Elder-amour, is that a real expression or did I just make it up? Whichever, it sounds good and love can be such a rewarding addition to the aging process. It might sneak up on any of us at any age and when it’s returned, these last years of our lives will be enriched.
But how do we tell what’s real from a passing fancy? I have a friend, using the word loosely, who latches on to any man who comes into orbit like a Venus-Fly-Trap sensing life. When he gets that deer-in-the-headlights look, it’s too late for him. Auntie Jo frowns on this. He’s been hooked and the rest of us hardly had a chance to notice whether he had hair, chewed tobacco or wore white socks with his wing-tips.
As a boon for those of you ladies who are looking, but may not be as fast a worker as my friend, I’ve prepared a checklist of priorities:
#1 Does he still drive?
#2 Does he still drive the family sedan, circa 1998? OR Is the ratio of dents to original paint overwhelming? If either of these is true, and you value your life, drop the guy.
#3 If the answer to #1 is Yes, he still drives, and you feel daring or desperate enough to ignore #2, don’t hesitate to make your move, white socks or not. It’s worth a try. Trust Auntie Jo.
In the interest of fairness I’d also like to present a list that you men can refer to, especially those of you who are Not Looking. You can call it your “Keep-Out-Of-Jail” card.
If your idea of retirement revolves around a quiet evening in front of a fake fireplace, clad in your rattiest sweats and worn down slippers while you sip a single malt and enjoy a crime novel, Forget It! You’ve already been scouted and appraised, and you need to be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.
Desperate measures are called for here, guys, and you have only two options open to you:
#1 You could consider entering a monastery, although they might not approve of the single malt.
#2 You can discreetly drop a few hints to the effect that you’re allergic to VIAGRA.
However, all of you, if you Are looking, and you Do spot your perfect target (pardon me) choice, you might be out of practice, so bear in mind that a certain amount of decorum is called for. Holding hands in public is good, it’s such a comforting thing to do, and it always gets an “Aw-w-w-w, How Sweet!” reaction from everyone. Auntie Jo highly approves!
Any moves beyond gently clasping your loved one’s gnarled fingers with your own are frowned upon and will bring into play an instant “cringe” reaction from observers, not to mention scaring the BEEJABBERS out of any offspring who might be counting on an inheritance. In other words, keep your best moves to yourselves. No hanky-panky in the corners or behind the potted palms.
If, after long and careful thought, you both agree to cohabitate, give yourselves plenty of time to adjust to having another person in your space. This is not as easy as it sounds. Somehow, someway you find you’ve turned into a bit of a slob. Or just the opposite, your life is now ruled by O.C.D. Whatever has happened to you, your new partner is sure to have experienced the reverse.
One of you stands at the kitchen sink to eat lunch, digging peanut butter out of the jar and licking it off the spoon. The other one still uses cloth placemats.
One of you flails all night and throws bedding around the room. The other one carefully tucks the sheet under a double chin and doesn’t move until morning.
One of you wears the same outfit for 2 or 3 days in a row, finally discarding it in a wrinkled, smelly pile in the middle of the floor. The other one changes 2 or 3 times a day, carefully putting the already worn clothes back on a hanger until it’s time to do laundry.
And so it goes. It’s called adjustment and no matter how difficult it might be, or how long it takes, the results are more than worth the stress. To those of you lucky enough to have found a new life together, I wish you only the best. Don’t let it bother you one little bit that Auntie Jo is sitting here alone, miserable and green with envy.