What I Will Miss

Won’t you say what it is you’ll miss,

She whispers and awaits my list,

Before leaving me with one last kiss,

‘Neath the Milky Way’s opalescence.

She drives her ol’ Chevy away,

Headlights leading to a new day,

Sad I had not one word to say

Or a way to express my love.

Please forgive my disordered mind

And don’t think me mean or unkind;

I am just lost in the moonshine,

Wishing I had another chance

To tell you all the things I fear

When your taillights disappear

In the far valley’s village square.

But I would sure like you to know

It’s your scent and your presence,

Your vast knowledge and your sense

Your being and your very essence,

And your beauty I’ll sorely miss.

Author’s note: Ok, so sometimes I like my poetry and sometimes I don’t. This one I don’t like too much. An example of one I like is The Rightest Wrong One . I wanted to try and write in the style of  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening  by Robert Frost, a simple poem of subtle depth and beauty. Each line consists of 8 syllables and has an aaba, ccdc, etc rhyme scheme ending in a repeating phrase couplet. I think it’s exquisite. I managed the 8 syllables per line, an aaab, cccd etc rhyme scheme, but while the poem is certainly simple, it has no depth at all.

The woman I was seeing often asked me, “What do you miss?” when I’d tell her I was longing for her. One day I answered her by saying  I missed her scent and sense, her essence and presence, her being and beauty. I liked that answer. It sounded poetic to me and so I tried to use the sentiment here, but I fell short in the execution. Excuse me.

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #rutgers

#poetry

 

Back to Work

time-to-work-27946287@artistashmita/dreamstime.com

So I finally returned to work this past Tuesday. I was off for nearly six weeks. Right from the first, since I knew it would likely be for an extended time, I considered the time off as a sampler of my impending retirement (hopefully two years hence), a retirement-lite, if you will. Admittedly, I was a little lost at first. I missed the schedule of my workday and the need to get house chores done on the weekends. I continued to wake up and go to bed unusually early in both cases. With a little time though, I started sleeping later—rarely later than 7am though. And I stayed up later each night. I started seeing the am hours from the other side of the night. I adapted, unlike my father, who retired nearly a quarter century ago, who still rises at 5am, as if he’s still going to work each day. I spread my household chores through the week. I worked on my lawn and garden; they’ve never looked so good. I started the layoff period anxiously, but soon found myself growing ever more comfortable with quiet days that seemed to stretch languorously before me.

Which is not to say I wasn’t lonely. I most assuredly was. If I could give my pre-pandemic self one piece of advice, it would be find yourself a partner real fast. I had a female “friend” before self-isolation hit, but she all but disappeared completely as we retreated into our respective homes. A few old girlfriends from decades past turned up in my Facebook messenger (or did I turn up in theirs?*) I enjoyed virtually reconnecting with them. I really should tell their stories on here. They were both from Europe. One I met in real life and one I never did (though I have an open invitation to come visit), but they were both integral parts of my journey. A couple of recent girlfriends kept me company through texting as well.  Every so often group messaging would crop up between my male friends usually lamenting the lack of sports on TV, which doesn’t really affect me much, as I never really cared much for professional sports. In the meantime, I took this blog back up. I wrote a few things for some other blogs as well. I was instantly reminded how much I enjoy taking virtual pen to virtual paper. I also was reminded I get a kick out of people reading and reacting to my work. Unfortunately, most of the audience I built up 2 years ago dwindled precariously when I went anonymous and de-linked from my dating app. People like to see the face behind the writing, even if its mine.

I found out my return-to-work date about a week before and my trepidation grew as each day passed. Some people call them the Sunday scaries, that anxious feeling one gets knowing the weekend is over. I just had 6 weeks of weekend. My Sunday scaries were enormous in scope. I had grown used to the time off. Retirement no longer seems foreboding to me. If the pandemic hasn’t ruined international travel forever, I am really looking forward to my future.

As it turned out, my return to work the Tuesday after Memorial Day was fairly painless. Of course, my internal alarm clock has yet to fully adjust. Texting women until 2am has quickly fallen off the daily schedule. The blog took a quick hit too, but I hope to continue posting regularly, if not as often as I had. I still have several multi-part stories to tell. For instance, there was this British woman I met on one of the online apps. Her name was Bette….

