By Betsy Hicks
There are two things that make me very unique for a woman over 50. My hairdresser still has to thin my hair because it grows so thick AND I have a strong libido.
I have come to accept the strong sexual appetite as just one of my features, like thick hair. I don’t believe there is any deep reason for it, anything I did wrong or right, it’s just who I am.
John and I had a very loving relationship, but I was undoubtedly sexually frustrated. I get it, most men in their 60’s do not share the same sexual energy, and before you jump to any conclusions, no, our sex did not kill him.
Although blindsided by John’s death, in hindsight there were many clues he was ill, and the deterioration of bedroom activity was a strong one. I mention this merely for the fact that it had been a while since I had felt truly satisfied.
The idea of dating fascinated me. I met my first husband when I was 21 and went right from him to John so I didn’t have much experience. I liked the idea of figuring out what kind of guy suited me most. I was very clear about what I didn’t want but somewhat foggy on what I did want.
I wasn’t interested in replacing John. In fact, if truth be told I was only wanting a physical relationship that would satisfy me until I got my act together.
I decided to dabble in Match.com. If nothing else, it was incredibly fun filling out the profile page and deciding how to portray me. Within minutes, scores of eligible men popped up on my screen and the hunt began.
If you haven’t experienced online dating, there are a few things just about everyone observes in the first week:
- People without marketing skills should pay for quality photos.
- There are a lot of creepy people out there.
- The longer you have been on it, the faster you move through the daily matches. Why? Because you become more observant of the personality innuendos in the photos. Men who took bathroom selfies with sunglasses on…no. Gym photos….nope. Photos where he had to block out the girl standing next to him….please, no. Photos of 60-year-old men showing a photo of themselves playing sports at 20….oh Lordy, no no no!
The first date was an experimental disaster and it taught me the importance of having at least one phone conversation before an encounter.
The second date went much better. I felt confident. I felt curious and wanted to know what it would feel like to kiss him. And so I did…and immediately broke out in tears. Yep, that happened.
After that hurdle, things got better.
Not having dated since the 80’s (and truly not doing it very well back then), I knew that I had to understand a whole new set of rules.
My lack of experience saw the creation of a series of sexual injury casualties that began with a UTI. Then there was the issue of aching muscles. Sexual muscle strains are the physical equivalent of a sex hangover: Because you’re having fun, you are not aware of the damage you are doing until the next morning.
Then came the pressures of modern day dating. Waxing apparently became essential during the time that I was raising my children. How and why did this happen? I had been given every excuse from it’s cleaner to it models the porn industry, but personally, after one attempt, I decided that any man who insisted or expected medieval torture was not worthy of my time.
My close friends also seemed to enjoy my dating quest. I would send them photos of the “Match of the day” and we would marvel how men would look at a photo of them holding up the fish they caught with their torn t-shirt, beer belly, and ratted hat and think, “Yes, this will do, I look pretty hot.”
I dated one very kind gentleman a couple of times and I wished I had found him attractive, but he was a bit Fred Flintstonesque. Regardless, I enjoyed his conversation, so I kissed him. I wasn’t exactly sure what was off, but soon realized he had an extremely short tongue.
In talking to my friend afterward I was asking if she ever dated a guy with a short tongue.
“Is this a thing?” I asked. “Are there other oddities I don’t even know about yet?”
“Like what?” she replied wondering herself.
“Like no nipples….do some guys have no nipples?” I grabbed the first thing I could think of.
“Would that be a problem?” She patiently replied while checking her husband’s chest to make sure he had them.
“I don’t know,” I sighed. I just feel like I’m not sure what to expect anymore.
“Betsy,” she said, “I don’t even know if my husband has nipples and I’ve gotten along just fine. I dropped it but decided to start a list of traits (both physical and personality) that I wanted in a man.
I began dating a New York tough guy who had a large sexy build. But as the law of attraction often does, you get what you think about, and in exploring his chest I discovered he truly only had one nipple. It wasn’t even a runner-up in the reasons I didn’t want to be with this guy and I realized how much these small things didn’t matter. Nipples or no nipples, I could be happy, just not with him. He was angry at the world and I had no energy for negativity.
I dated a sweet counselor from Santa Cruz who also did yoga daily, which pretty much everyone in Santa Cruz does. I learned that men who do yoga have strength in all the right places and quickly put this on my list, but I also was attracted to burly men and without a trace of fat on this yogi, I couldn’t find the chemistry.
The most serious dating happened with a man who lived close to my office. I was deeply attracted to him. He was funny and the life of the party, however, with many people who are the life of the party, he was also an alcoholic.
He could care less about my knowledge of holistic medicine and supplements and felt it all lacked science. He wasn’t all that interested in my life in general, but that was freeing to me. After sixteen years with a man who said so little, I liked his stories and enjoyed not having to talk about work or feeling like I needed to fix him. He wasn’t interested in supplements or dietary guidelines so I just rolled with it.
One day he said he wanted to cook me dinner. He served his salad and brought out his variety of salad dressing: 8 bottles of No Calorie dressing (fat and sugar-free)….and can I say, that THAT perfectly sums up his relationship with food AND eventually me. It was nasty, unloving, and fake. He sought the cheapest crap and numbed his body to accept it.
I told my friends, “I know he’s bad for me, but he’s providing a distraction that I’m becoming addicted to.”
Gratefully he broke up with me. A beautiful gift from the Universe. However, I was not doing anything responsibly when I was dating him so the breakup was especially hard knowing I had to face reality again.
Dating was starting to get trying. Hard to keep them all straight and even harder to keep my stories straight.
“Stop me if I’ve already told you this,” was used in about every conversation.
I developed a system to keep the guys organized. In my phone I would put their first name only and then in parenthesis it would say where they lived: Jim (Palo Alto). If I was sure it was over, I would delete them. If I was concerned they may stalk me, I would keep them on my phone so I knew not to answer.
One day while doing some shopping I received a text:
Kevin (San Jose)
Hi Betsy, I had a really great time with you the other day. I wasn’t sure if you really wanted to see me again or were just being nice, but I hope I can see you again soon.
“Shit”, I paused, “Who’s Kevin?”
I then recognized that the serial dating possibly needed to slow down.
I definitely didn’t want to hurt anyone, but there is a lot of heartbreak in dating. Unless you meet “the one”, inevitably someone gets hurt.
Instead of criticizing men for what they did or didn’t have, I knew I had to work on myself. I needed to release the need for a partner, find a true sense of self-confidence, and, let’s face it, I had to mourn my late-husband because the pain was still fresh.
None of this was easy. I don’t wish to create the impression that I just became this unleashed cougar stalking men and having irresponsible sex. It wasn’t like that. It was a time of self-discovery. A time to explore anything that made me feel better.
I quickly lost interest in dating and knew what I really wanted was a partner. I was good at relationships. I knew I would find him and I knew by the laws of the Universe that if I maintained a high vibration and focused on what I wanted, the next great love would be just as good or better then my previous one.
Many people told me not to date and to enjoy my time alone and I can respect that suggestion, but although some people love unattachment and independence other people thrive in a relationship. It’s an individual choice and as some may label it co-dependency, I disagree as I didn’t feel I needed to morph myself into a relationship. I just enjoyed the company.
In my quest to find a solid partner, I decided to list all of my pronounced positive qualities and release it out into the Universe. It would be a vibrational bulletin post.
After creating my list I visualized what it would feel like to have him in my life. I sensed a perfect fit. I knew he was out there. I just hoped he would recognize me.