Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Don't Want An Old Man

You met Ted and Sylvia, a good friend of mine, a married one, I might add, said to me over drinks recently. They're very happy and met on e-harmony, she continued. I always think these occurrences are the stuff of relationship urban legend. Couples who meet through ads. That of course, was pre the Internet. But they meet through ads, on, e-harmony, etc., and are now living in wedded bliss. I know this is possible. A woman I worked with met her future husband on a few years ago. He lived up the street from her in the Castro. Unbelievable. Never ran into him before, but there he was online. She met one of two straight men living in the area. I attended their wedding, which was quite lovely. They have a child, bought a house and are very happy. Let me tell you, she dated some real winners. My favorite was the guy she had a first (and only date) with and he made her stop the car she was driving so could he run into a grocery store to pick up a few items. He couldn't understand why she was upset.

Remembering this and at my friend's insistence, I decided to take the plunge again and signed up for e-harmony, in part because I love her unwavering faith in the beauty of relationships. I have nicknamed her Charlotte, in honor of the always-hopeful character in "Sex and the City." For someone who has been as single as long as I have, it's good to have a Charlotte in my life.

Did you notice, I said take the plunge again? In the late 1980's and early 1990's I answered singles ads in the SF Bay Guardian. Not great. Someone suggested I place an ad to take more control of the situation. Did that. Got a lot of responses. I had no idea so many men in prison read the Bay Guardian. I went out with a few of them, not the prisoners of course. My favorite was the guy who was a member of SF's exclusive all male, Bohemian Club. He looked like a poster child for Hitler youth.

A couple of years later after a dating drought, I spent a fair amount of money for me, in 1994 dollars and tried video dating. I met a nice man and we began a relationship. We got engaged on Valentine's Day. That really is the ultimate in terms of romance, wouldn't you say? A few months later I suggested he move in with me. He didn't, but shortly after he began using heroin as a way of dealing with his chronic depression. This from a man who didn't smoke pot. Mind you he had many issues and deep down I knew we would never marry, but you can imagine my reticence in attempting something like this again.

Just recently another good friend, also married I might add, confessed that she had posed as me and signed up for an online dating service. It seems she was a bit dubious about my claims regarding the lack of available men. Some people might have been upset by this, but I found it very sweet that a friend would care about me that much. I'm still unclear how she did it, but her findings weren't good. In fact I think the word she used was "pitiful." I rest my case.

But somehow, Charlotte convinced me to give this a shot and so I have. Here's the thing. I'm getting tons of postings from a variety of men. I cast a wide net. Race doesn't matter. A sense of humor is huge, because we have to laugh at the world and more important, be able to laugh at ourselves. His politics must be liberal, anything else is a deal breaker. In my dating life I have gone out with exactly two registered Republicans, both of them black. What kind of cruel joke is this, considering the part of the country I live in? I mean really what were the odds of that happening? On paper they looked great, and each time I had visions of us being the ebony version of Arnold and Maria, but alas, I learned very quickly that there are some things that leave no room for compromise. I should have known the second guy was bad news when my cat bit him, unprovoked. A word of advice here, trust your pets and run all of your prospects by Fluffy or Fido before getting in too deep; the animals know.

I laid out a lot of criteria in terms of what I wanted, but didn't give an age range preference. I had no idea so many men in their 70's are looking for women in their 50's! All of a sudden I have babe status again. This is good, I suppose. I mean we want to be desired and feel like we've still got it, whatever it is or was. But I somehow forgot in my postmenopausal state that men "date down." A lot, but not all men want to date someone who is younger and often, they are looking for someone who is many years younger than they they are.

I can't date anyone 70 years-old. This means he was born before Pearl Harbor was bombed! I'm from the "where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated?" era. It's not my intention to make light of national tragedies, but you get my drift. I would rather my first date ice breaking conversation touch on who did he like more, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, the Temptations or the Four Tops; not a discussion where it's Elvis v. Jerry Lee Lewis.

I give these guys credit and understand where they're coming from, because it is my belief that no matter how old we are chronologically, inside we feel at least 15 years younger than our actual age and I think that's perfectly normal. There are exceptions of course and some guys like dating older women, but let's face it, most 70 year-old men aren't looking for 85 year-old women, but a 55 year-old is a babe. Some women will revel in this and more power to them. But not me.

For a variety of reasons, I haven't done the dating thing in a few years and who knows what will happen or who I will meet. But in spite of the challenges, I'm willing to give it another try. I like to believe I'm a little wiser in my choices. I do know that if he was born at least after the end of WWII and preferably after Truman beat Dewey, I'll take a second look at his posting.


  1. Charlotte says: "Right On!" And I love the part about Rhoda - always trust your cat! :-)

  2. Classic Lucky P: good to have a Charlotte; cat biting the black Republican; Elvis vs. Jerry Lee Lewis; dating down. Funny, profound.

  3. Favorite: "the animals know." How true that is.
    The entire piece is strengthened by "...and understand where they're coming from, because it is my belief that no matter how old we are..." because it shows compassion for those men. It would be easy to rip into them for being "dirty old men" but seeing their side makes the whole piece more intriguing. I also liked the references to historical events and entertainers as a way to classify the men. And it's funny, as always.

  4. Another witty posting. You are onto something with your writings! It is another world from the one "we thought" we were "promised"! You are a worldly gal.
    Love from the one who was the poser on e-Harmony.

  5. This is a great post. You're a wonderful writer. I totally agree about trusting the animal instinct...they can spot a loser a mile away! And good for you for keeping your optimism.