every girl needs a greek chorus

a blog about hope


Resting Place

Resting place

His clan tartan and a wee dram.

Greetings from the Twilight Zone!  Rod Serling is lurking behind a tree waiting to step out and sum my life up for you in a few pithy, ironic remarks.  I wish he’d sum it up for me.  This story is so weird that you may think that I’m making it up, but I have witnesses.

Yesterday, I was cleaning out a storage room in the basement of our veterinary clinic.  I was sorting old records for shredding and reordering and stacking boxes.  A large box of holiday decorations (plastic pumpkins and black cats, a wreath of Easter eggs, and a revolving ceramic Christmas display of dogs and cats) was sitting about 3” from the wall on a shelf.  I tried to shove it up against the wall to make room for more boxes, but it was hitting something.  I slid the box about 6” to the right and saw a plastic zippered bag stuffed in the back corner.  In the dim light, I couldn’t tell what it was, so I pulled it out.  It appeared to be full of gray, unmixed cement.  I pulled it out farther and saw what appeared to be small white stones in it.

“Wuh-oh!”  I held the bag by one corner and made sure that the zipper was secure.  I was pretty sure that I was holding a plastic baggie of the Veterinarian.  Not a bag that belonged to the Veterinarian, mind you, but a bag containing what is left of his earthly incarnation.

Had I found this bag within a year of his death, I instantly would have been hysterical.  Instead, I smiled and started laughing.  No, I wasn’t delusional (I don’t think).  Absolutely nothing surprises me anymore.  I was pretty annoyed with the person who had hidden him there, but, just for a moment, it struck me that I was holding the love of my life in my hands for the first time in almost four years, so I smiled (and then cursed him in my next breath, before smiling again).

I told you — my life is sooooo weird!

I suppose I should tell you how the Veterinarian came to be resting in the basement of his business.  It’s not like he’s a vampire, and I keep his coffin in the clinic crypt (sorry, you know me; I couldn’t resist the alliteration).

In the summer of 2011, as fans of the British television series “Doc Martin,” starring Martin Clunes, we decided to watch an earlier series starring Clunes as an undertaker, “William and Mary.”  As we binge-watched the series on dvd, we talked about death and dying.  We agreed that we wanted to be cremated, his ashes strewn at sea or at his favorite dive sites, mine at my church.

Life may be weird, but you can learn a lot, if you’re paying attention.  When he died suddenly, three months later, I knew exactly what he wanted.  I asked his friends for just one favor, to take his ashes to his favorite dive sites.  They looked at one another and smiled.  That’s exactly what they had already promised each other.  One of them put himself in charge of making water-tight, weighted, non-floating (!) containers for the ashes, and those certified in the deepest dives, decided where they should lay him to rest.  I turned the plastic container of his remains over to them, and, when the Veterinarian’s Little Dog died six months later, I suggested that they commingle their ashes, so they could be together for eternity.

Within a year, his friends told me all about the dives and where they left him and how much that site meant to him.  One of the places was a spot he had planned to explore but had not visited.  Another was a place where he loved to dive.  A third was the place where he died.  A fourth was the place where he dived more often than any other.  I was content.

Until today.

Yeah, I could be angrier with the jerk in charge of the ashes than I already was, but I won’t waste my breath on him.  Once a jerk, always a jerk.  Nothing new there.  My immediate concern is that I have this baggie of the Veterinarian and the Little Dog that needs a final resting place.  I might put them into an empty wooden box that once contained a bottle of Macallan single malt whisky, and then I’ll toast him with the little bit of vintage 1965 whisky that’s left in the bottle.  He must have left it for just that purpose.  I’ll pull out my Book of Common Prayer and pray the graveside service that wasn’t said at his memorial service.  This time, the BFF can attend.

When do I send him off, yet again?  On August 18, which would have been our 43rd wedding anniversary?  On October 13, the fourth anniversary of his death?  On June 3, 2016, which would have been his 64th birthday?  I’ll figure it out.  Right now, I like having him around the house.  We’re both resting in peace.


My online dating days are drawing to an end when my subscription expires on August 25, unless they give me free months.  I’ve run through all the interesting men, who weren’t interested in me, and endured the ones who were interested in me.  I have found it enlightening and sometimes harrowing.  And pretty depressing.