 

*I looked back and one of the women initiated contact and I initiated contact in the other. I’d also like to add neither was a surprise contact after decades. In both cases we are Facebook friends and we exchange greetings on the rare occasion.

 

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus

 

Beauty Queen pt5

440835_85544898When my kids were growing, there was a tradition in our town around Halloween to leave small bags of candy and little toys on the steps at their friend’s front door, ring the doorbell, and run away. The friend would open the door and find the bag, inside of which was also a note proclaiming they had been ghosted and now had the duty to ghost others in return. It was mischievous and mysterious, because the person who had been ghosted had no idea who had done the ghosting.

Twenty years ago, I used to love helping my kids ghost their friends. Ghosting has taken on a new meaning for me these days: the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc. (Merriam-Webster). Now, I admit I haven’t handled all of my romantic entanglements perfectly these past couple of years, actually my entire life, and furthermore I believe karma likes to kick my butt now and again. I like to think i’m reasonable in defeat and even able to learn the lesson given. Politeness is a victim to the disconnection of cyber relationships. We feel we don’t owe a reason or an excuse. Honestly, I’m guilty too. In this case, there’s a living, breathing human being on the other side of your texts and even though your contact has been brief and virtual, feelings can still be hurt. And mine were. I’ve been ghosted before, but usually the ghosters hadn’t been texting me. I’d be dm’ing a woman on the dating app, thinking we were doing well, and suddenly she’d be gone, profile and all, leaving me wondering what had gone wrong.  Tasha was different though. Her profile and messages on the dating app remained and I had her phone number. I could damn well cyberstalk her, if I wanted.

I didn’t realize Tasha had ghosted me right away (look here for the full story: pt1, pt2, pt3 and pt4). At first, she said her stomach issues lingered. Every stomach flu I ever had lasted about 24 hours. If someone tells me they’re still sick after three days (and don’t have a medical condition), I start to get a bit incredulous. I messaged her for several days with no reply before it dawned on me, she had no intention of answering. I had been ghosted. Then a thought occurred to me, what if I hadn’t been ghosted, but instead had been catfished? Was Tasha a woman who had set up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes (Merriam-Webster again)? After all, I had never actually talked to her, never mind met her. Things all seemed to fall apart when I asked her for her address so I could pick her up for our first scheduled date. There are several leaps of faith we all must make while online dating, such as giving our last names, phone numbers, and addresses. Or not. As for myself, I prefer to chat on the app for a few days before giving my phone number. Some women are quick to exchange numbers, because it’s a proof of realness and intentions. Tasha had shared her number, but had balked at providing her address and last name. For all I knew, Tasha may have been Donald Trump’s 400 pound hacker lying in his bed breaking into the Democratic National Committees’s emails, but also catfishing me for entertainment purposes. So I convinced myself a little investigation was warranted. Did a woman named Tasha even exist? Was any of this real?

Being an amateur sleuth, I went about it ass backwards. I mean, thinking back, I could have just reversed traced her phone number.  It was the beauty queen aspect though which bothered me the most. Certainly I thought records must exist about beauty queens, particularly ones who made it to the national level. I had her first name and I had her hometown out west from her profile. I had a time frame when this supposed pageant took place. Seemingly, I thought, that should be more than enough information to get to where I wanted to go. Funny thing though, I had a hard time finding pictures of the pageant. It’s hard to remember a time when every moment of everyday wasn’t photographed, explained, and stored in some online file cabinet. I was reaching back before the time of Facebook and even Myspace. Folks were just getting their AOL cd’s so they could get dial-up internet service. I didn’t even have my first computer until the year 2000. Can you still hear the electric whir and beeping of the connection and the adrenaline rush of being told, You’ve got mail? People had home computers, but the social network was practically non-existent.

