A comment from a reader of this blog took me aback.
“Please remove my previous complimentary remarks about your book, Remember the Sweet Things,” she wrote. “Your posts about online dating are showing me someone who is different from Marsh Greene’s loving wife, the person I thought you were.”
At first I felt indignant. As did a friend of mine when I told him about her.
“Like this is ancient India and you are expected to throw yourself onto the funeral pyre,” he said.
But in truth, the former fan landed a punch that hurt. It had crossed my mind that three years would seem too soon for me to be looking for a new mate. That Marsh’s classy sister, Marilyn, also a new widow, would never subject herself to the indignities of an internet manhunt. That Marsh’s daughters might feel it dishonored their father’s memory and cast doubt on his importance in my life. That my children and grandchildren might be uncomfortable with the idea of sixty-two year old “Grammy” dating other men, never mind sleeping with them.
Was I simply being greedy, I also asked myself? Was I not content with my many years of happiness in a deeply satisfying relationship, now figuring I deserved even more? The feedback I received on Remember the Sweet Things demonstrated that a considerable number women out there were waiting for their “Marsh Greene” to appear. Cosmically speaking, wouldn’t it be unfair and unlikely for me to get lucky twice?
All this soul-searching came at a bad time. I was already in a slump. A string of first-time coffee dates had led nowhere. A handful of dates with a brusque psychoanalyst had bruised my ego (What is it with short men? Do they feel compelled to cut us tall women down to their size?). Most of the “Daily Five” from match.com in my inbox were repeats, so many that after awhile I just clicked delete without even looking.
Time to take a break, I thought, subscription be hanged.