Never say, “I will never remarry.”

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 27, 2018

Tom’s friend Alex, age 62, said, “I will never remarry.”

Granted, Alex said those words 20 years ago. And he was adamant about it. Last week-end, he ate cake. Wedding cake that is.

Background for today’s story:

In the summer of 1988, while surfing at Doheny Beach, in Dana Point, California, I met a guy named Alex Rentziperis.

Between waves, as we chatted, I asked, “What kind of work do you do?”

Alex said, “I’m a barber. In a few months, I’m going to open my own barber shop not too far from here in Dana Point. Right up there,” he said, as he pointed in a northernly direction. “How about you?”

I said, “I going to open my own deli, not too far from here in Dana Point. Right up there,” as I pointed in the same direction as Alex had.

That was the start of a friendship that has lasted for 30 years. Later that year, Alex opened the Sports Barber Dana Point, at the corner of Del Prado and Golden Lantern, above where the Still Water restaurant is located now.

In December, 1988, I opened Tutor and Spunky’s Deli on Pacific Coast Highway, next to the Dana Point Donut Shop, across from Rubens Imports, the Mercedes Benz dealer. Our businesses were a half mile from each other.

During the next 30 years, we’ve done a lot together. Most notably, after my divorce in 1994, and after putting up with some unsavory roommates, I finally was going to get to live alone in my Monarch Beach home. That was before the phone rang. It was Alex, calling from his San Juan Capistrano home.

“Toot,” ( the nickname he had given me) he said, “She threw me out. I’m getting a divorce. Got a spare bedroom for a short time?”

So, Alex moved in. Turned out to be for about a year. He often repeated vehemently that he would never marry again.

We took many camping trips to the Sierras together. I can still picture him standing on a huge rock, trying to master fly fishing, casting into the icy waters of Lake Mary. He got a little too far forward on one cast and did a belly flop right into the lake. I told him he’d never make the Olympic team as a diver.

Alex’s passion is ocean fishing. He has a boat and is out on the water once or twice a week. He taught me how to catch sea bass near the kelp beds. He’s been on the cover of Western Outdoor News, the largest weekly fishing and hunting magazine in the country.

Four years ago, Alex attended an age 55+ singles meet and greet event at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli. Alex’s sister, Faye Dalton, encouraged a recently divorced client of hers named Carolyn Young, to attend the same event to meet her brother. I remember that night. Carolyn and Alex seemed enamored with each other. He walked her to her car. They’ve been a couple ever since. Ah, senior dating that has been successful.

This past Saturday, with many members of Alex’s big Greek family and members of Carolyn’s family in attendance, Alex and Carolyn were married in the backyard of Faye and Doug Dalton’s San Clemente home. Mark Rentziperis, Alex’s brother, was the best man.

You know it’s a Greek wedding when there are six bottles of Greek salad dressing on the kitchen counter (photo by Tom Blake)

Tom, Carolyn (the bride), Greta, Alex (the groom who said he would never remarry)
(photo by Tom Blake)
Christine DiGiacomo, a San Clemente resident, whose business card reads “Pastor Woman…for such a time as this,” (, married Alex and Carolyn. Christine and Carolyn have known each other for years. I heard many of the guests compliment Christine on the beautiful, unique ceremony she performed. Christine is a non-denominational minister.

She began the ceremony by reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which is also referred to as “Turn, Turn, Turn.” That seemed to resonate with the guests, who ranged in age from young flower girls to older dudes like me, perhaps because of the “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To everything there is a season) song written by Pete Seeger and made popular by the Byrds, in 1965. The song’s words are almost identical to the biblical words.

To conclude the ceremony, Pastor DiGiacomo added an unusual touch: Instead of the traditional “You may kiss the bride,” she turned to her friend Carolyn and said, “You may kiss your new husband.” Very cool.

My partner Greta said, “This is the finest wedding I’ve ever attended.”

