Esther walks into Starbucks to sit down with me, recognizes a young guy at the table next to us and gives him a hug. “He’s my acting coach.” She sits down, continuing, “I noticed people come off kvetchy [in the column]. I want to come off on a higher level. On a sophisticated level.” Her accent is the Jewish Bronx of the 1940s.
She pulls out a page of typed notes. I say, “I feel like you have an agenda.” She says, “My agenda is, in my travels around my community, women over 60 feel invisible. They feel invisible because dating is difficult, they don’t know what they’re doing with themselves and their time. And I feel like I came down not knowing anybody in the L.A. area, and I have created a life for myself. And I’m trying to get across, ‘Hey, get off the damn couch and stop kvetching, because we’re valuable to the community, and you’re needed in the community.’ Because my cup is always half full.”
I don’t know exactly how old Esther is — she’ll only cop to being over 60. What I do know is that 14 years ago, she moved from Northern California to Los Angeles so she could expand her acting career. She describes herself as a “sassy, sexy senior over 60.” She uses JDate to meet men,, but it’s not without its problems. “I compare JDate to markdowns in supermarkets. You ever see the cart of dented cans and things they can’t sell? Well, that’s JDate. And the men on JDate embellish their profiles.”
I start to ask a question, but she cuts me off. “Let me just give you my interests, and if someone wants to meet someone like me, they’ll contact me. I’m a political junkie. I’ve been working in politics for a long time. I love the theater. I’m a self-taught gourmet cook. I travel when I can. I have a zest for life. I don’t know if it’s bad to complain, but we live in a very youth-oriented society. Just watch the TV shows. I watch them because I have to know what the genre is about, [to see] if I could fit into one of the sitcoms as a character actress. I’m hoping maybe some producer reads this, or some director. Auditions are welcome.”
Esther tells me she’s interested in meeting a new friend or a companion. “Younger men are welcome. One of the lines in my comedy is, ‘I like to date men my age so I can meet their sons.’ By the way, I’m very straightforward, honest and outgoing. I tell it like it is. Because what I’ve come to realize is, life is too short to be subtle.”
I ask —“Were you ever subtle?” She says, “That’s where the straightforward comes in — I guess not.”
She keeps peering over my computer screen to try to see what I’m writing. I ask her if she doesn’t trust me. “I notice I’m detail oriented — and I’m not so controlling, but I’m accurate and I want to be truthful about what I said. I just don’t want to come off needy. Some of these people come off desperate, needy, and picky, and kvetchy, and I say, “Oh s—-. I don’t want to come off that way.”
I say, “You’re an independent broad.” She smiles. “I guess I am, in a way, an independent broad. You got the right idea. I have a lot of energy. And I want to set an example and hope other mature people come along and get interviewed. It’ll keep you in business for a while.”
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.