I have a friend, "Mimi" who has a knack for making me feel bad. She doesn't mean to, and it only happens every couple of years or so, which is why I continue to put up with her. Actually, to be honest, she loves me very much and really, genuinely wants to help. She just doesn't know how. For example, once when I was telling her about feeling lousy about being single and in my thirties and how there are so few men for every single woman and how maybe I should move away from Minneapolis because maybe the shyness of Minneapolis men is the problem, Mimi honed into a different problem: Me. She suggested that maybe I should get a sexy new haircut and wear more stylish clothes. Men, she said, are more driven by looks than women are. This is what she did, she said, before she met her husband.
Now, my friends in The Illiterati have said the same thing, but somehow when it came from them it felt more like an excuse to get together and go shopping and be the center of their attention for an afternoon. When it came from Mimi, it made me feel like a big awkward dolt.
Anyway, I should have run the other way when Mimi suggested that she set me up with a friend of hers. She's older than I am, and she said she couldn't tell whether this guy was too old for me or not. Did I have an upper age limit?
Well, you know, you want to be open. You want to accept love wherever it comes, but don't we all have an upper age limit? I have two. One is the one that I will say to people to prove how open I am. That one is 50. It's a total lie. My true upper age limit is 45. This is the upper age limit that I hold onto because I believe that I am hot. If I stop believing I'm hot, then before I accept that I should be with some old, crotchety geezer, I'll probably just decide to stop trying. Note that if you're over 50. I don't really think that over 50 is old. I just think that my age plus 15 will be old when I'm over 50.
And, so when I join dating sites, I tend to tell men over 45 that we are not a good match, without really bothering to find out more. Unless they are totally hot (which they haven't been), I even get a little bit offended that they think that they have a shot with me. Did I mention that I am hot? What would a hot woman in her 30s want with an old man who isn't hot? Especially if that's all I know about him?
You can only call me ageist if your partner is not hot and more than fifteen years older than you are.
I joined a dating site recently. My profile has generated no activity, except for one note from an old man telling me that he liked my profile, one note from a barely literate man who uses the user name "Shyman123" or something equally pathetic, and one note from a man in Malaysia who is in love with me. This is grim, grim, grim. It makes me feel a little bit lousy, but I try not dwell on it, because what's the point in dwelling? They don't know me. If they did know me, they'd know how hot and funny and sexy I am, and the number 35 would not be so frightening to them.
If they knew me, like Mimi does, they would know how great I am.
Mimi called me mid-week. The set-up wasn't going to work. He was bringing a date. Oh, well. Easy come, easy go. Still, I was invited to dinner. The dinner guests included Mimi, her husband, a well-established gay couple, my potential set-up and his date, and me.
The problem? The guy, even though we were no longer being set-up, was at least fifty-five. Easily. Complete with gray hair and a bald spot. I can choose not to take it personally when the Internet considers me over the hill as a woman, but how can I decide that it doesn't mean something when Mimi does it?
I sat at dinner, where I was easily twenty years younger than anyone else at the table, and until I recovered my composure and found my charm, I wanted to cry. I love the gay couple (or half of them anyway) and I love Mimi and her husband, but doesn't anyone else see how terrible it is to have to decide that men my own age are now considered, even by people who love me dearly, out of my league?