Very Cute Boy. (If you remember from my previous posts about Husband Number One, I was touched in a similar way.)

By this time, I was the social butterfly of the work room floor. It helped that my job included pushing stuff from one end of the building to the other. You meet a lot of people that way. I was already starting to transcend my affinity group.

On the other hand, my original group was closed minded. They wanted nothing to do with the new group. They were very unhelpful, especially with directing the newbies to the bathroom, the exits, and the lunch room.

One day I saw the Very Cute Boy standing in front of his work. I went over and talked to him. OK, I blatantly flirted with him. Come on! He was VERY Cute! Then, during our lunch break, I noticed him sitting alone. I sat down next to him and began a conversation. This amazed my best friend from my group. “What are you talking about?” She wanted to know. I told her I learned Very Cute Boy was a piano player. It was the aphrodisiac of the gods. That was a definite deal maker for me.

This continued for some time. I noticed that the Very Cute Boy was trying to find ways of catching my eye. He also finagled himself a job pushing stuff from one end of the floor to another, so we were two ships crossing in the night, over and over again. I wanted the Very Cute Boy to ask me out, and I thought he would, but he never did. It was becoming apparent that I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. I lobbied some of the guys in my group whether or not they would go out with a girl who asked them on a date. Half thought I was talking about THEM, the other half said no, it should not be a problem.

It took some nerve, but I finally asked the Very Cute Boy over for a home made spaghetti dinner on the rare day off.

He came over with three roses in a raging blizzard to eat spaghetti that had burned (because I was asleep from working the night shift) and said was amazing.

The Very Cute Boy is now Mr. Demonic.

The moral of the story: Group jumping is a good husband-snagging option.