|On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – February 26, 2021|
by Columnist Tom Blake
Note: Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length and clarity
Not all Champs are moving to Sarasota
Today, 11 Champs (eight women, three men), including the woman who raved about Sarasota in last week’s eNewsletter, respond. From the comments, my guess is that not everybody will be moving there. Your responses are always interesting. Here are 11:
Kathy, “I so enjoyed reading your article about the abundance of eligible senior men in Sarasota. But before the southern California ladies start packing their bags and heading for Florida, let me give you the real scoop. An almost even ratio of eligible senior men to women? Haven’t seen it.
“Sarasota is no different than anywhere else that I have found. Senior men are predominantly looking for women in their 20s and 30s. And there is an overabundance of gorgeous women in that age range anywhere you go.
“Consider that now is the snowbird season in this area. Thousands of people are here from the northern states for the winter. When they go back home, the demographics will change drastically.
“I moved to Sarasota three years ago from the Dana Point/San Clemente area after having lived there for 20 years. Other than the horrendous humidity in the summer, I love it here. The people are very friendly. The beaches are pristine.
“There is a symphony, a ballet troupe, opera, and several theatres. It abounds in golf courses and restaurants and shopping. But don’t expect to be greeted by a line of single senior men when you land at SRQ (Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport).”
“I hope the lady that wrote to you originally is enjoying her status as the ‘new girl at school.’ I wish her all the best.”
Amy, “Is there a chance this may just be a fantastic, creative marketing tool by ‘Sarasota Champ?’ I’m ready to rent her condo for sure, sight unseen! Where’s the link?”
Cynthia, short and to the point: “I can’t live in Florida, where are the men in Pennsylvania?”
Arlene added her slang: “Sarasota? Florida is full of gun-totin, Rednex! No thanks. It is Anti-Christ (the Dumpster) territory. Too damn conservative for me. That’s why I live HERE (in California).
“And the hot, humid weather in Florida sux.”
Maria, “Is anyone in Sarasota following the COVID rules? She doesn’t sound like she’s following in either state. I can’t think about dating until this is over. The pandemic is a lonely business for someone living alone, but I’d rather be lonely than on a ventilator!
“If your women readers are that man-hungry, Florida may be their ticket.”
Daren, “The Tampa Bay area is great for meeting people also. Sarasota does have a traffic problem though.”
Bruce, “That entire area consisting of St. Pete Beach (my favorite)/ St Pete (different from St. Pete Beach)/Bradenton/ and Sarasota are awesome places to live and visit and the cost of living is reasonable.”
Teresa, “What kind of special perfume or outfit is that lady wearing? I’m not sure I believe that Sarasota is dripping with single men, but good for her…
“Also, it drives me crazy that while a bunch of us are trying our best to social distance, mask up, and not spread disease, others take a break (happy hour, out to dinner — I’m assuming her activity was inside) in ways that can prolong this awful pandemic.
“No wonder it’s not going away. Reminds me of sick people who come to work and say ‘Don’t worry, I’m not contagious’ — and soon the whole office is down and out. Grrr.”
Larry, “This Sarasota woman comes across as having a delusional, out-of-control ego!”
Tom’s comment: Oh come on, Larry. I know her and she’s a charming woman.
Susan, “Sarasota is very beautiful I hear, but my friend who used to live there moved because he said that everyone in his condo complex was too nosy; everyone wanted to know his business, he moved to North Carolina. It is pricey to live there also.
Tom’s comment: Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to move to a different condo than relocate to a different state?
The Sarasota Champ herself, “I’m headed back to Sarasota in March and I found out the Baltimore Orioles spring training camp is in Sarasota. My family is from PA so I decided to try to see the Orioles play the Phillies. Got up at 6:45 A.M. and spent 30 minutes trying to get tickets. I was able to get four tickets so I’m super excited! Yea!
“Now I have to get a Phillies cap to wear. The stadium is 15 minutes from my condo. My dream was to go see the Dodgers in Vero Beach but even though they’re now closer to California in Arizona, it still seems like a hassle with hotels, eating out, etc.
Tom’s comment: From her “Ciao” sign-off, maybe she’s Italian and a bit of a romanticist! And she mentioned eating “out.” So maybe it wasn’t inside dining after all. Italians and tourists in Italy love to eat out.
Tourists dining outside on the Isle of Capri near the harbor
(photo by Tom Blake)
Thanks to the Champs who shared their “Sarasota” thoughts. Will single seniors move there hoping to meet a mate? Some might. Most won’t, but it sounds like a wonderful place to live.
Your comments make this weekly eNewsletter possible. Keep them coming.
