There’s a married couple at my shul, around my parents’ age, whose names I never know/remember, but they’re lovely people all the same. The wife came up to me after services tonight and said, “You run the singles programming for people in their 20s and 30s, right?” “Well, it’s not ‘singles’ programming, but yes.”
“OK,” she continued, “do we have any programming for singles in their 40s or 50s?” “No, we have other programming for people in that age range, but none specifically targeted to singles.”
She sighed. “That’s what I thought. We need to create some, after those letters to the editor.” “Well,” I said, my mouth forming a 50/50 smile/grimace, “If, G-d forbid, I’m still single at 40, I’ll create that programming.” She gave me a funny look. “I thought you were engaged, married…?”
Good heavens, am I really having this conversation again? “Oh, well, I was engaged, but that ended about 10 months ago.”
“Oh. I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.” “It’s OK.” “How old are you?” “29.” “OK, hmm, I know somebody about your age who’s single…oh, wait, it’s a woman.” Now my face is about 30/70 smile/grimace. “Right.”
“Well,” she said, “there are men out there. We just have to find them for you.” 55/45 smile/grimace. “Thank you, I appreciate the sentiment.”
* * *
Then I went to a potluck Shabbat dinner. There were several guys there whom I didn’t know. One of them came up to me. “Are you —?” “Yes,” I answered, “do I know you?” He smiled. “We met a couple years ago at Temple —, when you were the High Holiday cantor.” “Oh, right! Wow, I’m impressed that you remembered me and recognized me.” “Of course,” he said, with an even bigger smile. He beckoned someone over. “And this is my girlfriend, T.” OK, that’s fine. People are allowed to have girlfriends.
* * *
A friend of mine was talking to a guy I didn’t know, and she waved me over. “Have you met Q?” (Not really “Q,” of course, but it was an unusual name.) “No, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone called ‘Q,'” I said with a smile. He gave me a funny look. “Yes, you have. We met at shul. You talked to me and my girlfriend.” As I’m stammering out, “Oh, sorry, wow, I really am bad at faces and names,” my friend is saying to him, “Girlfriend? Don’t you mean, fiancee?” He blushed. “Well, she wasn’t then, but…yeah.” “Oh, wow, congratulations.” OK, that’s fine. People are allowed to have fiancees.
* * *
I’m chatting with another friend of mine, one who can’t make it to my dinner next Friday. I mention that the goal is to have a table full of people who aren’t in relationships, and also mention that so far, Harvard Boy is my only confirmed guest. She gives me a funny, oddly sympathetic look. “So, I guess you didn’t know that his girlfriend is moving here in a couple of weeks.” “Oh. Yeah, no, I didn’t know that.” (So I was, in fact, correct when I got the sense that he was only looking to make friends…Maybe next time, those who doubted will realize that I’m not completely inept at reading other people’s signals.)
* * *
But hey, at least my store-bought-cookie-dough chocolate chip cookies were a big hit. And in other news, my dinner is a failure before it even begins. I suppose I should definitely take my coworker’s advice and have more men than women…