If sixty is the new forty I've been double-jinxed. Remember way back then when the pundits had it that a woman over forty had more chance of being blown up by terrorists (or was it hit by a truck?) after forty than she had of re-marrying. Hah! I beat the odds that time and surely being twenty and then some years older has the benefit of all that more accrued hindsight, cunning and wisdom.
I'm not actively searching - in fact I don’t want to remarry, life’s pretty darn good for dog and me. I like my independence (we all say that, I hear you groan), really, I do. And then the “but….” creeps in. It would be nice to have grown-up companionship, to be in an intimate and giving relationship, to ditch singles’ supplements on trips, to waltz in the kitchen while the leek- sun-dried tomato (home-grown of course) balsamic drizzled pizza rises to life in the oven. Come on, who cooks something like that for one! It’s a dish made for two and that’s what I miss so much about this now five-year mantle of being a widow that I wear. The dishes made for two, the shopping, prepping and cooking together that is foreplay not only to a delicious meal but to the joy of knowing you are connected to another. Cooking for two is a euphemism for being connected, for being loved and in love.
“Put yourself out there,” friends urge and I have an immediate vision of being stuck in the middle of a six-lane highway, no shoes and in that really tatty pink bathrobe I keep for chick flick night alone. “You’re intimidating to men” others tell me – what? Moi? O.K. so I bait my own Have-a -Heart Traps, tan the hides of the pack rats I catch and make them into cute skirts for my Barbie doll collection, change my own light bulbs, and I’m not afraid to ask for directions- everything else I call a handyman.
“You’re to picky”, says my cousin with a sniff - because at her instigation I put a foot in the mass E-Harmony pond three years ago and rejected poor spellers, cat haters, those who disparaged fennel, football fanatics and men who posted 20 year old photos claiming, “I don’t act my age” – give me a break. I’m a grown up. I raised sons. I’ve had enough of adolescents. I want a grown-up.
True, I also rejected men with sob stories (more of that “she cleaned me out good” line); men who thought crossing a state line was travel; men who boasted never to have read a book; men who thought communicating meant handing you the sports page when they were done with it. Oh, and I am a leftist leaning bleeding heart liberal so I was not interested in the right-wing militia men, ready to take to the hills and secede from the union for whom apparently I was a perfect match. What else – yep, got it - anyone wrote “I want to put my lady on a pedestal” and I was off at a gallop and not because I have a fear of heights - for the record however, I don't have a horse.
I have met a few good men – really good men. And in two instances friendships have endured long after we both agreed that long-term/long distance was not going to work out. I want a man culturally sophisticated, playful, funny, at peace with his history oh, and must like fennel. I know, I know - there I go again pushing the darn envelope. Why can't I just settle for "smart, handsome, solvent, likes cats and long walks on the beach" - I might be wavering. But what are the odds, ladies? Come on, share your stories - I've got to go and bait my traps.
The first steps in my Life Reimagined - When AARP approached me to do a trial of their Life Reimagined program, I saw it as an excellent opportunity to hear some fresh voices other than the ones ...