This wasn’t the Miss America pageant remember. It was Mrs. America, a much less renowned and publicized event. It took some searching, but I did manage to find a list and pictures of the past  winners from the 1990’s Mrs. ******* pageants. I went down that list of names and couldn’t find a Tasha on first glance. I went down a second time and finally saw a Natasha with an obviously Scottish last name, starting with ubiquitous Mac. And the picture of the young woman looked very much like the Tasha I knew. Having a last name, it was fairly easy to trace Tasha to her home a few towns over from mine, even though her last name had changed with marriage. I could put her address in Zillow and tell you how much her house is worth. I didn’t do that, but I could. I thought back to our conversations, the little details she had ready immediately to impart. Who would think to shorten the first name to Tasha? Or know several good restaurants nearby? And she was just so feminine. Certainly 400 pound male hackers didn’t know how to be playful and enticing in a feminine way? Maybe Tasha was some diabolical catfisher, but I doubted it with all my heart. I also chose to leave her alone, as we all get to change our minds. I would have much preferred she had talked to me and explained, but as I already said, I have not been perfect in my dating style and karma is a bitch. And so goodbye to the beauty queen.

 

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #beautyqueen #scotland #rutgers  #ghosting #donaldtrump #karma #catfishing #400poundhacker

Beauty Queen pt4

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Tasha and I bantered back and forth over the next few days, still on the dating app dm,  and decided upon a place to meet (catch up with the story here, pt1, pt2, and pt3). First meetups are precarious things. They can be as casual as getting a cup of coffee some where to full-blown dinners at an elegant restaurant and everything in between. If a woman chooses a coffee date, I know right away she’s a cynic and I might as well not even go. She has eyed me up and down, weighed what she has gleaned of my personality, and has decided I’m worth just 15 minutes of her valuable time to audition beneath her furrowed brow, Entertain me, court jester, I’ll gift you my brief attention to win me over. A fine dinner at the best restaurant in the area raises a huge red flag as well. Maybe for the fabulously wealthy, an expensive first date is no big deal, but I’m not wealthy, fabulously or otherwise. And my experience has been, I will be picking up that check. The waiters are even helpful in that regard, sliding the fancy check folder to my side of the table. Some times, my date will say, Can I help? Of course, you can help, I think, but not if you ask me that way. The answer will always be no. If you really want to help pay, push your credit card across the table while saying, Let’s split it. No question, all statement. In other words, a fancy restaurant is just too much for a first date. A coffee is too cheap and a  medium rare porterhouse steak with all the trimmings too expensive. I prefer a happy medium, perhaps drinks and some appetizers at a decent restaurant. One can always suggest dinner, if things are going well.

Honestly though, my rule book on first dates had been flung out the window with Tasha. Hire a limousine for the night? I’m in! Caviar and fine champagne during the drive, while basking in each other’s glow? You bet! Fancy New York City restaurant and a Broadway show? Absolutely! Luckily for me, Tasha was not quite so splashy and named several places in the area for drinks and an appetizer. They were all upscale restaurants, no Outbacks* for Tasha. We agreed upon a place closer to her house than mine, saying she went there often and knew the place would be comfortable for getting acquainted. At some point in those discussions of where to go, we exchanged phone numbers and started texting. She had an easy texting style, always furthering the conversation. There were no deadends with her. She was flirtatious without being sexual. I enjoyed her chat. She gave me the feeling she was looking forward to our date as much as I was.

As the date drew closer, we discussed what we’d wear. I’d be going in slacks, button-down shirt, shoes and matching belt. Everything would be ironed. I’d be well-shaved, freshly showered, and wearing cologne that reminded women of the 90’s. She said she had picked out just the dress. It flattered the figure, while not looking like she’d be walking the red light district later that evening. Will heads turn? I asked. Heads always turn, my dear, she replied. No matter what I’m wearing. Men will turn and look at most anything. Big boobs, a shapely ass, a flash of thigh, a pretty face. We’re on it. We’re going to look. If we’re on a date, we discreetly sneak a quick glance. Humans as a whole may have descended from the ape, but men have a bit of the wolf in them, slavering and constantly on the prowl. Occasionally though, a woman will capture the whole room. At some point, as she is led to her table, everyone will turn and look, including all the other women. They will measure her up and they will know a beauty queen has walked into their midst. It’s electric. I have seen it often when I have taken Pia out. She has this effect in restaurants and she is well aware. It is the natural state of affairs for her. The waiters recommendations will go on forever. The water glasses are constantly refilled. The chef may even ask how the dinner was. The valet always opens her door. I expect Tasha is much the same.