Just last week, I met a lovely, younger married couple who met online and encouraged me not to give up.  Of course, the odds are better for them than for me because there are more men in their 40s and 50s still alive and in “marriageable” condition.  Everyone that I know who met their significant other through online dating was under the age of 60.  What does that say for the eligible over 60 seeking companionship?

After spending time with 15 men in 12 months, I have concluded that men over 60:

  1. Are delusional and looking for the impossible. (Have your mid-life crisis elsewhere.)
  2. Are angry at their exes. (You know, I’d have left you, too.)
  3. Are looking for sex. (What was it about me that said I wanted you to grope me between my neck and my knees on our second date?)
  4. Are looking for a financial lifeboat after decades of living recklessly. (Sorry, I’ve been careful with my life.)
  5. Are looking for a housekeeper, cook, and playmate. (I’m a lousy housekeeper, reluctant cook, and tired of games.)
  6. Are on ego trips.  (You’ve dated how many women?!)
  7. Are clueless about what women want.  (See #s 1-6, above.)

Fifteen  dates and not one serious prospect among them.  Some had possibilities on the first date but blew it on the second date, when their true selves showed up, the bigots, the misogynists, the misanthropes.  I’ve been told that finding a mate is like getting pregnant; sometimes you just have to relax, and it will happen when you least expect it.  As a 63-year old woman who had a hysterectomy at the age of 24 and didn’t adopt until age 47, I don’t have any time left to invest in this theory.

I have learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned what I’m willing to tolerate for companionship; being lied to, groped, insulted, and stood-up are not among them.  I’ve learned that the company of good friends is preferable to trying to figure out confirmed bachelors (look up the word “compromise,” guys).  As the Daughter said to me not long ago, “I’m really starting to like where I am in my life.”

Me, too.  I’m starting to find some peace and comfort.  It just may be time to kick back and relax, to put all kinds of things and people to rest.  So, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!



The Condensed Version of Me

photo (3)

Me – c. 1956

[This is my first-ever blog post, published July 22, 2014.  I like to think of it as a measuring stick of the past year.  My surgery sites were still raw; my abs were a flabby mess; I hadn’t started exploring online dating; and I had no idea why I was telling my story.  People tell me that I’m brave for being honest and that they share many of my frustrations with modern life, which has lost so much graciousness, despite technology and political correctness.  If nothing else, I make most of you laugh, so, who am I to complain?  Thanks for joining me on my spiritual journey!]

Last night, I did something with my daughter that I never would have done with my mother.  We stood in front of my bathroom mirror comparing our naked breasts.  Stay with me.

Did you ever do that with your mother?  Neither did I.  I’m 62, raised in the 1950’s & ’60’s by a mom of the 1930’s and ’40’s.  Her most damning phrase was “That’s tacky.” Until I was nearly 40, I worried about being dirty, wrinkled, mismatched, frizzy, and tacky.  My two earliest childhood memories are learning to tie the laces of my white high-topped, leather shoes into tidy bows and being fitted for white cotton gloves.  I couldn’t have been older than four, but I was mesmerized by the little drawers of gloves in the girls’ department at the J.L. Hudson, Company in downtown Detroit.  Plain or bows?  Are you kidding me?  I wanted the ones with the shiny pearl buttons!

Maybe your parents were “progressive.”  Mine came from that pragmatic, Depression-Era generation of hardworking blue collar-to-middle-class families with what are currently called “traditional values.”   My father, a first-generation Italian-American and proud Marine Corps veteran, leaned toward the conservative.  My mother’s family was from the fearless stock of English-Scots-Irish who settled Kentucky in the 18th century.  No whining allowed.  Have a problem?  Figure out how to solve it or climb over it and move on.  My sister and I were expected to go to college and graduate.  I learned to sew, cook, manage money, mow the lawn, change a tire, check the oil, mix concrete, and lay bricks.  Before feminism took hold in the 1960’s, we were learning to survive.

Mom was a minor progressive on matters of feminine independence.  When I begged for one of the newly-marketed “training” bras that my girlfriends proudly wore, my mother scoffed, “What are they training?  You don’t want to wear a bra.   They’re uncomfortable, and besides, you don’t have anything to put in one.”   [Be careful what you wish for.]

