Most stories with a beginning and an end have a middle, but not this one. It’s about two people who began with an ending, or two people whose ending was nothing more than a long beginning. Or maybe the story’s all middle, since they had no history, and no future. Whatever it was, they never managed to decide and somehow made a life in that conundrum. I was one of them.
At 54, after 30 years of marriage and two of loneliness, I went on JDate to find a man and found Dean.
My sensei in dating arts was Miri, my former graduate student, who was seeking a diversion from her dissertation on Henry James. She’d had a wide and subtle education, from a yeshiva in Toronto, to Cambridge, to Princeton, and at 27 was wiser in the ways of the world than I. While most of her yeshiva friends were hefting toddlers, Miri was proudly single, a virtuosic JDater. We had bonded in the weepy weeks after I left my marriage, watching Olympic pairs skating in my drafty apartment. All I remember from that time is sequins.
We slid into a booth at Panera. “Have you gone online?” she asked, waiting for the gizmo in her hand to buzz, the sign that our soups were ready.
“JDate is out of the question, if that’s what you mean.” My sister-in-law, Sherri, who JDated for years before marrying at 40, had cracked the code of masculine misrepresentation. “Mid-50s means 60s,” she’d told me. “Medium build means heavy. Entrepreneur means unemployed.”
Miri sipped on her ginger tea. “When was your last date?” she asked, the good lawyer who never asks a question to which she doesn’t know the answer.
“About 30 years ago,” I said.
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