Despite her gorgeous hourglass figure, youthfulness and spritely face, my mother turned 60 this year. After her divorce 2 years ago–which was actually a really great thing for everyone involved–she had settled into her own condo, a job and had transitioned from 30 some years of wife and mother to full blown independent woman. Hooked on personal development podcasts and optimism, she had let herself be talked into joining Tinder by my sister and I. “It’s like shopping,” I told her comparing it to her favorite pastime to ease the apprehension of online dating. “You can just window shop and then if you like someone, you decide if you want to talk to them.” After a few days of dramatization over every swipe and message,
she was chatting with several men and back in the game!
At my consistent urging that she “be a hussy” (which for someone who had only slept with one man ever might involve one french kiss by the end of the year) she extended the age range of prospects to include 40-somethings.
One afternoon I get a call from her that a man–let’s call him Maurice–who she had been talking with regularly on the phone, wants her drive to the Jersey Shore and spend the weekend with him at the beach for their very first rendezvous. “I mean it’s 3 hours away and I’m tired.” Her voice held an excitement I hadn’t heard in a long time as she waited for the verbal thumbs up I knew she had called me for. While personally I probably wouldn’t have driven 3 hours without meeting someone first, I couldn’t deflate the hope that was alive in her once again. With one word of affirmation from my lips she all but hung up on me “ok well I have to go pack and get on the road!”
I stood looking around the room for a moment and then dialed my sister. “Um, I just told mom to drive 3 hours to stay with a guy she’s never met from Tinder…that’s ok right? Like, she’ll be fine and everything?” We both uneasily made our way toward feeling good about it and covered all the necessary precautions including a parental like call to speak with this Mandingo Maurice where he assured me she had her own room and was to be worshipped like royalty.
A text from Mama came through, “he has the cutest accent and says ‘chow’ instead of goodbye!” I laughed out loud in my apartment as I explained to her that ‘chow’ is the first word of an Asian dish
and if she said it back to consider spelling it ‘Ciao.’
Well as it turned out the chemistry in person was not as sizzling as it was when being bounced off of multiple cell phone towers. The second day she told him that the sparks weren’t there for her and a very disappointed Frenchmen was reluctantly friend-zoned. She left early and got back in time to spend an evening happily alone in her condo. As she filled me in on the details of how he tried to run her to death on the beach with no hydration, I laughed and filled with admiration for this courageous woman said “well, you can’t expect a home run on your first swing.”