A wild spring gale raged off the Pacific Ocean when we celebrated my friend Diana’s 68th birthday. Hotel Shangri-La’s http://www.shangrila-hotel.com/ glass and chrome doors blew open and welcomed our Santa Monica arrival.
The remodeled Art Deco boutique hotel was a matched setting for Diana’s special day because Hollywood glamour and glitz is Diana’s iconic style, and a nice polish for my earthy ways.
I brag about Diana all the time: “She’s the only 60-something I know who can still wear white leather pants and look fabulous.” But it’s not her glamour and style that makes her special. She’s kind, giving and fiercely independent.
Our Hotel Shangri-La arrival was early and gave us time for a quiet lunch (red pepper bisque and seared tuna over pickled shiitake and heirloom tomatoes—yummy, yummy, yummy food). “So how’s the love life?” I asked.
“Well, I’m cancelling my dating-dot-com tomorrow!” she exclaimed with a wink.
Assuming eligible men clamor thru cyberspace for her company; I followed with, “Too many dates?”
Diana dabbed around her lips and explained, “I’ve had dozens of hits. I went out with one of the men…and…well…let’s just say he was handsome, but he lied about his age too…and he was smothering. I’m not a prude, but I’d like some friendship before sex.”
She filled in the details about her year-long dot-com dating quest. Her dating parameters included men between the ages of 58-70 who are fit and able to travel, at least 5-foot, 10-inches tall and with an income equal to hers. “At this time in my life I don’t need someone showing up with just a suitcase.”
One of her dates met her for lunch on Veteran’s Day. “He bought my lunch,” she laughed, “because he was a vet and his lunch was free. We met for coffee at another time, and he handed me the ticket! Yeah, it was just two cups of coffee and maybe I’m old-fashioned…but really!!”
Then there was the date that she took to a theater production. “First, he showed up inappropriately dressed for a night at the theater. I paid and he still expected romance afterwards! When he asked what was wrong with me, I answered, ‘I don’t know.’”
That was her personal epiphany. “My life is great as it is and I don’t need a man and all the trappings.”
Inching toward her 7th decade, she advised, “When one of my friends is about to get divorced and she is frightened, I tell her to get a dog. A dog loves you unconditionally and demands nothing of you but affection and food. I tell my aging single or soon-to-be single friends, ‘Get over it because the odds are not in your favor.’”
Diana’s one of those popular kids and harbors baskets of friends. But she added, “I worry about not having someone to grow old with. At the same time, I absolutely love my life! I come and go as I please and I do not have to rely upon a man for my happiness. And to tell the truth, the last time I thought I was in love, it was co-dependency. I’m over that! I’m happy and fulfilled.”
Diana doesn’t come from ivory towers. A few nightmare scenarios darkened her life. Those intrusions, however, made her strap on her pretty heels, work harder and walk away from the storm.
Independent women! I remain unsure as to its blessing or its curse. There are down times and there are lonely times–storms that blow out the stale air and open shiny new doors to independence and our personal quest for Shangri-La.