Miss Not So Lonelyhearts

February, 2014

Dear LTR:

First off, hello from a 68-year-old woman, strong of mind

and body, and with no ambition to be America’s Oldest Teenager or

Anorectic Botox Babe. You know the type, uber skinny, wrist-sized lower

legs, dyed blond hair dry as straw, with or without an extension, French

nails, capped teeth like sanded down stones, swanning around, designer

handbag in her clutches, in stilettos, with a pigeon-toed gait like a

little girl learning to walk. Gaining on her, you witness her

prehistoric face, with numbly unhappy expression, and you gasp in horror

at her in the window of a department store mirror where she is checking

herself out.

Okay, I could stand to lose a few pounds but I wear my

weight well. I can still pitch a baseball so hard and fast that it

would hurt through a thickly padded catcher’s mitt. Eight-year-old boys

swoon over my athletic prowess. Had I married, I would have registered

at Modells Sporting Goods.

I came close to walking down the aisle once, but some small

detail, like his affinity for air conditioning and my refusal to freeze

and suffer a stiff neck, intervened. Another issue: pulp versus no pulp

orange juice. The devil is always in the details. Also, anyone who

emails jokes wouldn’t get to first base with me. Or punctuates

sentences with ha,ha,ha. A nervous tic is no excuse. I do,

however, adore fine dining connoisseurs and if we ever ran out of things

to discuss, I could bring along the Conversation Cards that come with

my Omaha Steaks orders. The talking points are windows into the

soul : ‘If the person across from you were an animal, what would they

be?’ and ‘What would your dream job or career be?

With my many and varied interests, books, music, movies, sports and

travel, I am never desperate for company. In fact, sometimes I cannot

think of any better company than myself. Anyway, I can always depend on

the kindness of telemarketers—Greg from Merrill Lynch or Cindy from card

member services—to call as I sit home alone.

I don’t even know anymore what the word “lonely” means. The

last time I held hands was a few weeks ago at the nail salon where Lucy,

the Korean manicurist, twined her fingers in mine while rubbing cream

into my hands. Geez, we didn’t even talk. Try having a conversation

about “cut cuticles” or “what color polish” which I don’t even wear.

I subscribe to Netflix, but not match.com or

ChristianMingle. (For God’s sakes, I’m Jewish!) This is the first time,

I swear, that I am answering a personals ad. It being February in New

York, with winter dug in, relentless, merciless, with bites of wind off

the river, gris, like the pallor of an Eastern European sky, I think a

cuddle by the fireplace might be in order, and I say to myself, ‘Oh,

what the hell, answer him. It can’t hurt.’

You write that you are looking for a Long Term

Relationship or, as you put it, LTR, which I so appreciate, believing as

I do that brevity is the soul of genius. Owing to the circumstance of

our both being septuagenarians, as a practical matter you should know

for future reference that I want to be cremated. No high maintenance

stuff like a plush coffin or mausoleum for me!

At the moment though I am a vital woman with the vestiges

of a tan from sailing in the Caribbean in January. I read somewhere

that it takes thirty days or so for a tan to fade entirely. Best to

call me sooner rather than later.

In closing, I think I should come clean. Which is to say I

have just decided that I am not going to give you my name, phone number

or email address. What you need to know about me, above all, is that I

change my mind from one minute to the next.

Yours Sincerely,

Never Meant To Be

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