Boomer In The City: Viagra or Love – Is It a Choice Between One or the Other?

2013-01-04
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I press the codes on the tall, red door, admiring a huge bronze mezuzah. Tonight Phil Kaplan is cooking a brisket dinner. I’m nervous. This dating business is hard. Still, he might be the one. Love can happen at any time; it has no age. The door opens. Phil is taller than I had recalled. Plus, he has this great Jewish huge hair — not the usual comb-over or hairpiece.

“Hello,” I say, giving him the bouquet of roses I picked from a neighbor’s garden, trying not to sound high-pitched.
“You look … great,” he says, his bulging eyes scanning my black outfit and red, high-heel, Joan Crawford–style shoes.

He leads me along a narrow hall, past dozens of photographs of Israel, framed degrees, photographs of himself skiing, or on top of mountains, into a cozy living room. Hot Israeli music sensually plays from a stereo inside a tall bookcase stuffed with books. I sit on a somewhat worn beige couch.

“Wow. I like your place. Wonderful drawings. And your brisket smells like my grandmother is back from the grave. Do you believe in death? Dr. Kevorkian is my hero.”
“Wine?” he asks, at a makeshift bar.
“Vodka. Straight up. Three green olives.”
He laughs. And when he does so, he reveals even but small teeth. “Most Jewish women drink red wine. You’re different.” He sits next to me.
“Are you analyzing me?”
“I already did,” he says.
We click glasses. “Shalom,” I say.

He smiles. He has red full, salacious lips. Anyway, we shoot the breeze about our lives, our love for animals, our careers; I rant about the field of writing, its ups, its downs, that I want to be a movie star and am studying acting. He brags about his latest bestseller, “Happiness.”

“Oprah wants me on her show,” he says, blinking, as if trying to show modesty.
“Cable offered me a six-figure deal to have a reality show on happiness.”
“I’ve been re-reading ‘The Great Gatsby.’ I love Gatsby’s dream of forever love and happiness with Daisy Buchanan. Gotta keep your dream.”
“Dream. Schmean,” he says with a sullen shrug. “Let’s eat.”

The table is set beautifully. He lights three humongous candles and the flames are so high my eyes are watering. But the brisket is wonderful and I’m eating like a horse, trying not to gulp or make clicking sounds. We’re flirting and laughing and I’m surprised by my attraction. I’m not easily attracted but chemistry has no scruples. Afterwards, we have coffee and brandy in the living room. Ravel’s Bolero is sensually rising. He lights more candles. “To happiness,” he says, moving closer. I’m dying. This is so romantic.

“Do you believe in undying true love?” I blurt.
He frowns. “I believe in Viagra.”
“Isn’t love more than sex?” I reply.
“Isn’t sex more than love?” he replies, his hand moving along my arm.
“Or both? Even when I’m a hundred, I want it all,” I say. He looks sour now. Gravy stains his light blue shirt.
“You Jewish women are never satisfied with a brisket and an orgasm. At our age, forget the dream. Be happy for a good time and some companionship.”
“I have companionship with my cat, and my own company. I’m talking about forever romantic love.”

He heavily sighs. He starts complaining about his ex-wives, girlfriends, how “greedy” they were and that they all wanted his money, fame, everything.

“The last woman I dated was 30. OK, she didn’t know who Marilyn Monroe was. But she looked like Pamela Anderson. She was grateful for my cooking and a good time.”
“So where is she?”
He shrugs. Looks gloomy. “She ran off with her personal trainer.” He pauses, as if reflecting. “I thought you’d be a hottie. Someone to have fun with.”
“Your companionship means your terms. I want spiritual connection, monogamy, and romantic love. All of it.”

Suddenly he kisses me passionately, this huge guppy kissing. The music is rising and the fire in the fireplace is dwindling. The kissing is hot.

“Stay,” he says. “We’ll watch some great French porno films. You’ll love it. My 27-inch plasma television is in the bedroom. I’ll show you happiness.”
“It’s late,” I say, standing, trying not to wobble. “I have to call a taxi.”
“I’ll bring you home in the morning.”
“Great evening. Great brisket. I have to go.”

I rush into the night. By now the mist is thick and I feel rain. I love the rain.  It promises so much.


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