I thought it was just me. I had a half dozen good reasons and excuses: I’m too damn picky; I’m not approachable; I don’t go where I’d have the possibility of meeting anyone; I just wasn’t ready; it wasn’t “my time” to meet someone; it’s simply not in my cards . . . Never did I think it wasn’t somehow my fault. Now I’m beginning to wonder.
Years ago (1984) Bonnie Tyler had a hit song, “I Need a Hero.” The lyrics went like this:
Where have all the good men gone/And where are all the gods?/Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?/Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?/Late at night I toss and I turn/And I dream of what I need/I need a hero/I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night/He’s gotta be strong/And he’s gotta be fast/And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight/I need a hero/I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the morning light/He’s gotta be sure/And it’s gotta be soon/ And he’s gotta be larger than life!/ Larger than life/ Somewhere after midnight/In my wildest fantasy/Somewhere just beyond my reach/There’s someone reaching back for me/Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat/It’s gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet/I need a hero . . .
Great song. I love the lyrics. But I’m not looking for a hero—or at least I don’t think I am. I don’t need rescuing. Or even to be swept off my feet. I’d just like to meet a guy . . . Honestly, I love my life as it is. But I get lonely. I miss, as one lady on a Facebook divorce support group page so delicately put it, “the intimacy a man can provide.”
Reading similar posts from women 40+ who are in my boat (and trust me, it’s less a “boat” and more like an unfun Carnival cruise ship that holds thousands!), I realize I am far from alone. Sex and intimacy. And companionship. They are what we most miss. That “love” thing? Yeah, it would be nice too. But if I’m allowed to pick only two, I know which boxes I’d check. But that’s just me.
Like many women, I looked online. A year following my divorce I figured “what the hell?” and gave it a shot. It was a six month disaster I turned into a book, a humor memoir called WINK: A Single at Sixty’s Odyssey Guide to Life, Love and Online Dating. I have plans to publish it by November. Any woman who has online dated will see herself reflected in the mirror of my experiences. And for any woman, who hasn’t yet taken a trip down the rabbit-hole that is online dating, it’s an indispensable “do and do not do guide.” Pre-warned is prepared, is my motto!
But back to Bonnie’s (and my) question . . . where have all the good men gone? I have no idea. I do know they’re sure as f**k not online! Pause now for a disclaimer: Online dating obviously works. There are millions of success stories. (Hell! My youngest son and his wife met on Match!) But for me it didn’t work. First of all, for me the process itself is flawed. I need that “spark” that happens in person. (See “It’s in His Kiss”) Second, the pool I was fishing in was full of floaters, throwbacks and rejects. Yesterday I ran into a woman I’d previously worked with. (I may have mentioned her before. She’d tried online for 10 years. And now she’s “done.”) As we were catching up, she asked how the book was coming. I told her to look for it in November and that I’d be quoting her “done” avowal. “Done, done, done, DONE!” she clarified. “Make sure you put in all the ‘dones’!”
So that’s two of us . . .
But in reading the posts online (and the emails and comments “sucks” and I have received), I see that it’s not just me or Ms. Done. Our numbers are legion. And it’s not really online dating per se. It’s the men who are online dating! Their dick pics, unsolicited invitations for sex, ridiculous expectations . . . in a nutshell, ladies, it’s a world of weirdos, wack-jobs (pun intended) and wackadoodles. (I should point out that these are support sites, and happy people don’t vent.) Nonetheless, here are two stellar examples taken from very real Facebook posts from single women “of an age” (over 40):
- One woman wrote that she’d been out with a “nice guy” 3-4 times. All he’d ever tried to do was give her a light kiss good night. So on their 5th date, she invited him in. He promptly asked if she wanted to get the Vaseline and watch him jerk off.
- Another woman wrote about a guy who had contacted her via her site. The straggle-haired, beer-bellied, rotting teeth schmuck wrote this in his online profile regarding any woman wanting to contact him: She should still look good in a short skirt and heels.”
The following are quotes from women on a different 40+ divorce support group site regarding online dating in particular, and dating in general. (Gals, you should try being 60! The name of this blog says it all.)
- “What a bunch of spineless limp dick pic sending idiots. It’s enough to make a girl go gay. For the love of God! Are they any decent men left in the world?”
- “Narcissistic and psychopathic sludge pool! I’m destined to grow old and die alone. I don’t care anymore.”
- “I feel like I’m dating someone else’s rejects.”
- “I’ve lost faith in the male species.”
- “Good luck! We all need it if we are single.”
- “I’d rather be alone.”
Indeed, more women than ever are choosing that path. They are choosing to be alone rather than to settle. It’s a question many of us have had to ask ourselves. “Do you settle for less than what you want because “less” is all that’s available?” Or do you—like Bonnie declared–hold out for a hero? That proverbial “white knight” upon his fiery steed . . .
I know he does show up. The examples of late in life loves, second time arounds—and even thirds—abound. I once worked with a woman, who at 62 married for the first time—a guy she’d known in high school. I just worked a flight yesterday with a woman, early 40s. She’s a newlywed on marriage #3 and she says he’s crazy about her. She certainly glows when she talks about him. Last year I met my cousin’s widow. He’d died in 2014 and she was still mourning him two years later. I see now on her Facebook posts, she’s fallen in love again. Previously I mentioned M—the divorced flight attendant whose fiancé had died in a car accident and whose daughter fixed her up with an online prospect. As you’ll recall, M is moving to a new city to start a new life with him. Mazel tov!
Ultimately, I think the answer is less holding out for a hero, than it is holding out in hope. I’m a great believer in hope and I count myself in good company.
- “If it were not for hopes, the heart would break.”(Thomas Fuller, 1732)
- “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” (Alexander Pope, 1733)
- “The miserable have no other medicine but hope.” (William Shakespeare 1604)
- “Hope is a risk that must be run.” (Georges Bernanos, 1955)
I think, too, of the Israelites who wandered 40 years in the desert before God deemed they were ready for that promised new life in the Promised Land. I’m just hoping (and praying) it doesn’t take 40 years ‘til I find that someone to check off those 2 boxes of mine. Let’s see . . . ‘cause that would make me . . . Oh, Lord! Yes, “better late than never.” But seriously, God, seriously?!? 100?!?