I canceled my membership on the 50-plus dating site. The average age of the men who contacted me was somewhere between Qualifies for Social Security and Do Not Resuscitate.
Am I being delusional to want someone close to my age?
Here’s the truth. As a widow I want to try to narrow the chances of that happening again. I know, I know, death can come at any age, but having clawed my way back from grief, I’m trying to stack the odds in my favor.
I want a man who’s close to my age, but there’s another caveat.
He has to be cool.
My adult daughters (24 and 27) have made it their mission to ensure I am shamed into coolness and kept current. This applies to clothes, music, technology, make-up, hair and pop culture. I’ve often felt this is in retaliation for forcing them (ages 6 and 9) to listen to Earth, Wind & Fire on a road trip. And, if I’m being honest, the occasional Neil Diamond cassette tape. The girls can sing every word to EWF greatest hits album, and do a mean “Sweet Caroline.”
Yep, I said cassette. I drove a Volvo, OK?
I know I’ve crossed over into a place that no 50-year-old, with any pride in their once That’s Right I’m Cool status, wants to go, when I hear, “Seriously, Mom?” This is said for a multitude of blunders such as: something I’m wearing or what’s on my iPod. It can even apply to hair spray. Who knew a tiny spritz of spray to keep the front of one’s hair in place was soooooo 80s?
I’ve got a couple of canisters I’d be happy to send to anyone with children who love them just as they are.
After exchanging a couple of email messages with Roy, a phone conversation seemed like the logical next step. Roy’s profile was just the right amount of information, but his photo was taken from a distance. I couldn’t see exactly what he looked liked, but he appeared to be handsome and his messages were well written and interesting.
We had a lengthy talk and the conversation flowed. I liked his voice and also the way he spoke of his adult son and their relationship. We agreed to meet the following Saturday on the corner of Central Park West and Central Park South where the park ends. Roy wanted to take me to a Mexican restaurant in the area that he said was amazing. I’m a big fan of Mexican food and NYC has let me down. Roy assured me his place would be a winner. As we wrapped up our conversation I asked about attire. Was the place casual?
“Very casual. Wear dungarees.”
Dungarees. There it was. One word that told me that Roy’s cool card had expired. He might as well of said things like:
Can you dig it
C’ya later alligator
My 79-year-old father calls them jeans.
When I got to our designated meeting place I looked around for Roy. I didn’t see him. I waited a few minutes and then decided to call. He answered and told me he was across the street directly opposite from me.
“I see you,” he said enthusiastically.
“I don’t see you,” I replied as I scanned the crowded corner.
“I’m right in front of you.”
“What are you wearing?” Was I trying to torture myself?
“A white shirt and dungarees.”
I scanned the crowd again and saw nobody who even slightly resembled the Roy I had in my mind. No one.
“I’m right here, see, I’m waving at you,” he said with exuberance.
Across the street was a man with his free arm in the air flailing like those balloon people that fill up with air and then deflate to draw attention to a business. That couldn’t possibly be Roy and I whipped my head back and forth looking for even the slightest hand flutter from any other man on the street. I began to panic. There was NO WAY the guy with the undulating appendage was my date. How old was that photo?
I considered running as I knew there was no way he could catch me.
Roy was old–and rotund. I’m not sure if he lied about his age (53) or if he was just one of those guys who hadn’t aged well, but he didn’t look a day younger than 65.
I crossed the street and he told me I looked exactly like my photos. I hoped he wasn’t expecting me to say the same.
I wanted to get it over with quickly and said, “Well, shall we walk to the restaurant?”
Roy suggested we walk through Central Park and he chatted incessantly during our stroll—loudly. People in the park stared but he didn’t notice. Then he suggested we sit for a few minutes on a bench.
I think he was winded.
I had avoided looking at him during our walk but once we sat down with the sun on his face I saw what had to be the result of getting older, poor eyesight, an elderly barber and no woman in his life.
Roy was a hair growing machine.
It was hard to imagine that hair could grow to that length from his ears, one eyebrow and nostrils. He had trimmed the other eyebrow but must’ve forgotten to finish the job (perhaps his scissors broke from the task). His nose hair protruded and rested on the top of his upper lip and the hair from his ears looked like tufts of grass on the day the lawn guy was due.
I was mesmerized by the way the nasal hair moved as he breathed. He was inhaling deeply from our 30-yard walk. It seemed alive like those eels on the Discovery Channel darting in and out of a dark hole.
BUT, a person can only gawk at that for so long. I suggested we get to the restaurant and assumed we’d be going through the park.
“Oh no, it’s back the way we came. I planned to sit here for a while and get to know each other.”
I knew Roy well enough. He was seriously overweight, looked nothing like his photo and had ear hair that could be flat-ironed. All he needed to do to gross me out further was pass gas. If he exerted himself any more it just might happen.
Once in the restaurant he raved about the food. To be honest, it seemed about as authentic as the Mexican pizza at Taco Bell. Roy talked and talked. Several times he alluded to how much he could make people laugh.
I nodded, almost comatose.
Then to prove what a side splitter he was he gave me his best stuff. He imitated the actors in a Japanese monster movie. He said a line–in what I assumed was fake Japanese–and paused. Then he moved his mouth and contorted his face in horror, silently. Roy was his own best audience. He laughed long and loudly, eventually wiping tears from his eyes while still chuckling.
I stared at him with a blank look.
He didn’t notice.
Our food arrived and it was the worst Mexican food I’ve had in the city, and I’ve had some subpar grub. Roy gobbled down his burrito as I picked at mine. He asked if I wanted to take my leftovers home and I declined. He took them.
After our lunch we paused briefly outside the restaurant. He came in for a kiss but I implemented the necessary ninja maneuvers. Those nose locks would’ve exfoliated my upper lip.
“Thanks again,” I called over my shoulder as I retreated briskly and held myself back from a full-on sprint.
“I’ll call you,” shouted Roy, and I kept walking.
The next day I received an email message:
There didn’t seem to be any chemistry between us on our date from either end. Sometimes it takes a second date for that to develop. I think we should see each other again. These things can take time.
From either end? Puh-leeze.
Thank you again for lunch. I agree, there was no chemistry. Unfortunately, it is either there for me or not and won’t develop with time.
I think you are a very nice man and I wish you the best in finding the right person.
Maybe we could get together as friends? Everyone could use more friends. I’d love to see you again—strictly platonic. Give me a call.
I did not respond. It was suspect that he wanted to be just friends. I guess as his pal I could’ve told him about his grooming issues, but that’s the sort of thing that should come from family.
If Roy had been my daughters’ father they would’ve requested emancipation.
“Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.” Benjamin Franklin