  Carolyn and Alex after ceremony

Alex still owns and works at the Sports Barber. Carolyn works at a local bank. They live in Dana Point. Good to see an age 55-plus wedding so hip and fun, and yet with so many millennials in attendance.

Goes to show. Even though you’re over age 55, you never know when or where love might come along; it might even happen at a singles function at your local deli.

Link to Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds

Two single 70-year-old men age with different views about meeting women

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 20, 2018

Welcome to new Champs who joined our group this week. Dating, socializing, interacting and experiencing life from age 50 into our 90s is filled with challenges. That’s what we tackle each week.

Once again, you Champs overwhelmed me with intelligent and interesting comments based on last week’s request for thoughts from single men age 70. The topic: why it’s hard to meet available guys. I selected two responses from men for this week’s article and will use the other responses in future articles.

Two men with vastly different views about meeting women

1. Roger, a never married man, takes issue with me

Even though Roger is not one of our Champs, a woman friend of his is a Champ. She gave him a copy of last week’s article. I appreciate that he took the time to contact me. He is among the single 70-year-old men.

Roger emailed, “Your article was passed along to me by my friend Jane, who is a subscriber (Champ). I must take exception to the conclusions that you drew from such a very limited sample (three men).

Is it fair, or even correct, to generalize about an entire population of age 70+ men from the three people who you detailed in your article? I think not.

I am a single 70-year-old man who is finding it difficult to meet a woman with whom I can have a romantic relationship. I am good looking (voted ‘best looking’ in high school), well-educated (a doctor), in great shape (I hike and mountain bike every weekend, and exercise on the other days), spiritual (meditate twice/day), lead a healthy lifestyle, and am financially secure. So, you would think I should be fighting the women off, correct? Not so.

I do meet women who are interested in me, however, many of them are out of shape (someone on the internet described herself as having a ‘few extra pounds,’ when in fact she was 5’4″ and weighed 185! That’s not ‘a few extra pounds’, that’s obese!

OK, that’s an extreme example. However, I do expect a woman to be in shape, slender, compassionate, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Is that too much to ask? I think not.

I recently met a 60-year-old woman at a speed-dating event. Following up with her, we had a lively one-hour + phone conversation. I was looking forward to meeting with her again, and yet a couple of days later she texted me, thanking me for the conversation but telling me that ‘we were at different places in our lives,’ and she didn’t want to pursue the relationship.

It was not difficult to read between the lines and see that she felt a single 70-year-old man was out of her ‘preferred age range.’  A shame. When I was 43, my girlfriend was 24, a 19-year age difference. Certainly a 19-year age difference when both parties are younger is more significant than a 10-year age difference when both parties are older. Go figure.

One other possibility for my having difficulty meeting the right one is that I have never been married. (I’ve had long relationships, the last one was 14 years).

However, I get the feeling that women see my having never been married as somehow an indication of an ‘inability to commit.’  I find this laughable, since in almost every case the woman has been divorced, which means she in fact herself did not commit, or she would still be married. Unless of course she was abused, married to a drug addict, or to someone who was incarcerated,

So, I wanted to give you the male point-of-view. Your article seemed to imply that it was the men who were too picky (wouldn’t date someone who lived more than five miles away, wouldn’t date an Asian, etc). I find quite the opposite to be true; I find the women to be too picky.

Are men too picky? Are women too picky? It’s so hard to decide which ball to choose. All are new and shiny, but the autographs are different

If I am rejected because I am ‘too old,’ even though physiologically I test at the age of 51, or commitment-phobic, even though I have been in relationships that lasted longer than many marriages, then I don’t think it is my being too picky.”

Tom’s comment: I suspect women will form their own opinions regarding Roger’s comments. I found them, well…interesting.

Just a few items for Roger’s information: I was not generalizing about the entire population of over-70 aged men. I merely gave an example of what three men think. Just as I am doing today, but, it’s how two men think.

Also, he assumed the woman he met speed dating felt there was too much of an age difference—10 years—between them when she had told him, “they were at different places in their lives.” My opinion: it could have been reasons other than just the age gap. She may have been just being kind, or, she just wasn’t that into him.

