Many of the questions were from singles about dating. For example:
- "Is it OK to lie about my age on the online dating sites?" a beautiful, vibrant woman of 70+ asked. "If I tell the truth, no one will date me." I got on my soapbox about telling the truth, changing society's view of older people as unsexy and undesirable by showing that yes, we're 72 or 67 or 78 and still sexy. Coincidentally, Helen Mirren at 66 was just voted "Body of the Year" against plenty of 20-30-year-old celebrities. (I know we're not Helen Mirren, but my point stands.)
- "Are condoms really necessary at our age?" Yes! Most of group was flabbergasted when I told them that fastest growing population for new HIV infections was the 50+ age group. "Should I repeat that?" I asked. People nodded. I repeated it. "People with SDSs don't tell you the truth -- sometimes they don't even know they're infected, and sometimes they lie!" I explained why I felt it was important to have a whole chapter in Naked at Our Age about safe sex, and I gave tidbits from that chapter about having the "condom conversation" and about eroticizing condom use.
After the audience disbanded, several people, mostly unpartnered, came up to me to ask more questions. But the store was closing, and we had to stop.
Afterwards, I realized I had missed a great opportunity. I should have invited the singles to join me at a restaurant next door for dessert and conversation. I should have organized a "Senior Singles Mixer."
So that's what I did at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA, the following Saturday. It turned out to be more a discussion group than a "see if there's someone here you want to date" event. We talked candidly about our personal dating experiences, hopes, apprehensions. We listened to each other with interest and compassion, and left understanding more about each other and ourselves.
I'm motivated now to announce a "Senior Singles Mixer/ Discussion" at the end of all my talks from now on, as long as the organizers agree. My next one is at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco on August 18. (See more info about this and all my upcoming events here.)
If you're not nearby, what would you like to discuss in a Single Seniors Mixer/ Discussion group? You can bring up topics right here.