Money can’t buy me love

When I was 14, gangly and clueless, a fellow teen approached me in line for the Big Thunder Mountain rollercoaster at Disneyland. She was cute, shy and giggly, and she slipped me a piece of paper the size of a business card. A shiny dime was taped to the card, which read: “Here’s my number and a dime, you can call me anytime.” 

Hot damn! 

(Less hot: I probably still have this ego-tickling keepsake. What a sap.)

(Lesser hot: The lass was surely carrying several cards around like a rod and reel, fishing for quarry at a teeming amusement park. The indignity.)

If only that’s how things worked in this era of high-tech, horn-dog delivery systems. To hell with Match and Tinder, just hand me your card with a proposition and I’ll take it from there. Prepaid to boot, though I’m sure a dime won’t slice it anymore. Tape a fifty-spot to it and we can talk. 

Though I prefer the above messaging — or, equally effective, the hand-passed mash note in Spanish class — I have resorted to dating sites, if only thrice, to make my intentions known. Each time was met with lavish failure. They just didn’t work out, making me a member of about 20 million date-site suckers.  

There was the young woman on Yahoo!, a dark beauty with cotton-candy cheeks, who advertised herself as an inveterate reader and energetic world traveler, only to prove she’s a deft fabulist and convincing embellisher. 

We met up for drinks and jabber. I asked what she reads and she said Harry Potter (watch my face drop). I press. No, just Harry Potter. We never discussed what I’m reading. Travel? She’s been to New York, once, with her mother. And Canada. The tryst was a bust. Even more so, as she’s a fiend for top-shelf vodka. 

Later, I tried trés-hip hookup hotbed OkCupid. I contacted two women. My gentlemanly overtures — the meek shall not inherit the earth — fetched zero responses. I had no idea what I was doing. Still, I was crestfallen for about 17 minutes.  

I believe in fate, kismet, stuff happening for a reason. Actually I don’t, but stick with me. I had a distant, tormenting crush on a woman who worked at the local arthouse cinema. She didn’t notice me. 

One day, at my favorite outdoor cafe, I spotted her (alone, gripping a Hermann Hesse paperback; be still my beating heart). As if the heavens split, she saw me and we exchanged incandescent smiles. I wish, right there, I had a business card that said, “Here’s my number — just call me!” 

Forget the goddam dime. Life is cheap, and short; love’s even cheaper, and shorter. Loose change has no place in this picture. (I later learned that this melting vision, named Laura, didn’t own a cell phone, just as I didn’t. I should have handed her the card with a roll of quarters and a money order.)  

I was paralyzed, besotted, nerves ajangle. So close, I thought. Make a move, putz!

I shot her a few more smiles, and, helpless about what to do next — approach her? sure! — I got in my car. As I pulled away, we made final eye contact, smiled and waved at each other. I ached with yearning, dramatically misty-eyed.

That’s because this was the classic, tragic missed opportunity. And yet with some tactful sleuthing, I figured it out: I discovered her name, got permission to call her (trusty land line), and soon wound up at her place watching “About a Boy” on VHS. We were a solid couple — books, travel, beer — for more than a year. Not an epoch, but enough time for the earth’s plates to shift.

Success, without a dating service, without a dime taped to a brazen call-me card, without exaggerated CVs and eye-fluttery flirtation — it happens. And it’s the only way I’ll play the dating game. Chance, fate — I don’t believe in them. But sometimes, rarely, it all falls into place. And I cherish that, for it’s no dime a dozen.

6 thoughts on “Money can’t buy me love

  1. Aaaaaa this was sooo beautiful!! Loved it from the beginning till the end! Also, relate on a super divine level about the dating site experiences although mine were very very brief and equally overwhelming. 😂💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always so nice to hear from you, Shruba. You say the kindest things. I love how you “relate on a super divine level” about dating sites and their fleeting aggravations. I, for one, won’t be delving into computer cupids again. Thank you for reading and writing!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I only keep away from saying something definite because I’m used to how often I do things impulsively and end up totally disregarding whatever I have claimed before that 😅
        You’re welcome, your works are interesting to read! 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed this as well. Commiserate on several levels. My dating site experiences were actually pre-Match/Cupid — print personals/Boston Phoenix which was interesting & then online circa 2000 — Yahoo and Drip which it said had developed from the old school bulletin board system of a coffee shop. They paired you via short quiz which, and I remember one question was asking your favorite time of day. You got matched and you met up at a bar/coffee shop. Nothing ever clicked/or was mutual though. And Drip it folded up the last email I got was a mass mailing–they wanted to know if anyone who was a subscriber wanted to buy them, etc. And the twists of fate never kind to me either
    — but still hold as romantic idea or perhaps notation that you can still meet someone kind of still persists for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Real-life meetings, for me, are still the best.
    I was single for almost all of my 50s and into 60s. But I resisted the world’s pressure to meet my match online. I was so incensed by the ageism of men my age (and of the computer date sites). I did not want to lie about my age, but I knew that mostly late 60s and 70s men thought 50something women were the perfect match for them. I was very active and outdoorsy and did not believe my best match was an older man.
    It is demeaning and infuriating that age is the first sorting factor all the websites use.
    So I just refused.
    Looooong stretches with no romantic interests. (And once I dated a man 17 years older than me!)
    Eventually a friend introduced me to a guy she thought was perfect for me … though she didn’t tell us.
    We met cute, but then he returned to his home state. Right away, he began calling every week, which went on for 6 months. Then I traveled to Florida for a job and we met up to see what “in person” was like. Now happily married for 4 years.
    He is a year and a half older than me.
    Take that, Match.com.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All right! That’s encouraging, and I am so happy for you, Anne, finding the right guy, marriage and all that. Excellent. I won’t get into my romantic prospects, but they include books, writing, and vigorous thumb twiddling.

      Liked by 1 person

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