by Valentina Incognita
Dating is hard enough at any age but being 79 and looking for Mr. Right in and around Montpelier has proven to be particularly challenging. I am a bleeding-heart liberal who still maintains that bohemian permissiveness of the 60s. I have family, grandchildren, dogs, wonderful friends and live in my own home. I don’t think of myself as 79 but rather chronologically gifted, and therein lies the problem. Men my age that I have met are much too old for me, both physically and mentally, and I don’t seem to have much in common with them.
It’s not easy to meet new people here, so after much persuasion I tried online dating. I thought there might be many eligible candidates my age living healthy lives. What I discovered was that everyone lies.
A nice looking man with a full head of hair advertised himself as “middle of the road” politically independent, socially skilled, well dressed and into a healthy lifestyle. We arranged to meet for dinner at the Wayside at 4:30. I thought, “who eats dinner at 4:30?” And that should have been my first clue. He arrived at the restaurant driven there by his daughter. As it turned out he didn’t drive any more. He was almost bald wearing a seedy leather jacket, printed shirt unbuttoned to expose white chesthairs and a heart monitor, pants pulled up to his chest and white shoes. He ordered meatloaf because it was easy to chew. Our conversation consisted of health issues (constipation, erectile dysfunction and arthritis) his grandkids, World War II, and his ex-wives. He even extolled the virtues of the Tea Party. So much for middle of the road.
I once corresponded with a gentleman who stated he was spiritual. I guess he didn’t know the meaning of the word as he proceeded to tell me he drank lots of spirits directly from the bottle.
After several similar encounters online I decided to be creative and cruise places where I thought older men might hang out. I strolled the aisles at Price Chopper looking for men with healthy eating habits. What I found in the carts of men my age were frozen TV dinners, four slices of bologna, bottles of Metamucil and items that stated “for fast relief.” Very depressing.
I visited Bear Pond Books several times finding the older folks in the age-appropriate “health” section looking up all diseases they thought they might have or would have in the future.
In the summer I went to the creamee stand looking for another person who liked chocolate shakes. Most men there were ordering baby creamies and counting calories
In winter I was going to sign up for a water aerobics class at the senior center but then I realized I had to wear a bathing suit. That was that! I will try some other class in the spring.
I also signed up for an exercise class at First In Fitness. No men in attendance.
I miss the old-time drugstore where you could sit on a stool, drink your malted and not look like you were on the prowl.
Went to the parklet on State Street. No older people — only young folks with kids or motorcycles.
Took myself to the library to find someone with common interests who might be reading a magazine I particularly liked. Anyone over 70 was napping in those comfortable chairs. Their get up and go had obviously gotten down and left the building.
I am not losing faith that my soulmate will appear one day.
I want to talk about the future, not dwell on the past.
I want a guy who doesn’t carry his baggage with him, checks it through to his final destination, and doesn’t pick it up with his claim ticket.
I want to sow my wild oats, not fiber and prunes.
I want to go to open mike night at Sweet Melissa’s not sit in an empty hall playing Bingo.
I want a handwritten note, not a text or a tweet.
I want to laugh at a good joke and know that humor must be good for my body as diet and exercise have not worked too well.
I want to go out as often as my back goes out.
I want to hear heavy breathing again, not just from myself having walked my mandatory 20 minutes a day.
I can do without that sex thing, but not without my hearing aid.
I want to talk about sports, Tom Terrific, Serena, Rafa, Lebron, Red Sox, 12.5 PSI, and not have to worry that my partner has exhausted himself while playing Monopoly.
And finally I want to hear Bob Dylan, and not Perry Como or Lawrence Welk — telling me
“Your old road is rapidly aging…”
For the times they are a-changin’ “