In the 5th grade, the girls in my class, accompanied by their mothers or a female guardian, were treated to the Disney-produced and Kotex-sponsored The Story of Menstruation.  (Sex education in the mid-20th century.) On the walk home after the screening, armed with pamphlets, Mom’s only comment was, “When your ‘time’ comes, they’re in the linen closet.”  Well, yes, I saw a small box of Kotex pads, but what were those mysterious paper-wrapped sticks in the Tampax box that was replaced much more frequently than the Kotex box?

Two years later, my ‘time’ arrived.  Mom showed me how to loop the gauzy ends of the bulky Kotex pad through the metal teeth in the “Sanitary Belt” yet encouraged me to use tampons.  At the age of 12, I was squeamish, more by the idea of having such a conversation with my mother than the actual process.  Well, I lie.  Probably more by the process.

She rolled her eyes and said, “You don’t know what you’re missing.”  Huh?  I’m going to put that hulking dry, cardboard thing where?  [Listen to your mother.]

By the time I was 17 and desperate to wear a bathing suit for my waterskiing boyfriend, she had the last laugh.  “I can’t help you with this.  You have to go into the bathroom and do it yourself.  Here’s the hand mirror.”

She was right, of course.  They were waaay better than the monthly bulkiness, the shifting, and the inevitable leakage.  She-who-claims-to-know-everything suddenly turned into a font of wisdom.

Seven years later, at age 24, I was recovering from a complete hysterectomy.  (No, it wasn’t due to the tampons.)  I had a raging case of endometriosis.  Cysts as large as volleyballs and baseballs, according to my doctors, pulsated in my ovaries, and others were exploding like tiny time-bombs, gumming up my insides.  In her droll and always honest way, my mother asked, “What are you going to do with all the money you save on tampons?”

Now, my own daughter is 22 and has little knowledge of and no use for white cotton gloves, but,  I am proud to say, she recognizes “tacky” when she sees it.    I’m not going to embarrass her by discussing her introduction to tampons, but let’s just say that it involved a mirror, a wet suit, and sharks.  Well, no, there were no actual sharks in the bathroom with us, just a discussion about their olfactory sensitivity.  There was also no dry, hulking cardboard in sight, just marvelous, smooth, modern plastic.

The Daughter and I, pre-op, May, 2012.

The Daughter and I, pre-op, May, 2012.

Two-and-a-half months ago, I had reduction mammoplasty (google it—I’m still my mother’s somewhat-squeamish daughter).  You see, my five foot-tall frame appeared to be on the verge of toppling over at any moment, as I could no longer straighten my shoulders.  I stuffed myself into minimizer bras and swathed myself in baggy sweaters.  What seems like a glamorous blessing really is a pain in the neck—and the spine and the shoulders and the self-esteem.  Turns out, I was carrying over two pounds of extra weight on my chest, like strapping a Yellow Pages directory between my armpits.

My daughter, the critical care nurse, was a great caregiver.  You know.  What we hope our children will be for us in our old age?  During the three-and-a-half hour outpatient (!) surgery, she returned to her nearby apartment to play with her cats and to catch something on Xfinity On Demand (which, to me, means it can be watched at any time other than when your dearly beloved is in surgery).

In fairness, I easily survived the surgery; she drove me home, stayed overnight, changed my massive ice packs, expertly stripped, emptied, and measured my bloody drain tubes every four hours, and force fed me oxycodone.   OK, OK.  She didn’t shove it down my throat, but she gave me the Nurse Ratched routine and insisted I swallow it.  [Note to self: Revisit that mirror/wet suit incident and a caregiver who is my sole heir.]

Last night, there we were, looking at our naked breasts, noticing how different they are.  My rehabbed pair appear to have been transplanted from a stranger and are oddly and happily perky for a 62-year old woman.  They are also subtly scarred, bruised, and lumpy and will be for at least another year.  Just like my hysterectomy scar, traces of this recent surgery will always remain.  But, I figure, the boy for whom I was willing to experiment with tampons has been gone for three years, and I don’t expect anyone other than a medical professional will ever get close enough to notice.

Oh, come on!  Put your tiny violins away!  Insurance paid for most of the surgery.  I feel fabulous and can see my feet for the first time in years.  My girlfriends say I look 20 years younger.  My new, youthful bustline (as Jane Russell would say in the old Playtex commercials) has inspired me to work on my abs, now that I can see how flabby they are.

My mother, at 86, still knows everything and feels free to dole out advice.  These days, she rarely tells me

Playing with a selfie stick, July, 2015.