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – February 19, 2021
By columnist Thomas P Blake
Where the Men Are
Today’s eNewsletter reminds me of two songs. The first is Connie Francis’ 1961 song, “Where the Boys Are,” (link at end of this eNewsletter) which was the theme song for a movie of the same name. The movie was about four coeds seeking love on spring break in Florida.
At least twice a month for the 26 years I’ve been writing about dating, I’ve been asked “Where the men are?” and “Where do I meet senior men?” by women. If my math is correct, that would be approximately 624 times. And that’s a conservative number.
Sometimes, the question is stated differently. For example, this January, a woman wanted to know “where to meet a nice, decent man?” and another asked, “Where the senior single men are.”
My answer has always been that there is no place, of which I’m aware, where older single senior men go to hang out with the sole intention of meeting single women close to their age. Admittedly, there are some singles functions that single men attend, but the ratio is usually somewhere near four to five women to each man.
And then women say, “Some of those men aren’t potential mate-material.” Reasons cited: age, weight, still-married, broke, smoker, drinker, couch potato, kids living at home—the list can go on and on. So, in effect, a more realistic ratio is even greater, like six or seven to one, women to men. For women, those are pretty discouraging numbers.
However, one of our woman Champs has discovered a place where there are lots of older single unattached men. She emailed, “I live in California, but I bought a condo on the beach in Sarasota, Florida. I love it there!
“If it weren’t for my grandson living in California, I would move to Sarasota. Beautiful beaches, tons of museums, theaters, fantastic restaurants, hiking, biking, and water sports. It reminds me of a smaller, less-busy San Diego.
“Californians and East-coasters are moving to Sarasota in droves. A California couple rented, sight unseen, my house in Sarasota because they are building a custom home in Sarasota.”
Our Champ provided Sarasota population demographics: “41 percent married, 59 percent single, divorced or widowed; 48.7 percent men, 53.3 percent women. Where are you ever going to get those odds? The average male age is 46.2 and the female age is 52.4 (respective numbers higher in South Sarasota).
“I meet retired single men everywhere in Sarasota! Grocery store, beach, home-improvement stores, restaurants/ bars, walking, and living in my condo complex. It’s like a candy store for senior women!”
A candy store for senior women? Sarasota sounds too good to be true for senior women wanting to know where the eligible men are. But, Sarasota comes with some quirks, which our Champ explained:
“I returned from Florida yesterday and wanted to share some experiences that might make you laugh. In Sarasota, I made an appointment with my painter, Oscar (not his true name), a mid-30-year-old, to repaint my window sills after having hurricane windows installed. I employed him three times previously for various paint jobs.
“For some odd reason, this young man, after viewing the window sills and slider frames, decided to hug me and kiss me on the lips. I was so shocked I pushed him away and said “Oscar! I am old enough to be your grandmother! Please don’t do that!”
Tom’s comment: (Not to mention the danger during the pandemic).
“He left, looking chagrinned. Oscar returned and completed the paint job appearing crestfallen and quiet. He only charged me $250 for about six hours of work and said it was a ‘special discount’ just for me. I wonder what he would have charged if I had let him kiss me? LOL!
“The next day, I met with a photographer (mid-70s) to take photos of my condo for renting purposes. His name was the same as my ex-husband’s name so we joked about the coincidence. He is a widower who lost his wife to cancer after 52 years of marriage. He asked me to go on a date.
“He has had no luck with internet dating sites. He was a very nice man but I didn’t feel any chemistry. He was quite overweight. I told him I was leaving for CA in a few days so dating was probably not in our future. He still insisted I call him when I return to Florida. Maybe he will have lost some weight by then?
“Soooo…for all those women looking for a man, Sarasota is just teeming with single men of all ages looking for women. At least that has been my experience. BTW, my girlfriend, her husband, and I went out to happy hour one evening and another evening went out to dinner, then dancing. So enjoyable to do some ‘normal’ activities during this pandemic.”
The second song our Champ’s story reminds me of is the Eagles’ “Lyin’ Eyes,” because of this line:
“Every form of refuge has its price.”
Sarasota sounds like a great place to take refuge for senior single women, but, at a price: be prepared to be kissed by your 40-year-younger painter. Oh, and then there’s the cost of moving there.
The link to the Eagles’ song Lyin’ Eyes
The link to Connie Francis singing “Where the Boys Are.”
Now, with signs that the pandemic is easing, face-to-face dating will become more prevalent. Let’s hear what has changed in senior dating. Send me your questions and experiences to share with our Champs.