And then Roger’s inability-to-commit assumption could have been something else as well.

2. Bob H.

Bob emailed, “I agree with your observations on why single 70-year-old men age 70 and older are hard to find – but we are still out there. I live in the San Diego, CA, area and volunteer, go to church functions, and work part-time, but still haven’t met the right woman. I would love to meet a similarly aged lady in the SD area who shares my interest in science and in getting out and doing things.

Your advice to be socially active to meet new people is right on – especially going to activities that relate to one’s areas of interest. Anyway, keep encouraging Champs to get out there.

Please send me email addresses of women in my area who think we might have something in common. I know you are not a dating service, but I really want to encourage 70+ women to be active and keep looking – we single men exist!

Tom’s comment: For women living in the San Diego area, if you’d like to communicate with Bob, email me and I will pass your email on to him.

As I said earlier, I will try to include the other responses from last week’s article in future newsletters. In the meantime, keep those observations coming.

Meeting single 70-year-old men is so difficult

Why meeting eligible men age 70-plus is so difficult. Senior romance (or lack thereof) 

Many of you have asked why women Champs are so much more active and visible in this e-Newsletter than male Champs.

The most obvious answer is simple: At age 70, there are approximately three to four times more single women than men in the USA. And our newsletter subscriber list reflects that. Without doing an actual count, I predict that 75% of our Champs are women.

That’s not to say that we don’t have some great male Champs who often contribute. Guys like Art in Florida, Sid in Florida, Jon in Olympia, Washington, Carm in Mexico, Ken and Les in Orange County, Calif., and Mark in Palm Springs to name a few right off the top of my head. Art, Jon and Carm each have a significant other and are already taken.

And, by the way, Sid in Florida was just selected to be inducted into the DePauw University Athletic Hall of Fame for his swimming accomplishments in the 1960s. Way to go Champ.

Finding a match for single 70-year-old men isn’t easy – the sagas of Mr. Nope and Harry Shoe

Why don’t I try to fix up single male Champs with our women Champs? After all, we’ve got an estimated 300 single men 65+ on our mailing list. But, I’m not a match maker, it’s generally a no-win endeavor. Let me give you a couple of examples why.

One guy in Orange County, California, where I live–I will call him Mr. Nope–contacted me a year ago. He wanted to meet in person to talk about me fiximg him up with single women.

When we met, he explained that the women had to live within five miles of his home. When I suggested that he should expand his geographical reach—that it would improve his chances of meeting a nice woman–he said, “Nope, I don’t want to drive that far.”

Then, I told him that my partner Greta and I had met an attractive, outgoing and friendly Asian woman, who lived in his city, whom he might really enjoy, he said, “Nope, I’m not attracted to Asian or Hispanic women.”

I looked at him in disbelief and thought to myself, in California? You must be kidding. How closed-minded is that? And speaking of missed opportunities.

“I can’t help you,” I said to Mr. Nope. And that is the one and only time I met him.

In another case, I introduced, by email, a man (I will call him Harry Shoe) and a woman who live not too far from each other in the same Eastern state. He had contacted me. He was a new widower and was hoping to make a connection with a nice woman. They met and started dating.

She wrote me a few months later: “Just an update on Harry Shoe and myself. After six months of his juggling his work schedule, helping his deceased wife’s elderly in-laws, plus the memory of his wife, I had to let him go.

He was a sweet man but had not even stopped long enough to address his wife’s death. I was at his home twice and things were the same with his wife’s things still in the same spot. I had to move her purse on the kitchen table to have coffee, her clothes were in her bathroom, toothbrush still in its holder.

It was impossible to be even remotely romantic with her things around; he didn’t understand, so he never invited me back. I wished him well and moved on. I will probably never date a widower again–unless it’s been years, instead of months–since his spouse’s death.”

In both cases, nobody benefited from my match making. As I said, match making is pretty much a no-win endeavor.

