We went out four times in rapid succession, for coffee, lunches, a hike.
We had chemistry, laughed a lot, sent lots of emails. I thought, in my mature and/or delusional way, that this would come, but it didn't.
I would say that CPAP machines are the greatest advance in marital joy since the vibrator.
It transforms an experience similar to sleeping next to a dying silverback gorilla into sleeping next to an aquarium. Also, most men a single woman meets have been separated or divorced for about 20 minutes. This – subscribing -- means you can communicate with people at the site, instead of just studying the profiles, questionnaires, preferences and photographs for free. So the first morning, eight profiles of men varying in age from 54 to 63 arrived by email.
Yet union with a partner -- someone with whom to wake, whom you love, and talk with on and off all day, and sit with at dinner, and watch TV and movies, read together in bed, do hard tasks together, and to be loved by. I had experienced varying degrees of loneliness since my guy and I split up. Most seemed pretty normal, with college degrees, which I don't have, but certainly meant to; some attractive, mostly divorced but some like me, never married, some witty, some dull, sort of like real life.
After our breakup, I had just assumed there would be a bunch of kind, brilliant, liberal, funny guys my age to choose from. Surely my friends would set me up with their single friends, and besides, I am out in the public a lot doing events at bookstores and political gatherings, the ideal breeding ground for my type of guy. People don't know single guys my age who are looking for single women my age. I went onto with a clear knowledge that relationships are not the answer to lifelong problems. Curiously, almost without exception, they were "spiritual but not religious." I thought for a while that this meant ecumenical, drawn to Rumi, Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver.
We had a coffee date, a long walk on the beach, a candlelit dinner, texts and emails in between, definite chemistry, and then I didn't hear from him for five days. After a while -- OK, who am I kidding, sometimes later that day -- you went to bed with him, and then woke up together, maybe shyly, and had a morning date.
One of the bad coffee dates was a kingly little man who bore an unfortunate resemblance to Antonin Scalia, complete with tasseled loafers, who was snotty and disappointed until he figured out that I was a real writer. I saw the profile of a handsome religious man, who had graduate degrees, a great sense of humor, and did not look like Antonin Scalia. After 10 minutes of this, my neck went out on me, like one of the Three Stooges.I made a few practice casual touches, but he didn't respond.My consultants said that I should pay attention to this.But sometimes I am lonely for a partner, a soul mate, a husband. I rarely missed sex: I had tiny boundary issues in all those years of drinking, and by my early 20s I had used up my lifelong allotment. I do love what Wodehouse called the old oompus-boompus when it happens to be in progress, but wouldn't go out of my way.Additionally, I have spent approximately 1,736 hours of this one precious life waiting for the man to finish, and pretending that felt good. I am skittish about relationships, as most of the marriages I've seen up close have been ruinous for one or both parties.Some people my age -- extreme middle-age -- train for marathons, or paddle down the Amazon, skydive, or adopt. The thing was, I had just done something brave, which was to write a memoir with my son, tour the East Coast together, and appear on stages before hundreds of people at a time.But one dream coming true doesn't mean you give up on other lifelong dreams. The prophet tells us, "Your old will have visions; your young will dream dreams." Elderly women in a retirement community in Mill Valley protested the war in Iraq on a busy thoroughfare with placards every Friday for years.A man I know of 22, halfway to a medical degree, is pursuing ballet dreams in New York City.Every few weeks, I went out with a new man and practiced my dating skills – i.e., listening, staying open, and bringing the date to a friendly close.My son has "We don't give up" tattooed on his forearm, which is sort of our family crest.