A friend of mine died several years ago leaving behind four kids and a very lovely wife. His death wasn’t sudden, it was a slow, grueling but inevitable demise which, sadly, even having the time to prepare for didn’t make it any less shocking.
My friend was a different cat who did great things for our community on his own terms and at his own speed. Not everyone liked him, or agreed with him, but everyone that knew him respected him and appreciated what he did for our city.
His death effected a lot of people, friends, kids, grand-kids but who it hit the hardest was the love of his life, his partner in crime, his wife.
I ran into one of his kids last night and asked about her mother. My friend died over six years ago and I know his wife has had a hard time letting go or maybe a better way of stating it, starting over. Her daughter said her mother was okay, busy with work and helping out with grandchildren but lonely, she really wanted someone in her life to love again, a partner. She asked if I knew of anyone and I told her all of the 55 to 65-year-old single men that I knew were single for a reason and not good reasons.
If, God forbid, something happened to my wife I would, as I have told her, go to the grocery store everyday and try to find my next mate there. I don’t wear a wedding ring, I don’t wear any jewelry, and I have had a woman or two flirt with me over the years on the vegetable aisle. I figure the best chance an old fat guy like me has of finding a woman is at the Publix’s, at least that would be the plan I hope I don’t have to implement.
But where does an attractive, sweet, 60-year-old women find a mate? Where does she find a guy who is stable, secure, that hasn’t cheated on his ex-wife, or is cut off from his kids and has all of his teeth? I don’t know.
My kids have met their husband and boyfriend the old fashion way, in a bar, a gym, or through friends. I say old fashion because it seems like all of their other friends are dating or marrying people they have “met” on some dating website.
I have never looked at one these dating websites but I have seen the television commercials or magazine ads for a few. Hell I even saw one for farmers with the catchy slogan “SINGLES WHO ARE “SALT OF THE EARTH,” CREATE A FREE PROFILE TODAY, GET STARTED MEETING SINGLE FARMERS.” Seems like an awful lot of pressure putting together just the right profile to attract a farmer girl or boy. Do you hire a professional photographer to take portraits of you wearing overalls and riding around on your John Deere Tractor? Sounds like a competition. And what are the two elements of competition? Success and failure.
I am convinced the “modern man” maybe even the “modern woman” is terrified of both rejection and failure. When I was a young buck out on the prowl rejection was part of the game. We learned early on that there was no way to succeed if you weren’t prepared to crash and burn. Ask a girl to dance and she tells you no wasn’t the end of the world it was simply the process of elimination. There was some female in that bar just waiting to say yes, you just had to find her. As I like to say, the answer is no until you ask.
I met my wife in a bar on a fraternity road trip back in college and a couple of weeks later we had a lousy first date. But there was something about her that kept me in the game and obviously, 35 years later, something about me that kept her from hanging-up on me even though we were 200 miles away from each other. I often think about how we met that night. I didn’t know her from Adam’s house cat. Honestly, I had no business being in her city or at that bar. I should have been back at school studying for a big exam that I ended up flunking on Monday morning. Was it luck, fate or divine intervention? Who knows.
For me the whole dating game is just one more victim of our social media society. We paint these beautiful portraits of our lives, or the lives we desire and the people we want to share them with forgetting that life is messy, and that no one is perfect. We make a check list of ten attributes we are looking for and refuse to accept anyone that doesn’t check all the boxes. It doesn’t work like that, life doesn’t work like that.
I would love for my friend’s wife to find someone. She deserves it. But I am not convinced everyone will find love on the computer. In my mind you have to go to where the people are, a church, a bar, the gym, a party with friends or where I will be headed, to Publix’s hanging out at the produce looking confused.