So there I was at the Jewish Community Center- trolling the lunch tables filled with meatloaf and mashed potatoes-attempting to scope out men who weren’t sleeping, weren’t brandishing wedding bands – as possible suitors for my not so newly single 60-something year old widowed mother who is FINALLY ready to get back OUT THERE.Â I figured what better place to bring her than to a lunchroom of seniors.
Some back story: My mother dated my father from the tender age of 15 an d while theirs was a love story comprised of love and pain- there was NOTHING PERFECT about it- my mother as most people do when a loved in has died has immortalized her relationship with my father in this HALO of untouchable light- it is frozen in time for her with none of the battles, and real-life problems I remember she and he had. But that’s the thing about relationships that are not sprung from a book or a Hollywood movie set- none are simple- most are fraught with pain and are never uncomplicated. My mother chooses to freeze her relationship in a time capsule of sorts and refuses to remember it for what it was– which is simply making the idea of even beginning another relationship/friendship with a member of the opposite sex that much more difficult. But I am undeterred — I am committed to finding at least one gentleman who seems like he might want to strike up a conversation. And then- I see him. He’s dressed impeccably- he’s got a handkerchief square in his jacket pocket and he has a thick mane of silver hair. He speaks with an accent that sounds vaguely foreign, but his English is impeccable. I START TO FEEL WOOZY-Â and I compliment him on his jacket. OH he’s also NOT wearing a wedding band. (score !)
My mother is sitting across from him now- although she is NOT making eye contact. He tells us he teaches a GREEK language class. I brazenly say, ” Please write down the time and date and your number- we -err my mother ( and then I put my arm around my mother to indicate to this man that SHE IS THE WOMAN I AM TRYING TO HOOK HIM UP WITH) would love to attend. ”
As he begins to write down his information and my mother perks up- I decide- my job here is complete and I give my mom a quick squeeze and leave the room. AS I look around I am worried. The ratio n of women to men is about 10:1 and the men don’t seem too healthy or alert. I figure I’ve CAUGHT her the best fish in the room and now she just needs to REEL HIM IN.
I go workout and return to retrieve her an hour later and she tells me. “He’s MARRIED”. I am CRESTFALLEN…But I have resolved to help her find a man she can talk to– forget love, forget romance, forget butterflies– right now she needs to get back to basics and develop a friendship. Of course I am forty and she is sixty -something ( she asked that I NOT reveal her EXACT age on this blog) and I can attest to the fact that friendships and datingÂ become increasingly harder to develop the older we get. I am baffled as to why this is so– I mean after all our years of experience on this planet we should be able to cut through the ridiculous superficial crap- one needs to contend with as a teen or even a twenty something. We should be able to just put our hearts and thoughts out there. To go up to someone and say- “hey, I’m scared. I don’t know how to do this- but I know I want to do this.” But of course we are terrified; our fear of rejection holds us back- and I know that is what is keeping my mother from just working this room. And so for any of you out there dating whether you are 30 or 60- do you have any advice for me that I can pass along to my mama?