Dating the Pre-Elderly

What's an aging singing gal to do? By Jessie Preisendorfer

Illustration by Edwina White

So a few months back, the unthinkable happened. It didn’t happen to anyone except me, so I’m pretty much the only one who got bent out of shape about it. I turned 50. I don’t remember it being any worse than turning 40, but my memory isn’t that good anymore. It was only when I decided that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my younger to middle part of middle age alone that things got weird.

I was excited to be getting back on the dating horse, and my friend (Stella, the Min Pin) reminded me that I had a bunch of lesbian friends and surely they could all set me up with their single friends. My problem would be solved, right? Surely one of their friends would be dateable, right?

And then I made some calls, and here’s what I learned: All of my lesbian friends are in loveless (read: sexless) relationships, and – here’s the kicker – they have absolutely no single friends.

Additionally (and more interestingly), all of them joked about how envious they were of my single status and wished me the best of luck. What a fun, single adventure I was on, they said. Oh, the women I would meet! The dates I would date! The encounters I would, um, count!

Before you start writing emails of complaint, I’m sure my small survey is not representative of all lesbians out there. I’m sure most lesbian couples are in wonderful, joy-filled relationships where every day is a precious gift – blah, blah, blah. I’m not bitter about people being in relationships. I’m just bitter in general.

And it’s not even that I need to fall in love. I like living alone with the Min Pin and a cranky old cat. I don’t want to have to share the remote, my bourbon or the Netflix queue. I just want someone I can complain about my day to and who will help with the hairballs. And it would be nice to have a romantic dinner with someone besides the four-legged people in my life. Stella never pays, and, frankly, that’s getting old.

My days of going to the bars to meet women are also over for now (I keep adding the “for now” part because I’m in denial), and I am too busy being a teacher (for now) to play recreational sports or join a book club or drive downtown and find parking (for now).

And the only other option is simply horrifying. It used to be the personals, where really desperate people went to find other really desperate people. In the personals, it was easy to gauge women’s levels of desperation. The more detail they presented, the more they were looking for their soul mate, that one perfect woman – the woman with whom they could go to Provincetown and sit through the “buy this timeshare” speech, the 100 percent match.

But now, online dating is where we tell the world everything that we think is important. Trouble is, it’s harder to tell who is desperate and, well, who is just “too” busy.

Preisendorfer is a teacher and member of ComedySportz, an improv group in Philly.