Geriatric Dating

Every once in a while, I hear of some couple in their 80’s or even 90’s getting married.  Good on them!  I applaud their courage.  I will dance at their wedding.

On the other hand, I, who have passed my 61st year, am surprised I’m still alive, let alone thinking about getting married again.

Of course I do not have any prospects at the moment, but my recent date put the idea in my head.

Do you realize that not so long ago, the median age at death was 35?

Since for the most part we have conquered infectious diseases in the developed world, the average lifespan has climbed to 79.  That was last week.  This week, it’s probably 85.  Next week our prospects will be 95.  I’m nearly, but not entirely, joking, of course, but as we begin to find more and better cures for various lethal conditions, we will doubtless be saddled with longer and possibly healthier lifespans.

Women nearly always outlive men, so there is a plentiful supply of widows available to the widowers and divorcees out there.

But there is a thorny problem: many–or, stretching myself out on a limb, I will say most–single men prefer younger women, especially as the wrinkles and the various effects of gravity set in.  They are mistaken, of course, because older women have a lot to teach them, both in and out of the sack.

I have a number of male friends, some of whom I have dated at one point or another.  All of them are in their 50’s or early 60’s, and all of them are looking for a 30-something with whom to start a(nother) family, or simply to admire.

I have known these friends from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 40 years; and I have watched them get slower and fatter and grayer and balder, and they still have not discovered the elusive 30-something, preferably never-married and childless, with whom to cuddle up in their new love nest.

The natural consequence of living is that we get older.  Let’s face it, if we keep on keeping on, we are going to get wrinkly and saggy.  We will not look like we are 30 anymore.

There are days when I look in the mirror and mutter to myself, “Who was that plastic surgeon again?”

Right.  I know women who have had fantastic face lifts, tummy tucks, butt lifts, titty lifts, and within 5 years it’s all back where it was before, except that now they’re covered with scar tissue that is much less attractive than the sagging body parts they had before.

I, for one, am past the point of Internet dating.  Tried it after I was a divorced 30-something, and it proved frustrating even then, since most of the male factors mostly wanted a wham-bam, but after 40 I was tired of dodging the gropers and gave it up.

When I emerged from my last long-term relationship, at age 48, I dove straight into the Orthodox Jewish life.  That meant no touching, no singing together, dates either set up by friends or matchmakers–and Orthodox internet dating, managed by a matchmaker, of course.  Ho-hum.  And the men I met that way were either obnoxious or exasperating or both.

Now that I have emerged from that life, I feel rather like the subject of Shel Silverstein’s poem:

“Whoops, we’ve been caught by a Quick-Digesting Gink

And now we are dodging his teeth

And now we are restin’ in his small intestine

And now we’re back out on the street!”

Except.  Now.  I.  Am.  Sixty.  One.  Years.  Old.

And not only that, but those of you gentle readers who have been faithfully following my blog, and I do love you for it, and for who you are, and for your own blogs, and everything….you all know that life has been a bit of a rough ride for me.  This cowgirl has seen a lot of biffs and bangs, got bucked off a few times, and as I have told the few prospective dates who have wandered in and out of my life, I am a “scratch and dent model.”  But no bargain by anyone’s stretch of the imagination.

I require careful watering and fertilization.  An orchid is nothing to the maintenance I require.  My brakes are bad, transmission needs an overhaul, tires are bald, I have a poorly patched hole in my muffler, and I mix metaphors.

As if that were not enough, I am terrified of exposing the lumps and bumps life has dealt me.  I dread the revelation that I am chronically preoccupied with refining my suicide plan.  I suffer from various chronic physical illnesses that limit my mobility and versatility.  My teeth require frequent patching and emergency treatment.  My joints are for shit.  And other, more embarrassing consequences of aging that needn’t be discussed here.

I bring this topic up because I know I am not the only one out there with these insecurities.

Whenever I open the question of whether I will ever gather the courage to enter the dating scene again, invariably I get all sorts of encouraging comments saying, “Oh, you’re such a wonderful person, one day Mr. Right will show up.”  And depending on my mood I either laugh hysterically, or smack the unfortunate encourager in the gob, because I only bring the subject up when I’m having an attack of The Lonelies, which could last an hour or a day, but not much longer.