And so we finally reached the day of our date, each having admitted how much we were looking forward to meeting. We had been so comfortable in our chats (mind you, we hadn’t actually talked, only texted), I was confident I’d be comfortable seeing Tasha in person. Oddly, I was not at all nervous. We had agreed I would pick her up at her house. I texted her in the afternoon, Don’t forget I still need your address. Two hours later and just two hours before I was supposed to ring her door bell, she sent back this: Please don’t hate me, James, but I’m going to have to cancel on you. Something I ate at lunch made me terribly sick-been trying to get over it, but to no avail. Can I ask for a raincheck??? I’m so, so sorry!!

What can one do but forgive when faced with two so’s and two exclamation points? Of course, I told her not to give it a second thought and to text me when she felt better. I’m not an idiot though. I hoped she was being honest and was in fact a prisoner to diarrhea and nausea, but I doubted it. John Mulvaney likens canceling plans to injecting heroin, instant relief and joy. I get it. I love not to go places. And as far as excuses go, upset stomach is the classic gold standard of excuses, which is why people have been using it their entire lives to get out of going to school because they hadn’t finished a report to getting out of a date with a guy they were’t quite sure was up to snuff. I honestly thought we had again reached the end of this virtual relationship. The next day, Tasha texted me to apologize profusely once more. There may even had been a third so and exclamation point involved. Online dating usually follows several scenarios. This one had the earmarks of the scenario where we make a date; one of us cancels; and full stop. All communication ends and we quickly move on. Tasha ignored the usual trends. We bantered back and forth for several days, rescheduled the date, and then, just when I had grown optimistic about seeing her, she went full ghost.

*An Outback is a mid-level chain restaurant with an Australian theme. It’s neither going to impress nor insult most people. Your results may vary, as they say.

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #beautyqueen #scotland #rutgers #johnmulvaney #ghosting

#outback

Just Turn Around

I’m in a writing mood today. And a picture-taking one too. So here’s a bonus round just for you. Thanks for stopping by.

Long Beach Island, NJ, USA 5/21/20

The sign before the bridge leading onto the barrier island along the coast of New Jersey says it all: STAY HOME. Long Beach Island would prefer to spend its day without me. Covid-19 still holds the state in thrall despite the governor loosening some restrictions. The beaches are officially opening on May 22nd for the Memorial Day weekend. Tourism is big industry in my state, shore tourism especially.

A cool breeze off the ocean scolds me too. Perhaps this wasn’t the best of ideas: an overnight escape to my sister’s beach house. There’s no food there, she texted. But there’s plenty of alcohol. Which was true enough, I soon discovered.

Being alone, I did not give into temptation and let the bottles be. The dark Jamaican rum and ginger beer was particularly enticing. If I had some lime, I don’t think I could have resisted. Instead, I mowed their lawn as a thank you. Busy hands and all that.

The house had sat empty most of the winter and spring. The heat was set low to keep the pipes from freezing. I didn’t adjust the dial, but hunkered beneath some blankets and listened to a Johnny Cash CD. The next morning I got up chilled to the bone and walked to the beach, beyond the protective dunes. I strolled just the dry side of the spent waves washing up on the sand. The sandpipers rushed back and forth in their little groups. They look like grey/brown tennis balls with beaks and spindly legs. One turned back to stare at me: I amuse you? I’m here to fucking amuse you? He seemed to say, like a little Joe Pesci bird gangster, not fully realizing he was lighter than the breeze. Finally, he ends his stare down and skitters back to his gang to boast a bit.

I collected the occasional shell along the way. I like the scallops, but I don’t find many. I have a lead crystal bowl full of shells I’ve collected over many shore visits by the front door of my house up north. They remind me of the place I love best in this world. I imagine my children will fight over it when I die, throwing away the shells, but keeping the bowl, not realizing the true value of the memories held within.

This very shoreline, usually so crowded with people, stood empty except for me and the sandpipers and a pittie, that wanted me to play ball with her. Her owner, high on the dune, called her back to her side. Alone again, the crash of the waves soothed me. I’ve walked for miles and I have miles to get back. Part of me wanted to keep walking south until I could see Atlantic City shimmering in the distance, but I just turned back.

