Inside The Wacky Mind Of A 50-Something Cougar

What one woman thinks about the thrill of the hunt.

Years ago, I was a young widow, trying to date again after a 23-year hiatus. I was disillusioned about love. Divorce and death took the two men I'd married, so I started dating again.

For the first few months it was fun, and then I remembered why I had gotten married — twice. No one is who they pretend to be. I went to a singles dance and met a married man. I went to a professional businessperson's dance and met a gravedigger. I went to a Christian dance and met an atheist.

I was naive. I had forgotten all of the rules of dating that I had down to a science in my younger days. I should have had a clue when I attended a dance with my single girlfriends at a country club. They had nicknames for the men whom they had dated from these singles affairs. One was called "Kiss Tongue." Another was called "Tony Two Dates." Another was "Stand-Up guy." I will not elaborate.

I tried to think of all of the things that men were good for before I gave up trying to find another one.

They can tie a tie. They can change a tire. They can . . . hmm. Well some of them can. In any event, if I learned to tie a tie and change a tire, there would be just one thing I'd have to do without.

It might not be that important. Men at war do not have intimacy. Hemingway even wrote about this. Maybe A Farewell To Arms didn't mean ammo.

Women who are nuns do not have intimacy with the opposite sex. Some people never get any. But for me, that was the deal killer. It is like eating potato chips; you can never have just one. Besides, I don't like to watch the news by myself.

I like to get enraged and share it with the man in my life, who usually has some stupid comment to make and I get wild at him and end up in a word fight that usually puts a damper on the potato chip eating that may have come later, if I'd kept my big mouth shut. (As you can imagine by the previous run-on sentence, I talk too much.)

And so I am back to the ties that bind. Sex and companionship—some men are really good at these things. I am told this by those authors in the self-help aisle at Borders (most of whom are divorced).

If I had some all-consuming hobby like serious writing, or research to find the cure for some awful disease, or the ability to teach kids something useful, I might have been content to wile away my remaining years doing those things. But I am a one-trick pony. I can dance and I can write and I can care take. Maybe I am a three-trick pony. In any event I can do the pony, which dates me.

But who would want to date me. I thought? I am older and spoiled and set in my ways. And who would I want to date?

I have become so particular in my maturity that any one of a number of red flags goes up, and the date gets discarded before it's started.

I don't want a smoker. I don't want a man with hair in his ears. I don't want a bad dresser. I don't want anyone prejudiced. I don't want anyone who ever agreed with anything Rush Limbaugh said or thought. I don't want a man who dances like Karl Rove.

I don't want anyone who mispronounces "supposedly."  (Some men put a "b" where the "d" is. This drives me nuts.) I don't want anyone who is not kind to beggars. I don't want any man who kills animals or shoots a gun for fun or watches extreme sports or wrestling.

I don't want a man who gives you a small ring box on Valentine’s Day with a pair of earrings in it. I don't want a man who read Catcher in the Rye in high school and thought it was a funny book or, who thought Animal Farm was about animals. I don't want any man who likes Kenny G more than David Sanborn. Or any man who likes only action movies and won't see anything with subtitles.

After considering all this, I decided to give up even thinking about dating again, and to take up scrapbooking.

But I never was very good at scrapbooking. I met a man by chance, and we started to go to the movies together.

Love hunger is like eating potato chips. You can't have just one . . . or two. No matter how hard you try.


This article originally appeared at Your Tango.

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