Playing with a selfie stick, July, 2015.

that I look tacky, but I still wouldn’t dream of sharing my breasts with her in a mirror.  My daughter isn’t embarrassed to discuss anything with me, although I have learned to text “TMI” to her when she makes me squeamish.  I am easily old enough to be her grandmother, so the generational chasm between us is often profound.  And, yes, both she and my mother approved this post, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo gloria!

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Yes, I’m a Champagne sl**

Yes, I’m a Champagne slut.

Champagne Slut

Champagne Slut

That sounds just awful, doesn’t it?  Visions of decadence dance in your mind, something like that awful hip-hop version of “The Great Gatsby.”  Champagne makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.  Maybe it’s the sexy shapes of the bottles.  Maybe it’s all the foil or the dangerous pressure that releases in a sweet sigh from beneath the stout little cork, held in place by the delicate wire muselet.  Maybe it’s the glittering bubbles that race up the insides of the flute and foam the surface. Maybe it’s because it’s meant to be gulped, not sipped, so that all that mousse fills the mouth with tiny explosions.  Maybe it’s the memories that fizz inside my head when I think of all the sparkling wine I’ve consumed.

Few things make me smile as much as a glass of Champagne sitting in front of me.  And Champagne is sooo versatile.  It goes with most every kind of food, and a glass before dinner fills me up with enough carbonation to act as an appetite suppressant.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

About 20 years ago, I met an importer of German wines, who conducted a guided tasting at our cavernous, local wine/liquor store.  The Veterinarian planned to join me later, so I sat in the backroom of the wine store, surrounded by cases of beer, some baguettes, some water, and a few good friends.  The Importer enlightened us with his expertise, and, an hour or so later, I staggered into the main area of the shop awaiting my ride home.  Naturally, I stopped to gaze longingly at the rack of Champagne.  Mr. Importer sidled up next to me.

“You like Champagne?”  It wasn’t a pick-up line, just one wine aficionado chatting with another.

“It’s my absolute favorite,” I replied, “especially a brut rosé.”

“Me, too,” he sighed.  “In fact, I’m a Champagne slut.”  We burst into a wine-fueled fit of laughter.  It sounded crazy, and it was so, so true.  When the Veterinarian arrived, we shared the joke with him, and, from then on, we were the Champagne Sluts.

I once took a job as artistic director of a dance company because the college agreed to pay me $1 for every ticket that I could sell to The Nutcracker.  We put enough butts in seats to buy me six bottles of Louis Roederer’s fabled Cristal cuvée.  The next year, I brought in enough to buy an entire case.  So, yes, I would do anything for Champagne. I argued with 50 children between the ages of 8 and 17, let them call me a “bitch,” and wrangled with their stage-mothers, so I could secure a case of really fine Champagne for my own needy family.  Then, Champagne got too expensive and was no compensation for the torture that listening to Waltz of the Flowers a thousand times can inflict on a sane person, so I quit.

It's  not just for NY's Eve.

It’s not just for NY’s Eve.

25 years ago, you could get a nice bottle of non-vintage Champagne or good quality sparkling wine at a reasonable price ($18-30), especially if you bought a case and got a discount.  We didn’t drink it like pop [See?  You can take the girl out of Michigan, but you can’t always make her say “soda.”), but there was always a special occasion, a birthday or anniversary, an adoption, a holiday, a full moon, a hot tub, a roaring fire, whatever.  Then, the price started to creep up.  We gave up the expensive stuff and went in search of bargains on Champagne from equally wonderful but little-known (in the U.S.) producers, sparkling wine from the Loire and from the great Champagne producers working in California, and Prosecco from Italy.  There was even decent sparkling wine from Spain, Chile, and — wait for it — New Mexico!

My Mother regularly gave the Veterinarian a bottle of non-vintage Veuve Clicquot for Christmas and, six months later, for his birthday.  With the bright yellow label, it was the one bottle of wine she could pick out at the liquor store that she knew would delight him.  It became his favorite brand because of the taste and became mine because of its name. Veuve is the French word for “widow”.

In the nineteenth century, my heroine, Madame Barbe-Nicole Clicquot (née Ponsardin), was 27 when she inherited her husband’s Champagne house and not only struggled to keep it and her family’s good name alive but revolutionized the production, marketing, and popularity of Champagne.[1]  She remains known as La Grande Dame de Champagne, and Veuve’s best vintage is named her honor.