 

#longbeachisland #downtheshore #lbi #exit63 #nj

Beauty Queen pt3

I had questions, but Tasha was saying goodnight. Apparently, I had been correct in thinking she was beauty queen material (catch up with pt1 and pt2 here). She had the title, sash and tiara to prove it. As I said my farewell, I figured that was the last moment of our acquaintance. I had held this beautiful, engaging woman’s attention for several hours, but our time together was at an end. I’m a good texter, but I can’t text forever. At some point, I’d have to move to a voice call and my facade of confidence and humor would crumble. I thought about her as I fell asleep that first night of the new year and was both happy and sad at the same time.

I had put Tasha away in her own file in my mind by the time I awoke the next morning. The file was titled Beautiful Ships that Passed in the Night. Besides, I knew Pia was coming back the next day and we made plans to go out to dinner. She had been fighting a bug for some time though and we ended up postponing. I waited a full week before going back on the dating app. I glanced through my chat with Tasha. The app tells you how long it has been since your contact has been on the app. It had been several days for Tasha, perhaps not since we had been on together.

I flipped disinterestedly through a few profiles and out of boredom went back to Tasha’s profile. Interesting the things you learn on profiles. For instance, she revealed the town she grew up back west. She also had a green dot by her name now. She was on. I had already put her in the inactive file. Dare I reach out and re-establish contact? No, I thought, remain satisfied with your lovely little New Year’s Eve.

Bing, a message came in. From Tasha. My heart literally skipped a beat. Hey you, she wrote. And we all know exactly what hey you means from a woman to a man. It means I like you. I may possibly want to have your children, but you better get your ass in gear ’cause I’m in my 40’s and time isn’t cooperating. At least that’s what ran through my head in the second between reading her hey you and my reply, Took you long enough to say hi again. False confidence, sure, but that was better than none at all.

I was playing hard to get, she returned.

Really? Me too, I wrote back. If we both keep playing hard to get, nobody is going to get got! And just like that we fell comfortably back into our banter. I got to ask about her pageant experience. She went onto the national pageant, but lost there. We chatted for a couple of hours. As it came time to end the chat, I pulled out some big boy words and asked her out for drinks.

Holy Jesu, she said yes.

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #beautyqueen #scotland #rutgers

Beauty Queen pt2

A young blond woman has just been crowned Miss World

New Year’s Eve and I was alone. I don’t think there is any more alone than alone on New Year’s Eve. I guess, if you think about it, getting a date should be pretty easy. After all, no one wants to be by themselves that night. Yet, here I was on my couch, turning on Netflix, resigned to a dismal evening. My girlfriend had broken up with me less than a month before; my “friend” Pia had escaped to the shore; and the woman I had met earlier rang no romantic bells (catch up with pt1 here). And then I got a notification I had a match on a dating app. This must be some woman even more desperate than me, I thought, as I signed in only to find a beautiful woman staring back from her profile pic. Tasha.

I joked I was wearing the same sweater she had on in her profile pic. Really? she asked. Yes, I replied. My abs aren’t as defined as yours and my cleavage isn’t as sexy, but definitely the same cropped sweater. I accomplished a lot with that line, I think. I acknowledged I wasn’t as hot as her. It wasn’t false modesty on my part. This woman was more beautiful  than 95% of the world’s population. For the time being, you’ll just have to trust my subjective opinion on the matter. I noted her obvious sexiness without howling like a wolf. And I displayed a sense of humor. She lol’d me and said she loved a man with cleavage. And so the dance began.

In all relationships, I think, there is an alpha and a beta. One person is reaching higher and the other is holding a hand behind. Maybe it’s looks or personality or maturity or finance, but there’s always something. In this case, Tasha was most definitely the alpha. I had two choices from there: bow down before her beauty or ignore it. I suspect a woman like Tasha is accustomed to men fawning over her. I decided to go the opposite way. I had nothing to lose and possibly a beautiful woman to gain.

I often think back to my college days a very long time. I went to Rutgers, the state university here in New Jersey, USA. As you might imagine, most of the students were in-state, as it was a cheaper alternative to private university. The school itself had a decent reputation nationwide. Rarely would you find anyone from California at Rutgers. There just was no reason. Why would anyone travel from that fantasy land on the west coast to the much-maligned state of New Jersey on the east coast? Don’t get me wrong, I love New Jersey. In fact, I think it has so much to offer from bustling beaches to skiing, access to New York City pizza and Philly cheese steaks from the source, and high tech corporations to family farms. I consider it the most eclectic of states. Come visit, you’ll see. That said, I cannot think of a single reason anyone would voluntarily leave California to go to Rutgers University.

