I recently said goodbye to the guy I’d been seeing and now I’m facing that problem so well known to the AARP demographic: The Vagifem Conundrum.
Vagifem, for those not familiar with it, is a hormonal product which helps make a woman of a certain age ready for romance. Think Madam Butterfly but at age 68. It’s been 50 years since she’s seen her old flame Pinkerton. Then one day Pinkerton, who has tracked Butterfly down on Facebook, sends her a Message:
Hey, doll, I’m gonna be in Nagasaki this weekend, how about it?
This is the trip to the stars Butterfly has dreamed of and Vagifem will grease the rails, so to speak. The drug, however, is expensive: $193 for a 12 week supply even with Butterfly’s private pay health plan and after decades of waiting for Pinkerton, Butterfly, not unreasonably, thought, “Oh, why keep throwing away money?” And the stuff takes eight to twelve weeks to work. Sexually unprepared as she is, Butterfly turns down Pinkerton’s offer and he meets someone and they buy a house right next to Butterfly and Butterfly kills herself.
You see my problem. Do I take an expensive drug, the warning list of which include a list of un-salubrious side effects when there is not a male shaped cloud on the horizon? Or do I forego it, risking the possibility of meeting a Pinkerton this summer and not being able to consummate until fall?
You would think it would be easy to find love in New York City, what with all the over-building, but this is not the case. Do not suggest OkCupid, either. The last date I met there was so awful I fled the restaurant like the Road Runner. The next day I got a message from the guy:
“You’re the fourth woman in the last five weeks who cancelled their OkCupid accounts a day after their first date with me. What’s with that?”
You can imagine the inner conflict between Joyce the Wannabe Girlfriend and Joyce the Lifelong Reporter, who would have loved to get the names of those other women and buy them a drink.
Maybe there is a way to still do that. Ladies in the greater New York area, any of you go out with a former Wall Street guy in his mid-60’s, who included the following in his two-hour monologue:
“I usually tell people I left Wall Street because I was bored but the truth is I was fired after playing video games on my computer for a year.” “My problem is I need a stream of women telling me how funny, charming, good looking, and attractive I am.” “As you may have guessed, I’m manic.”
Here are some more things I have tried in my search for love:
Tinder, until my nieces told me that it is what you do when you want to get an STD.
A matchmaker who told me her price was $14,000 but dropped it to $4,000 after meeting me – I believe there is something about me that screams, “No family money”–and didn’t have much inventory for my age group anyway.
A Contra dance class which was an act of desperation, I admit, but as it was in the neighborhood it was at least a local act of desperation. With a local act of desperation you can get home to catch Turner Classics. With an out of town act of desperation you’re paying $180 a night for a hotel, plus tolls, gas, meals–which added to your $768 a year Vagifem tab is really depressing. You’re doing Vagifem Math.
“How long will I put in my body a drug the medical warnings of which include the possibility of blood clots, stroke and dementia?” you ask yourself, tossing about on your too big bed. “True, that dementia warning cited by one study of women so this may be unfounded anxiety, but does unfounded anxiety about dementia mean I already have dementia? Maybe I should decide right now on an age when I stop taking this stuff. Eighty-six seems about right. Most of the men in my age group will be dead at eighty-six.”
The one place I may have a chance of meeting a guy is at large interstate rest stops. This is because of my car, a hot little red convertible that looks like a muscle car. Sometimes I see men staring at it.
“Zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds,” I say.
Then I clam up because that is the extent of my car talk but it doesn’t matter because around this time the wives show up.
They wives sense a woman doing Vagifem Math the way a hen senses a fox casing the henhouse; it’s uncanny what they pick up:
When she had a $12 co-pay for a three month supply under the company health plan she didn’t think twice about it, but now that she’s paying that $193 she wants her money’s worth. ARNOLD! Get in the car!!
But I still think my car will be my way out. Just last week when I was stopped at a traffic light in Mamaroneck a guy–age appropriate, attractive–was so excited about the car he practically leapt in.
“Are they making these again?” he said.
“They never stopped, they just changed the design, ” I said. “It’s a Miata, the 2016. 0 to 60 in under 6 seconds.”
Then the light changed and I had to take off. I was so flummoxed I never even thought to pull over. But if you’re the guy who almost jumped into the red Miata opposite the Dip -In Car Wash on Mamaroneck Avenue and you’re single, call me. I’m refilling my prescription.
Joyce Wadler is a New York City humorist who writes the “I Was Misinformed Column” for the New York Times. She was a staff reporter at the New York Times; the New York correspondent for The Washington Post and a contributing editor for New York Magazine and Rolling Stone. Her books include My Breast, her memoir about breast cancer, and Liaison.