I have a lot to do.  And I’m not sure that, after all these years as a crotchety old hermit woman, I could share life with anyone else.  My dog is good company.  She doesn’t care that I am set in my ways.  She likes my routine.  She doesn’t mind that the bathroom is outside.  She herself goes outside to do her business, so why shouldn’t I?  (BTW my outhouse is frozen solid at the moment, which complicates things.  Don’t ask.)

I suppose if some Prince Charming were to show up at my door and say, “Oh by the way, I find wrinkles, sagging breasts, and stress incontinence irresistible in a woman,” I would be suspicious as hell, unless he happened to be 79, in which case I would give him tea and send him packing.

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23 Comments

  1. exactly my point of view as well, even tho im only in my 40’s. even thinking about opening the romance door sends me laughing. plus there is just that whole thing about being on ones’ own for so long….i like my habits, and having the freedom to have them, to do as i please. and im not sure im a very good ‘sharer’ anymore, if i ever even was.

    Reply
    • Hi Kat, wish I could say “I’m sorry, blah blah,” but nope, my feeling is that everybody has to find their comfort zone, and all of us have our own reasons for keeping ourselves to ourselves. You’re a good sharer in bloggie-land, so maybe that’s where our comfy-place is. Love ya–Laura PS stay healthy!

      Reply
  2. I love you, Laura, for what that’s worth. And I think Noga is probably worth at least ten men.

    “Since when do men grow up, they just grow old.” ~ “Divorce American Style

    (But then I AM a confirmed bachelorette, so perhaps you oughtn’t to take any mind of what I say. 😉 )

    Reply
  3. Thank you for the chuckles. I thank God I’m married. How I hated being single, even when I was young and cute.

    Reply
  4. I went ahead and took the equation of men dying early and married a boy 8 years my Jr. Yes, I’m a cougar 😻
    However, if I do outlive him, I wouldn’t make an effort to find another man. . Another dog, yes!

    Reply
    • Way to go, Mama! And yeah, stick with the dog, man or no man. Worst mistake I ever made was to give up my beloved 130 lb black German Shepherd because Mr. Man didn’t like it that Mr. Dog used to come up behind him and hit him in the back of his knees and take him down. Always listen to your dog! Hope your baby boy holds out for you too! **grin**

      Reply
  5. I love your writing. I am 75 this month and have been a widow for 9 years. I love being alone. I get my way all of the time. I did in my marriage as well. We had 19 wonderful years. He was 13 years older than me. I once asked him why he never said no to me. He said “You have never asked for anything unreasonable”. After he died his best friend came after me. I told him to get lost. I saw how horribly he treated his wife before she died. He looked absolutely shocked. I get lonely sometimes but have the choice to get involved with the local Senior Center or church or what ever. I really don’t like to be around old people. How about that? I am old. So many have given up and are boring and uninteresting. I read, quilt, work on genealogy, belong to a think tank and blog sometimes. I guess I like my company. Your post made me smile at times and laugh at other times. I recently joined a health club so I can walk in the water. It helped me get through the holiday season. Some people are lucky finding someone but my mom shared with me stories of her friends who married in later years and were miserable. She said most wanted a cook, cleaner and laundry lady and wanted to be taken care of because of health issues. Good luck in your remaining journey.

    Reply
    • Hi Ahuelon, it’s great to have you speak up! Sounds like you really have been having the best of both worlds: a loving husband and a happy afterward. Your husband sounds like he was a real sweetie. It must have been rough on you to lose him…

      Reply
  6. He would have wanted me to be happy so I am on a mission to be happy. Attitude is a habit.

    Reply
  7. Hi Laura, Loneliness is a state of mind. I have seen people lonely amongst their family and friends.

    I pray for your happiness wherever your are.

    Love and light
    Ashu

    Reply
    • Hi Ashu,

      It’s true, there’s nothing worse than being lonely in a crowd. The loneliest I have ever been was when married to a stranger.

