My mother lost her husband almost three years ago. The man she met at the tender age of 15, and married at 18. For her there were no dating rules, coy games, painful introductions, even more painfully singles mixers to endure. She met the man she would marry and never looked back. Until my dad’s passing- my mother, I don’t believe even conceived of a world without him. Which was TRULY MAGICAL THINKING. But then again, my mother has always resided in her own sort-of-magical universe and so his death essentially shattered what she had built and come to believe was her entire world. And here’s the thing-perhaps if she was 87, it wouldn’t be so very tragic to see her alone so often, in a world that places so much value on pairing up. But she doesn’t have a gaggle of girlfriends or close siblings to confide in– so for what it’s worth- all she has are her kids- and we cannot bear watching her be so utterly alone in this magical fortress she built which now is a houses just her and her alone.
So I did what any good daughter would do- I took her to the senior citizens dinner dance last night. We went as a couple- which I originally thought was silly- but she begged me not to drop her off and pick her up two hours later, and if truth be told- $8 for a three course dinner and an Israeli lady singing Elvis tunes was TOO GOOD TO PASS UP. So of course I obliged. I honestly thought she was being silly- I couldn’t conceive of the fact that she would enter this big ballroom setting on her own and that if she found an empty chair at a table brimming with other single women that they wouldn’t- at the VERY LEAST- exchange pleasantries with her. Still my mother morphed into that 15 year old girl about to go to her first dance and I couldn’t just dump her and leave–I remember 15.
My mother had arrived earlier than I had so when I got to the ballroom the elderly singer was crooning on stage and I saw my mother’s desperate face searching the room- and making eye contact with me as I walked in. She was seated at a table with another man. I started to grin- thinking she had already met a nice guy. As I paid my $8, and the man who took my money looked at me like I was on the hunt for a sugar daddy and smiled I quickly approached her table. The guy was seated several chairs away from her- which was already not the BEST sign. I looked at her and she looked at me- as if I had just THROWN her a lifeboat in the middle of a STORMING and treacherous sea.
Apparently this silver haired FOX at our table was NOT INTERESTED AT ALL, my mother whispered to me as I dug into my steamed vegetables ( which were REALLY GOOD!) So I tried. I asked him to pass the salt. he smiled and passed it. I asked him, “Are you waiting for anyone?” He answered YES.
Clearly he was a man of few words– but I figured that should NOT deter us. I looked around and the tables were a mix, some couples and some filled with just women. My mother leaned and whispered to me.
” THANK GD you showed up. This is torture.”
She then proceeded to tell me that in the half hour she waited for me, she had approached two all women’s tables that had empty seats and was told unceremoniously by said women, “THAT SEAT IS BEING SAVED”. That’s right friends- women in their sixties STILL SAVE SEATS- the way they saved them in the auditorium during a class assembly in grade school. The courage it takes to ask to sit at a table , when you are 15– well you need to muster about twenty times that courage to ask that every same question when you are 66. So she found this table with this one single man and asked if she could sit and he didn’t actually respond , he simply NODDED, so she sat down.
Here we are at this table and this guy is giving us NOTHING. I pulled out every trick in my try to strike up a conversation book I could think of. NO RESPONSE.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that ultimately there are 3 Ways Dating in your Sixties is the Same as Dating in your Twenties: The Players May Change But The Game Remains the Same
#1 Guys in their Sixties are the same as Guys in their Twenties-not big on conversation.
#2 Women in their Sixties are the same as women in their Twenties-Security in numbers- they have their BFF’s and not much room for anyone else- and make it virtually impossible to penetrate their group. It dawned on me that MEAN GIRLS Become MEAN old Ladies.
#3 Guys in their Sixties May have less Hair and fewer teeth but just like Guys in their twenties they still think ( and know) that they have the upper hand when it comes to DATING.