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What Happened When I Joined at 58

I'd done so many scary things in my life, but this might be the scariest. At the age of 58, I joined a dating site.

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Sam told me not to give up, that I would meet a guy who was worthy of me, quote unquote. That made the whole year worthwhile.

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. Then he wanted to be my BFF.

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. He said he believed in courtesy and friendliness. OK, I’ll bite. The only iffy answer on his questionnaire was that he was “middle of the road.”

I dropped him a line.

He wrote back 15 minutes later. “Your politics are abhorrent to me.”

I loved that. “Middle of the road” almost always means conservative, I promise. It means the person is Tea Party but would consent to getting laid by a not-hysterical liberal, which rules me out.

A man with a graduate degree, great sense of humor, spiritual but not religious, wrote to say he loved my work and felt he were kindred souls. We met at Starbucks. He was very sweet and open, but had a compulsive Beavis and Butt-head laugh. After 10 minutes of this, my neck went out on me, like one of the Three Stooges.

Then I met a man who was as far to the left as I am, in the weeks before the presidential election! Heaven. He was English also. I am powerless in the face of foreign accents.

Or rather, I used to be.

We went out four times in rapid succession, for coffee, lunches, a hike. We had chemistry, laughed a lot, sent lots of emails. But we didn’t touch. I thought, in my mature and/or delusional way, that this would come, but it didn’t. I made a few practice casual touches, but he didn’t respond.

My consultants said that I should pay attention to this. Part of me didn’t believe them — this guy knew we weren’t on We both wanted mates. But then I got it, that my horrible friends were right, and he didn’t feel physical with me. I felt teary and surprised. I wrote to him, with my email voice high in my throat, saying that maybe it wasn’t going to happen, and maybe we should take a break while I went out of town.

He said he wanted to pursue this and for me not to throw in the towel.

Hooray. My heart soared like an eagle. We stayed in touch by email while I was gone, for a couple of weeks.

I got home. He asked me out to lunch, and we had an easy, entertaining time. He wrote that he had really enjoyed it. I asked him if he wanted to go for a hike Thanksgiving morning, before the hordes and riff-raff arrived at my house. We had coffee in the kitchen with my son and younger brother, and then we had the most beautiful walk. We hiked the next morning, too. Then in a feat of derring-do, I invited him to the movies that night, and kept my adorable little starfish hand on the space where the arm rest would have been, if I hadn’t stealthily raised it when he went to get popcorn. But he didn’t reach for my hand; and to make a long story short, we haven’t seen each other since that night. After four days of silence, I wrote to say that I guessed it wasn’t going to happen. He wrote back that yes, this was probably true; it had felt friendly but not romantic.

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