Single and over sixty: solitude or sorrow?

5 11 2016

solitudeI’ve recently had the chance to speak with several over-60-year-old men, and women, about relationships, being single, loneliness.

Well, okay, some of these were dates. Some were laughter over dates. Some were thought provoking, others broke my heart.

We all handle being alone differently. Many of the women I know who are single seem happy to stay that way, at least for now. They are tired from years of sharing their lives with children or family members and are still craving the gentle solitude of a solo cup of coffee in the morning, or a cuddle with their pet in the evening, when they are weary and don’t want to talk.

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coffee. peace. quiet.

Or they want to take off on women-only trips around the world where they can just go and be without the need to perform.

But they are a self-selected group. I hang out with independent (some may say too independent) women.

I also know so many women whose lives are destroyed by solitude, who must have companionship, preferably male and human, to survive. These women are shattered by divorce and find it intolerable to live alone. They, too, break my heart. No one should be alone who doesn’t want to be…but on the other hand…part of being a good partner is learning to be good on your own, I think.

For me, I may more be one of those independent women who prefers to live in MY space, to invite friends to visit, but never ever to stay. Not to say I don’t like the visitors…

axe-man_zpsmfukqwlb

not a real man in a cabin, though the axe might be real.

I know a few independent men, too. But they seem smaller in number, perhaps because they are out in the woods somewhere living in a cabin and so I don’t meet them often.

Most of the older men I meet are painfully lonely. It breaks my heart. I seriously think men find it harder to be alone, struggle more with their sense of self-worth than women do, on average. They seem driven more by the need to make love/have sex/fornicate than women let show. They wake in the mornings dreaming of sex, they go to bed thinking of it. Without it, a huge part of their inner selves seems to wither.

So what does an aging man have to offer a woman? They don’t seem to know. Instead of seeking companionship, shared interests, etc, they look for younger and younger partners, hoping their flagging sexuality can be enlivened by a more active lass. They tell themselves lies about their fitness, desirability, general selves. And so they doom themselves to failure and loneliness. They aren’t used to hanging out with guys, most of them, so they end up isolated. It’s terribly sad.

Oh, and they judge women, by scores they don’t apply to themselves. In happy delusion,

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One of my recent dates, examining my height

they seek tens, when they themselves are 4s or 5s, or on a good day, a 7. I had a 400 pound man tell me that he didn’t think I looked THAT overweight (in tones of condescension). I’ve had people suffering bankruptcy tell me I was getting a good catch who would look after me. Riiiiiiiiight.

They don’t think about evolving themselves to fit the needs of women in their age group, to read, to learn, to cook, to be responsible, to be independent and self-supporting. To have let go of anger. That is unutterably sexy. Women who have spent years looking after people don’t want to meet someone who, on first acquaintance, obviously needs looking after. And so many men have interesting lives, if only they would share them in a non-self-aggrandizing way.

So women are stuck in a bind if we want companionship. No one our age wants us – men seem to want women ten to twenty years younger. The ones twenty years older than us want us, but they are often looking for someone of their porn dreams, someone to care for them, someone to adore them, as they were adored when they were young and fit and had their future ahead of them. Oh, and someone who wants to make love all the time.(One chubby fellow I dated showed me his sticky little book of sexual positions, many of them life-endangering. When I laughed out loud at one contortion, he said, sure, we could do that. No, I said. I’m not standing on my head for anyone. Sorry. That was that. I washed my hands and left.)

518ldvbqs-l-_ul1200_Or they want a nurse, preferably one who would wear that sexy nurse outfit while massaging their feet.

Dating is perilous in this age group. If you meet and decide he isn’t for you, and you try to let him down gently, you run the risk of being stalked, as you try to peel his tentacles off of you.

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If you are clear with them, you are a bitch who only values money. (or healthy teeth or someone who lives responsibly or someone who doesn’t spend every spare minute looking at porn on a 60 inch tv set). They get furious at you.

Either way, dating feels more dangerous than it should.

Other men are so sad and hopeful you want to be kind, you err in kindness, you give mixed messages to try not to hurt, you hope they will break up with you so you don’t have to deal the crushing blow. They, understandably, get confused, and you end up hurting them anyway. Or vice versa.

So for those women who want male companionship with a little naughty icing, they have a challenge.

