Still Hot, Why Not?
Can A Woman My Age Find Love?
I park, pull down the visor, and check my hair and makeup. Look to see if any lunch has adhered to my teeth, which are stickier than they used to be. This is because, as my dentist recently explained, teeth get less smooth with age. Everything gets less smooth with age. Still, I’m vain. I’ll be applying lipstick on my death bed. And if I’m not, start worrying.
I’m meeting a date for the first time. I dread this moment. Before, there’ve been a lot of facts. I know where he lives, how long he’s been alone, and how many kids he has. I know what his favorite teams are, and what he does in his spare time. Those are facts, but this is truth. The moment of truth. Will we have that elusive thing called chemistry? If we don’t, if I don’t, I will lose what I’ve got right now, as I turn the corner and see him sitting on a bench. Hope.
Yes, I have hope, and I will admit hope for something that many of my girlfriends consider silly, at my age: Love. True Love. True Partnership Soul-to-Soul, Heart-to-Heart, Beshert-Style, Unconditional, All-Out Forever.
And there he may be. He’s sitting on a bench on the sidewalk, just opposite the door to the restaurant we’ve chosen. I feel a rush of relief. He isn’t forty pounds heavier, decades older, or twelve shades grayer than his photo. He stands when I approach, and I see that he is a lot shorter than his profile claimed; but then, I’m five years older. I have this overwhelming desire to hug him, how strange!
One glass of wine lingers to two. Two glasses of wine go on, into dinner. Dinner extends to coffee and dessert. We are easy together, we have no lack of things to talk about; and while I am not attracted in the way I used to be attracted to men—that warm-belly where you flush just looking at him—I tell myself I could learn to find him sexy. Lots of people learn to find people sexy. Look at my best girlfriend. She’s been married for ten years to a man she considered totally unappealing at first. Now they’re traveling freestyle in their custom RV through Delaware. Really, Diana, get a grip. Don’t reject someone just because you don’t want to kiss him. That will come in time.
He leans into me. Places his hand so tenderly on my hair. He’s making that strange snorting sound through his nostrils. Probably his nose gets cruddy more than it used to. Like my teeth.
“Wo, wait, woo, one minute,” I say, just as his lips are about to touch mine.
He cups his hand to his ear. “What?” he says. “I’m sorry, when I thought we were going to kiss, I took out my hearing aid. Did you say something?”
“Oh, I thought, maybe we could just, wait. Till we get outside,” I say, and then I release a huge burp, because I don’t really have the control I used to over my GI functions.
“Ah, you’re the modest type,” he says, teasingly, while he gazes into my eyes, and then he adds, “Your eyes are a strange color.”
“Oh,” I say, “that’s because I’ve lost pigmentation in my irises, y’know, that old-eye thing?”
“Oh yeah,” he says, sweetly, “that’s okay, I’ve lost most of my sense of taste.”
“Y’know what,” I say, “could you kiss on this side? My bridge is loose over here.”
“Oh sure,” he says, and he takes off his glasses, and leans in once more. He misses my mouth, but does manage to make contact with my chin. As he kisses, he sprays spittle all over my neck.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” he says, “sometimes I involuntarily drool these days.”
“That’s okay,” I say, and really mean it, because he is looking at me with so much hope, and yearning. “I won’t remember. My short-term memory is shot!”
This coming weekend, we’re seeing each other again. He’s picking me up in his Miata convertible and we’re driving upstate to look at the leaves. Sure, I’ll wear a hat to protect my aging skin and sure, his hand will shake a little as he shifts gears. I do not preclude the possibility, however, that he is my “One.” Riding upstate on those open roads, I’ll be dreaming of the possibilities. That’s how love starts at any age.