Also, some of you have asked why some weeks you are emailed two copies of the eNewsletter. The reason: If by Sunday, you haven’t opened Friday’s eNewsletter, I resend a copy because some people have told me that they inadvertently deleted the first one and want a second one sent. By sending a Sunday copy,only to people who didn’t open, it saves me from sending a bunch of individual emails.
by Columnist Tom Blake
February 12, 2021
Senior date idea – Disneyland in February
I’ve been to Disneyland twice in my life. I recall the first visit vividly, June 21, 1964, not because of the intrigue of the Magic Kingdom, but because while waiting in line there, I heard that Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher Jim Bunning had pitched a no-hitter, perfect game, against the New York Mets.
Why do I remember that? I was a Detroit Tigers fan and Bunning had been a Tigers pitcher, where he also had pitched a no-hitter, and I was upset when he got traded away.
The second time was about 15 years ago when my partner Greta and I took her grandchildren for a fun day there.
Greta and I decided to go to Disneyland on February 4. You might be thinking, “Tom and Greta must not have realized that Disneyland was closed due to the pandemic.” Oh, we knew it was closed, which is why we went. Disneyland is the primary COVID-19 vaccination site in Orange County, California.
Where we live in Orange County, the nation’s fourth-largest county with more than three million people, the primary way to schedule a vaccination appointment is the website Othena.com. Greta and I had been on that site for five weeks trying to schedule an appointment. It was frustrating being put in a “waiting room,” as the site described it, without being able to get an appointment, but when you consider 610,000 people are registered on that site, also awaiting an appointment, the delay was understandable.
On Tuesday, February 2, we were each notified by email that it was time to book our appointments. We were able to both get the same day, time and location. It was Disneyland, for the Pfizer vaccine. We were told to bring a photo i.d. and a printed copy of our appointment confirmations.
People who go without appointments will be turned away.
Our appointment was for 9:30 on Thursday the 4th; we arrived at the main entrance to the enormous parking lot on Katella Avenue in Anaheim and were parked by 8:30 a.m. The people directing traffic were very helpful and friendly. Reminders to wear masks were everywhere.
In our eagerness to get in line, I did not write down the row where we parked. I just eye-balled our location among the hundreds of cars parked there and thought “No sweat. I know where it is.”
We were directed to get into the 9:30 a.m. line. Crashing an earlier line than one’s scheduled appointment isn’t allowed. Hence, arriving early, won’t get a person vaccinated earlier.
There was one woman ahead of us. It was cold and slightly windy. I was wearing a winter jacket. Greta had only a shawl over her blouse. It was cold for her; I opened my winter coat, hugging her and wrapping the coat around her to warm her up. I saw many men in teeshirts, shorts, and flip-flops with no socks. They had to be uncomfortably cold.
We watched as 100+ people in the 8:45 a.m. line advanced to the vaccination tents. And then the same for the 9:00 and 9:15 lines. As each line cleared, people waiting in the remaining lines cheered.
Those receiving their first dose were directed to one check-in tent; people receiving their second dose were directed to another tent. The sun had come out so now we were a bit warm. When people arrive in the early morning at Disneyland, they’d be wise to dress as if they’re going skiing by layering their clothes.
We passed through three check-in stations, showing our picture i.d and appointment documents each time. A fourth station was where we received our shots and a vaccination record card that also listed a February 25 appointment for our second dose.
One of the many tents at the Disneyland Covid-19 vaccination site
Before receiving the shot, everybody was questioned about the medications they’re taking. If any meds might possibly interact with the vaccine, those people were interviewed in yet another tent by a doctor to receive approval.
Greta and I felt the shot hurt less than a flu shot. After receiving it, we were required to sit for 15 minutes under a tent to ensure we had no adverse reactions.
While there, we discovered that Greta’s driver’s license (photo i.d.) was missing. Couldn’t find it anywhere in her pockets or purse. We mentioned that to a staff member and before we knew it, Mike Lyster, the Chief Communications Officer from the Anaheim City Manager’s office–who was helping out that day–was summoned and helped us retrace our steps. He was awesome.
After a frantic search, a triple-check of Greta’s purse revealed that her driver’s license had slipped behind another card. We embarrassingly revealed that to Mike.
He smiled and said, “You’d be amazed how often that happens. People show their paperwork so many times it’s easy to misplace something small such as a driver’s license.”
We made our way back to the car. Of course, it was hard to find because I hadn’t written down where we parked. I kept making excuses to Greta like, “My car usually has my Stand Up Paddle Board on top so it’s easy to see. But I removed it this morning before driving here.”
Our first-dose experience was positive. The people working there were incredible. We thanked them often. Hopefully, all Champs will do the same with all of the medical and service personnel who are putting themselves at risk to help us get through the pandemic.
Other than sore arms the following day, neither of us had any side effects.
Although we didn’t see Mickey or Minnie Mouse, and our outing wasn’t exactly a celebration of Valentine’s month, it had been pleasant to be there. Hopefully, by summertime, those two Disney characters will be walking the streets of Disneyland, greeting customers.