But thank heavens, we seem better suited to solitude. And as for me, male friends rock. More than that, I dunno.

Maybe that’s why so many of us are into crafting with our friends. js23831350

Off to needle felting I go….

 

 

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How will I know?

27 01 2014

images-14Oh, sometimes I hate being a grownup.

See, when you’re a kid, you can spend hours gazing off into the distance and dreaming romantic dreams of life with your dreamboat, think about hours spent together, laughing as you walk along some mountain trail or canoeing down some whitewater river together. I remember spending hours and hours just envisioning a kiss. His hand would come around the back of my head, we’d gaze meaningfully into each other’s eyes, and we’d touch lips, gently, warmly together. No tongues. Thrilling!

When you get a little older, you can whisk up some dreams of families and homes with picket fences and Christmases together and warmth and cuddles. You think about joint trips to the hardware store, hanging lighting, renovating a house, camping, toasting marshmallows. Tongues might be involved. And other parts.

And then you get to an advanced age and realize the chances of whitewater rafting with your love approximate zero since neither of you wants to risk the injuries. Families are done, grandchildren dance offstage, waiting for entrance and attention. Cuddling is great provided it isn’t every night since, after all, a good sleep is sometimes better than sex and requires less energy. And legs kick and nasal passages snore and the elegance of sleeping together lacks something when one of you is hot flashing and the other is sucking in the walls a la Yosemite Sam. Hardware stores lose their appeal when you decide neither of you should get up a ladder. Camping? Ugh. Getting up to find a toilet in the dark and bugs and damp? Never. Love is in the simple things: the newspaper, the cup of coffee in bed, the back rub at the end of a long day.

And still, if you are dating, you find yourself reverting to the kid you once were. Does he like me? Does she think I’m handsome? Will he still like me tomorrow? Will we have anything in common? Should I call him? Should I write to her? Am I being too clingy/demanding/honest/deceptive? What about that errant nose hair? You’d think we’d have this down by now.

Is the effort all worth it?

Somehow, after years of being in loving relationships, I still don’t know how to judge them, if my feelings are real or false, if they are being straight with me or leading me on.

I don’t really care. Life’s too short for endless analysis. I want to feel while I can feel. Sing while I can sing. And dance the dance while my feet still know the steps. And if I end up alone at the end of the party, well, there are always the joys of solitude.

http://youtu.be/0hWwJLM4ZEo





Connecting with a romantic partner

24 07 2013

Had a recently met fellah tell me that he was amazed at all the wonderful women out in the world and that he wondered if men were keeping up.

Answer: no.

I believe there are so many wonderful women out on the dating sites because you men are NOT keeping up. You might look at stepping up your game. Especially if you want to keep us.

I say all this with affection and a little bit of exasperation. I’ve met a lot of wonderful men over these second-time-round dating years and it’s been entertaining, interesting, and sometimes a bit scary.

If you ever wonder why we women are becoming more hesitant and less open with you guys, perhaps it’s time to look inside.

We really don’t want to hear about your crazy ex. Trust me, we know that if she was crazy, part of you either likes that or causes it. Either – not good. Come to terms with that relationship before you start another.

We don’t scope you out for money resources. We do want to know you can handle money like a responsible adult. Many of you are looking for someone to feed and house you. What’s in it for us? Not anything we want or can’t get elsewhere.

We’re not therapists. Deal with your issues before you go a-hunting. Come to us relatively whole and we’re thrilled. I’m a nurse, for heaven’s sake, and I’ll be darned if I am going to do psychological counselling for free.

We don’t stalk you if things don’t go well. That’s just creepy and potentially a chargeable offence. When things are over, let them be over. Unless you’ve established a friendship, let her go, man.

We don’t take one look and discard you. Maybe you could try that, too. I know a guy who dropped a lass he was quite deeply involved with because there was something “not quite right with her face”. It wasn’t bad enough to make him not sleep with her, though. I suppose he kept his eyes shut.

Ach, I am sounding bitter, and that’s not me. I adore several of the men I’ve met, and many are good friends. But every once and awhile I wish a contender for something more might appear.

And then I am disappointed, and look into cats. Not the same, yes, but feeding them is easy, they keep a bed warm, and they purr.