Three years ago, the Veterinarian sailed over the horizon, and the Daughter and I sat in our living room with two of our dearest friends and drank a bottle of Veuve in his memory.  A week later, the night before his memorial service, we toasted him with another bottle over dinner with another group of dear friends.  The perfect send-off for a Champagne slut by his own veuve.

Today, I don’t know if the renowned wine importer recalls a wacky housewife giggling with him over Champagne, but I am still a Champagne slut.  The Veterinarian left me with a few bottles of real Champagne that I’ve been opening judiciously, interspersed with other sparklers, from time to time.  But Champagne has a relatively short shelf-life, so I’d better have at it.  After all, I have my slutty reputation to uphold.  So, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!

How to open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine

Opening a bottle of Champagne is one of my more ridiculous talents.  I once opened a dozen bottles of sparkling wine at a wedding reception because no one else knew how to do it.  Initially, I was a little embarrassed that I was so adept at such a frivolous task, but I served an important function on the couple’s big day. (It’s really not tricky.)

Let the bottle sit quietly upright so the pressure settles. (Chilling it upright in a bucket is ideal.)

Remove the foil from around the neck, and place a clean dish towel over the top of the muselet (the wire cage).

Working underneath the towel, untwist the loop and remove the wire from the cork.

Holding the cork away from your face, grasp it firmly with the towel, and slowly twist the bottle (not the cork), until the cork releases.  You should hear a sweet little sigh, not an explosion.

The towel keeps the cork from shooting across the room and catches any spills.

Pour into a clean (ie, grease- and soap-free) flute.


[1] The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It, by Tilar J. Mazzeo



How I became a killer

It’s that time of year, again.  No, I’m not talking about back-to-school or hurricane season.  It’s that time when all cold-fearing creatures seek the dangerous shelter of my home.

Living in the woods, I have more than my share of things that creep, crawl, dart, and fly.  I have spiders large and furry enough to speak, roly-poly millipedes, and centipedes big enough to use for dust mops.  Ants in the spring.  Stinkbugs in May.  Beetles in June.  Mosquitoes in July.  Flies in August.  Crickets in September.  Mice in October, and the Second Coming of stinkbugs in November.  Snakes all the time.  According to Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season…a time to be born,” and, right now, they all are headed indoors for the winter, “…a time to die…and a time to kill…”

I hate the creepy crawlies.  There is not a single one that I would call “friend.”  I understand that they serve a purpose in God’s creation and/or the Cosmic Order of Things (take your pick, depending upon your religious preferences), but they serve no purpose in mine.

My heart still skips a beat when startled by an especially fearsome bug, but I was trained by the Veterinarian to remain calm.  As a young bride, renting an apartment on a farm, I shrieked loudly, and he came running.

“What is it?  Are you ok?”  I pointed to the wall where a spider was quietly crawling to the ceiling.

“That’s it?  A spider?”  He was incredulous.  “You gave me a heart attack.”

“Well, get it.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.  It’s just a spider.”  He gently scooped it up in his hands and placed it outside the front door.  “Don’t do that again.”

“It scared me,” I protested.

“It’s not going to hurt you.  Just call me next time, but don’t shriek.  I thought you were hurt.”

So, for 39 years, whenever I saw an insect bigger than a pencil eraser, I called him.  Now, he’s gone, and I’m armed with my central vac and a can of Raid.  I swoop in with the vacuum, suck up the interlopers, and spritz Raid into the running hose.  Vacuum vengeance.  Clean and painless — for me.

During stinkbug season, I keep the vacuum curled up in the dining room, ready and waiting.  When I suck up a stinkbug (sometimes as many as a dozen a day), its little armored shell rattles in the vacuum hose as it spins its way down to the canister in the basement.  Ahhh…  I’m safe again.

It’s a little tougher with the snakes.  Yes, I have snakes, black, garter, king, and ring-necked.  As far as I can tell, they are all outside, but, occasionally, if I go into the crawl space to fetch a bottle of wine or check on the oil tank, I find the skins that they shed as they grow.

