Four score and seven years ago, when I last had sex (or so it seems!), the world seemed to be a different place. It was brighter, more hopeful, fuller of peace and love. New to sobriety at the age of 60, perhaps that was just the storied pink cloud I was floating on. No matter: Life was now good and I didn't care. I had discovered that I still had hormones that were very much alive and, by god, now I was going to use them. Finally, I was seizing the day, as well as anything else I could seize along the way!
Seven months earlier, my concerned family had carted me off to a treatment center for alcohol addiction. If not actually kicking and screaming, quite a bit of crying and sobbing was involved, to no avail. Off to rehab, I went.
Long before, I had been miserably married for 10 years, not really wanting the sex I was having. After a divorce, I was single and celibate for the next 10 years, adopting alcohol as my friend, companion and love interest. I felt old, fat and unattractive. At one point, mostly as a lark, another single friend and I actually ordered dildos online (her idea) to see if we could still "do it" should the unlikely occasion ever arise. We ordered medium-sized black ones for a little experiment with diversity. When large white ones arrived instead, we sent them back. We had seen enough of that ilk in our heydays!
So, that fateful November day, after an agonizing seven-hour drive, our caravan pulled into the parking lot of the rehab center. Immediately my teenage daughter nudged me and whispered "Look over there, Mom. You're going to be OK!" There stood a young man with a lovely long red ponytail, an older man with a long grey beard and a few other interesting-looking characters. "Hmm," I thought to myself. As my entourage emptied out from our assorted vehicles, we all checked each other out curiously. I was certainly not looking my best (and felt even worse) but, unbeknownst to me, a page was about to turn.
Beginning at the first group meeting that night, and lasting over the next few months, the young man with the ponytail and I shared something of an emotional love affair. Eye contact was everything in a place where physical touching between a man and a woman was strongly discouraged.
Emotions were heightened, and our age difference didn't seem to matter. He was a young hippie of 26; I was an old hippie of 60. Our ideals were the same and we bonded. He stood up for me when the occasional, inevitable conflicts with other residents arose. At his request, I tried to teach him how to crochet, but he soon got frustrated and preferred to work on his braided hemp bracelets. Every now and then we shared a short hug, and we talked about our lives. Always, there was the magic of meaningful eye contact.
Along the way, I started to notice that other men seemed to find me attractive, too. I overheard one young but hardened criminal refer to me as "hot" and even "cool as shit"! I had never been so flattered! Life was getting interesting again, and, if not love, at least the hint of sex was in the air.
By the time the date to leave the rehab center had arrived, I decided to pull up stakes and move to the beautiful little city where I had found sobriety as well as my hormones. During the three months it took me to pack up and move, I lost a considerable amount of weight, stayed sober and remained in sporadic touch with the young hippie. Sadly, he was having a hard time getting it together and by the time I arrived at my new location, he had moved into what he hoped would be greener pastures in another state. I found myself still living alone and again with no love interest in sight, but I was feeling better about myself and more confident.
Thus I was ready, or so I thought, for the tall, dark, handsome troubadour who strolled into my life one fine summer night, guitar in hand and sweet words on his lips. A country music singer, he claimed to have been sober for seven months, coincidentally just like myself. Actually, he had been trying for seven years, but I didn't know that then. I had never heard of the famous "13th step" warning against moving in on innocent newcomers and, truth be told, I wouldn't have cared. The time was ripe and I was ready.
There are few preliminaries as satisfying, at least to me, as a personal concert of sad country music songs sung by a handsome, lonely cowboy, all about love and loss. Matters proceeded apace. I was a product of the Sixties, hadn't been with a man in ten years and this was no time for caution. I did feel a tinge of worry. Could I still do this? Should I have tried out one of those dildos to make sure? No matter. I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. There were other places I was more interested in looking. The moment of truth had come. Let the games begin!
At the time, I had kind of a "Princess and the Pea" thing going on within my bed, due to my not wanting to get rid of anything when I moved. He, in turn, had a bad back. Nonetheless, we managed to situate ourselves on top of the mattress, which was on top of two futons, and began to follow our natural inclinations. Unfortunately, this man also had a natural inclination to talk too much, often at the wrong time. "I have to tell you something," he whispered.
"What?" I squeaked.
"My sobriety will always come first," he proclaimed solemnly. Not being used to the AA lingo and unaware that a past love affair had led him into drinking again, I was flabbergasted and at a loss for words. What kind of alternate universe had I entered? Who actually talks like that? And, why now?
"Not a problem!" I gasped. "Carry on!" And carry on, we did, for about six more glorious months. My body worked just fine, as it turned out—if my heart was a little tender.
The cowboy eventually moved on, as cowboys do, and our story became the stuff of sad country songs. I see him every now and then, and the eye contact and chemistry are just as strong, but we don't act on our impulses these days. At least, we haven't yet.
I stayed sober and am relatively happy, but I still have the lingering dream that maybe, just maybe, the "right one" will come along one of these days. If not, I hope there's at least one more "wrong one," and I suspect he will be carrying an old guitar, with little more than a dime in his pocket, but a song in his heart.