Jumping Back In

A wishful widow surveys the dating scene

Having just watched an old episode of Sex & the City, I am feeling very Carrie Bradshaw as I sit at my computer. But there ends the comparison. I do not have a body and a wardrobe like hers, indeed, nor her talent at writing. Like her, however, I am searching for a mate that will love me and complement me.

Why, at the age of 67, am I searching? Almost four years ago, my husband died of cancer. He was 69 years old; we’d been married 41 years. I am not looking to replace him; I am wise enough to know that will never happen. And I have not made the mistake of putting him on a pedestal with the belief that he was perfect.

But I yearn for the companionship, the quick glance or smile, all those little nuances that happen between a couple. “Meal for one” is a low point in my day. And in my aloneness, I turned to standup comedy and found that it alleviated my sadness and gave me much in return. I revel in the compliments from audience members as they thank me for bringing them a few minutes of laughter.

Equally important is the ability to laugh at oneself. I find myself doing just that, as I recently started dating. Yes, it took me a few years to get around to it. I didn’t want to go the route of online dating as the experiences of several single girlfriends mortified me. It took a good friend to nudge me, encourage me and assure me that I was ready for that next step.

I joined a gym to tone my body (as an aside, I’ve lost 60 pounds since I became a widow). But really, how attractive can one be if we are wearing old T-shirts for workout clothes and one’s hair is plastered with perspiration to one’s head? As I look at men at the gym—and I am very good at appearing nonchalant—I find that most of them are wearing a wedding ring. Do single men, I wonder, ever look at my left hand to see if I am wearing a wedding ring?

Wouldn’t it be simpler if, as in a foreign culture I heard of long ago, women could wear a flower behind the right ear to signify they are “taken,” and behind the left ear to mean “available”? (If she wears a flower behind each ear, I recall, it means, “I’m taken, but make me an offer!”)

What I have found is that it isn’t easy to find available men in their 60s. It’s like finding a parking spot—all the good ones are taken, and the rest are handicapped. And don’t get me started about men in their 70s! Like the old saying goes, they are looking for a “nurse and a purse.” In fact, some of them are downright desperate. I had one man in his mid-70s ask me if I could cook! He said he was looking for a domestic partner. I told him he should just look for a domestic, period!

Well, I continue to search—and stay busy. I recently started tango lessons. And to my surprise—maybe it’s the Latin in me—I love the music and the movements. As one partner recently led me in a dance step wherein he intertwined his legs with mine, I thought, “This is as close to sex as I’ve been in years!”

Maybe in the not too distant future, I’ll be singing along with Etta James: “At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are over . . .”