I could chalk it up to the difficulty older Jewish men have when they try to navigate technology. Or, I can just admit I'm a loser on JDate. My evidence: although I've "Favorited" 16 matches, zero have returned the compliment.
"I thought you weren't interested in meeting men." It was my deceased mother elbowing herself past Tommy into my subconscious.
Her arrival was hardly a surprise. After all, rather than my late husband being invested in finding me a date, it was more likely to be my mother, Min, a beauty who died at the age of 67.
"Mom," I said to the apparition pulling up a chair next to me, " I don't want anyone moving in, but I think I'd enjoy dinner or a play with a nice guy my age."
"Well, I can tell you what your problem is," she said, "Your profile isn't sexy enough."
"Sexy isn't me. I'm trying to be honest."
"Honest, hah!" she said. "I see you've put your age at 70. Remember I was present at your birth and you're off by 5 years."
"No one admits their real age in online dating," I said. "I recall you telling me more than once you never wanted to get old."
In my mind's eye I could see my mother hesitate before responding. She would be using her right hand to sweep her hairdo upwards and a mirror to be certain her eye shadow, mascara, and red lipstick were in place.
"Well, if I would've known what good shape a woman could be in her '70s I might have stuck around. I have to admit you've kept your weight down."
A compliment from my mother! I preened in my office chair and brushed aside childhood memories of her fixated on my chubbiness rather than my brain.
"I see two matches answered your emails," she went on. "It's a shame you had to make the first move."
Ah, here's the familiar motherly dig. "That's not a problem for me, Mom, being aggressive. That's how I landed Tommy. I asked him out for our first date."
There was silence on the other end of our celestial chat. Although she died before Tommy and I met and married, I knew Mom would have had mixed feelings about my second husband. It wasn't the fact that he wasn't Jewish, but that he wasn't rich.
"Don't blame your mother for wanting an easier life for her daughter," she said, evidently overhearing my thoughts. "But I did appreciate how much he loved you."
I didn't want to keep Tommy in this scenario, so I quickly returned to my failure on JDate. "Did you notice, Mom, that no matter their age, all of my matches wanted someone between 50 and 65? "
"So," she said, stretching out the vowel, "you couldn't have dropped 10 years?"
I sighed. "Mom, that's just not me. I've come a long way and I'm proud of the woman I've become. I'm not that desperate to make myself over for some dude."
Now, a sigh from Min. "So, try it your way. Be honest. Don't say you're passionate, fun, adventurous in the bedroom."
I laughed. "So you've been reading my competition."
"Of course, it can get boring up here. It's a change of pace to read fantasies about ideal matches. My girlfriends and I had a good laugh."
"Were you laughing when one of the guys answered my email with the news he had already fallen in love with the second woman he met on JDate?" I said.
"See, you didn't move fast enough. You have to jump in as soon as you find someone interesting."
"I don't know, Mom. Did you also read that he was now spending all of his time with his new romance?"
"So, what's the problem?"
"I gagged when I saw that. I don't want anyone spending all of his time with me; it's suffocating. Like I said, dinner out, a movie, a play, that's all I'm thinking about, not him taking over my life."
"So, have it your way," she said. "I assume, with your record of zero and sixteen you're bowing out. No more online dating?"
"Not completely," I said. "It is kind of a fun game and my ego is strong enough to take the rejections. So next month, I'm going to the other side."
"Women!" she said. "Don't tell me you're going to become a lesbian."
"No, Mom, match dot com. I'm going to check out the Gentiles. Maybe they'll be more open to an adorable grey-haired woman in her mid-seventies."
"Try sixty-five and you may have a shot," she said.