PS: I know all of this can go for any gender. We all need to be more grown-up out there. Be kind to each other.

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Now Accepting Submissions for our 2013-2014 Theme Issue: Love and Sex

2 07 2013

Now Accepting Submissions for our 2013-2014 Theme Issue: Love and SexPosted on July 2, 2013 by PRISM internationalDear writers,We are now accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama, and translation for our Love and Sex theme issue. By love we mean romantic love, unromantic love, familial love, unrequited love, lost love, love of a friend, love of a friend with benefits, love of a geographic place, love of an imagined place, love of a pet, love of a possession, love of an idea, love of a memory, love of just about anything you can dream up. There are also many different kinds of sex. We’ll let you innumerate those in your own mind, but suffice to say, we welcome a variety of interpretations.We are NOT looking for pornography, which, for our purposes, is defined as graphic depictions of sexuality devoid of literary merit. Keep it hot and spicy, but keep it close to the human condition: vivid characterization, conflict resolution, provocative narration, etc.Theme issue submissions will be accepted from July 2 to November 10. If you are submitting for the theme issue, please make of a note of it in your cover letter. Theme issue submissions may also be considered for publication in future, non-theme issues.Next week Prose Editor Jane Campbell and Poetry Editor Zach Matteson will give the inside scoop on what they’re looking for in theme issue submissions. Stay tuned!Share this:

via Now Accepting Submissions for our 2013-2014 Theme Issue: Love and Sex.





“Sex is a word count” Lilly Cain

21 04 2013

Often, in a gathering of writers (what IS the proper collective noun? A scrawl of writers? A clattering of writers? A thesaurus of writers?), wisdoms shared expand to more global proportions.

Yesterday I was thrilled to attend the Romantic Writers of Atlantic Canada’s event on publishing your first novel. As with the mystery writers I hang out with more regularly, the crowd and panel were so wonderfully friendly and open and willing to help each other out. Even if I never ever publish a book, I like hanging out with these guys/gals – they are people worth knowing.

NRLLilly Cain writes erotic fiction, and was discussing how she is now writing a series of sweet romances and having trouble bringing down the steam rating. The quote above was from that discussion – she is used to having a certain number of words dedicated to hot scenes and now has to fill the space in with other words, actions, adventures.

Something about her statement resonated more deeply with me.

Sex as a word count…a space holder…a part of life, not so important, but needed in its own way. Without it, you must fill in the empty spaces with other activity, other stories. With it…well, life may be more full and rounded but you might miss out on some of the other generative activities you may use to fill up your own personal word count.

It becomes a balance, the sex, no sex, too much sex, not enough sex thing.

In writing, steaminess level (like bloodiness level) determines where your book is placed, whether a given publisher will buy it, who will be turned on or turned away. Many people write erotica under a pen name so that they can have a safe “real” identity. I know my tell all book about my post-marriage life won’t be arriving under my real name. Oh no.

In life, there are costs to pay for taking a relationship to that new, sexual, level – friendship becomes more difficult, things seem more fraught, you feel either intensely attracted or repelled, you feel shame or love or regret or joy. I used to believe it was something that people made too much fuss over, but I could have been wrong there.

In both, sex takes up time and thought and memory and room. How much and how it tilts your story is up to you.

For more thoughts, check out Lit Drift…or Tayari Jones (click on the cartoon to link to her blog), or Steve Almond’s article from the UTNE Reader: (I’m having trouble getting wordpress to accept another hyperlink…) http://www.utne.com/Literature/How-To-Write-A-Sex-Scene.aspx

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Fresh Ideas in Dating and Writing

3 04 2013
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What IS that thing?

Those of you who know me well know that I’ve been having my adventures in the over 50 dating circuit. It’s madness out there.

Seriously.

If your marriage has even a whisper of hope, and there’s no abuse going on, take it from me and do what you can to stick out the dry spells.

Totally worth it. Dating stinks and if you ask anyone they’ll tell you true. All there is out here are people with bundles of unknown neuroses, and in that I include myself. At least with my ex, the neuroses were known quantities.