One of my resident black snakes

One of my resident black snakes

Also thanks to the Veterinarian, I learned not to fear them.  The first time that my Mother met him, he had a boa constrictor twined around one of his biceps and a ball python around the other.  It was “Back-to-School” night of our senior year in high school, and he stood about 10 feet from us.  He opened up his letter jacket to show us his friends.  My Mother managed to smile at him from a distance and mumble something like “Nice to meet you.”  Then, she turned her head to me with a crazy look that silently asked, “Are you out of your mind?”

43 years later, my Mother and I sat in my kitchen, watching a five-foot-long black snake work its way up the enormous red oak that sits outside my window.  Maybe it was the safety of the glass between us, but we weren’t at all frightened this time.

We were fascinated for 30 minutes by its maneuvering 15 feet straight up the tree, until, apparently, the effort became pointless, as the snake made a U-turn and headed back down, manipulating itself in the bark for support until it disappeared in the brush.

About a month ago, while relaxing on my deck with my Kindle and an icy adult beverage, I was horrified to see a six-foot-long black snake zoom past me, up the electric meter and siding, and disappear into the overhang of my roof.  He’d better be up there earning his keep, awaiting the mice that will soon be nesting for the winter.

Ah, yes, mice, those adorable little creatures pulling pumpkin carriages, driving roadsters, and preparing fancy French dinners.  In reality, they destroy Christmas ornaments, chew on wiring, shred toilet paper to make nests, and aren’t housebroken.



We once had a cat named Buddy who was a great mouser.  He learned to chase them into our walk-in shower and play with them at five o’clock in the morning, until I could rouse the Veterinarian or the Daughter to scoop them up and toss them outside.  If Buddy couldn’t find anyone home to show the invaders the door, he eventually would dispatch them, leaving their headless carcasses for us to trip over.  Buddy, too, has gone over the Rainbow Bridge or heaven or wherever, and left me to my own devices.

At first, I baited the cheapest wooden traps that I could find with peanut butter.  (Nothing worse than hearing that cruel “snap” in the middle of the night with a momentary feeling of guilt, followed by intense satisfaction and sound sleep.)  In the morning, I would approach the trap with a pair of barbecue tongs, carry it deeper into the woods, and toss the entire contraption into the brush.  This seemed expensive, so I bought clever little reusable plastic traps that you bait and cover, so that you never see the victim.  I carry the trap and its victim into the woods without the use of tongs, pull the release lever, and drop the little corpse into the trees without ever seeing it, and, presto!  The trap is ready for the next hapless mouse.

Two years ago, I had my exterior doors and siding replaced, securing the premises against invaders of the none, two- and multi-legged kind.  So far, the snakes stay out.  I plugged up a hole between the garage and mudroom with steel wool, which has kept out the mice.   Twice a year, I reluctantly spray insecticide around the perimeter of my house to dispel the pests that long to chew on the wood siding and the wasps that build nests in my light fixtures next to the doors.

I’m still trying to figure out how the stinkbugs get in, but the vacuum is at the ready.  So, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!

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How I wandered into online dating

Tasteful lady disguise, 2014

Tasteful lady disguise, 2014

Have you heard the pop song, “6-2” by Marie Miller, with the refrain “Lord, I don’t care what he looks like”?  The Daughter and I laughed about it when we first heard it, as the singer goes on to ask God for her ideal man, which changes as the song unfolds.

Last week, I ventured into the world of online dating for the second time.  I chickened out the first time after accepting a 30-day free trial offer.  With the Daughter’s help, I carefully crafted my online profile, trying to sound intelligent and witty.  Besides an essay, I was asked to describe myself and my preferences, which you can opt out of by selecting “No preference.”  Well, you know me, I have plenty of preferences and made clear what they are.  I even indicated what would be a “deal breaker” (eg., smoking).  Despite all this, within 12 hours of posting my profile, my inbox was flooded with “likes,” “favorites,” and “winks” (don’t ask—I don’t get it, either).  I found that I was “matched” with men who didn’t match me in any way, shape, or form.  Not only were they from more than 50 miles away, but I didn’t match what they were looking for in a date.

For example, the very first match I got was for a man in Manhattan (NY, not Kansas).  He sounded very interesting, a professional in the world of the “theater arts” with an “advanced degree.”  But 200 miles is a little far for my first foray into what is, essentially, a blind date negotiated by strangers and computers.  More improbable matches followed, so I did what most of you might have done, I took it down after less than 24 hours.

