It made me re-evaluate and recognize that what I wanted was what I had had earlier in life but was unlikely to have again.
Words Karen Van Rheenen X Illustration Sierra Lundy
When I was a teenager, I was considered a bit of a babe. I had long blond hair and was teenage thin. To my pleasure, I was chosen high school football queen. Granted, it was a very small school in a very small town. There was never any problem getting dates, partially, I assume, because there were few girls.
I went off to university, met the man of my dreams, married at 22 and he died of cancer 40 years later. It was a great marriage and none of my dreams included being a widow at 62.
Five years later, on a Saturday night, and with the prodding of friends, I joined match.com. It was spur of the moment. In hindsight, perhaps I should have avoided posting the Halloween picture with the witch’s hat, but hindsight is 20/20.
It was amazing to me how many men said they liked to walk on the beaches by the ocean at night by the moonlight. I am amazed they were not tripping over each other on Dallas Road. It was also evident that there were few looking for a 68-year-old woman and none that stipulated “pleasantly plump.”
The first action was a 72-year-old man that invited me for coffee. We had coffee, then a dinner date. He hugged me goodbye and said he would call, and he never did. That was my first clue that I may have passed my best-before date. Granted, the long blond hair was long gone, and although my husband had assured me he found my extra 15 pounds cuddly, it dawned on me that this may not be a universal opinion.
The second man was very nice, but his wife was barely dead in the ground.
The third man said he was 72 with a vision problem. He ended up being 92 and blind. He should have been seeking a driver and a nurse instead of a date. He was a nice old guy, a bit deluded, but I took him out weekly for a drive until he passed away.
Requests for chats were slow. When I was young, the man always initiated. It was difficult for me to write to someone to say I was interested. However, realizing I should get with the times, I sent messages off to two men. Both thanked me for my kind words and that was it. So much for liberation.
Then it happened. Sam wrote to me and said he liked my picture and that it sounded like we had lots in common. His wife had died five years before. He had one adult daughter studying in Greece. Though he was still working as an engineer, he planned on retiring soon. He worked on the islands off northern Scotland in a two-week rotation. He lived just south of the border and he had attended conferences in Victoria and would love to live here.
He asked about my favourite movies, musicians, books and travel plans. Born in Italy, he was looking forward to trips to his homeland. He phoned me from Seattle before heading out for his job; his voice was sweet and he assured me that our relationship was progressing.
I was ecstatic. I envisioned trips to Greece to meet his daughter and Italy to visit his birthplace. I started to diet. I bought new clothes. I got my hair re-styled. I can’t even tell you about the dreams I was having. I shared my excitement with a couple of friends, and they were happy for me.
Then it happened. An anxious call from Sam at work. A boiler had burst and there were significant problems. Could I send money immediately? It was a crisis.
Indeed, it was a crisis. I was not so far gone that I did not realize I had been scammed. I hung up, blocked him and reported him to match.com.
That all happened six months ago and was the end of my online dating and my hope for a second happy relationship. That it happened was a good thing. It made me re-evaluate and recognize that what I wanted was what I had earlier in life but was unlikely to have again. It also helped me to come to grips with being alone.
I belong to two book clubs, have annual passes to two theatre companies, volunteer with a Syrian Refugee Committee and Special Olympics, chair our strata, have two daughters, a son-in-law and two grandchildren all nearby. I also have a supportive faith community. I do 10,000 steps a day and yoga twice a week. My friends are wonderful and I have both male and female friends. My life is great.
I continue to diet, though have chocolate if I want to and don’t feel the least bit worried about it.
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