Nevertheless, I saw Catherine from California in a bikini playing frisbee on the quad between the apartment buildings the first week of September 1981. She had clearly stepped out of a Beach Boys song and taken a wrong turn. She was blonde and blue-eyed, lithe and tanned. She was like a beacon of pure light on the green expanse of lawn. She laughed with each toss of the frisbee to her friend, like no one was there watching them. I was mesmerized. Every boy within eyesight was. All of a sudden, every one of them wanted to hang out on the quad. The Buffs felt the need to lose their t-shirts. Other frisbees started gliding back and forth. She was the focal point of all conversations the rest of the day and by day’s end, most of us knew she was from California and single. For some reason, she got the nickname “Senior Project”. I’m not sure why. She was a freshman and most of the guys were not seniors, but I guess the idea was to make her your own by senior year. And dozens of guys took their shot. She shot them all down as gently as can be. I bring Catherine up because she was actually the most wonderful of girls, beautiful inside as well. I did fawn over her too for some time, but she never went for it. She was always attentive and polite to me, but did not encourage my boy games. In the end, she began dating a guy. He was neither the most handsome nor the most athletic, but they connected completely and it was easy to see they had fallen in love. I knew such things were possible.

Tasha and I passed the night easily. We each made a cocktail or two at our respective houses, asking questions, making jokes, just talking about movies and music and food. The dm’ing was delightful and the night passed quickly. I learned she was from a state out west, she was of Scot ancestry, owned her own cosmetic business, had one daughter, lived fairly close, and was divorced. For the briefest of moments, I wondered if I should invite her over. No, no, I realized this was just one of those magical times when I connect with a wonderful woman, but it was destined to be brief and, in the long run, inconsequential. I didn’t really think Tasha would fall in love with me like Catherine had with her boyfriend so many years ago. This would just be a very nice memory tomorrow. We watched the ball drop in Times Square and wished each other the best of new years. We were just two lonely strangers passing the night. She sent me the kiss emoji and I sent one back. Just before we said good night, she said, Tell me something very few people know about you. I told her I had written an unpublished book some time ago. I’m proud of it and consider it one of my few, but great, accomplishments. And you? I asked.

She sent me a picture. Tasha was considerably younger, but the woman in the picture was her. She was in a flowing teal gown. There was a line of gorgeous women in a row  behind her, also in long gowns with sashes naming counties I did not know. She was smiling broadly and genuinely, while grasping a huge bouquet of roses. She had a tiara on her head and a sash draped diagonally from her shoulder proclaiming her Mrs. ******** County*. She was being crowned a state beauty queen. And the beauty queen was saying good night.

*the number of *’s does not correspond to the name of the county.

 

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #beautyqueen #scotland #rutgers

 

 

 

 

 

100 Posts!

 

 

100

That’s something, innit?

I started this writing experiment two years ago. Many of the people who read it at first were directed here from my dating app profile. For the first several months I built an ever-growing audience. It was exciting for me, but it wasn’t a very well thought out plan. After all, dating apps work by proximity. I knew some of the women who popped up on my screen. And they could then link to my blog and read all about my personal life. It wasn’t out of the realm of possible outcomes my children or other family members might read of my dating exploits. At the same time, possible dates were reading the posts. Some enjoyed the insight; others were adamant they wanted no part of it. There was no great buffer between the blog and my real life.

A few women became penpals for a time. I enjoyed our chats immensely and I miss them even as I write this. They faded as I disconnected the blog from my dating app and I pretty much stopped writing posts for almost the entirety of 2019. Should any of them read this, stop by the comments and say hello. I halted the serial dating I had started the year before and enjoyed a couple of real relationships. The blog became fairly anonymous. There are a few people who read it and know who I am, but I know I can rely upon their discretion. Also, from the first day I started the blog until this, one woman has remained a constant, Pia. When the social isolation began with the pandemic, I thought we might grow closer as neither of us seemed to be romantically entangled with other people, but that did not happen. She has a father who is in the depths of dementia and she is a major caregiver to him. The communication between us dwindled to an occasional hello and a hollow response back.

