BAGELS AND BABA ghanoush may have become ubiquitous in Seattle, but not Jews. Practicing Jews are 2 percent or less of the Seattle area population. We're a niche within a niche within a niche. If you're a woman seeking a college- educated Jewish man between 50 and 60, not fat, not stupid, not married, not never married, not gay, not relationship-phobic, who's reasonably fit, well educated, and funny, there are only 10 left. Three of them are dating friends of mine. Four I have dated previously. The other three are listed with Match.com.
My potential matches don't have to be practicing Jews; they just have to be comfortable that I am. The codes on Match.com are "Jewish" or "spiritual but not religious." There's also Jdate.com. Last summer, while I was visiting Detroit, I took the bait ("all you can read, but not contact") and found 120 eligible Jewish men within 25 miles. Enthused, I paid my 50 bucks for two months, came home, punched in Seattle, and came up with three (probably the same three).
When friends and relatives ask, "Where did you two meet?" I wonder why they bother. They know the answer: online. And all the guys I've dated have come from outside of my normal stomping grounds: Gig Harbor, not Westlake; Olympia, not Ravenna; Auburn, not Wallingford.
Regardless of how we meet, Jewish or not, I have found three categories of men over 50: (1) not yet ready, (2) never will be ready, and (3) not my type. Included in this first group are the not-quite-divorced, the still-grieving widower, and the still-angry ex-spouse. They make the best potential matches, but connecting with one is like choosing the right string of lottery numbers. Even the nice guys need time to stew in their anger, to grieve their losses (including that four-bedroom house in Laurelhurst), and to learn how to wash their own dishes. Doctors, journalists, businessmen, or lawyers, they may still have their hair and know how to find the right spots in your neck to massage, but they're just not ready. Yet. Their average window of availability is about 10 days, so you have to be prepared to pounce before someone else does. I've had several near misses. These are the heartbreaks.
The second category is self-explanatory. The third category always looks good on paper, but something's not right. Key questions here are "Would you really enjoy his company for the next 40 years?" and "What would you talk about at the assisted-living facility besides constipation?" They tend to be wealthy and retired; they buy your sons 100-level Sonics tickets and bring good wine to Friday night Shabbat dinners. They also may expect total old-school commitment from a woman: no secrets, no private places within her soul, and no free time away from him on weekends.
All of which is why I wanted to throw popcorn at the screen at the end of Something's Gotta Give. Diane Keaton's character gives up a gorgeous doctor 20 years her junior, a man who worships her writing and doesn't even have a potbelly, for an aging Hugh Hefner type? I would sacrifice my only son to marry Keanu Reeves. What focus group? median age under 30, no doubt?thought that Nicholson would really stay with Keaton for the long run? And for how long?
I'll give you a final number: SIX MONTHS. Maybe that's why I've let my Match.com and Jdate.com accounts expire. I know that good men are out there; they're just not out here. There's always my 40th high-school reunion coming up this summer back in Detroit. . . .