Another reason why meeting senior single men is hard: some 70-year-old men just don’t want a relationship

Another guy (we’ll call him Amy’s man) said, “I adopted Amy, a rescue dog, eight months ago–three years into my search for a woman partner–and Amy’s here by my side every day to remind me I’m capable and deserving of love (even if I am a geezer!).

“Amy’s also a bit of a ‘chick magnet,’ but, so far, that hasn’t helped me attract the woman I’m looking for.”

Amy the chick magnet being unladylike in Rotterdam in 2012 (photo by Greta)

I wrote Amy’s man and asked if I could include his comments, and the picture he had sent of him walking Amy, in the newsletter. Not as a personal ad, but just as a human-interest story of a single man in his 70s, who would make a pleasant mate.

I even offered to include his email address in the newsletter so women could readily email him.

Here was the response from Amy’s man: “I’ve shied away from any involvement or prospects of women living more than 25 miles from my home. My position’s not as limiting as it might appear, with a major metropolitan area (Washington, D.C.) within the radius.

Candidly, I’d have to say my continued solo existence is due as much to lofty expectations as it is to a lack of opportunity. Thus, remaining the hard head I’ve been for 70-plus years, I think I’ve gotta decline your kind offer.

I am writing this to you today while thinking about Amy, as she stared devotedly into my eyes from beside me on the bed this morning, when I looked up from the newspaper.”

His comments give us an idea of how one single man thinks about putting himself out there. I couldn’t do anything about his “lofty expectations,” but I could have done something about his “lack of opportunity.” After three years of him searching for the right woman, I thought he’d be game.

But, he’s not interested and that is that. His position is similar to so many other men I know. They say they’d like to meet a nice mate, but when it comes down to it, do they really mean it? Would they be willing to make a commitment? No wonder meeting a 70-year-old guy (or older) is so difficult.

Deep down inside, instead of a nice woman, they’d rather have rover instead.

Just curious. Do any of our age 70+ single men have anything to add? Would love to hear it.

Overcoming senior loneliness

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 6, 2018

The key to overcoming single senior loneliness and the blues

At the end of last week’s newsletter, I asked Champs for their opinions on senior loneliness, and what can be done to lessen it.

As I read the comments, I realized that many of the suggestions for overcoming loneliness were almost identical to tips we’ve stated before regarding how to improve one’s chances for meeting a potential mate.

Here are a few of the valuable suggestions from last week:

Thyrza, California, said, “I think loneliness happens to any age, gender or what have you in life. I was very lonely when my parents moved me with them away from my friends.

“I felt a touch of loneliness when I was a full-time, stay-at-home mom. Now at my age, a widow living alone, loneliness still creeps in. It does not bother me as much as when I was younger with my responsibilities as mom and wife.

“Loneliness affects everyone, but I learned that freedom to do what I want with my life released me from that feeling. I know it will always be part of one’s life but the freedom to act to get out of the loneliness rut is to be embraced. Embrace loneliness and know when to release the feeling. It is just a feeling anyway.”

Jackie, Tampa, Florida, emailed, “Loneliness is the biggest challenge for me as a single. I don’t mind eating out or traveling alone, but sometimes it would be nice to have a companion to share the experiences with.

“I don’t have many female friends who are financially able to travel or go out much. And I’m not a spendthrift, but I would enjoy spur-of-the moment road trips or dinner and a movie with a friend. Before I die, I would love to be in a mutually loving, supportive, and respected relationship.

Esther, Brooklyn, New York, “As a single woman, retired teacher, with no children and little family, I understand how loneliness can be a destructive force if not well addressed. To avoid loneliness, there are several things I do:

-Maintain contact with a small group of close friends with whom I share birthdays, holidays and life events

-Volunteer at the local library, museum and Botanical Garden

-Work as a private English tutor three days a week

-Interact with people of all ages with various needs. My local college offers a broad lifelong learning program with varied courses, travel opportunities and cultural events. I am an active participant

“Never miss a regularly scheduled appointment whether it be a dental, medical or beauty appointment

“Living in New York City, I am able to attend many, diverse cultural and social events. The Harbor Fitness, a state-of-the-arts gym near me, offers a fabulous ‘silver sneakers’ program for people over 55. I work out and socialize regularly.

