Last Saturday I used my first Cheek’d card.
It took me a while. I know, I know, I’ve had them for a couple of months but I’ve not felt physically attracted to any men I’ve encountered.
OK, that’s kind of a lie.
I’m attracted to lots of men, they’re just too young. I’m having a bit of a crisis because I am consistently drawn to men in their early forties. I’ve concluded that males are at their physical peak at that age and I chronically have to remind myself that I’m fifty-two. I guess a ten year difference isn’t that awful but there’s that voice in my head whispering that a decade WILL matter when I’m eighty.
There’s nothing sexy about a chick with a walker.
SO, I’ve been scouring the crowds in my fair city to find a fifty-something man whom I can imagine cozying up to. Physical attraction is always the first step quickly followed with an assessment of just how fucked up he is. Seriously, we all are (to some degree) with a half-century of living behind us.
Back to Saturday.
I spent the day with my surrogate family—Karen and Mark, my neighbors. It was a sweltering afternoon–Finnish saunas have nothing on the NYC subway system with the soaring temps coupled with humidity. We had just returned to our neighborhood after seeing the micro-living exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, followed by lunch at the Red Rooster in Harlem. We surmised two things: living in the tiny apartment on display might be doable if we weren’t claustrophobic AND my fried chicken kicks Red Rooster “Yard Bird” ass.
As we exited the subway station at 72nd, a mountain of a man (at least 6’4”) approached and asked for directions. He was looking for a specific shoe store in our neighborhood, one that carried footwear in larger sizes. Karen, Mark and I looked at his feet and, yep, they were massive. “What size are they?” Mark asked and he replied, “Sixteen,” with a grin.
I admit that got my attention. Ladies, my brain went where yours would, too. You know you were thinking–big feet, big…..
I noticed he had an accent but I couldn’t place it. Let’s see: tall—check, age appropriate—check, accent—check, handsome–check and the potential foot correlation was a bonus. Mark gave him directions to the shoe store on 72nd and he plodded away but not before we had a moment. You know what I mean–that thing that happens when eye contact is made and held a couple of seconds longer than necessary.
As I watched him go I remembered my Cheek’d cards and started the awkward and annoying task of rummaging through my handbag to find them.
I fumbled endlessly until I eventually located the cards but not without puncturing my hand with the bristle of a vent brush and dirtying my fingernails with the crumbs of god-knows-what from the bottom of my bag. Next I had to choose the appropriate card and by then he’d crossed the street and disappeared. Mark and Karen had an errand on 72nd Street so I gave the card to Mark and said, “If you see him, tell him it’s from the blonde.”
Who the hell says that besides Mae West?
I walked home wondering how long it would take for contact.
Perhaps I was being overconfident as I checked my Gmail account minutes after walking in the door. Cheek’d will send a message when someone has logged on using a card.
I assumed that Mark couldn’t find him until he sent a text letting me know he’d given Paul Bunyan the card and also confirmed he wasn’t married.
Well, maybe he was busy with shopping and I’d hear from him later.
Perhaps, because he’s foreign, he’ll wait until he’s returned to his hotel to use their computer so as not to rack up international charges on his smartphone.
Still nothing by the next day.
AND every day after that.
A person can only make excuses for so long before facing the harsh truth—he wasn’t interested. I wasn’t deterred, though. I took the rejection in stride and faced his lack of interest like a big girl. “Who cares that he didn’t like me.” I muttered, “We could never slow dance with those clodhoppers all up on me.”
“I’ll be better prepared next time,” I thought as I cleaned out the chasm of crud also know as my purse. I put the cards in a strategic pocket, easily accessible the next time I found myself attracted to a handsome stranger, one with normal feet, mind you. I wasn’t going to let one tiny hiccup discourage me, no siree! There was no need to spend another moment looking back or deliberating (ad nauseam) as to why he didn’t make contact. And as I gathered the unsightly pile of pocketbook debris: gum wrappers, receipts, political flyers, a golf tee, a wine cork, half of a doggie chew stick, a broken rubber band, seven paperclips, two empty bottles of hand sanitizer, a used up tube of lip balm and the pile of crumbs of unknown origin and made my way to the garbage can I knew I’d put the unfortunate incident behind me.
As I stood over the trash receptacle brushing the crumbs from my hands I had one of Oprah’s Aha! Moments.
“OF COURSE,” I yelled, without, um, delusion. “He must be gay.”
“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more a fool not afraid of rejection.” Billy Joel
Okay you’re not the smoothest operator but you are a lot a fun. Why don’t the guys see that? I have to admit you are a bit slow on the card distribution-remember to catch a fish you either have to bait the hook really well or …….throw out a lot of lines. I ordered 500 cards with my name and email on them for just the same purpose as you and okay I’ll admit I have about 490 of them in the box. It is a lot harder to approach a guy in person. Even huge ones. And FWIW my current fellow has size 15 shoes and ……………………………:P
Very true, Cindy, about fishing. I am slow with the cards and I don’t know why. Maybe I’m still stuck in the “men should approach women” mindset? I need to get over it, for sure. Congrats on the current fellow and his feet.
Lori Cheek says
Just like anything in life… the more you play, the more you win and you’ve got 49 more chances in your crumb filled bag! : ) It took me probably 1,000 Cheek’d cards until I found my Prince and it was well worth the wait!
I agree, Lori. I need to get in the game. Summer is over and it’s back to school of love.
