Norman Goldman had become single again in his sixties and was facing a very uncertain social life. He acknowledges that he is not a “typical” older man. His genetic makeup and his vigorous lifestyle have enabled him to be like a man in his forties although he’s in his sixties. Sitting alone in the luxurious lakeside cottage high in the mountains, he turned to the Internet for human contact. Surfing about, he found a site called “Friend Finder”, and placed a “profile” there with a photograph.
Norman was shocked and delighted by the avalanche of responses, and was even more surprised that responses came from fine, successful, educated women whose ages ranged from 39 to 70. Norman hardly knew what to do at first, except to answer responses carefully and honestly. Before long he was being invited to meet with several of these wonderful women. The youngest was not yet 40, and was an executive with one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers. She was not married to the father of her two teen-aged children, and had separated from him some years before because of his alcoholism, and she had lived with another man for almost 10 years. Kathleen lived 200 miles from Norman, and drove that distance to meet him in a public place for security reasons. Norman was delighted to find that she was a beautiful woman of Irish descent, complete with lovely green eyes and red hair.
The first, tenuous meeting went well, and both individuals left that first meeting with optimistic feelings. They met 3 more times in public, to be certain of their positive feelings for each other before daring to become intimate. The fourth meeting was to be in Kathleen’s home city, and Norman drove there to spend a weekend. Kathleen’s teen-aged children were spending the weekend with their father, and the opportunity to grow closer together was agreeable to both of the nervous lovers-to-be.
The weekend was a total success. Kathleen and Norman cooked for each other, talked and talked at great length about their lives, hopes, and ambitions. By that Sunday night, they regarded themselves as a couple. They had become lovers, and Kathleen was thrilled to find she could enjoy a man more than ever she had before. The older man’s gentleness, patience, and experience enabled him to satisfy and teach things to Kathleen that she had always sought, but had never before found. Their relationship was very successful for more than a year, with the two individuals taking turns traveling to each other’s homes.
It was not an affair of deep, undeniable love, however, even though they loved their time together. Inevitably, Kathleen met a colleague and fell in love with him. In spite to the warm, meaningful feelings within her for Norman, the 25 year age difference stood between them. When breaking it off, Kathleen thanked Norman for his gentleness that had taught her how to enjoy a man so she could progress in her life with self-confidence and experience without which she could not have won the heart of her new lover.
Norman found himself again alone, and turned his attention to another of the women who had responded to his “profile” on Friend Finder. Janice was a 45-year-old entrepreneur who founded and operated her own promotional products company. A drawback was that Janice lived in a major city 395 miles from Norman’s cottage, and Janice was still married. She lived in the same house with her husband and their teen-aged children, but they occupied separate bedrooms. The marriage had grown cold several years earlier. The distance between them did not kill the potential relationship because Norman’s son lived in the same city as Janice, so he made frequent trips to see his son and Janice, who soon became his lover.
Janice was not able to travel to Norman’s cottage, however, because her marriage had not yet been dissolved and she didn’t want to upset her children who were toiling through high school. All of the meetings between Janice and Norman took place in Norman’s hotel suite during daylight hours, so she could always be home with the family in the after-work, after-hours times. In Norman, Janice had found the understanding and experience that she could not find in her husband, in spite of or because of – the 20 years between her age and Norman’s age.
The affair continued for more than a year, during which time each of them had other lovers while their own relationship grew more and more important in their lives. Eventually, Norman felt that Janice was the woman with whom he wanted to spend his life, and he proposed marriage to her. She declined, stating that her teen-aged children would be traumatized at a time when their focus had to be on their schoolwork. Norman accepted the situation with a mature outlook, and the affair continued for several months.