In Dana Point, where we live, there is a house on the Street of Blue Lantern (many Dana Point Streets are called Lanterns) that is decorated by its owners for every special holiday. Valentine’s Day is no exception.
Festive House on Blue Lantern in Dana Point, California
Have a good Valentine’s Day.
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – February 5, 2021
by columnist Thomas P Blake
Senior love in the U.P. of Michigan -Follow your heart but take your brain with you
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I hoped I’d be able to share with you a senior feel-good, finding-love story. Lo and behold, an email arrived describing Champ Cheryl’s relationship with Matt. This is a different Cheryl than the one we spoke about last week.
What stands out is how they intelligently approached their 600-mile long-distance relationship. Cheryl and Matt met online, moved slowly, decided to live together in his home, faced obstacles with his daughter, and eventually moved to Cheryl’s home. They talked things over, realized they weren’t perfect, and yet, made the relationship work. I think Champs will benefit from their story.
I edited Cheryl’s email for length and clarity.
She wrote, “Matt and I are blessed to have found love in our 70s. However, we do take some credit for our success and don’t believe it was just luck. We were honest when we wrote our profiles and answered hundreds of questions on OK Cupid, and we were honest with each other in our communications from the onset.
“Our ‘deal-breakers’ were issues of substance, not less-important things like food preferences or favorite color! We were cognizant that at our age we were set in our ways to some extent, and we were willing to accept that–in each other–and make adjustments and compromises.
“Matt says we each have ‘perfect imperfections!’ We were also willing to travel more than 25 miles to find a loving partner, and when we found each other, both were willing to relocate to where the other one lived.
“We didn’t make a hasty commitment, but when we did commit, we felt confident that we were doing the right thing. We both recognized that we were lonely living alone and we wanted to be in a committed, live-in relationship, so we were dedicated to making it work.
“Some seniors—widowed, never married or divorced–have decided they prefer living alone to living together, and perhaps they don’t realize that until they venture into dating again. Possibly that is why they decide a relationship isn’t working for certain reasons.
“Honesty from the outset is crucial. Relationships at any age are challenging, but at least we seniors have the advantage of knowing ourselves well and understanding the futility of ‘playing games’ in relationships! Sometimes people are blindsided by revelations by partners that were not initially revealed.
“Matt’s house in the Upper Penisula of Michigan is 600 miles from where I was living in Ohio. In April 2016, I spent a week with Matt in the U.P. getting to know him in person and getting to know my potentially new location, which I liked.
It’s cold in the Upper Penisula of Michigan
(Photo by Debbe Daniels)
One regret I have is that I did not meet his daughter. I’m not sure if meeting her would have changed our plans, but in hindsight, meeting her should have happened. I’ll explain later.
“In July 2016, Matt came to Ohio and spent two weeks meeting my family and friends and doing some sight-seeing. By that time we had decided to make a ‘rest-of-the-journey commitment to each other and I had decided to move to the U.P.
“In September 2016, I moved to Michigan to be with Matt. I had made assumptions about his relationship with his daughter (his only child) that proved not to be true, and he assumed she would accept me as his partner. Since his daughter lives in the same town, we expected to share family time with her and her fiance’ and likely grandchildren for Matt eventually. (Matt found out via email from his son-in-law that they were already married!)
As a result of her resistance to my involvement in Matt’s life and her subsequent total estrangement from him for 2 1/2 years, we are now moving back (for me) to Ohio, which Matt is willing to do. He realizes how much I miss having family interaction, especially at holiday times.
“Matt has made it clear to his daughter that he is not ‘giving me up,’ and she will not dictate to him how to live his life. I know some seniors have had issues in relationships where a person feels forced to choose between a partner and a child and chooses the child.
“It’s a choice no one should be forced to make, and sadly Matt’s daughter has put him into this position. Fortunately, he chose the path that he knew would make him and me happy (remaining committed to me and our relationship)–a path he has every right to follow.
“One benefit of pursuing a relationship at our age (70s) is that we know ourselves well enough to recognize what we need and want based on our emotions and practical objective considerations. We are not as likely to simply get ‘swept off our feet’ and make a decision prematurely or based solely on emotion.
“The benefits of living in our 60s, 70s, and 80s give us a better chance of achieving a happy, successful relationship than when we were younger and knew ourselves less well. It’s always important, as someone once said, to “Follow your heart but take your brain with you.” This applies to any age, but I think we are more likely to do that in our senior years!”
Cheryl’s comments summarize how to wisely approach a new relationship in our later years. What a nice story for the month of Valentine’s Day.
I’m aware Valentine’s Day is a week away, but it’s the month of Valentine’s Day +