Twice a month, an old friend and I have a transcontinental dinner-and-movie date. One of us selects a film from the Netflix smorgasbord, and the other chooses a comfort food meal to prepare. Mind you, we’re based on opposite coasts, so each of his prepares the meal in his/her own kitchen. We alternate our roles as chef and program director with each date.
When we settle in to watch the film, our table settings include room for our laptops, because we typically compare notes via email while we watch the film. Between typing, eating, drinking and using the remote occasionally, the whole operation requires a fair bit of manual dexterity.
I suspect this is the future of middle-aged dating. Actually, I think of it as virtual-virtual dating. Ordinary virtual dating (from what I’ve heard) involves sex of some kind. Not mutual tactile interplay, but some sort of provocative display on a webcam, accompanied by…well, whatever.
Apparently, many teenagers have decided that webcam sex is a safe alternative to the real thing. Parents might take little comfort in this, but at least they can be reasonably confident that virtual sex won’t lead to virtual pregnancies or virtual STD’s. At worst, it might lead to strained eyes.
Virtual-virtual dating stops far short of the more louche aspects of conventional virtual dating. It’s really more like virtual conversation. Which I suppose says something about middle aged dating in general.
On our most recent movie date, we watched “Changing Times,” a French film, starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerrard Depardieu in the romantic leading roles. Now, to an American, this might seem like odd casting. It’s a fairly recent film, and both stars are well past the first blush of youth. In fact, in face and form, they each present a forensic map revealing a devotion to good wine, gooey cheese and sticky French desserts.
But the French, God love ’em, have a different attitude about these things. As I’ve noticed in French films time and again, the romantic leads are often old enough to queue up at the senior citizens’ window. That’s not to say that all French films are geared to a geriatric audience. But it’s indicative of the fact that the French don’t assume that people become asexual once they start receiving AARP invitations in the mail.
My friend did have one reservation about Catherine Deneuve, however. She suggested that the blonde French film icon had had a “cosmetic assist” that had gone bad.
I said, “You think she’s had plastic surgery?”
“Are you kidding?” said my friend. “Her face looks like the business end of a taffy pull.”
I commented that I’d seen Deneuve in a few recent films in which she’d appeared nude or semi-nude in several scenes. “She didn’t appear to need an assist below the neck,” I said.
“Humph!” said my friend. “Trust a man to reduce everything to breasts.”
In the end, we both agreed that the film was good, and it was refreshing to see romantic leads who were not only old enough to vote, but were old enough to have children who were old enough to vote.
Perhaps in another ten or fifteen years, my friend will complain that Deneuve has gone overboard on her blue rinse, to which I’ll reply, “Maybe…but she looks pretty hot in those support hose!”