Recently, I discovered romance can be even more perilous at seventy than at twenty. I made this discovery vicariously through watching my neighbor Tammy become excited over what she calls her good-looking prospect. I wondered what prospects a seventy-five year old man could possibly offer that caused Tammy to buy a new wardrobe, including lingerie. She waxed on about his taking her to dinner, the movies, and kissing her sweetly at the door. I personally would rather eat alone, sitting on the couch munching a salad with my dog Bodhi, who enjoys scouring for broccoli florets. I even prefer Netflix so admired Tammy for her fortitude, not to mention, the optimism in thinking an older gentleman had more to offer than all the ones she threw away earlier in her life.
Tammy became breathless every time she spoke of him, that is, until he began forgetting their dates. She hammered at him on her little flip-top phone and then burst into tears, thinking he had become neglectful. One week after this episode, she pounded on my door in need of expressing her disappointment at discovering her ‘good-looking prospect’ required being attached to an oxygen tank during their sexual escapades. She also complained about the screws in his new hip squeaking whenever he walked. I wondered why Tammy thought dating at seventy could possibly be the same as her dewy-eyed youth with nubile body and a penchant for thinking those days would last forever.
I personally find pleasure walking alongside a lovely man, who enjoys the moment we’re together and the easiness of our conversations when it ripples over grand ideas and an exclamation of nature. I cherish the prospect of being together without expectations.
Eventually, Tammy accepts the notion memory lapses and replacement parts may be the norm for dating an older man no matter how good-looking. I gently point out the vulnerability of age allows for more subtle pleasures that can make a person smile, which I find more valuable than breathing heavily in anticipation of what may never be.