I hadn't been in New York City long. Long enough that the $40 seersucker trousers I was wearing were well past their expiration date. It was early October and I was with college friends at the Surf Club on the upper east side. I was introduced to a red head and was told she worked at Shearson Lehman. She asked if I would buy her a drink. I went to the bar and bought her a gin and tonic and ordered tonic for myself. Not because I didn't want a G&T. But because I couldn't afford it.
Three more gins and tonic for her. Three more tonics for me. We slow danced to
She looked at me and touched my cheek. "Oh, sweetie. I didn't move to Manhattan to meet a park ranger." "So, we're not going to your place?" I asked. "No." she said. "I'm taking a taxi home." She did ask that I call her if that afternoon's job interview at 20th Century Fox worked out.
A week later I sat at the bar in the Plaza Hotel waiting for a college friend to come down from his room. He had a real job with Epcot and was going to abuse his expense account and buy me dinner. A woman came in and sat at the bar a couple stools down from me. I didn't notice her at first but when the bartender asked what she wanted I heard her say, "Whatever he's having looks pretty good." I turned to her and smiled, "It's a Beefeater martini." She smiled back and said, "Perfect." turned to the bartender and said, "I'll have one of those."
A couple of nights later she took me to dinner. She was in her late 50s, divorced, her only daughter in college. She owned a dress shop on the west side and her apartment had a terrace that overlooked Central Park. She had more style than any woman - or man - I have ever known. There was a natural grace about her. Not just in the way she walked but in how she opened a door. Put her keys in her purse. Picked up a phone. Opened a window.
She had a favorite Italian restaurant where the owner knew her. The tables were close and it was hard to move through the room without bumping a table. A woman, who looked the same age as the red head from Shearson, shot me a look from her table as we walked by. A look that said, "She's old enough to be..." And I thought, "Hey, I tried it with your age group."
I'm an older man today. And I still love older women. Although, the older woman has become just a woman. In some wonderful way our aging paths have crossed.