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Remember how awful junior high was? Well, dating in your sixties is worse. Women complain of hoped-for princes turning out to be frogs, mansplainers, or pervs, but, let me tell you, it's not so easy for men either. After my wife of 30 years died almost 2 years ago, I thought having a long successful marriage, plus still having my hair and being in relatively good shape, would bode well for me in the dating world. After all, I'm a nice guy, hard-wired for a long-term relationship. Surely, some woman would see that, and the rest would be history.
Boy, was I ever wrong! Think something on the scale of Columbus believing that bumping into a few islands in the Caribbean meant he was on his way to China and mega-riches or working-class voters buying any of Trump's flim-flam, faux-populist rhetoric. World-class wrong!
For example, none of the dozen or so women I've dated have been my ideal exactly, but I've always tried to see the good in each one. Some had nice smiles, while others were good conversationalists. But women, I've found, are not quite so broad-minded. They're like shoppers who know exactly what they want, and it hasn't been me. I don't seem to display quite the self-confidence of the narcissistic sociopaths they divorced and are used to. For example, I've been dumped for rather exacting reasons: not being able to salsa dance, not traveling to the "right" places, and, my personal favorite so far, being too intelligent.
A while back, I exchanged emails with an attractive woman from Match.com. I learned she was Greek and a psychotherapist. Of course, I didn't know then that she was crazy. But when we talked on the phone, I ought to have figured it out. Enough red flags were raised that for a moment there I felt like I was in the middle of a Mao-era Chinese ballet.
After she wondered how she would know me when we met, I told her I could wear my baseball cap. "That's a deal breaker!" she exclaimed. Taken aback, I explained I'd only wear it till she saw me, then discreetly put it away. That seemed to calm her, for a while. Then when she found out where I live, in a working-class, urban neighborhood, you would've thought my barrio was a slum known for druggies and drive-byes, instead of great taco trucks and pho.
Despite all the red flags, we met for lunch, and it went pretty well. Afterwards, we exchanged hugs and agreed to a second date. Or so I thought. But that night I got the "adios" email from her, which happens. I've rejected women and been rejected, but you try to do it nicely, not like a certain crazy, Greek psychotherapist.
She wrote: I want to "enjoy the rest of my life with a romantic partner who wants and is ready to focus on his last love. You are not him. BTW, You are not the only one who watches 'Friends' and borrowing their 'sometime' line. Not very unique for a writer. LOL . . . I feel great to have said the Truth."
I had to ask my daughter about that "Friends" line. Who knew that show had a copyright on the phrase, "Let's go out sometime?" I sure didn't. But in the end, the crazy, Greek psychotherapist, who seems like she might need a little work upstairs herself, did me a big favor. Honestly, would I have really wanted to go on a second date with that nut job, even if she was quite attractive?
Undeterred I've gone on to date two other women. A Brazilian who sent me tons of cute texts, until she broke our third date. And I haven't heard back from her since. Then I had 2 dates with a gorgeous 54-year old with a personal trainer, until she regained her sense of sight.
Sure, I think about giving up sometimes, but then I realize all of it -- the crazy Greek psychotherapist, the Brazilian addicted to cutsie texts, and la belle dame sans merci -- are just fodder for my memoir, tentatively entitled, Worse than Junior High: the Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue Story.