I used to believe I was having a good time. I blame excessive medication. Now the shades have fallen from my eyes, and I’m cool with the chum thing. Though I know I’ll miss kissing. I like kissing. And some other things…

Not to say I haven’t had some laughs enroute – some sad sighs, some giggles, some outright guffaws (and those of you who know what I mean when I say PCE know I’m not referring to you). The other morning I woke up and started laughing out loud, all by myself, in my packed up bedroom. Took me five minutes to stop.

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And you say you know how this contraption works?

I have a good friend who thinks there’s a sitcom in my adventures. I’d probably title it something to do with The Wizard of Oz, me being named Dorothy and all, and the fact that most, if not all, of these men who make me laugh think they are wizards in the bedroom.

It’s so tempting.

I would have to write under a pseudonym, of course, or I’d never date again. Although at this point, that might be okay…

Or be allowed to see my kids. Hahahahahah. By them.

But it’s such a fun idea…I have met all the characters from the movie already, even the door guard in the Emerald City (and yeah, I know he was really the Wizard but that’s kindof the point, no?)

Honestly, you couldn’t make some of this stuff up. And the visuals! I’m still rinsing out my eyes after the last ones. While snickering. Seinfeld and I could relate.

And, if nothing else, if I wrote it all down I could remember it all, and regale my friends in the home with my stories. Or shock the grandkids, if I ever have any. And if I’m allowed within 50 yards of them…

So, you like a little weed?





Pulling a mate from a candy machine

31 03 2013

vending_machine

Okay, I know my kids don’t want me writing about this. So they should perhaps skip this post entirely.

I just read Anne Lamott’s excellent article in Salon.com about her year on Match.com :http://www.salon.com/2013/03/31/my_year_on_match_com/

I could identify with it all. The men who are not as described, the ones who never call again, the ones who call too much. The ones who think they know more than you about everything. The ones who use up the 1728 minutes (or whatever) she describes, while you do your shopping list and think longingly of the ice cream in your refrigerator that seems oh so much more rewarding than what you are doing just then.

The “social smokers” who keep vanishing to suck back another tube, thinking you won’t notice that all of them smells and tastes like an ashtray. The political hounds who tell you about the world as if you have lived under a rock forever. The ones who are looking for a sympathy partner, to listen to all their problems with their “crazy” past partners. The ones who end every conversation with, “Shall I take the blue pill?”

My favourite was the guy who was an artist and wanted to discuss the shades of white. But found fault with my silver hair. “I’m visual” he said.

Or the other guy who texted me all the time but who had naughty pictures animate with his text so when I told him I was going skating on the Canal, it would change it to c-something else. Eww. Strangely, I felt I had to meet both of these guys. For research. In very public places, mind. Using an assumed name. Curiosity, you know.

One of my girlfriends says “What is it about over 50-year-old men? They all patronize!” Now I thought it was just me, at my height of 4’11 3/4″, that got the patronization thing.

vulpix_used_flamethrower_by_firecloak-d4u0gnrI’ve been patronized all my life and have developed a tendency to incinerate the patronizer. No mercy. Ever.

But she’s tall and gorgeous and they patronize her, too.

What IS that?

Like Anne, I think I am looking for someone to spend evenings with, not in acrobatic sex scenes involving pulleys and elaborate body positioning, but reading, watching TV, talking. Curling up in bed with. Getting up in the morning with. Lifting heavy objects with. Travelling with. Laughing with.

NOT someone who has spent too much time with online girls and expects me to shave every hair off my body and indulge in unusually strenuous activities while keeping up a potty-mouthed commentary. (Not that I’ve met any of those folks, mind – they just send me messages). Also NOT someone who tells me he is still married and looking for fun outside his marriage, because he no longer gets it together with his wife.

Fish or cut bait, fellah. Sheesh.

vending_machine-1

It makes me tired. I’d give it all up except that I still have this silly thought that I might actually meet someone interesting this way.

It’s obviously insanity. I should stop, but like the men, I suspect, the tendency to shop is too much. It’s like looking at one of those candy bar machines. Yeah, this one tastes okay, but I’d really like to try this other one…

And then it’s my cheapness. I paid for one site and I’ll be darned if I am going to take my profile off and let them have my money until I have used up every minute. I’m going to wrestle that chocolate bar out of its spiral if it kills me. At least for another few weeks, til my subscription runs out.

Besides, it’s spring. Hope springs eternal. Or is that Spring, hope eternal?

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