It feels like a lifetime ago, but I remember awakening one night with a start, and staring at the dark ceiling. Years of facing sleep alone had made sleeping hard, and I'd resorted to sleeping pills. Even sleeping pills have a nasty habit of wearing off at four in the morning, which made me very often sleepless in Seattle. More appropriately Silverdale which is across the sound from there, which in print sounds very unoriginal all the same.
On this occasion, I managed to chide myself that enough was enough and I rose. Hands shaking with fear at the thing i was about to do, I sat down to my computer. Found my already waiting completed application and pressed the SEND key. As i sat staring at the screen with my pulse pounding, a thing problematic due to my arterial fibrillation, I immediately was reminded of my weathered age of sixty years. Mentally , I was beside myself. I was now an online dater.
I paced the floor in panic until five thirty when I dressed for work, and put this all behind me. I am a para educator in high school, and my work usually kept me in line. It was here, however, that I first became exposed to online dating. It was one of my co workers, Casey, who having recently gone through a difficult divorce had turned to one such site as a morale booster. In the process she had managed several successful coffee dates and even a romance on the side. Being fourteen years younger than myself I had always listened to her tales with interest but discounted it for me on principle. For her part, she always encouraged me to try.
"Oh, to be a few years younger," I'd sigh. "There's something about the word grandmother and sex appeal that don't belong in the same sentence."
Casey remained unconvinced and her encouragement continued until the time i did write a profile in another site. I'd even gone so far as to select a three month subscription for a trial. For curious readers, the sites encourage longer periods to increase your success rate as well as exposure. I knew for me, the shyest woman this side of the Missippi River, I'd be only bold enough to manage one or two dates at best, so any more money spent on that notion was money down the drain.
The final straw for me was when a co worker cooed to Casey that she and I would have to live vicariously through Casey. She being married and me being.......As kind as her words intent, they stung. She was spot on. At sixty and a workaholic, it looked like i would be arriving at seventy and eighty equally single and alone. All of which, piled together in this one horrible night, had made me an online dater.
Choosing to wait until the weekend, to make it have the feel more of a date, i imagined what my selections might be. That one in a million man who would look at a sixty year old woman with hope. He'd be chubby, with a handlebar mustache, and a ponytail....the kind of man I'd have thrown out with the wash at any other time in my life. At sixty? Beggars can't be choosers somebody once said.
The week went quickly and on Friday, Casey nervously showed me a picture of her lunch date. He appeared attractive enough at fifty, with warm and soft eyes. No wonder she was anxious. All week I had been receiving texts about various views I had received; flirts; and messages from would be suitors. Stoically, i resisted the urge to peek until the weekend, but her photo prompted me to whisper. "I did it, too."
"Did what?" she began but as the light dawned she wanted details. Who? When? Where? I laughingly told her I had none to give and was waiting until I got home to check. I did tell her it was a site for old people like me. Not youngsters like herself. To my amazement, she approved. However, she wished me more luck than she had. She was disappointed in her site, a thing i couldn't imagine. She had seemed so happy. But she told me to watch for serial daters. The sites had lots of people out for a friendly face on Friday night, but not a serious relationship. "Look at me," she sighed. "Going out on a date with a guy who wants to have babies. My babies are in high school and this old body doesn't do that anymore."
As I watched her head to her car, I took a cautionary lesson from that. Maybe the better looking he is, the more he is interested in prowling. I'd look for the sincere, less perfect model. When they are second best maybe they try harder. Visions of my hand bar mustached serial dater reminded me to stop for a bottle of wine on my way home to steady my nerves-- not celebrate.
Later, pouring that glass of wine I checked my messages. Sixty seven were waiting for me. Browsing the messages in my box only confirmed my original fears. The phrase "old geezer" came to mind. quickly having a second sip of wine I reminded myself that only Casey knew of my latest crash into depravity and despair. Nobody else need ever know. I got out a pen and paper to sort out the possible options.
Another glass of wine seemed to clarify things, and while fifty per cent of the men seemed to be lurking in the annals of online dating due to serious challenges in appearance, others seemed perfectly normal. Whew. The problem appeared not to be looks, more than like trying to discover if they were merely serial daters, or persons like myself, who were looking for something more.
Sixty faces dropped to thirty as seventy year told bikers bit the dist and deleted. Then came the also rans, including a very handsome man in Seattle. He seemed anxious to meet me but included in his profile that he inhabited another site for variety. Serial dater. Finally, I narrowed it all down to three men.
These three men had expressed an interest in art or writing, things I loved doing myself. Plus, I'd realized early on I was shying away from men who gave one word responses in their profile. Apparently vocabulary was a thing one had to worry about online. Me tarzan, you...who the heck are you anyway? Of the three i had chosen: One was an artist---as am I. He worked in glass so it felt like something I could learn about. Another was a writer, and the last was a painter, like myself. Common sense wanted me to stop there, but the wanderlust had taken over.......either that or that extra taste of burgundy. I decided to check on the rolls myself to see what else might be there. I paused on one, who went by a screen name "looking over there". Pretty apt with that name too, because he was on the Seattle side of the Sound and pretty far afield for me. However, he maintained he was a Native American beader. My paintings were western heritage work, so it occurred to me he might be an incredible source of material. If he even consented to one single coffee date, my money spent on the site was well spent. With shaking hands I wrote him a lengthy message explaining my interest and including some samples of my native paintings. As usual, closing my eyes in prayer, I pressed SEND.
i am thinking the average response time online is three days at least that had been my experience, and true to that logic, "over there" responded Monday. He wrote of simple things. That he was a native, college educated, and retired. I read the message like it was manna from heaven. The man wrote English. I mean with sentence structure--in complete sentences with verbs and nouns. As a writer, i loved that. Because of my interest in native works, his interest was peeked my own. He said my work seemed sincere with a level of appreciation for their history. "Gee," he finished with humor. "Yet, you're so blonde. What's up with that?"
He sounded fun. I rechecked his profile. A newbie like me, he was looking for only serious replies. Although some might call him small in stature at 5'7", he towered over me at 5'5". There was still that too long commute. I reasoned I didn't have to really date him, however. In a month this whole dating thing would be over. I'd have proved I could get a date. So I curled up with my laptop and wrote him a lengthy email about myself. I told him everything about myself from my love of the water to my work...and finished with an open ended invitation to text.
Unlike my last message this one brought an immediate response. "I've never given out that personal information to anyone," he rushed.
Too bad, i thought noticing my heart unexpectedly skip a beat. Apparently I had let this man get under my skin in a way I'd never meant to. That's a thing little old ladies are never supposed to do, I chided myself. Old ladies don't do this. Other than "over there", I hadn't really wanted to contact anyone. But as i was about to close the laptop for the day, another sudden message appeared from "over there".
"I don't know what I'm thinking," his message began. "I've only been online dating for three weeks, so I'm still kind of green." I smiled as I wondered what he would think if he knew I'd only been only doing this for four days. "I guess, I feel like I really want to get to know you," As quickly as the message had started it ended with his email account and phone number. I stared at the message. My heart nearly exploding with excitement. He wants to talk. He wants to get to know me. I wrote the information on a piece of paper, and tacked it to the wall.
Turning my gaze back to the computer, I realized my thoughts were racing. Pressing the reply button, I committed the dating don't I promised to never commit. Dationg don't #552.... the woman who promised to not respond to men to men who wrote only two word responses, I typed. "Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll send pics. Text you tomorrow night." "At least I used nouns and verbs, I consoled myself. I knew I would need at least three hours of therapy to get to that next step....Closing my laptop, I sat alone in the darkness.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in