I turned my attention back to the blog and I’ve enjoyed writing again. I’ve been productive and I love having people see my work. I’m terrible at self-promotion and don’t know how to get my work out there, so my audience remains small, but select. Despite this, I do love seeing people from all over the world look at my posts. I’m big in India and China. I’m thinking of doing a blog-signing tour in those countries (wink). I regret Ireland (my ancestral homeland) rarely pops in for a gander. Sadly, this idle time of quarantine is drawing to a close. I return to work after Memorial Day (May 25th in the USA). I hope to continue my writing with some regularity. In the meantime, there are a hundred posts behind me and ten days ahead. And there are stories to tell and a beauty queen awaits….

 

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #beautyqueen

#ireland #100 #india #china

Beauty Queen pt1

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Speaking of curious cases, this one is more recent:

Early last December, the woman I had been dating, and who had professed her love, unceremoniously broke off our relationship. She is deserving of a multipart series of her own, of course, and I hope to return to her soon. During all of the time I dated her, and in fact all of the two plus years I’ve been on these dating apps, there has been another woman. Let us call her Pia, my friend Pia. We met right after I started online dating. I’ve mentioned her before (in particular here). The month of December, as it often is for me, began fairly bleak. The woman who loved me, broke up with me. My birthday occurs mid-month. My now ex-girlfriend had booked a hotel in Washington DC for the weekend. We were going to have ourselves a fun little getaway. Those plans were quashed. My friend Pia stepped in and saved the day for me. It was quite nice. As often happened with her though, I would hope we were getting more serious and she would pull away. During holidays, she often disappeared almost completely.  New Year’s Eve was barreling towards me. Pia made plans to see her spinster, older cousin at the New Jersey shore. It was looking like I’d be alone.

Maybe I could bandage my broken heart, I thought. I went on a dating app after Christmas, swiped right on a several women, and waited. A few women matched back  and I chatted them up. One caught my fancy more than the others and we honed in on each other. Her profile gave her age the same as mine and her photos showed a pretty woman who appeared younger than her years, fit and happy. We chatted easily by text, discovered neither had anything to do new year’s eve and decided to meet late that afternoon at a restaurant in beautiful Piermont, New York, along my side of the Hudson River. The scenery, however, was shrouded in darkness due to the early sunsets in December. We met at the bar. She looked decidedly older than her pictures. Nevertheless, she was an interesting date being a costumer for major movies. She had fun anecdotes about famous stars. We were not a match, though, and the date died a natural death a couple of hours later. Neither of us texted to the other, Let’s do it again. Anyway, I have a rule about that: if I pick up the check, I leave it to the lady to call or text me a thank you. She did not. As it turns out, this post isn’t about her. It’s about Tasha.

By the time I got home it was still just early evening. I mixed myself a drink, took a seat on my couch, and resigned myself to an evening of Netflix. Pia and I would exchange a few messages. I would wonder why she chose boredom down the shore when she could have been bored with me. My phone pinged. I looked down and saw I had a new match. And thus, I was introduced to Tasha. There once was a study that folks on these dating apps choose people who are 25% more attractive than they are. How do they figure this out? The person chosen gets more hits than than they do. I opened my app and saw clearly Tasha was not 25% more attractive or desirable than me, she was easily 75% more. She was so ridiculously beautiful, she could have been in and won a major beauty pageant. I’m talking beautiful. Her profile said she was in her mid-40’s, lived a few towns away, had a daughter, and ran her own little business. She was blonde and extremely well-proportioned. Her pictures were sexy, while not being overtly sexual. In one, she had on fitted jeans and a cropped, button-down knit sweater, that showed a bit of her defined abs and cleavage as well, but offhandedly, not ostentatiously.

When you get a match notification, you can surmise the lady is on at that moment. Despite Tasha being out of my league, the drink in my hand, combined with the two I had had earlier at the restaurant, lent me liquid courage and I dm’ed her: Hello Tasha, I wrote. Would you believe I’m wearing that very same sweater?

Really? she asked, almost immediately. And we embarked on a whirlwind night…

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging #autobiography #memories #writing #nyc #bergencounty #nnj #biography #covid19 #coronavirus #beautyqueen