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Equal opportunity mail order


November 8, 2018

Crin wrote, “Look at the nice young man you can get online these days.” A photo accompanied her note.

Ah, Crinny, it’s been done. Mail order was quite a popular movement back in the late 1800s, after the Civil War, when settlers began homesteading the great western reaches of the country. The men sent off ads for brides.

Generally, I understand, once the package arrived, usually by train, parties on both sides of the fence were in for an unpleasant surprise, as the promised goods were often misrepresented. Even with so-called gender equality, do you really think there is anything new, as has been said, under the sun?

The young man in Crin’s photo looked to be about 24. Slim, dark hair, sparkling eyes. I will leave it to your fertile imaginations to fill in details to complete the picture. Before you get too excited, I caution you to remember even a buffalo can be photo-shopped to look handsome.

Crin, my friend, have you lost your last wing-nut? What are you thinking? Do you realize the risks? Has this site been vetted by Amazon? Does he come with a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied? What if he sent his grandson’s photo and arrives with no teeth, no hair, with a box of adult Pampers under his arm?

Have you, dear woman, considered the 50-year age spread? What will you talk about? Will he give you a blank stare if you mention The Beatles? His grandfather was a child when Jack was downed in Dallas. He will think the “Moonwalk” an antiquated dance form, if he thinks at all. When you want to play Canasta, he will want to play Minecraft.

Dear friend, there are other ways to meet men if you want another man in your life. You might hang out at the Senior Center, the library or the hardware store. Church. The checkout line in the grocery store. I don’t care that dating online is the new normal.


You have a valid point that of our age range, there are 20 women like vultures eye-balling the lone available man. So why not shop the younger set. OK. A little younger.

What? Yes, that is true. Men of a certain age accompany, even marry, 25 year-old women with great frequency. You query me as to my bias. I blush. When you put it that way, I have to confess to a certain uncomfortableness with my antiquated thinking. I hardly blink anymore when I see that particular December/May pairing. I am guilty of holding a double standard.

You are right, of course, and I am wrong. Turn-about is fair play. The longer I think about it, perhaps I can even admit that an older woman with a younger man should be equally acceptable and makes good sense.

And, after all, in my own life, my young gardener takes me to town for shopping, gives me his arm when crossing the uneven cobblestone streets, when climbing the high curbs. He carries my bagged purchases for me. He treats me with great respect and consideration. But … he does the same jobs for you, for Carol, for Nancie, for Lani, for Jim, for John.

I give up. I am wrong. You are right. Our young men can stand on ladders, clean the fans, change light bulbs, clean the rain gutters and do any manner of disagreeable jobs we no longer can or care to do. In later years, they might push our wheel chairs.

But I don’t care. I still can’t wrap my mind around it. Not a span of 50 years difference in age! Old fool that I am, if I were looking, I’d choose fat, sags and wrinkles, missing teeth, a pacemaker and a sense of humor rather than a buff youngster who’d remind me of my grandson.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com. Email [email protected]


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