One month, I spent $35 for a membership to Our Time, an online dating site for people over 50. I thought long and hard before committing half my monthly entertainment budget to it. Once online, I was disgusted with my matches. Perhaps my years alone have made me too cynical and judgmental, but they have not rendered me blind or imbecilic. Also, is it too much to ask a person seeking love or companionship via a profile to possess even minimal grammar skills? If you are of my generation, surely you can understand that first impressions matter.
Although very disappointed, I didn’t consider it money wasted. I did learn that apparently I attract balding, overweight, wildly bearded men with inflated opinions of themselves.
I knew that dating site wasn’t for me. So I do other things to try to meet people: I go out with my girlfriends to listen to live music, sometimes I walk in a nearby park in the evenings, which also offers free concerts on Sunday nights. Through Meetup groups, I meet people for hikes or vegetarian meals. You never know who’s going to show up, but it’s always pleasant. I’ve met some nice people but no love interests thus far.
I also ride the Metrorail into downtown D.C. to see art exhibits. Day-trips like these can set me back about $30, when you factor in the 40-minute drive to the Shady Grove Metro station; parking; Metro fare; plus a soup or salad at a casual restaurant.
As I sat writing this in a local coffee shop that I frequent, I saw a man around my age who caught my eye. He was reading an actual book and was dressed well: not too youthful but not like a fuddy duddy, either. Nice jeans, polo shirt, brown belt that matched his leather shoes and a beautiful watch, not an expensive one but an older one. I spied a few stray hairs on his shirt, animal hair. I pictured him with a cat; one with a quirky personality and very discriminatory taste.
He had a gold band on his right ring finger. Did he decide one day to ceremoniously remove it from his left hand and emancipate himself, his heart, from his ex-wife? Or maybe she’s deceased and he’s honoring her memory.
I watched him walk up for a refill and my eyes lit up a little when I overheard his witty banter with the college-aged, perky brunette barista. Well done — not flirty or creepy, just whimsical enough for me to know that he, too, is young at heart.
I faced a conundrum: This man was from my generation, one in which women didn’t usually make the first move. But we know that times have changed drastically. Should I intrude on his recreational reading and introduce myself? It’s the kind of thing we’re conditioned to do online but seldom in person. If I had the courage to talk to him, I might have said something like this:
Hi, I’m Mary. I’m sorry but not sorry for intruding, but I really like the looks of you and would like to introduce myself in hopes we might have some things in common and enjoy each other’s company.
I have no interest in marrying again, I’m not sure I’d even be interested in living together. I wouldn’t be averse to spending several nights in a row together, at a beach or some other destination we might enjoy.
I’m very independent and fairly set in my ways, but I consider myself open-minded. I’ve stayed in good shape, don’t smoke, eat healthfully and love to cook. I don’t love Jesus, though, and sometimes that’s a deal-breaker. I don’t dislike the man; I just don’t consider him my ‘Savior’; so there’s that.
It really boils down to this: I miss having a man around sometimes. I’m basically a happy person. I like the usual pleasant things: animals, nature, a robust glass of red wine, a hearty laugh and that tantalizing feeling that love may be afoot. I have some terrific girlfriends I spend time with, but I don’t crave their hand on the small of my back pulling me in closer for a slow dance. I miss the scratchiness of 5 o’clock shadow and a strong shoulder to nestle into while watching a classic movie. I miss a deep voice cheering me when I’m melancholy and the twinkling eyes of a man who thinks I still look fabulous in red. That’s it.
While I must spend both money and time wisely, sometimes we need to indulge ourselves in something special. It doesn’t cost a thing to take a chance. Next time I see a chance worth taking, I’m gathering the courage to say hello.