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Love in the Time of Corona - 05/19/2020

Updated: May 29, 2020

I am about to turn 62 years old at the end of this month. To quote Roxie Hart in "Chicago," I am older than I ever intended to be." Not only that, but I am a triple D - Divorced, Disabled, and Dumpy (to put it kindly). So naturally, I feel like I don't have a whole lot to offer as a dating prospect. I can't exercise a lot because of multiple injuries and Lupus pain, so that rules out a lot of fun activities that I used to enjoy very much, like hiking and biking. I can't handle cold weather, because it makes my joints hurt terribly, so that rules out snow skiing, and I can't be out in the sun without being covered up, so that rules out things like swimming and sailing, also activities I used to love. So where does that leave me? Well, I still love dogs, and photography, and travel. I still read voraciously, and I'm passionate about politics and current events. I love the arts and once live theatre and concerts are allowed again, I'll be going back. And of course, I'm a huge football fan, especially collegiate - Roll Tide, y'all.

But this wasn't supposed to be a dating profile. My frustration is that I feel like I don't have a lot in common with the men I've been meeting since I moved to Arizona a little over three years ago. Before that, I lived in California for 21 years, and New Jersey three years before that. I was always pretty liberal, and my years in those two states pretty much cemented my political persuasion. I knew that Arizona was a mostly red state since about 20 years ago. After all, it's the home of Barry Goldwater (and you don't get much more conservative than that) and John McCain, the "maverick" senator who I was very fond of. But I didn't vote for him for President. So when I put up my online dating profile after I'd lived here for a few months, I made sure to specify that I was a liberal Democrat. I also mentioned that I was not interested in any long-distance relationships and that I was interested in men only.

Apparently people took me to be a challenge. Not only did I get numerous inquiries from men who were Republicans (and die-hard Trump fans in many cases), but probably half of my inquiries were from out of town. I was lucky if they lived as close as Phoenix. And I got (and continue to get) inquiries from women. I'm sure they're very nice, but just because I've been hurt by a number of men doesn't mean I'm ready to pitch my tent in Ladyland. I turned them all down, and went out on a few dates that all ended badly because the men had not told me they were conservatives. I got called a "loony leftist" by one of them; another told me that Rush Limbaugh was his hero (at which point, I got up and said, "well, nice meeting you!"). It took a few months, but I finally met a nice younger man, very liberal and also disabled, but unfortunately he moved away after eight months to live a life on the road in Alaska (out of his Subaru). He asked me to come along, but that Subaru is not big enough for both of us.

This brings me to another frustration. There seems to be a type of man that settles in Arizona. I ran into this when I visited Alaska too. It's a type of rugged individualist that they call "dead-enders" in Alaska. These people are often loners who haven't gotten along very well in the rest of the world. But because Alaska and Arizona tend to reward non-conformity more than most states, and also have a certain "frontier" mentality about them, they do very well here. I tend to be a bit of a loner and a dead-ender myself; after all, I did retire and choose to move here alone even though I knew no one at all in Tucson. But I'm more of the retiree/snowbird group that moves here, definitely a type, but not as wary of other people as the dead-enders tend to be. A lot of these men tend to own motorcycles, or horses, or be into endurance sports like mountain biking, and they tend to like to do these things in groups of other men, or alone. I like my alone time too, but I like to do things with the person that I'm dating. And because of my disabilities, I'm not able to participate in many of the activities that the rugged Tucson man likes to do.

Since my last boyfriend moved away a year ago, I haven't dated much. I decided for the first time since I was about 14 to see what it was like to not pursue anyone and to just be on my own. And by and large, it's been pretty good. I have my friends at the dog park and my neighbors, and I was meeting people through a drumming class that I had started in March, so it was going well. I had also started a mostly text and phone relationship with a man I met at the dog park. And then the virus hit, and suddenly everything slammed to a halt. I was still getting messages from men online, but I was reluctant to pursue them mainly because I didn't feel safe meeting anyone in person. It's so hard to tell if you have chemistry just over the Internet, though. So I haven't really followed through with any of the men I have connected with. My dog park friend lost his temper on the phone one night over a discussion about Bill Clinton (this man is a conservative), and hung up on me like a 14-year-old girl throwing a hissy fit (he's in his 60s). I haven't heard from him since (thank goodness).

My birthday is coming up at the end of the month, as I mentioned. My birthdays have always been pretty wonderful, because they usually fall around Memorial Day, and there were almost always parties that usually involved cake. Last year a dear friend flew me to New York to spend my birthday week with her, and that was a lovely time. However, this year, air travel is still questionable at best. I also am not dating anyone who I want to spend my birthday with. So I have decided to take a solo road trip. I'm going to drive to Yuma, Arizona, out in the western desert, and do a little sightseeing, then come back through Ajo and visit the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. I'm boarding Clara, so it will be the first time for just me in quite a while. I don't expect I'll be alone forever, so I'm just going to indulge myself now. Maybe I'll run into a dead-ender out there in the desert and decide to share my solo life for a while. Or not. Either way, it should be a memorable birthday. Maybe self-love is the best type of love in the time of Corona.

#OnlineDating #DeadEnders #Yuma #Single

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