During a telephone conversation meant to arrange the next weekend of sensual pleasures, Norman was shocked when Janice informed him that she was moving on to a new relationship. She told Norman that she felt ready to change her life, reveal her situation to her husband and children, and enter into a living arrangement with a man she’d met at a jazz concert. Norman, ever the gentleman, congratulated her. He again found himself sitting alone on his gallery looking out across the calm lake at the setting sun. As night fell, Norman did something he rarely did. He drove to a nearby town and went into a bar to relax with a Bloody Mary and be among people. He felt uncomfortable at home alone after suffering the unexpected rejection.
After a few weeks of emotional recovery, Norman looked at another of the responses to his on line profile. Phyllis was 3 years older than Norman, and he became interested in trying to understand the feeling of being the younger member of a couple, even though it was only 3 years younger. Considering that the usual couple continues to be a man several years older than his lover, the idea of a man in his mid-sixties having a woman near 70 as a lover was intriguing to Norman.
Through correspondence, Norman learned that Phyllis was a professor at a well-known, respected university in the southern United States. Following several weeks of on-line communications, Phyllis asked if she could spend some of her summer break with Norman. He happily agreed, and on the appointed day he drove to a nearby city to meet Phyllis’ plane.
As she emerged from the luggage pickup, Norman saw that Phyllis was as tall, lean and lovely as her photos had indicated, but he was surprised that she used a walking stick to help her unsteady gait. He was not put off by this, and soon convinced her that it would not dampen their enjoyment of her vacation with him. They chatted comfortably during the drive to Norman’s cottage, during which Phyllis revealed that she was a recovering alcoholic. When they entered the cottage, Norman went to put out of sight the bottles of Dewar’s scotch, Crown Royal rye and Russian vodka, and stopped when Phyllis told him that it was not a problem and that she had not had a drink in almost 20 years.
After enjoying the steaks which Norman barbecued on the cottage gallery, they sat together and watched the sun set behind the mountains across the lake. Taking a cue from the formal, educated manner of the lady professor’s speech, Norman offered Phyllis her own room, where she could rest or take refuge and keep her wardrobe and personal items. He told her that she should feel free to sleep in her own room if she might be uncomfortable with intimacy.
Phyllis took advantage of the opportunity to use the separate room for her belongings, and as a place to groom herself. She had her own bathroom as well, and was comfortable in spite of the unique circumstances. As night fell, and the fire dwindled to glowing coals, Norman suggested that they should retire for the night, as Phyllis had had a busy day and a long flight and drive. She was grateful for Norman’s thoughtfulness, and they retired to their separate rooms. In the night, Phyllis went to Norman’s room and slipped into bed beside him.
They made love. Norman found that Phyllis’ skin was smooth and white, and her flesh was firm and appealing. At the same time, his knowledge of women’s bodies informed him that Phyllis had not had a lot of sexual experience, and was delighted to find that she was not inhibited by her age and inexperience. From Phyllis’ point of view, the experience with Norman was thrilling and satisfying beyond her expectations. As they lay together relaxing, she explained that her family had been wealthy and influential in upstate New York, and she had been driven hard by her father to excel at school and become a professional of some kind. Her intense studies led her to miss out on the usual sexual experiences of youth, and her lofty positions later in life were not conducive to romance.
At week’s end, the two were enjoying a warm, mutual relationship, and when they said goodbye at the airport before Phyllis’ flight home, she thanked Norman for opening her up to the realities of a sensual life, and their importance to the fullness of one’s existence. She kissed him warmly and told him that, thanks to his ability to unlock her inner animal, she was now able to return to her distant home and pursue a man at her university that she had loved from afar for several years.
Norman watched her as she strode proudly toward her departure gate, the walking stick providing the balance she needed, and it added a touch of glamor to her tall, stately figure. When she waved a final farewell and disappeared into the boarding area, Norman turned and walked out of the terminal toward the parking area, wondering if he was meant to always be used by beautiful women as a launching platform when they were evolving through their personal lives.
Norman wondered, as he drove back to his mountain cottage on the lake, if ever there would be a woman for whom he would be the final destination, rather than just a Transition Man.