Imagine the lush African plains. There are rivers and lakes, where all species of animals, birds and reptiles have plenty of water and live together peacefully. Now, think about that same African Plain during the dry season. The lakes have dried up to muddy puddles and only the most aggressive animals get to lap up whatever swill is left.
That's the difference between the dating pool in your twenties and at my age.
Last Saturday night I was alone with nothing to do so I decided to go to the movies. A $20 investment in temporary happiness-my ticket, a soda and a popcorn with extra butter. The long line in front of me to buy tickets included families, groups of gal-pals, and, of course, couples out to see the thrillers and horror films that have you cringing into your date's shoulder. As luck would have it, the only movie I was interested in sold out right before I got to the front of the line, leaving me popcorn-less and dateless. I went home, feeling a bit frustrated. I really wanted that popcorn. And someone to share the calories with.
I will admit, that only recently have I even thought about who's out there in the man world. Having gone to Yankee Stadium in July and seeing 20,000 or so men in the same place at the same time made me wonder how many of them were there looking to catch a Derek Jeter foul ball or looking for a woman who liked baseball. I use to be that kind of woman with Wingman. I probably could be again.
My approach to meeting men up to this point was like my sons' approach to college was. The right one will find me. What we learned was that looking for a college and finding the one that you won't want leave after the first semester takes work. Like my sons looking for colleges, I wished there was a computer program to find the right fit in a man-one that would make me happy and not regret the choice.
Like an on-line dating website.
Wait, did I really just say that? Better yet, did I mean it or was it just a temporary lapse of reason?
Having just seen pictures of Wingman's cousin and her man up in Newport on vacation, I thought yes. She is a beautiful, 6 foot tall ex-NYC cop, who found an equally tall, sweet, teddy-bear-of-a-guy on-line. She found her soul mate. I'm just looking for someone to hold the popcorn while I eat it. So, with a glass of wine and cheese curls in place of the soda and popcorn in hand, I searched.
There is a dating site just for people over 50. It comes with a homepage complete with warnings not to send money to any Nigerian princes who happen to be trolling for princesses, not to let strangers into your home, and a couple of other generic warnings. But the site had a free trial, so I filled out my profile. And it wasn't like anyone else's I read. Like: What makes you a good partner? "I was married for 30 years before Wingman died. Enough said?" Or, About the one you looking for? "If you're filling a void while looking for a trophy girlfriend, don't waste my time." Nothing like an honest beginning I reckoned.
Sunday had me back at work with the same young associate. I told her I signed up for the free trial, and on our break, I showed her the site. She showed me how to find guys in our area, and we both laughed for a good hour. First we found a doppelganger for the teacher in"Clueless", followed by a midget Unibomber, a native American with bigger pecs than mine, ones taking selfies in the bathroom with open toilets behind them, and guys whose profile names were "Eyesalwayslookin" "Funcatch32" and "Luv4MILFS". Right, dream on, dreamers. Finally, a good looking beach guy from the next town caught both our eyes. Then I saw him...
The homeless guy. Someone I knew from ages ago. Someone I once had as a client, before his wife threw him out and his kids refused to have anything to do with him. Someone who tried to rent an office from another client as long as he could also live there. A man with such a high, squeaky voice that I'm not sure he ever went through puberty. Someone who dies his hair and beard. And at the same time we were looking at him, a pop-up came up that he was looking at me.
"Make him go away" I moaned.
She flashed through a couple of more, and then it happened again.
The nose picker. A man I see in church every Sunday. The person you never want to shake hands with in the Sign of Peace.
"I can't do this" I cried.
In the end, my associate agreed that she had it better than me. And today, I cancelled my free membership without finding out who the 122 views to my profile, 20 messages, 7 flirts, 2 liked photos or 1 fave came from. Curiosity killed better cougars than me.
Like looking at colleges, I've seen the good (hey, 7 flirts in a few days is pretty cool) the bad (if I read one more profile about men who like to walk on the beach or snuggle in front of a fire, I'll vomit in my mouth) and the ugly (men who were "matched" to me that I have no more in common with other than we both stand upright).
No, what I need now is a refresher course in romance. Or at least some buttered popcorn.