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Eighty-One and on

In 2004, I signed onto with my actual age, 62, and a recent picture. Internet dating was just becoming popular and felt risky and daunting. I thought I’d be too old to find matches, but invitations showed up daily, many from younger men. I met my future husband on a couple of years later.

Now I’m 81 and widowed. I live in Vermont, which doesn’t have the millions of people who are on in New York, but on a lark or more like an experiment, I signed up, again with my correct age and a recent photo. Just as at 62, I doubted I would find (or even want) a partner, still, I’ve hoped since I was about 15 to find a dancing partner, and that wish has thus far gone unfulfilled. Mainly, I was interested in knowing how people were finding each other these days.

An emergency room doctor showed up in my whatever window that is. He knew how to spell and liked my profile.

After our first brief exchange, he asked whether my “feminine side was still working at 81″ and said he was “affectionate,” and had a “boy thing going on.” In my previous experience with internet dating, all men, whether old, young, educated or not, began with a forceful sexual volley. (Thank you to the few exceptions.) I became accustomed to listening until they got over that and the conversation could begin. How interesting that after all the cultural changes in the last 20 years, the world remained so much the same.

We spoke on the phone but I had to go into a meeting and only had time to learn that we both played the piano. He said he’d call back at 5:00.

Instead of a call, I got this: Hi Ann:-) so I’m going to text you rather than say this because I know I’ll be too embarrassed on the phone. As you may have gathered, I have the strong boy needs thing going on. I haven’t been with anybody since December. I’m quite eager. Let me ask you a crazy question. If the answer is no I understand. If I gave you all my information… My full name… Where I work… Etc.… And definitely agreed to see you several times not just once… is there any chance you would have me over tonight?! I know that’s kind of a crazy question, but I don’t know, you seem pretty cool. I’m a decent guy. A good doctor and daddy. Healthy head to toe. It’s your call. And we can talk some more too. I just thought I would throw it out there.

Some of the weirdest propositions I’ve ever heard have come from doctors. They seem to feel unable to articulate the stress they’re under. He sounded a little off the rails, so instead of texting him back, I called him. “We have to talk. Why did you ask to stay overnight?”

His schedule for the next week was very tight, he said, this was his only “window of opportunity,” and if he drove here, a two-hour drive, he couldn’t be expected to drive back home the same night.

The anonymity of the internet allows a person to delve into conversations like this without worrying about being murdered, so I delved.

“What happened to the December lady?”

She was a starving artist “five foot two, nice little figure.” He enjoyed having sex with her, but her house was a mess, her car was a dump. They drifted apart. There was also the hot 76-year-old retired teacher, the woman with a condo in Killington, and other women over the years since his divorce.

He had our relationship all figured out. “Because of your age, we’d be friends. And, I don’t know if you’d ever do this, but if you had a friend who was 20 years younger, maybe you could steer her my way, and in the meantime, you’d have me. Only once every couple of weeks, it’s too far away for much more than that. I can guaranty you that I’ve only been out with educated, healthy people, nurses, teachers, women like that. So you don’t have to worry about any of that.”

After talking a little more, he said, “So it sounds like you’re not going to take me up on the overnight.”

“That’s correct.”

“Maybe we can meet during the day sometime next week so you can scope me out. I can be free in the day, and I’m assuming you’re retired.” He dropped in another sweetener, his last name.

I told him my last name and my pen name as well. “I am not retired. My second book just came out, and I have two more in the works. I work every day.”

We parted cordially, but he texted me an hour or so after we hung up:  Boy, I guess I better be careful what I say to you. You’re gonna write about it on your blog!

Yes. I am.

I am overflowing with commentary about this exchange, but will leave it to readers to react in their own ways. I was tempted to respond to his final note telling him not to worry, I wouldn’t use his name and where he lived, though there’s a starving artist, a hot 76-year-old retired teacher, and a woman with a condo in Killington who might find this familiar.