I am sad to report that Mom broke up with her boyfriend. For reals, this time.
Some of you have heard me talk about my mom's special man for several weeks now. She met Mr. Jones at a local family-oriented dance hall that her friend has been taking her to for a couple of years now, hoping she would find a good man. She's been on a couple of dates with other guys, but no one really caught her attention. Until Mr. Jones.
He was smitten from the start. He told her he thought she was beautiful. He wanted her to meet all seven (!) of his adult children. He said it had been a long time since he had felt that way about a woman. By the end of their first week of phone conversations, he had told her he thought he was falling in love. That scared Mom and she asked him if they could back it up a little, and thinking she was breaking it off, he offered to buy her a piece of jewelry to remember him by.
So she let him keep calling her even though she wasn't ready for a serious relationship. To which my sister and I said, "Screw that. Take the necklace and run!"
Her only complaint about Mr. Jones since they hooked up in April is that he seems, well, old. He told her he was 70 and invited her to his farm for his 71st birthday, which she would have had to stay overnight for, and which she declined (though she later would stay the night at his house, telling me there would be "no funny business", to which I told her I didn't care or particularly want to know.)
"He seems so much older than me sometimes. I have to remind myself that your dad would be turning 70 in August."
But every weekend in June saw her hitting the road to visit Mr. Jones, usually staying overnight since neither one of them drives at night. She told me I needed to meet him because she thought this was finally getting serious from her end, too.
Last Sunday, I got my chance. He followed her back to her house after she spent the night with him Saturday night.
"Separate bedrooms!" my mom told me over the phone.
"Don't need to know!" I hollered back.
Ainsley and I went over, and it was clear from the moment I met him that he was absolutely enchanted by my mom. And it was good for her: she had stopped her compulsive hair-cutting habit and let her hair grow out into a cute little bob, and she seemed happy and comfortable with him.
One problem, though. In both his appearance and his actions, he seemed 15 years her senior instead of five.
I thought about it when I got home and talked to Jason. We decided that he probably just wasn't aging well; farmers who spend their lives in the sun generally don't. My mom has aged well, especially when she leaves her hair alone and puts on makeup. When you see her in one of her little outfits drinking red wine with her girlfriends, you wouldn't guess that she just turned 66. At her best, she's more like mid-50-ish.
I kept most of that from Mom when she called to ask me what I thought. All I said was, "He makes you look young and hot. And he clearly adores you. Maybe he's a keeper."
That got Mom thinking, though. And when she thinks about Mr. Jones, she goes two houses up the street to talk to her friend. And this friend is technologically savvy and said to mom,
"Why don't we try to see if we can find out how old Mr. Jones is, really?"
Mom had been worried that he wasn't telling her the truth about his age. She had skipped his big birthday party, and she had never seen his driver's license. Something told her he wasn't being completely honest.
And thanks to a public records search on the Internets, she now knows the truth. She was guessing maybe he was closer to 75, an age she had had in her head as sort of the cut-off. Any man older than that would probably not be the companion she was looking for to grow old with, because, well, they already are.
Mr. Jones was not born in 1938 like he told mom. He was born in (wait for it)...1928.
Yes, kids. 1928. He's 81.
Mom got pissed. Not so much for the age, though had she known that he was 81 from the beginning the relationship would have gone no further than a dance or two at Sid's and a cup of coffee and Geritol after. It was the lying. If he would lie to make himself 10 years younger, what else has he lied about?
She confronted him, and he didn't have much to say for himself except, "I have to lie about my age to younger women. Younger women are looking for older men like me with a little bit of money hoping we'll die in a few years."
Which sounds good in theory, but which I doubt very seriously is the whole story.
She's taking it well, and says she hasn't given up hope that a nice, relatively handsome young man in his 60s is out there somewhere. She doesn't ever want to get married again, she just wants a friend and a date on Saturday nights. But the sad truth that she and I talk about is that men want someone younger than them, not their same age. Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas are a year older and a year younger than my mom, respectively. But you don't see them with women like my mom; they're with pretty younger things.
Sadly, a man who's 71 (but not 81) may be the best a 66-year-old woman can do.