|Photo courtesy of PublicDomanPictures|
A couple of weeks ago, I found this message in my OKCupid in box.
Wow, caught your profile and had to write. Your (sic) looking fabulous! Are you really over 50?
Captivated as I was by such a charming introduction, I visited this gentleman’s profile. This is what I found. Please forgive the errors in spelling as they are not mine.
The journalist in me wanted to know more. I messaged him back, told him I found his profile “intriguing,” and asked him for further details. This was his reply.
Thanks for getting back with me. And “thanks” for not judging me on my profile. I just try to be up front, not trying to hurt or deceive anyone.
On the following Friday, I showed up at Starbucks at our appointed time. I hadn’t seen any actual photos of Larry (not his real name) so I had no idea who I was looking for, but he recognized me and introduced himself with a shake of hands. Do you remember Lenny and Squiggy from Happy Days? Imagine Lenny in his mid-50’s – same pants, same shirt, with a small paunch and a sagging face. And bad teeth. That was Larry.
He had already purchased his beverage and didn’t offer to pick up the tab on my soy chai latte. I wasn’t surprised. We took our seats, he checked his watch, and began his spiel. His wife is older and not in the greatest of health, he said. They haven’t had sex in years, but they get along well, they are really good friends. And there are children involved. He wants to keep his family together, but he has needs that simply aren’t being met. He has no choice, really.
Looking over his shoulder every couple of minutes for people who might recognize him, he informed me that he had had a several-years affair with another woman – a married woman, the ideal partner because she also had something, her own marriage, at risk. But her husband had been transferred so they had moved away from the area, hence his current search. Younger women were often interested in what he had to offer but experience has taught him that an older, mature woman is preferable in his situation – someone who won’t come banging on his door at 2AM, demanding time or money. Because nights and weekends are reserved for his family. He has a flexible work schedule, though, so can easily break away during the day for “meetings” without having to explain his whereabouts to anyone. Since I am free weekday mornings, my schedule coincides perfectly with his. And since I have a home of my own, the “where” is also covered.
Besides the obvious pleasure of his company, he continued with a leer, there would be other rewards for me. Although he isn’t a wealthy man – in no position to make my house payment, for example, or pay me a monthly stipend – he understands that I am probably on a tight budget. So if there was a special blouse or an expensive pair of shoes that I liked but couldn’t afford to buy for myself, he would be happy to help me out from time to time. And I would be free to continue dating. He understood that I might meet someone special no longer wish to see him; he was willing to accept that possibility.
Bile rising in my throat, I watched as Larry took the last swig of his coffee then stood to go. He had another appointment across town, he explained, but hoped I would consider his proposal and be willing to meet with him again the following week to iron out the details.
Later that evening, I received another note from him.
My research concluded, I wrote him back and said that, although I had found our meeting fascinating and wasn’t sure what the future held for me, I know what I DON’T want: an affair with a married man. He thanked me for my honesty, acknowledging that such an arrangement was “not for everyone,” and wished me luck in my search.
Husbands and wives, do you know where your spouses are?