This is the 3rd essay in the #26essays2017 challenge that I’ve set for myself this year. I’m doing this because I’m the first to admit I’ve become a lazy writer: allowing guest posts and series and cross-posting to make up the bulk of content on The Diane Lee Project across 2016. The brave, fearless writing that readers admired and respected me for has all but disappeared. This year—2017—will be different. I’m reclaiming my voice—my write like a motherfucker voice!
Can’t I be done with this shit already?
I’m 53 years old, and I’ve been single for 10 years. Of course, I haven’t exactly been a nun in that time, but since turning 50, I’ve given up on finding a partner. Done with it, because there is more chance of finding life on Mars, or Jean-Claude Van Damme winning an Oscar than me finding that someone special.
Tell that to my attachment system. And hope.
Just when I think there is no way I will be attracted to anyone ever again (hyperbole for effect), against my will, the evil twins of attachment and hope latch onto a potential mate when I least expect it.
One minute I’m having an interesting conversation with a man—just enjoying the repartee of discovery—and the next minute, my stomach is flip-flopping all over the place like I’m a teenager. Bam! I now have an Object of My Affection (henceforth known as OMA).
And then I’m looking for any excuse to see OMA. And have a conversation with OMA. And hang out with OMA.
Or I would, except I stop myself. It’s awkward. Embarrassing, because I’m anything but a teenager.
I’m fifty fucking three for Chrissakes!
Way too old for this crush shit.
The latest OMA is at least—at least!—15 years younger than me.
For some strange reason, we clicked (well, that’s what my attachment system will have you believe) over my vegetarianism, and his admiration of my aforementioned vegetarianism. Of course, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’m not a proper vegetarian, but given that anything with fur or hair is off the menu, it’s close enough. Why split hairs, no pun intended.
And then it started.
Completely out of the blue. Left of field. Blindsided.
I keep telling myself: you’re an old lady. He’s a young man. There is no way that he’s interested in you. No fucking way.
And your crush weakens its grip, loses its intensity, as it should.
And then we meet for coffee. His idea. You could say no, but you don’t.
And when you get there, he hugs you.
And tells you how happy he is to see you.
And then you spend a couple of hours exchanging thoughts and opinions and world views.
And then more plans are made.
And he hugs you again, wrapping his arms around you, pulling you in close.
And you breathe in his scent, feel his warmth, his strength.
And the aforementioned crush strengthens its grip again.
And you tell yourself there is no way that he’s interested you.
You’re an old lady and he’s a young man.
And then hope steps in.
But what if? What if he’s just a tiny bit interested?
Who needs to deal with this shit—this feelings shit!—at fifty fucking three?
I’ve managed to keep a lid on it.
Chilled my jets.
Calmed my farm.
But I can’t stop hope flickering like a spark on dry tinder. It whispers its beguiling words:
– Maybe this is the time.
– Maybe this is the man.
– Maybe this is the one.
Of course, I know there is no such thing as the one. It’s a myth, a legend, a hoax, a fraud, a concoction. Pure, unadulterated fiction.
But tell that to hope. And my attachment system, neither of which are at all sensible when it comes to these things.
Because of them, the evil twins, I’ve been wrong before.
So terribly wrong.
And then, despite all of that, it starts.
The thoughts of possibility. The calculations of probability.
I Google “younger man older woman”.
And “celebrity couples where the woman is much older than the man”.
Fifteen plus years difference is possible, except the celebrity woman doesn’t look like an old lady. An old lady like me. Even desiccated, sinewy, sharp-edged Madonna.
No fucking way can this ever happen. Will this ever happen. It’s just not possible.
There is no way in hell that this man, this man who seems to genuinely like me, actually likes likes me.
(And yes. I’m aware of how teenaged that makes me sound.)
And it’s not because I don’t feel confident. Or sexy. Or vital. I do. I am.
It’s just that I’m realistic.
I’m an old fucking lady, all things considered.
And he’s a young fucking man.
So I try to dial it back, but it doesn’t work.
Proximity is an issue, fuck it.
So I resign myself to the fact that this crush is going to have to run its course.
It could be days, weeks or months.
But it will end. Dry up. Fold in on itself.
It will have to.
There are no other options, realistically and sensibly speaking.
Despite the seduction of possibility, the enticement of probability.
Because I’m an old fucking lady. I’m fifty fucking three.
And I should know better.
Or at least, that’s what I tell my attachment system.