seniors | boomer in the city | What does age matter?by barbara rose brooker
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He moves like he’s gliding. At my book signing, he asks me to sign his book and write my phone number. I look up. He has a nice face. A nice smile. “How do I know you’re not a rapist? And are you Jewish?”
He laughs. “I’m Jewish, and I’m not a rapist. Here’s my card.’’
I look at the card. In gold it’s printed with small letters. He’s a lawyer. “Sure, why not?” I say, writing my phone number.
“What does age matter?” I say, trying to sound like dating a man 20 years my junior is not usual for me and wondering if he knows I’m 75. I don’t hide my age — the bags under my eyes are there no matter how many cucumbers I use, and when I walk I hesitate because no way do I want to fall.
Later, at home, I call my friend Moosie Blumberg and tell her about the date. “He’s 55.’’
“Fifty-five-year-old men who want to date 75-year-old women want a nurse with a purse. Or they’re mentals. Trust me, I know,” she says. “The last junior boomer I was with stole my Manolo Blahnik shoes. When my Life Alert necklace went off, he ran because he thought it was for the cops and I never heard from him again.”
“I don’t have a purse. I’m a struggling older writer. Stop throwing cold water on it.”
She sighs heavily. “Honey, the younger ones want something.”
The next night he calls from the lobby. I hurry downstairs, careful in my high-heel boots not to fall. He’s sporting a nice dark blazer and tie.
“You look lovely,” he says. “I hope you like Indian food.’’
“Sure, why not?” I say, wondering if I have Imodium in my purse.
He’s driving this antique Lincoln Continental. “I collect antique cars,” he says, helping me into the passenger seat. He drives into the fog. The city is lit up and from his stereo radio, Bach plays. On the way to the restaurant he tells me how much he’s enjoyed reading my books.
“Geez, thanks,” I say. We talk about a lot of things.
At this beautiful Indian restaurant, we’re seated on pillows. Handsome waiters wearing brocade jackets and turbans bring us drinks and appetizers. It’s really nice.
While we eat curry and lamb kabobs, we talk about poetry and literature and politics. “You’re brilliant,” he says after my every insight.
Wowie, so different from the boomer oldie I was with who talked about his esophagus and high blood pressure.
Anyway, we’re having a great time — down to feeding each other banana fritters. And then it’s time to go home.
The valet had parked on a hill. My date lets me into the front seat and closes the door. The valet is nowhere to be seen and took the keys by mistake. The motor is running. My date raps on the window, waving his arms. But the windows are so thick I can’t hear him. A crowd gathers around the car.
I press the buttons and bingo, thank God, the windows slide down. My date reaches his hand in and opens the door. The valet rushes up and gives him the keys, apologizing for the mistake.
“Whew! I could have been killed,” I say.
“I’m sorry I brought the car tonight. It’s old vintage.’’
“Like you think I am?”
“Well, older people like older things.’’
He drives into the night, a layer of fog sticking to the windows. On the way home he’s quiet.
He stops the car in front of my apartment, the motor still running. “Say. I’ve been wanting to tell you. I’ve written a novel. Will you give it to your agent?”
Upstairs, I call Moosie. I tell her about the evening.
“See? I told you,” she snaps. “He wanted something from you, that’s why he wined and dined you. Honey, it’s better to be with the oldies. Even youngies can be jerks.’’
“What does age matter?” I say. “Age comes in all shapes and sizes. The last oldie I had an affair with was a jeweler, only wanted one thing. He was cheap, too. Not one piece of jewelry did I get. I got a bar of soap and cologne after one year. Then the next oldie wanted me to pop his toes and look at videos of his grandkids.”
“Want, shmant,” Moosie says. “Honey, Bessie Blum had a love affair with the 35-year-old boomer freak who delivered her Sears fridge. Now she’s working at Sears and he’s on an island somewhere.’’
“Anyway, Moosie. Age is who you are. What does age matter?”
BarbaraRose Brooker is an S.F. native and the author of “The Viagra Diaries” and “Should I Sleep in His Dead Wife’s Bed?” Her new novel, “The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess,” will be released in the fall. http://www.barbararosebrooker.com
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