Then there's the decision to kiss him or not after that first date. Or, if you are wild for each other, when it would be appropriate to make love without looking easy or cheap. For those of us whose sex lives went from frequent or regular love-making sessions to none, this question carries some weight. At my age, I can count the number of times I've made love to a man in the past two and a half years on the fingers of one hand. Then again, I'm not as nimble as I used to be, if you get my drift. And neither is a man my age, unless he's kept up his fitness regimen. Even then, well, let's just say I am beginning to understand the charms of viagra.
My sweet niece called my one day, all excited. "Auntie Vic, she said, I think I've found you a man. He's funny, divorced, and a wonderful person. And he's 53 years old."
"Whoa," I answered, "Does he know I just turned 60?"
From experience, I know of few men who are looking for women who are older than themselves. True, most people are shocked to learn I am sixty. I look younger and behave and think like a 30-year-old, so that even my relatives are fooled into thinking that this tough old broad still has some juice in her. But I am becoming more keenly aware of my age with each year. I move more slowly, feel arthritis beginning to cripple my fingers, and can't multi-task with the efficiency I was once known for.
Which brings me to the business of looking for someone to date. I simply don't have the time, inclination, or energy these days to go shopping for a man. According to AARP magazine, "Of the 97 million Americans who are 45 or older, almost 40 percent—36.2 million—are on the loose." That's a significant number of people, but I suspect a large percent of them are women, so I would view this information with a jaundiced eye. At a social event last night in an art gallery, the number of mature women outnumbered the men by 3:1. Of the men that attended the event, almost all had arrived with a date or spouse. I didn't even bother to look for prospects but concentrated on enjoying the event with my two female friends. Ok, I'm willing to admit that most men would not be attracted to attending an evening of short story reading at an art gallery, but I've experienced the same phenomenon white water rafting or volunteering in a beer tent at a sports event. Most of the men I met at these venues were already taken.
Had someone told me six years ago that I would have been dateless in 2008 and so far in 2009, I would have called them crazy. After my divorce I was actively looking for a new relationship, but the truth was that the enormous amount of effort this took did not lead to satisfactory results. My last date was so excrutiatingly awful, with my partner talking about himself 90% of the time and evincing no interest in my hobbies or interests, that I literally counted the minutes before I could politely say goodbye. Now I prefer being by myself and calling my own shots. I look forward to a cozy evening with my loyal dog or going out with friends during the weekend. I am no longer ashamed of being single in a couple's world, and rather revel in the strange looks I get as I sit in a fancy restaurant alone, treating myself to a nice meal, and hugely enjoying my own company.
Last week I went to a place called Bark Farm and volunteered to walk rescued dogs and muck out their pens. I was surrounded by volunteers of all ages, each of them eager to help our unfortunate canine friends. Helping these abandoned creatures puts things in perspective. They are experiencing the same feelings of bewilderment and abandonment that I once felt. It breaks your heart to see these frightened and lonely pets, but you come away feeling you've done something to help alleviate their hurt. To me, such activities are more worthwhile and fulfilling than spending an evening with someone with whom I have very little in common. Sometimes I think it would be nice to find a new mate while I'm actively involved doing something I like, but I'll just chalk that up to wishful thinking.
- Read these fascinating insights about dating in Seeking Love.
- Wonder why I'm a bit cynical? Here's an AskMen.com article for you: Can 50 Year Old Divorced Guys Get Younger Women? (You might have to click on "skip this ad.")