100 Bad Dates: #72

Date #72 was old. Really old. I met him through the free personals where he described himself as “distinguished,” “older,” and “financially stable.” Visions of Demi Moore, Robert Redford (and a million dollars) danced in my head.

Date #72 was old. Really old. I met him through the same awesome free personals I had used with Date #55 (one Downtown Mr. Brown, if you’ll recall), which was always an adventure. Seriously, there are no more lonely nights (thanks, Paul McCartney!) when you have people placing ads for love and it’s TOTALLY FREE TO RESPOND! Anyway, Date #72 had advertised for an “open-minded single woman” and billed himself as “distinguished,” “older,” and “financially stable.” Visions of Demi Moore and Robert Redford (and a million dollars) danced in my head.

We exchanged voice mailbox messages and Date #72 suggested we meet for tea one evening. I could tell by his messages that he was quite a bit older than I was, but it was not clear by how many years.

The last message Date #72 left for me was the address of the cafe, along with the information that he would be seated in the back and wearing a blue blazer. He said he was tall and thin with white hair. White. Not salt and pepper. Not even gray. Just white. Ok, Ok, so not Robert Redford. I held out hope for Steve Martin.

I entered the cafe and scanned the tiny dining area. It only took a moment for me to spot Date #72. He stood, smiling, to greet me.

He was positively elderly.

Robert Redford? No way, José. Steve Martin? Perish the thought. This guy was the spitting image of Bob Barker. I suddenly had an urge to spin a big wheel. He gave me the subtle once-over, kissed my cheek, and waited for me to sit before doing the same. Old-timey manners!

Date #72 politely asked me about myself: where I grew up, what kind of work I did, my hobbies. You know, generic first date stuff. As we talked, I couldn’t help but think about how he looked to be around my grandfather’s age.

“Please let this be about companionship and NOT sex. Oh, please. Anybody listening? Please!” my brain begged a non-specific higher-power.

Then he reached across the small bistro table and took my hands. “I should tell you why I’m here,” he said.

Date #72 told me that he was 70 and a great(!)-grandfather. He added that he had married young, and had four children, but his wife died in her forties and, when the kids were grown, he married his current wife. Yes, I said “current” and “wife.” He went on to tell me that she was 15 years older and very wealthy. They had spent the first few years of their marriage traveling the world and enjoying life, but his wife had sadly suffered a debilitating stroke. She now required round-the-clock nursing care, and he was back to being lonely.

“I think our relationship, if you agree to one, could be mutually beneficial,” he said, looking into my eyes, never letting go of my hands.

Date #72 said he had so much money at his disposal, but no one to share his affection with. He laid out an obviously well-thought-out plan that he was searching for someone to fit: an apartment in return for companionship (whew!) and sex (no!). Monogamy would not be required of me, but it would be essential that I be available when he called.

As Date #72 spoke in detail about his life, his sadness, and the plan, all I could focus on was how small and watery his eyes were. Tiny and damp. He must have felt me slipping away from the conversation because he started to speak more quickly and desperately, grabbing my hands a little harder. I eased them out from between his.

“I’m sorry. I don’t think I am the right person for this.”

Date #72 looked sad but said he understood. He slipped me his business card, saying that I could call in the next 48 hours if I changed my mind; he was meeting with another girl later and the offer would probably be rescinded if things worked out with her.

All of the “beneficial” and “offer” talk and just generally treating the whole thing like a business transaction let me know I had made the right decision (though not paying my own bills had a sexiness all its own). Turned out that, as for me and Bad Date #72, I would not be coming on down and the price was definitely wrong.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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