Last weekend, after speaking with several mature, sophisticated friends who found their admirable spouses through online dating, I decided that I might have been too impatient.  They told me it takes six months or so to weed through the unsuitable and sometimes downright creepy people.

This time I paid for one of the “better quality” services, thinking the internet gods would be more selective, but, alas, it continues to be a nightmare.  Yet again, in the first 12 hours after my profile appeared, I was bombarded by likes, instant messages, emails, and those pesky winks.   In the first 24 hours, a man, who did not fit my profile preferences, not only asked me out for a drink but sent a follow-up the next day commenting that he had driven through my community and thought of me and demanded that I respond or click the “Not Interested” button.  Guess which option I chose?

Geeky teenager blossoms into swan,  Senior Prom 1970

Geeky teenager blossoms into swan, with the future Veterinarian, Senior Prom 1970

Actually, I have no dating experience. A smart-mouthed teenager, I didn’t have a single date until my senior year in high school.  Yep, I was Sweet Sixteen and never kissed.  A male classmate told me, “Oh, sure, lots of guys think you’re cute, but you’re such a— such a lady that they’re afraid you won’t go out with them.”  All those Seventeen magazine articles about good manners and the right clothes hadn’t helped at all.

And then, out of the blue, one guy was impressed by my smart-mouthed remarks in our Sociology class, where we both challenged the teacher’s theories.   That guy turned out to be seriously smart and kind, with an intense focus on where he was going in life, a love of music, theater, and art, not too shabby to look at, with great manners and even an appreciation for — ME!!!  Knowing a good man when I saw him, I asked him out, latched on, and never looked back.  I don’t think he ever knew what hit him!

Since then, I have learned a lot about men.  They are all perfectly happy to be 12-year old boys, emotionally.  They may excel at surgery, weld intricate pipes, command ships, or create the latest information technology, but, at heart, they never got past the age of 12.  Their bikes now come from Harley, and their toys are more expensive and dangerous, but they remain boys.  They buy expensive seats at sporting events and concerts instead of performing, but they live vicariously through their favorite athletes, action heroes, and rock stars.  The most immature still think women in men’s magazines haven’t been airbrushed, or, even worse, they simply don’t care.  I don’t know any real women striving to be Barbie (except the ones I see on reality television), so these guys will be waiting a lonnnng time.

I bring this wisdom to my current online dating experience.  When asked to describe their perfect match, I actually saw a man say “a C-cup is a bonus, a D is a definite match.”  OMG!  Do you understand why I’m frightened?  It’s unnerving that he thinks that the woman in my tasteful, ladylike profile picture is waiting for him to call.  Oh, wait!  He’s not a thinker.  He gets the big red X.

Most of the divorced men want a woman who will “appreciate” them, who are “kind,” “patient,” and “calm.”  WHOA!  You work out those issues before you talk to me again.  I ain’t that woman.  Then, there are several Mr. “I can’t wait to spend time snuggling with you.”  Ewwww!  On a first meeting?  In a public place?  Get a dog, buddy!  Better yet, get a therapist.

Or, how about, my late wife was “a real stunner, turned heads wherever she went, but I don’t expect I’ll find that again.”  Oh, really?  Well, since it’s impossible to compete with that, let’s not try.

Of the many men who have “favorited” [sic] my photo, I sent an email to one who sounded witty and compassionate and had some very similar life experiences.  I guess he is not as confident as my high school boyfriend, because I’ve not heard back.  OK.  Works for me.  Maybe I just scared the 12-year old boy in him.

Sadly, I’ve also seen widowers who detail how they cared for their late wives in hospice.  It tears at my heartstrings, so I say a little prayer for them and move on.  Either they aren’t ready to date, or they’re manipulative.  Finally, my least favorite are the 62-year old men, in poor physical shape, who want a women under the age of 50.  I look at my 62-year old self and think, “You’d be darn lucky to have me!”

This could be my dating dilemma.  The Daughter says I should consider if a man is worthy of me before responding.  Seems a little arrogant, but I think that’s the same advice that I’ve given her.  I’m not looking for a lifetime commitment.  I’d just like to have dinner or go to a movie with a sane, intelligent, adult male, not a 12-year old boy.  I guess, I’ll just have to be patient.  I enjoy being with my daughter, mother, sister, and girlfriends.  Stay tuned.  As the song says, “Lord, take your sweet, sweet time.”  So, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!