Shopping for Soulmates

How I became a beard for my mom on

I’ve just been winked at on, and my husband doesn’t mind at all. This candidate is tall enough, likes dogs, is still active and calls himself “Stormy” for whatever reason. He’s okay looking, likes curling and he’s a grandfather. Bingo! Just my type.

Don’t worry, we’re not swinging with the oldies. I’m just trying to find a date for my mother. My mom has been alone for a couple of years, and while she seems happy enough, I think she could use some excitement in her life. I want to see her out there, meeting new people, being wined and dined. I have this rosy image in my head of some sort of postmodernist, new-millennium, middle-age Brady Bunch, where my mom meets her 65-year-old dream man who sweeps her off her feet, has lots of money to treat her to a fantastic retirement lifestyle and happens to come with a great family. I’ll finally have the siblings I never had. We’ll all get along famously and this man’s grandchildren will make up for my limited breeding. My daughter will have step-cousins! (She’s the only child of an only child and might be the only person on the planet to not have cousins.) [SIGNUP]

Of course it takes one peruse on to realize the reality of this situation is harsh. There is a rare assortment of mutts and rejects, and the odds of finding a suitable dining companion are slim, forget my fantasy extended family. Every day I get a list of possibilities, and it’s all I can do to even scroll down. It’s just a big wince-fest. And I’ve been at this for quite a while, too. Most of the same guys have been on this thing for ages. Apparently, and unfortunately, they have a seemingly unlimited shelf life.

My mom is a private person. She looks fantastic, is funny and interesting and has an enormous amount of dignity. And she has absolutely no technical skills whatsoever. At 10-years-old I taught her how to work the microwave. And the VCR (to no avail). She never turns on her cell phone. She can’t Skype and there’s no way in hell you’d find her scrolling through possible matches. She knows I’m doing this, but couldn’t be more passive about it. And she’s all about looks, so you can imagine how successful we’ve been on If he’s not a senior version of George Clooney, tuxedo-clad and ready to take her to Bermuda on his yacht, forget it. And don’t even forward the link to her if he’s not a compatible astrological sign. Actually, I agree with her on that, I’m just more flexible with looks. She won’t let me post her photo, but I can send it to people if she approves of communication, which has been twice in a year.

Did I mention I’m the one communicating? I’ve become a beard. I’m emailing men in their 60s pretending to be my mom. And it occurred to me that these older gentlemen are probably as technologically impaired as my mother and their children could be doing this for them. I could be having these email exchanges with their daughters. It’s entirely possible that two women approaching middle age are flirting online pretending to be their parents. It’s like a twisted version of The Parent Trap waiting to happen. Hey Hollywood, are you listening?

So today was a first. There was a phone call. Apparently Stormy actually was doing his own emailing, thankfully. And he is a fussbudget. When “mom” gave him her phone number he emailed back several times demanding a specific time to call. And when “mom” said afternoon, Stormy was busy. Finally “mom” emailed back this morning, saying just call when whenever. Except I got busy in the kitchen and forgot to tell my mother. Stormy beat me by calling her first. It seems she didn’t know what he was talking about regarding this morning’s email exchange. Oops! I told mom she was going to have to get fast on her feet unless she wanted me calling her all the time.

I don’t think Stormy’s going to end up being the one somehow. The phone call didn’t go so well (beyond the confusion I caused). And mom and I are going to have to get a system down to avoid making her look like she has multiple personality disorder. But I’m an optimist and we’ll keep trying. So to all the ladies out there on for your senior citizen fathers, I’ll be in touch.

KELLY ROWELL lives on the Main Line. She writes for The Philly Post every Wednesday.