down Mr. “Free Thinker,” who
loves Fox News, Donald Trump and
bragged his last good read was a flier
from Shop-Rite. But I did accept
dates from 19 other men, which is
a testament not necessarily to my
good taste but to my desperation.
I began to think of my dates as
luggage on the carousel at the airport.
So many suitcases look alike,
some are identical. It takes careful
inspection to tell them apart. And
just when you spy what you think
is yours, it’s not, and another one
comes sliding down the shoot.
Hopefully, eventually, the right one
And so, I made a date with
an overweight 70-year-old from
Brooklyn. We met at the local diner.
He thought we had a lot in common
since we are both writers. As
though he was on a job interview,
he brought a tattered briefcase with
a clip. He once wrote a column on
High School basketball for the
Daily Mirror, when he was a high
school basketball player and the
Mirror was still being published.
These days he enjoys pickup basketball
games in schoolyards and
folk singing. He then proceeded to
sing every song The Weavers and
Peter, Paul and Mary ever recorded.
After an hour of coffee and listening,
I excused myself and left for
home humming Michael, Row Your
My second date, a somewhat
attractive, divorced accountant,
thought this was too soon in my
bereavement for me to be dating.
“You know, I can’t compete with a
ghost,” he said. There was a pregnant
pause in our lunchtime chatter.
I passed on dessert, thanked
him and left. He never called again.
Les was so sad. He exhaled sadness.
He wanted to start a new life,
but missed his late wife. We had a
pleasant lunch and he called again.
Midway through our conversation,
he changed his mind regarding a
second date. “You are much too
upbeat for me,” he said. I had his
number and would call, if I felt
Bert was from New Jersey. We
met at the bar at the Mark Hotel.
He was tall and pleasant-looking
and wore a black jacket which was
covered with a blanket of dandruff.
Every time he turned there was a
fresh avalanche. Before the waiter
took our order, he dove into the
bowl of cashews on our cocktail
table. I said something mildly witty
and he laughed, shaking his head as
his hearing aid flew into the nuts.
We spent the next l5 minutes dusting
off cashews, occasionally trying
one on for size, until we found
his aid. He wiped off the salt and
inserted the device, and still we had
little to say to each other.
Stan was an attorney. He had
recently retired and wanted to meet
that special woman. We made a
date for dinner on a Friday at 6.
At 6:l5, he called. He knew I would
understand, but he would be more
than an hour late. Stan drove up 90
minutes later. He apologized for the
time, but confessed that his dialysis
treatment was delayed. He promised
to call again, but he never did.
I met a pianist who kept forgetting
my name. After lunch, he drove
me home (on the sidewalk). I met
Sid, an engineer, at Starbucks for
coffee. He yelled at me for being
five minutes late.
Jim was a psychiatrist. We met for
lunch. He yelled at me for being ten
minutes early. I offered to go back to
the car and wait. When he finished
the Times article he was reading, he
looked me over and said, “I’d like
to go to bed with you.”
“Not a chance,” I replied.
“Okay,” he said, “Let’s have
lunch.” As we left the restaurant he
asked if I was planning on inviting
him to my apartment. I looked at
him in amazement and said “No.”
He turned on his heels and left me
standing on the street corner.
If there was an instruction manual
for dating, I never read it. Was
I doing or saying the wrong thing,
wearing the wrong clothes? I really
didn’t know. All I did know was
I had a future in question and
was terribly lonesome. However,
I wasn’t ready to give up either.
Other widows adjusted. They spoke
of a new-found freedom. And so
I compiled a list of all the things
a person living alone can do. I
could sleep all day and stay up at
night, never get dressed or clean the
house, never turn the television on
or off, eat anything at any time, and
sneeze, belch or fart without saying
excuse me. This was not my idea of
Happy Harry was considered a
match. He was 5-foot 3-inches and
his passion was magic tricks. He
always travels with his magic pen.
Marty was new to New York. We
met at The Met but didn’t go in. He
was a retired dentist but didn’t have
bicuspids. We had lunch. He whistled
when he spoke, found New
York prices daunting and couldn’t
afford to go out with me again.
I turned down the ultra-religious,
as well as the atheist, the 40-yearold
who collects reptiles and
finds the view from Francis Lewis
Boulevard romantic, and Steve,
who confessed he was married but
his wife had Alzheimer’s. He had
full-time care for her and still loved
her. Did I understand how lonely
he was? I was lonely too…but he
wasn’t for me.
I had six dates with Alfred the
actor. He flossed daily and had no
compunctions about bursting into
song wherever we were. “Tits and
Ass” from A Chorus Line was his
favorite refrain. He liked me, but
his career came first. I really didn’t
care as I needed a breather. It was
just about the time the membership
on my dating website was to
I was somewhat relieved and
joined a Bridge group. Jack, a
recent widower, joined the game
one day. He was tall, thin and had
twinkling blue eyes. I asked him a
question regarding a no-trump bid
although I knew the answer. The
next day, he invited me to lunch. By
dinner the next evening, we were a
couple. It’s now more than a year
we’ve been seeing each other. I
have given up my independence as
well as my loneliness. And though
I have unsubscribed from all dating
websites, I highly recommend them
for single seniors…so long as they
have a sense of humor.
September 2018 ¢ NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER 53