ROLE REVERSAL

Gus was eighty years old and in the prime of his life. He had worked hard and was now retired and although the days were long they were also empty without someone to enjoy them with. Concentrating on his crossword puzzle, he finished it with a flourish and flung it on the couch.

Sitting on the couch like a lump, the crossword puzzle looked as if it did not belong.  Gus preferred to be kept busy.  That was why his house was more immaculate now than when he had been working for more than sixty years of life. “Things change” or so he had been told by numerous people before retiring and becoming another useless member of society.

Lately, loneliness was taking its toll . Gus had been a social animal since his teenage days. He liked people, which put even strangers at ease enough  to tell him their troubles. Though as independent as the next guy, he just didn’t like being alone.

Gus hated the bar scene and was often at a loss for words when he encountered a desirable female. When he was younger, he’d had many lovers in his life.  “Who’s to say there’s only one in a lifetime?, he would say to people. “You need to experience life to fully enjoy it.” And now, there was nothing. No woman to share his life anymore. Sharon, his wife of thirty years.had passed away recently and now he was alone.  He knew there would be other romances out there because he believed that there were many chances at love and the heart was big enough to hold them all.

Yet, he became tongue-tied every time he tried to talk to a lady.  He had ventured out of his comfort zone and gone to events that he would not have considered when younger.  Events and Adventures for the Single Older Male had never held appeal for him, but he had been desperate when a neighbor had recently introduced him to this site. Besides what could it hurt going on an outing where the pressure of dating one person was removed by dating a group of people with an interest in the activity? How else would he ever meet people now that he didn’t go to work everyday?

He was acquainted with the neighbor ladies but none of them appealed to him.  One of them was claustrophobic and another one was afraid to try anything new, let alone leave her house. All of these women were definitely not his type and he was afraid that he’d be stuck with one of them if he did not get off his duff and do something about it.  Finding people that he got along with seemed to be more of a task than he was used to, but as he thought about it, more of his tastes had changed since college and had been molded by the people he had met and the ones in his life that he had admired. “Spending time with someone you did not like was like spending your life in hell and sometimes I already feel like I am there.” he would often say to visiting relatives giving him a bad time for being alone.

Gus went on several events in three months and did not hook up with anyone. He tried skydiving, canoeing, archery, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, hiking and none of them brought with it any prospects. He went home exhausted and ready to drown his loneliness in drink but he never resorted to that.  Instead he changed into comfortable clothes and went to his favorite chair, took out his favorite book and read to his heart’s content, drowning out any bad memories that he had experienced.

After several months of failure, Gus went to talk to his neighbor Ted.  Ted was a bachelor and had a lot of dates and work to keep him busy so Gus sat down with him in his backyard and straight out asked him what his secret was to getting women.

Ted said,” Gus, there is a site online that I highly recommend. I’ve been using it on a regular basis and it had done a world of good for me.  Maybe you will have luck on it too.  The site is called Match.com, and all you really need is a good profile and then if a woman likes what she reads, she will wink at you and then if you like her, you wink back and then email her. Your identity is kept secret until you’re ready to give them out to someone. What do you think?  I could help you with your profile and then you can take it from there.”

“All right, what have I got to lose?” Gus said. “Are you sure there are women on this site that are close to my age?”

“Sure there are, just you wait and see.”

The next day, sitting in his living room, Gus heard a ding and then a voice say,”You’ve got mail”,on his computer.  Looking at the email, he saw that the woman who had winked at him was not only his age but had similar tastes in hobbies, movies and the like. He winked back and sent her an email.  He wanted to know as much as possible about this woman whom he had not met but insight told him she was the one. Once again his journey began, and loneliness that filled his days seemed to disappear as his time became consumed with numerous dates with many women and with that, many possibilities.

 

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