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August 30, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

At the risk of sounding insufferable.... my problem is how to meet APPROPRIATE men. I'm 42, but still pretty enough to turn heads in Manhattan; I have a Harvard MBA and a Phi Beta Kappa undergraduate degree; and my income is approaching seven figures a year. I'm also nice, sweet, and eminently sane. (I don't cook or do windows, though.)

Meeting men per se is not hard...but finding someone with the right combination of intelligence, professional accomplishment (not necessarily money; I could be just as happy with, say, a respected professor), solid values, and age-appropriateness has been, so far, impossible.

I broke up in February with someone I thought could be the one; in fact, he HAD asked me to marry him, and I initially said yes. In very short order, I found out that his idea of our marriage was that, since I make so much more money than he does (he's a freelance writer), I should (1) completely forgo a ring; (2) pay for the entire wedding myself; and (3) buy a new million-dollar apartment that he would own half of in a neighborhood that was inconvenient for me because, as he put it, "Why did I think I was so special that I shouldn't have to commute like everyone else in New York?"

(I recently changed jobs, and, for the first time in my 19-year career, I can walk to work. I also bought a lovely, large apartment that I like, in a neighborhood I like, less than 18 months ago. I offered my ex half the equity in my current apartment, but that wasn't good enough for him. Needless to say, I changed my mind about the marriage.)

Since my breakup, I tried a dating service and was told they don't take women over 40. I placed a personal ad and got (1) loads of men 15 or more years my senior; (2) one who told me things about his sexual habits that I don't ever want to know about anyone, let alone a virtual stranger on a second date; (3) one who was very sweet but still, at 45, lives in his parents' house in Brooklyn; (4) one who seemed perfect on first meeting but whose subsequent behavior shouts "commitment-phobe" (e.g., calls and leaves messages on my machine when he knows I'm not there; every time I try to return calls, I get either a busy signal or no-answer-no-machine); and (5) several others who struck me as just plain weird.

Needless to say, I've also told friends and colleagues that I'm single and would love to meet nice men they may know, but so far nothing's come of it. I also attend church, but haven't found it a very good avenue for meeting single men. Oh, and let's see, I have a singles-night theater subscription starting in the fall, and I'm a member of several museums where I occasionally attend special exhibitions.

So how about it, BG? Any more suggestions for meeting Mr. Right? Whether I find a man or not, I know I'm pretty privileged, and I'll be content no matter what. But it would so enhance my life (turn contentment into real happiness) if I had the right partner to share it with.


Dear Libby,

Maybe if you cooked or did windows.

Oh, I am SO kidding.

Okay. You know my speech on this, I think. (See, for one, Enuff Already.) Good news/bad news: you are doing everything right. Your attitude, your activities. Right. And those SMs you met? Smoochage of requisite frogs. And good for you for not making excuses: those warts are not the "and all" kind. Eeuw, yeah, but also: Life. Validated by TV.

But the problem in your case, I know, is that when it comes to Life, it kinda feels like you got less left. Right? Bet that 40+ cutoff made you feel super!

Still, Libby, they're there. They're there. And, excepting perhaps bachelor number 3, what you will eventually find (forgive me) "at your age" is that they're
"done." Done as in cooked through. Ready. Or if they're not, the sticky raw part -- as you have found -- will show up faster. Otherwise, generally, they'll have found themselves. Which puts them in the perfect place -- theater? museum? tadpole tank?-- to find you.

Breakup Girl

PS: Speaking of Life, here are a few more things that are just true about it: people do not (1) return calls, (2) RSVP, (3) make copies of photos, or (4) come through on setting their friends up. Keep dropping hints to the right Yentes, yes -- it's a vibe thing -- but don't sweat it.

PPS: Also, you could always pull a Lesley. Or not.



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