My Aunt Meg always had a loving man in her life. When my Uncle Benny died, she was soon re-married. When that husband eventually passed on, another man turned up and enjoyed her company. It was easy to see why. She was engaging, wise and sympathetic, and always great fun to talk with.
And she was always upbeat. In her 80s and (temporarily) single, she had to move into an assisted living facility, but her take on it was anything but gloomy. “I love this place!” she told me. “I’m making lots of new friends. There‘s a dining room so I don‘t have to cook. I even have a new boyfriend — and he‘s gay!”
“Your boyfriend is gay?”
“When you hit your 80s,“ she explained, “all that ‘sex stuff‘” isn’t as important as it used to be. “We watch PBS and go for walks and have great conversations. And he can still drive! We go to the symphony together!”
I had to admit that sounded pretty good.
Especially when, this past July, I learned that the man I’d loved and trusted for twenty years had a secret girlfriend on the side for the past ten. Since loving another woman and lying about it (for a decade!) happens to be a deal breaker for me, I threw Mike out.
Which means that I’m single again at age 62. And while I’m perfectly capable of being happy on my own, I do miss having a man in my life, so I’m starting to think about online dating.
“Don’t bother!” some friends tell me. “If you look for love online, you’ll find nothing but heartache. They’re all liars and creeps.” But other pals assure me that there’s someone out there just for me. “You’ll find Mr. Right and live happily ever after.”
Perhaps. On the other hand, thinking about Aunt Meg the other day, I suddenly realized that there’s a third option. I could follow her lead and find a gay boyfriend! Or rather, a gay best friend.
Several of the women I know have gay best friends who, they tell me, are loving and affectionate and lots of fun.
Men they can trust and confide in, and kibitz with endlessly about relationships and pop culture and office politics, and who never pester them for sex when they’re not in the mood. (Or, for that matter, ever.)
And having a gay best pal means that you’ll always have somebody who is happy to go with you to the local community theatre’s production of “Company.”
It makes perfect sense! I happen to know from experience that straight men in their sixties can be very high maintenance. And, if you check out Match.com, most of the available ones are looking for much younger women anyway.
I’ve always been a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights. I give money. I sign petitions. I show up. I speak out. I belong to GLAD and subscribe to The Advocate. I marched on Washington for Gay Rights in 1993 — and I’ve got the T Shirt to prove it.
And I have a lot to offer the right gay man. Like my Aunt Meg, I’m loyal and upbeat and fun to talk with. Say you’re a cool gay guy. Why wouldn’t you want to spend time with a smart, funny humor writer who can not only cheer you up when you’re feeling blue, but publish mocking essays about anyone who bothers you on Zestnow or the Huffington Post?
Not to mention somebody you can always count on to go with you to the local community theatre’s production of “Company.”
So where does a Grace like me find her Will?
“Local politics!” says Amy. “When I worked for Hillary’s campaign, there were scads of progressive gay men working the phones with me.”
“Community theatre!” my pal Deb suggests. “The Local Talent Players are putting on a production of Evita. Audition! So what if you can‘t act? You can be in the chorus.”
I could volunteer at the art museum. Or spend more time at the gay bookstore. But this is the 2lst century! Shouldn’t there be a Tinder-like app for straight women who desperately need a gay best friend?
Can somebody please work on this? I’m guessing there are plenty of single woman my age who, when it comes to male companionship, are more than ready to “upgrade” from straight to gay. Make it happen!
By the time the first anniversary of my breakup with Mike rolls around, I’d love to have a gay pal to laugh about him with.
This post first appeared on zestnow.com.