      Thankfully, I am very happy living the way I do, an hermetic life with my dog. She is a sweetie, but a very different kind of dog than the ones I have had before. She’s reserved and takes everything personally, like this morning when I was sick and tired of being sick and by way of letting off some steam, I kicked an empty box around. When I returned to my bed I found her huddled up shivering! Poor little sensitive thing. I think she is a reflection of myself. I always take everything personally. So she is my mirror! Good thing I have her.

      Blessings to you, Ashu. You are a gift.

      Reply
      • Hi Laura,
        Thank you for your sweet words.
        Dogs become a reflection of their owner’s personality. My own dog was like me in many ways. :-))

        I am in my thirties which is a big age for Indian girls to remain unmarried but I love my solitude and independence.
        I am not against marriage but then it clicks for people for different age at different times and most important it takes efforts from both of the side to keep it steady and stable.

        I read your previous blog too and i wanted to comment that i was surprised that you came back to US rather than staying back at Israel.

        Reply
        • Namasthe Ashu,

          I admire your strength and independence. I know that in India there is a lot of pressure on women to get married. I have a good friend in Bombay, a high level dentist, who wanted to get married but not to an Indian man because of all the domestic abuse that goes on, more so because it is culturally acceptable, or so she says and so I hear from other Indian friends. She wanted to marry a Western man but as I told her, it’s not so simple there either. You can never really tell from the outside how someone is on the inside! And then suddenly she met “Mr. Indian Right” and got married, nearly 40 years old! A year later she’s still happy, so I’m very happy for her.

          You are a very wise and special person. You will know what is right for you, and when!

          I am not yet ready to return to Israel. I have to recover from my father’s death, and put a lot of things in order here in the States so that when I am able to return, I can be settled in my mind and not constantly worried about what’s going on here. My Israeli friends warn me not to get “stuck,” which happens a lot to expatriates who leave Israel for one reason or another and then can’t manage to get back because of the way America warps one’s perceptions of what is important.

          I desperately want to come back to India for a few months, spend some time regaining health with my guru, and learning more about Ayurveda so that I can keep myself and my own patients healthy. I want to stop in Bombay and visit my friend and her new husband, I want to go to Punjab and see the Golden Temple and see some of my Sikh friends (dangerous because I may never leave there!!!), and maybe even hire a driver and come and see you! (I say “hire a driver” because my experience with Indian drivers impressed upon me that I will never drive myself in India–it makes Israeli drivers look tame, and I thought they were the craziest!!!) When I went to Tamil Nadu and up into the Nilgiris the driver was so nuts that I figured if I was going to die I may as well have fun, so I stuck my head out the window and video’d the trip up the mountain. When I show it to people their eyes get really big and their mouths drop open!!! Well, I am really going on now about India, so it means that I need to come and rest and follow Dr. Guru-ji around his hospital for a while, and then go Home finally to Israel. Israel is a very hard country, and one has to be ready for it or it won’t go well.

          Blessings and Om Shalom (you probably already know that Shalom means Shanthi),
          Laura

          Reply
  8. Thanks Laura, if you land in Mumbai(Bombay) tell me, its easy for me to come there coz many of my cousins stay there.
    Traffic in India and specially in my city is so horrible that i don’t drive. I just ride my moped (two wheeler). Roads are so conjusted. I am surprised about what you say about Israeli drivers. My cousin said that there was so less traffic (may be he was comparing it with Indian roads and traffic) and everything was smooth despite there was a raging conflict in Syria which is so close.

    Can you give the name of your Guruji. Tamilnadu is v far from where i stay but I hope i can give his reference to some people who are in that region.

    Om Shalom to you too

    Reply
    • Hi Ashu,

      His name is Dr. Sundar Ram (Sundara Raman). He’s on Facebook. If they contact him please have them tell him Liebe (pronounced LEE-bah, that’s my Hebrew name) sent them. He would be delighted, I’m sure.
      Blessings,
      Liebe

      Reply
    • Also about the traffic: you are right, I doubt that there is any worse traffic in the world than in India. Israel has her own brand of road insanity.

      Reply
  9. Your posts are always so direct and honest. This one will have me thinking for awhile.

    Reply

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