From their photographs and by reading about their experiences, I deduce that I am far and away the oldest author currently writing on this blog. Recently, one of my fellow authors posted a poignant piece describing her decision to return to online dating 4 years after her love passed. She wrote that she needed the time to “right my own ship,” but came away with a valuable insight that “sadness born from his death and a new happiness can coexist.”
I envy her the luxury of time. In Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings, Jorge Luis Borges famously said, “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” Talk about crying, “Fire!” The fact is today’s average life span is only around 78 ½ years, and people who keep track of such things have expressed concern the average could drop due to Covid. For me, even without the additional bad news about Covid, the current average is less than one decade in the future. And to make matters worse, psychologists have confirmed that time seems to speed up as we age!
So today I will discuss my own recent forays into the odd world of online dating, which began around the first of this year. I say odd because I came up used to meeting new folks in real places and not virtual ones. For me, it is the difference between observing wildlife in its natural habitat and observing wildlife in the safety of a zoo.
For whatever reasons I quickly came to accept the reality that Lee was gone while I remain alive and kicking. If you’ve been reading my posts these past few weeks, then you know that although Lola the pup has been a great aid in helping me try to bridge the gap between my blissful marriage to Lee and the loneliness of now being her widower, more and more I yearn for physical contact with something that is not quite as furry as Lola.
I do not intend to come across as a hedonist. I am not one.
At the same time, the absence of Lee’s touch is a harsh daily reminder that there is an impenetrable barrier separating dead and living (lest one subscribe to necromancy, which I do not). Unfortunately, I am quite certain I shall never again enjoy Lee’s fingers gently touch my arm to bring something to my attention, her soft hugs, her loving caresses, her magic fingernails that no human or animal could resist when it came to having an itch that needed scratching. She has come to me a few times in dreams so real I swear I could feel her. There are even waking times when I unexpectedly will hear a familiar sound, or sense a slight movement, and for a fluttering heartbeat think she has returned to me in life. But these welcome moments are still no replacement for having a regular and intimate connection, including intimate physical contact, with a woman. This is my sole reason for exploring the online dating scene.
My profile, which reveals that I am a widower, sometimes prompts the occasional “do you think you’re ready for dating?” However, this question is only important to the woman asking it. For me, based on the observable data, the arrow of time only moves in one direction, so dating at this time is an imperative.
At first, the rush of being contacted by a woman who has read a cursory personal profile and looked at a couple pictures stroked my male ego. However, if ever I felt this meant I must be popular with the ladies, I now see it either was an illusion or a statistical anomaly that favors older men. Nonetheless, the repartee and outright flirting that goes on was a bit of good fun, though only for a short while. The actual process of online dating, which involves looking at photographs (and often the same photos multiple times), reading profiles, sending messages, talking on the phone, building up to a first meet, is not exhilarating and has nearly become a chore. Together with the many good and sincere women who are seeking exactly what I’m seeking, for their own reasons, of course, the dating site is also full of puffers,fabulists, outdated photographs, white lies and not-so-white lies about age and outright scammers. I think I have developed a good eye for spotting such things but have spotted hardly anyone with whom I could imagine sharing intimacy, let alone becoming my love.
The author who I mention at beginning of my post today had lamented,”when he died, all the love we had died with him,” before immediately qualifying her statement by explaining that she was only referring to physical love. Last July 2020 my sweet wife died after a long and hard fought but losing battle with cancer. I will always love Lee; she is the best part of me that I hold in a very safe and special place. As I strive to make the time that is left the best time it can possibly be, I have not the slightest qualms about my desire for a new female companion. My darling, kind Lee would be the first to agree.