June 27, 2012
Rhoda’s a widow in her 70s. “I was married to a physician — a brilliant ophthalmologist. He passed away two and a half years ago.” Although she still mourns her loss, she’s ready to find companionship. She signed up for Match.com — “My lead [in my profile] is: I really do believe laughter is the best form of healing.”
“I was born in New York. I was one of these nerds. I was always chubby, and I was always fun. The boys were usually around me, because I was doing their homework.” She doesn’t come off that nerdy, but shy … at least according to her. “My favorite thing is meeting new people. I probably am the shyest person that you know. It is very difficult for me to meet new people and speak publicly, and yet I knew I had to do that, and I overcame it.” She clearly did a good job compensating for her shyness, because I found her personable and open.
I imagine a lot of her shyness stemmed from being so smart. Because of it she was always the youngest person in her grade. Much younger. She graduated from high school at 15 and went right to college. I ask her if she dated in college. “There was an expression — jailbait.” So she was off-limits. “But,” she continues, “I never sat home for a dance. And I never bought my own malted milk. And I never carried my own books. There was always someone there protecting me. Jim, my husband, was my protector. I could do no wrong. When I was wrong, I could do no wrong. And I miss that. I miss having someone worship me.”
“What are you looking for?” I ask. “You, older,” she says. I’m flattered — and mumble a thank you — but she’s already moved on. “The man has to be educated and cultured. That’s very important. Someone who laughs. Someone who gets it. Somebody who can roll with the punches. If you’re driving to go to a movie and you see something else, you make a left turn instead of a right. I love theater, movies, opera and sports. It’s hard to find something I don’t like. I’ll try anything once. Probably not skydiving right now, but parasailing — I’d try that. For sure I’d try that.”
She has a young soul. “I don’t feel my age. I get out of bed every morning like I’m 22. I always try to do the right thing. I come off goody two shoes, but I don’t like that because in one second I can get you into trouble. I love wine, candlelight; I do enjoy a fireplace. I enjoy writing — I write funny.”
“How do you keep yourself busy?” I ask. “I knit and needlepoint — some beautiful stuff. I’ve sold stuff. I’m a Rotarian. I’m impressed with what they’ve done all over the world. Now we’re working on clean water. I do that every Monday. I play cards. I have a new puppy.”
“I’m not going to leave a whole lot of money in my life when I die. The one thing I want my legacy to be is, I give the world the license to take advantage of me. When I think you’re overextending that license, I do withdraw it, and it’s over and out. I asked this housekeeper who works for the building — I’m in a full-service building — what her daughter was doing for the summer. She said she’s going to swim camp. I asked her how much the camp was and she said $120. So the next day I gave her an envelope with the cash and said, “This is not for groceries.”
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.