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One Bubbe’s Adventures in Online Dating

Illustration by Lior Zaltzman

Some Grandmas play bridge, mahjong, or golf. I play eHarmony, JDate, and In the past two years, I’ve corresponded with shrinks, rabbis, and a man who mentioned he has to be catheterized three times a day, but was very loving.

It used to be women of a certain age, the sweet spot between AARP and shiva, had to be formally invited on a date. They’d hope their friends would set them up with Harold the ancient widower or good old always available Uncle Joe. What a lame system.

As a woman approaching the biblical threescore and ten, oops just did that, I’m not a newbie in life. I work at a great bookstore, write books, even do review segments on radio and TV. And I can be found predawn at the gym lifting weights and catching up on the latest news. Full disclosure, my favorite thing to say there is “good-bye”.

Some Grammies look at men and say “why”? I look at older dudes and say “why not”?

As a single Bubbe for over a decade, I’d heard romance was only a click away. So I went trolling the Internet, looking for Mr. Right Now. I’m done with Mr. Right. I quickly realized whoever invented the phrase “truth in advertising” had never gazed upon a single’s site. It’s the only place on earth I’ve read descriptions of men who were all sensitive and relished long walks on the beach.

I advertised myself as smart, sassy, and 5’’4”. Okay. I’m actually 5’’1. Then there was the weight issue. Please. I believe the svelte, slender me my Driver’s License proclaims is accurate.

At least it was in 1992. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I did mention I liked long walks in the park, but the truth is I’d rather be inside, in pajamas, checking my latest stack of novels and biographies to review.

My first internet beau looked like a cutie in his photo. We’d written each other and talked on the phone for about a month and the conversations were quickly approaching Fifty Shades of Grey material. When he suggested meeting in the budget shirt department at Macys, I should have ceased and resisted because when we did meet, I realized his picture was only from the neck up. Who knew his pants zipper reached his chin? And the real deal wasn’t pretty. Bye Bye Zipper Man.

The rabbi was gluten free, afraid to fly, and bought his synagogue clothes at Wal-Mart. He told me I was zaftig and wasn’t observant enough. He was right. I practically started hauling out the shrimp. Shalom Sweetheart.

And the shrink? He was so tall; I had to fold him in thirds to squeeze him into my car. The good doctor was also confused. He overslept, missed his flight, and at the restaurant when he said he was going to the Men’s Room, I looked up to see him cruise directly into the kitchen. During dinner he told me I wasn’t willing to do enough emotional growth work. Correct. See ya later Dr. Freud.

And I loved the man who warned me in advance he peppered his hair. I knew then and there I’d be starting a spice-free food plan.

Or how to respond to the future beau who told me he was interested in a deep, meaningful overnight relationship.

What did I learn from all this freelance dating? I discovered if a man has a beloved pooch on his lap, he’s on the waiting list for bariatric surgery. If a suitor advertises he’s looking for a pen pal, he’s incarcerated. If the name is followed by Doc or M.D., they’re most likely an optometrist or a chiropractor. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And if the gentleman has had a heart transplant, in the words of my friends, leave the poor schnook alone.

What would I have done before internet dating? I would have never met Harvey the frum, gun-toting dentist from Tennessee. I would have missed out on the sharp guy from the Upper West Side who brought his dog to dinner, and Harold from Chicago and Boca, he wanted me to know. I would have never chatted with Jeff who studied paranormal phenomena in the female species, or met Ted who was into sailing and pistol competition. And I’ll never forget the man who said “I’m interested in meeting disabled ladies, preferably single leg amputees.”

Will I find true love again? Who knows, but it won’t be from lack of trying. My daughter leaves me loving messages inquiring, “How’s my mother the floozy?”

I’ve always believed there’s more than one man for every woman. There are probably a dozen across the globe who would fit most of my requirements. The dilemma is I think I’m getting close to the end of my list.

Forget self help books. As an experienced booklover, I’m never going to read “How to Make a Man Love You in 90 Minutes or Less.” I don’t have the time. And my favorite dog-eared marriage reference manual, “Been There, Done That, Kept the Jewelry,” hasn’t been working for quite some time now. Next on my reading list is “How to Woo a Jew.” Perhaps I’ll re-up on JDate or check out AdultFriendFinder. I’m skipping and for Russian brides and their American callers.

Or maybe I’ll just take up bridge or mahjong.

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