By Israela Margalit
“If he’s too young for me, then he’s too young for you, Mom.”
That’s my daughter’s point of view, marked by the darker timbre of “Mom,” which emphasizes her admonition. “Do I really need to say it? Isn’t it self-evident? Common-sensical?”
Can I say that she’s wrong? Who’s to say what’s age appropriate for me? If I followed the traditional way of thinking, I would go for a man who’s a few years older than me. Men age faster than women, so there’s no need to join Cupid or Match.com. Take a seat in the nearest ER and just wait. If he comes in walking, there is a chance for us. I could take care of him until he returns on a stretcher.
“I agree with your basic premise,” I say to my daughter. “You can be too thin, and you can go out with someone who’s too young for you. Let’s face it, almost everybody is too young for me.”
“That’s taking it too far,” she says. “You look fantastic.”
“I promise not to embarrass you.”
She pauses and I can see guilt permeating her lovely face.
“I take it back, Mom. You can do whatever the hell you want. If you want to have a relationship with a thirty-year-old, be my guest. ”
The prospect of sex hasn’t yet entered my equation: thoughts about a new man in my life always stop at a flirtatious chat during theater intermission, or a peck on the cheek after a nice dinner out. But sleeping together? For men all dates lead to bed. For women, a relationship can be like a day on a lake: pleasant, soothing, and going nowhere.
But since my daughter has given me her blessing, I decide to take the plunge.
I try it first with a senior. Bill. He’s a nice man. After a long conversation, we kiss as a first gambit toward intimacy. Where are his lips? We go on, trying, trying. Lots of effort for poor results. Oh well, what did I expect? I’m so glad it’s over.
I smile at him. “Would you like a glass of wine? I have a great bottle of red.”
“Red’s good for the heart.”
“In moderation it is.”
“Everything is good in moderation.”
“When’s the last time you had sex twice in one day?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Twice in one week?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Twice in one year?”
“This year. Hopefully. Starting today.”
Good. Six months to go. But he’ll still want to kiss me. His lips have no contour. They feel soft, like the flab under his arms. I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it. I won’t do it. Got to try someone younger.
Bill. Fifty-two. He’s a nice man. We have a good conversation. He touches my leg. He says my skin is firmer than that of middle-aged women.
“If the competition is about being firm, I’m bound to lose,” I say.
“Me too,” he says.
We laugh. We kiss and proceed to the next phase. When it’s crunch time, his words translate into action. Nonaction, to be precise. He rolls over on his back.
“Sorry,” he says.
“It’s all right.”
“It’s not. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“It’s my fault,” I say. “I don’t turn you on.”
“You do,” he says. “It’s not you. It’s me.”
“Well, that’s a classic.”
“A classic when you break up. I’m not trying to break up with you.”
“There is nothing to break up,” I counter. “We haven’t even started.”
“We have. From my vantage point we have. I thought I’d be more effective because of your age. It’s supposed to take the pressure off.”
“In what way?”
“Lower expectations. Older women are happy with less.”
“Not all of them,” I say.
He turns over and performs. We laugh. But he loses me. I see looming psychological games for ego elevation. Got to try someone younger.
Bill. Thirty-four. He’s a nice man. We have a vivid conversation. He kisses me. It feels good. I’m enjoying myself so why rush the process?
I stand up and smile at him. “Would you like a glass of wine?”
“I don’t drink alcohol.”
“Only organic sugar-free.”
I go to the kitchen and pour him a glass of spring water. He won’t know the difference. Two hours into the relationship and already a lie. Next I’ll lie about my age.
“I don’t care how old you are,” he says. “I can only do it with older women. I lost my mother when I was eight.”
I sympathize. I listen attentively to his story of loneliness and desolation. He’s looking for a guiding hand. I’d like to help him but the awakening of my motherly instinct kills my libido.
I get myself a pint of chocolate ice cream.
About the Author
Israela Margalit is an award-winning playwright (Best Production New York International Midtown Theater Festival) and TV writer (Gold Medal New York Film and Television Festival,) a concert pianist and recording artist (Best CD the British Music Industry Award,) and recently a published author of short fiction and creative nonfiction.