Single and 36: the crazy life

Elise T. Chisolm

March 03, 1992|By Elise T. Chisolm

A date "fix-up" is always considered tricky territory. It can be a path loaded with mines. On a recent segment of the TV sitcom "Seinfeld," a date fix-up situation exploded, and, of course, the date didn't take.

But there was a line in the show that sums up the pressure a lot of singles get from friends and family : "I won't know what to do with my mother; if I'm not married by the time I'm 40, I'll simply have to kill her," one of the women lamented.

Crazy? Yeah, but so's the single life, especially if you're over, say, 35. It's an obstacle course being single in today's world. One no longer seems to meet and marry the boy or girl next door. We are so mobile that some 30-year-olds don't light long enough to meet a "Mr. Right or Miss Right." The young singles don't jam the churches small towns have become as impersonal as big cities, and finding a date, especially for women, is convoluted. According to the female thirtysomethings, it's a zoo out there of circling males, and the bimbos seem to be first choice. After all, supposedly nice girls don't go to bars to find dates.

For you who want to tell your mom you've found the right man, and he isn't related to Charles Manson, there are a few risky avenues to explore. There's the personal ads, as in "SF seeks SM, wants college grad, tall, handsome with salary over $60,000 . . ." Dream on!

You can sign up for a paralegal course or auto mechanics at the local junior college. There's computer dating, and touch-tone dating through voice introductions via the phone system. You could join a spa, depending on how you look at age 40 in a bikini. There are dating services with cutesy names like "Do Si Do," or "Quick Connections."

This just brings to mind my niece Heather. Her divorce is finally final. At 36, she is now searching for a nice date.

"My age is sort of against me . . . I'm kind of over the hill," she tells me.

I ask her what ever happened to that new phenomenon, older women marrying younger men, like Liz Taylor and Martha Raye, who each married men a decade or so younger?

"I'm not a movie star," she explains modestly.

And let me say here that Heather is great looking, has her master's degree and a nice house.

Now she has joined a singles' club in her small town. But the club sounds as complex and expensive as joining a college sorority. "The club meets on Fridays at 7 p.m.," she explains. "You have to dress for success, no shorts or cutoffs, and over half your body has to be covered with clothes. We meet at different restaurants. There was an initiation time -- three Fridays in a row -- before they accept you into the club. I had to fill out lots of applications, give a resume and references."

According to Heather, the recording secretary reads out the names of those who had good luck with dates, and the others clap.

She found out she was the youngest one by 20 years. The majority of men are 60 to 85. So you have to like a lot of chicken and decaf, and most of the members subscribe to Modern

Maturity.

Triumphantly, she tells me: "But I'm not dropping out because maybe one of those guys has a single son."

I told her to move into a condo with a club room, or move to Alaska, or join Alcoholics Anonymous. -- But she likes her house, does not like cold weather and isn't an alcoholic.

Unlike the gal on "Seinfeld," she loves her mother and would not dream of knocking her off.

But then what do I know about all this. I was single just long enough to finish school and live through a war that brought us all into one steaming caldron of active libidos. And winning the war took all our energy. Nothing was left over for a singles manhunt.

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