Biographical Non-Fiction posted April 21, 2016

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the middle age conundrum

middle age dating

by apelle


I have been flirting with disaster all my life.

In the middle age conundrum I've been trapped in for the past few years, life simply became the twilight zone or, rather the final frontier, as the Star Track fans would know it.

When I was younger and had the energy to fight, create and heck, even stay up past 10 PM, it never crossed my mind that I'll morph eventually into my mother, wagging a finger at people under 21 and using the adage "when I was your age ..." or the one my son loves the most "does that music have to be that loud?"

A couple of years before finding my present conjugal delight, my experience with the dating consortium was limited to the men I married and later divorced : somewhere between youth infatuation and frustration while picking up dirty socks from under the bed.

However, I believe there's a certain desperation taking over your common sense when middle aged and lonely.

I knew Matt from work and we had spoken on the phone many times but never met face to face. He lived in Boston and I was in Manhattan. Matt and I entertained each other daily in keeping up with the war against monotony typical to the business, corporate world.

He was going to be in my neck of the woods one night, so he asked me and I happily agreed to have dinner together. I knew nothing about him other than what transpired through our phone conversations.

As I was finished getting ready for the night, my doorbell rang. I opened the door and I became slightly annoyed to see a missioner standing in front of me. I was determined to get him on his way quicker than usual. I am mostly polite with anybody trying to make me see the light, get born again or what have you but this time, I quickly told the fellow standing in front of me that I was Jewish and was not converting. It should have worked like a charm, but instead the young man facing me looked puzzled and when I noticed the nice bouquet of roses he was hiding behind his back my mind started racing back and forth between embarrassment and the comedy I was part of. The fact that Matt was standing before my eyes looking very much younger than I expected made me a little uneasy but, I was able to ignore the flashing thoughts in the back of my mind: "Oh my God, I am dating a younger man, I am a cougar!" and act calmly instead. (See the above mentioned middle age desperation.)

We decided, against my better judgment, to go dancing to one of the hot spots Manhattan is so famous for. I was fighting middle age so fiercely that the loud music, the noise from people shouting, the crowded bar, the constant rubbing against strangers led me somehow through and above my overwhelmed senses. Almost crushed by the crowd, we made it to the bar and the double scotch, neat, started working immediately with my inhibitions. I never liked crammed, packed spaces and my Paxil must have worked overtime that night because it seemed like I had crossed the age barrier somewhat gracefully and elegantly, blending naturally with the young crowd. Determined to have a good time, I danced, joked, joined the cathartic motion of the place for about an hour after which we left and went to a nice quiet restaurant. The evening felt like a total success and nothing was going to bring me down from the cloud of confidence, vigor and, total buoyancy I was in.

Matt dropped me back at my place and as I entered my house, my son, home from college, was waiting for me. (In that sweet reversal of responsibilities I came to enjoy so much as we both got older.) He asked me how my night was and I giddily smiled and exclaimed: "I'm a cool middle aged single woman, slightly neurotic but very unflappable!" He looked at me with sleepy eyes and asked nonchalantly: "Why do you have toilet paper on your shoe?" I looked down and, a strip of white paper tangled in my shoe was a loud reminder of how my entire poise that night was actually just in my head. Need I say more?

I asked Matt the next day how is it possible he missed the toilet paper on my shoe and his response, even today, sends me on a hysterical trip of self-deprecating laughter:

"I was afraid that if I told you about the shoe I'd have to bring up the spinach stuck on your front teeth and I didn't have the heart to do it."

I knew then and there that I'll always be a middle age dork so I stopped trying to look cool.

And by the way, why is the music so loud all the time?

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