She’s single and lives in a small town where, she said, “Everybody knows everybody.” She won’t do the bar scene, and there aren’t many other options for meeting single men where she lives. What she’d like is a serious long-term relationship and she doesn’t rule out marriage. So what’s a woman to do?
This one read a story in the AJC about a recommended dating website for people over 50, many of whom are widowed or divorced by that age. She signed up, and it was not an inexpensive proposition. The website promised to provide her with three potential matches every day, but they can’t make a match without a detailed profile she was required to create.
The process demanded a very self-analytical review, she said. “I had to really work to define what’s important to me, what values I hold, specifically what I’m looking for, and what’s acceptable and unacceptable,” she said. The website itself can pose questions to be answered by the applicant for a more fully developed profile, but one can choose to answer them or not. She posted several photos of herself and received photos of potential matches in return.
Two months on the site has produced 313 “hits” on her profile, but she found only four to be acceptable, two of whom she’s dated. Far too many were, as it is said, “geographically undesirable,” from places like California. In declining the invitations from men not to her liking, she received instructions from the website always to be courteous and kind in any communication. Dating is not the only option the website offered. “You can decide to remain pen pals or even to travel together, even if you don’t want to date,” she said.
In this small town where she lives, she was shocked one day to catch the eye of a fellow she had declined while combing over the produce in the local grocery story. “He was totally bald but had a 12-inch long, ZZ Top-style, wiry beard. He was wearing bib overalls without a shirt and had a beer belly bigger than Santa Claus,” she said, chuckling. “And there he was making eyes at me over the lettuce!”
Let me point out that it’s not impossible to make a match over lettuce. In the 1980s, right in the heart of Buckhead — Atlanta, that is — Limelight was a popular disco, and the Kroger located in the same strip shopping center became known was “Disco Kroger.” Lots of pretty people trolled the produce aisles late at night, and the store enjoyed a long reputation as a place for guys and girls to meet. When the Limelight closed, Disco Kroger became less of a hangout for singles seeking singles, but it can still be Googled.
Thoughts of love, longing, perhaps even lust, are inescapable this time of year. Valentine’s Day looms, and it can come at no better time than to brighten up a cold, gray and gloomy season. CNN Consumer Watch said Americans will spend some $18.6 billion on Valentine’s Day. That includes an estimated $1.6 billion on candy, $1.9 billion on flowers and $4.1 billion on jewelry. On average, we’ll spend about $131 each. Men spend twice as much as women (as it should be).
The website Listphobia offers some interesting information about Valentine’s Day.
It says 53 percent of women would break up with their boyfriends if they didn’t receive a gift. Teachers receive more Valentines than anyone. Fifteen percent of women send flowers to themselves on the big day. Kissing can help diminish tooth decay because the extra saliva it produces cleanses the mouth. And chocolatier Richard Cadbury rolled out the first box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day in the late 1800s when doctors of the day advised their heart-broken patients to eat chocolate to salve their longing for lost love.
Hmmmmm. Let me propose a few other suggestions for when eating chocolate is advisable. Choose any that appeal to you. It’s Monday. It’s raining. It’s Friday. The sun came up. It’s Sunday morning. The paper came on time. To ward off hunger pains before dinner. With wine. For breakfast. You’ve just seen the first robin of spring. With coffee. You just got good news. You just got bad news. To offset a stressful day. Well, you get it.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Barbara Morgan is a Covington resident with a background in newspaper journalism, state government and politics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.