Great blog. I laughed. Need a gaydar tuneup!
Thanks, June. Glad you enjoyed it!
Another great Melani adventure. I love it! And very brave because although we have all experienced rejection, you aren’t afraid to talk about it publicly. Yes, please get going with those Cheek’d cards, Melani. After all, its a win-win. Chances are you will meet someone great and along the way, we will get to enjoy more of your dating exploits in NYC. By the way, I found it funny all the things that can end up in a woman’s purse 🙂 I always wondered what you guys keep in there 🙂
I think it’s important to share the rejection, Tim. It’s the truth and I’m certainly not always the one doing the nixing. Glad I could enlighten you on the contents of a woman’s handbag. Those were just my throwaways. Don’t get me started on what’s still inside. It’s like a survivalist’s backpack. Happy to hear you enjoyed the post!
Hang in there Mel!! Dating after 50 is not for the faint hearted….sigh! Yesterday I received my second “Dear Jane” phone call in about a month, but I refuse to believe that my guy isn’t out there somewhere! I tell my married girlfriends that dating in your fifties is much like being a runway model….you have to be prepared for a ton of rejection!!! It still stings though, but you’re not alone!! Keep smiling honey!
Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone, Debbie. I will hang in there because the payoff is worth it–he’ll be worth it. Great comment, btw!
It sure is difficult dating after 50… I believe after 40! but I’ve thought about the cards since before I read about them in your blog and still haven’t gotten up the nerve to get myself some. I, like you, am stuck in the ‘guy should ask the gal era’. Maybe one day…
It is difficult, Anna! Let me know if you decide to get the cards. I’ll keep everyone up to date on further card distribution. Thanks for the comment!
Laura L says
He could very well be gay. In these situations, I tend to go with something happened and he must be dead. And not that I would be any braver, but giving Mark the card to deliver might have foiled the situation. Who knows, maybe he’ll email next week!
I like the way your mind works, Laura. I think you’re right–he must be dead. 🙂
I think it would have been courteous for him to at least respond to the card! I mean how many times could someone have done that to him, it was flattering to say the least! Thanks again for another great story,Melani!!
You’re welcome, Bridget. I’m glad you enjoyed the story!
Hi Melani, enjoyed your story. Rejection or not being notice is so hard but keep your chin up because I do. 60 years young and still hoping to find my special someone. Always keep a smile.
Thanks, Irene! You keep smiling, too. 🙂
So glad to get your blog! I’ve really missed your sense of humor in the land of lonely 50’s!
My sense of humor is alive and well, Jenny, because laughter is always the better alternative in the land of lonely 50s!
Just getting around to reading this. Two things: women generally age slower than men as they get older and I don’t see why you can’t date someone 10 or fewer years younger. You won’t be using a walker (especially if you continue that running!) and even if you are, he will probably be using one too. When my husband and I met, I was 21 and he was 31, but we both later learned that he thought I was older and I thought he was about 27. If there is a connection, you shouldn’t let age get in the way – even if you are the older one.
The other thing I want to tell you is that this was a really funny blog and I, too, laughed out loud. Thanks for the smiles!
Thanks, Ellie. I agree, a few years younger doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Thanks for sharing the info about your husband and I also agree with your conclusion that if there’s a connection, age shouldn’t get in the way. Happy to have made you laugh!
I don’t get it. Big feet, . . . big shoes?
Come on, Magrooder! You really haven’t heard of the correlation before? OK, here’s an article that will explain:
“Yes, of course I have,” he said as he gazed at his size 12 feet.
Not size 16, but respectable, yes?
Showoff! Yes, respectable. 🙂
Kern L says
Hi Melani – thanks for another amusing article. hmm … I can certainly agree that foot size is relevant when one is shopping for shoes. And I have thought about – if I were handed a personal card by a strange man in the situation you describe, there is not such a clear answer to what I would do. If this occurred when I was away from home, the card would get tossed. And it would certainly not happen in my present home city – too many burkas – making this a purely theoretical situation. However, I’d probably follow up even with a very skeptical view to the possibility of it leading to an actual date. But Melani, this attraction to younger men seems to be at odds with your prior discussion about “age appropriate” and this is enlightening. I am most attracted to women my own age but understand that life experience and years are not the same. For me at 51, plus-or-minus 5 years is reasonable and a few years outside of this might still be ok. I had a sudden flashback to a wine-tasting I went to, labels covered and the only intention to choose wines pleasing to me. This is not to advocate blind dates, rather to observe I have occasionally found that what I am most predisposed to select is not necessarily what is most pleasing to me. Then again, I find that I have more in common with people who have traveled and lived outside of their home culture and this has become a greater factor in attraction and compatibility. But anyway, I think that there is general agreement with a sentiment along the lines of – know yourself, like yourself, love life and be open to the good things that will surely happen. And somehow I suspect that you are often smiling about life.
Loved your message, Kern. I guess I should explain the contradiction of wanting someone who’s age appropriate and my attraction to younger men. Now, when I say younger it means a man in his forties. When I pass an attractive man on the street I’ll ask my friend or one of my daughters, “He nice looking. How old do you think he is.” Inevitably they will tell me he’s in his forties. So finding someone age appropriate with whom I’m attracted, is the goal. And actually, given your acceptance of “plus or minus five years,” I’m still OK with men in their forties.
I am often smiling about life, Kern. Thank you, again, for the thought provoking comment.