My daughter recently came for a visit and I was thrilled to drive her back to her home province with a car filled with things she needed for her apartment. It’s a long, tiring drive, so I stayed a few days before heading back, and was thrilled that my son – busy (x 1000) with a burgeoning career, was available to go out for a beer with me on one of the evenings I was there.
I never know where a conversation with my son will go: on this particular evening, somehow, we got onto the topic of dating sites. I have a few friends who met their significant others on dating sites and have since gotten married. But I also have friends who have met only disappointment. I had a lot of questions for my son about ‘what my friends are doing wrong’ (if anything) and ‘what they could do to improve their chances’.
My son seemed as fascinated by my fifty-something perspective as I was in his twenty-something point of view. Because I met my husband the old-fashioned way (he came to me in person and asked me out), I didn’t know the first thing about how dating sites worked. He explained the logistics of ‘liking’ someone (usually, a lot of someones); of determining what you like – and don’t like – when you look at others’ profiles. He told me that some sites allow you to see the profiles of locals no matter where you are on the planet (!!!). He gave me a rundown of what is appropriate to discuss on the first date (“You don’t tell them you’re looking for a long-term relationship on the first date Mom!”).
“But why on earth not??” was my perplexed response. “Especially at my age, if you’re looking for more than just sex, isn’t being honest about that the entire point?” I told him that when you are in your forties or fifties, you kind of do want to tell a person that you are seeking something long-term – as opposed to just a night of fun – as early as possible. “My friends don’t want to waste time on hook-ups that are going nowhere.” I told my son. “At my age, most of us have either lost a partner to death or divorce, or have had our hearts shattered a time or two. We tend to know what we want – and what we don’t want. And if we find what we’re looking for, we tend to be past speed dating and nightclubs: we’re ready to settle down; to set up a life together. We’re ready to cook meals together; to snuggle up under a blanket on the couch and watch TV together.” At that, my young, handsome, confident, worldly son gave me a look of horror and emphatically stated, “I will NEVER want to spend an evening just watching TV with ANYONE!”
There was no point in trying to explain this to him, but I hope, one day, that he will understand that mature love can be far more beautiful than any evening spent wooing and impressing a beautiful, young, smooth-skinned stranger.
I personally understood real love one random night when I was propped up in bed reading a book before going to sleep. I peered over my reading glasses to look at my husband, lying beside me, reading a book of his own, with his reading glasses perched on his own nose. And suddenly, without warning, my heart swelled to overflowing…
There is something so endearing; so lovely; so breath-taking; so… perfect… about growing comfortable enough with someone that you don’t mind looking weak, or old, or near-sighted, as long as they are there with you. We got married when he was 52 and I was 46: he was a widower and I had been a divorced single Mom for many long years.
Like all lovers, we had our crazy, passionate period. And it was wonderful. But honestly, I prefer this quiet peace; the complicit looks that frequently require no words at all; the comfortable belly laughs; the little tender moments when we gently – and just barely – touch in passing; to any passion we have ever shared.
After all these years, we still look at one another in wonder several times a week; and one or the other will exclaim, “Holy cow; we’re MARRIED!”
I love watching him when he doesn’t know he is being watched: those wrinkles at the corners of his eyes; his balding head; his greying beard, and oh, those reading glasses perched on his nose…
The reading glasses get me, every time…
Patti Moore Wilson/ © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com