“Through the internet, I keep in contact with old friends and relatives who live far away. Mainly, I do not feel alone. I am busy, significant and connected!”

Jon, Olympia, Washington, “The reason loneliness can be such a problem is we are ingrained with the philosophy that we must have another person in our lives to be ‘whole.’  Obviously, this is not the universal answer, citing the number of people in miserable marriages and a high divorce rate.

“Doing things in which a person finds fulfillment–not solely to be busy and taking up time–can reduce the feeling that they need an intimate relationship with another person. A few close friends can help make up the difference.”

JoAnn, “Get a dog.  Best friend, a laugh and cuddle a day!”

Jack of All Trades, “On LONELINESS as a health issue: I’m glad the surgeon general has declared loneliness as an epidemic. If all goes well, this will lead to more programs for companionship and enjoyment for older people. On the other hand, it might backfire in some way—causing problems for the lonely. Better awareness of old-age loneliness ought to be a good thing.

“(But probably nothing will alleviate the problem of adult children more interested in ‘their’ money than in their parents’ happiness.)”

Bonnie, California, wrote, “I have great compassion for those experiencing loneliness; It is debilitating.

“I have been able to mostly escape that condition because I am an only child. Without playmates under my roof during my growing-up years, I had to invent my own fun. Creativity, reading, and writing were my friends.

“Now, at 64, and a single, empty-nester mom, those are also my adult enjoyments. I work full-time as a designer and read and write at every opportunity. I also love to travel solo, because my interests are specific, and I like to be able to pace myself and my energy as I go. For that reason, I avoid travel tours.”

“However, if I was seeking companionship, I would reach out to the cultural community and volunteer as a docent. Or at an animal shelter and offer two times a week to give love to the yet-to-be adopted pets.

“Or, save for a river cruise on the Seine. Always, always have something to look forward to. Open your home to a once-a-month pot luck dinner. Drive for Meals on Wheels. (My 96-old uncle still drives and serves others!) Give time at your house of worship.

“Take a free class at a local college. Your calendar will be bursting at the seams with interesting tasks and interesting people and new ideas. And others will be blessed by your contributions.”

Tom’s comment:

There is one key that ties these pieces—overcoming loneliness, combating boredom, and improving one’s chances of meeting a potential mate–together. I wrote about the key in the final eNewsletter of 2017, which was titled, “The five things I’ve learned in three years of retirement.”

That key: seniors must have senior social interaction with people. That is the most important thing I’ve learned in retirement.

          Senior social interaction–absolutely essential for seniors

That December, 2017, newsletter included these three paragraphs: 

“If retired people let socializing with others slip away–they might be sitting around the house or watching too much mindless TV, for example–their retirement will become boring, lonely and meaningless. To be too isolated is not good for one’s health.

“A good way to interact with people is by joining groups. lists thousands of groups and activities and should provide plenty of ideas for people not sure what to do to meet others.

“And one last thing about senior social interaction after retirement. Try to mix social interaction with younger people into your life—kids, grand kids, great grand kids, for example, or friends younger than yourself can keep you thinking young. That’s very important.”

Years ago, a woman said to me, “I’ve been married and unhappy, and single and unhappy. Being single and unhappy is better, in that I can more readily do something about it by getting out of the house and involved in activities I enjoy. I can interact with and meet new people. Whereas, being married and unhappy, isn’t something you can change overnight. Social interaction is more difficult. Divorce takes its toll in time, stress and money.”

So, if you are feeling lonely, get out there and make social interaction a high priority.

Note from Tom Blake

Similar articles to the one above by Tom Blake appeared in these three newspapers


Dana Point Times Newspaper April 13, 2018


San Clemente Times Newspaper April 12, 2018


The Capistrano Dispatch Newspaper April 13, 2018