Facts & Arguments is a daily personal piece submitted by readers. Have a story to tell? See our guidelines at tgam.ca/essayguide.
If the smiling supermodel said that 60 was the new 40, who was I to argue?
There she posed, on my Facebook feed, endorsing a targeted ad for face cream. Sixty years old, beautiful and wrinkle-free, she used the word “science” several times, so I knew there must be empirical evidence for her wrinkle reducer.
I threw common sense to the wind and set the vanity tigress free. I took the plunge with Visa card in tow.
The fine print is so fine that no myopic 60-year-old would ever be able to home in on the fact you have only two weeks to cancel your order. Of course, the product isn’t sent for two weeks.
I was about to turn 60, just like the supermodel, though without the multimillion-dollar net worth. Smugly, I thought I had everything figured out: a condo with a view, retirement with a pension and exotic travel plans. I was my own version of super, without the model.
But then, two weeks before my 60th birthday, I was – according to my daughter’s translation – “ghosted.”
I had no idea this phenomenon existed before. Call me old-fashioned, but “ghosted” was not in my Webster’s dictionary. I found it in the Urban Dictionary: “To disappear into the shadows … to simply slide away unnoticed.”
I’d just spent a month with my man in Hawaii, golfing and gulping Mai Tais. We’d then returned to reality for a few days – the dishes. A fight over household chores was followed by harsh words, a temper tantrum, slamming doors. He stormed out.
But this time, he never returned. Not that day. Not that night, nor the next. I had no idea where he was. He wouldn’t answer my calls or texts. In desperation, I tracked him with the Find My Friends app for days until he figured it out and deleted me.
And then, finally, the text message: “Done like dinner. Sell the condo.” No explanation, no conversation. After 23 years together, he was gone, vanished, except for an occasional additional blunt text: “When are you selling?”; “Have you got a realtor yet?”
No, dear, but I did wake up with a brand new, fabulous wrinkle on top of my lip. Thanks for asking.
You can hide your pain, you can hide your fear but you sure cannot hide the fact you’re approaching 60 with no one but your new best friend, the wrinkle.
The condo became my refuge. I took immediate ownership of the TV remote and became a serial addict. The invitations for dinner parties stopped. Apparently, only couples made the guest lists and my Kate Spade purse wasn’t considered a worthy companion. Where did everybody go?
Self-help books became my Saturday-night dates. I began to pay more attention to my Facebook feed, and that’s where I found the face-cream ad. It was a pivotal moment.
I mentioned to my friend that I was getting an amazing wrinkle cream.
“You didn’t!” she said. “It’s a scam. Phone Visa and cancel your card. Beg for mercy.”
Immediately, I phoned the customer-service number on the ad. I got through to a person who sounded as though he was in a distant country, maybe Swaziland. He reassured me in a thick accent that my Visa transaction would be cancelled. It wasn’t.
I wrote an e-mail to the contact listed in the ad and received an e-mail back: “Mailbox quota exceeded.”
And then I cried. I cried and I cried. I cried for the man in Swaziland. I cried because I was pathetic. I cried because my daughter, too, had been ghosted by her stepfather. I cried because my stepsons had no contact with me. I cried because I was turning 60 and I didn’t want to get out of bed. Who knew that being scammed would be so cathartic?
I phoned Visa and confessed my stupidity. The lovely girl on the phone felt my pain without me having to say a word. No judgment. She assured me she fielded several hundreds of these calls a day, and most people were not as fortunate as me – they take even longer to catch on.
Fortunate? Me? Maybe the Visa lady knew someone I could date.
I wonder if the supermodel has had to resort to online dating like me? This is big business, the online world of lonely elders. My god-daughter, an expert dater, helped me set up a profile: “I eat carbs and gluten. I can namaste away, but I can also rock a mink coat.”
Rock a mink coat? I don’t actually speak that way. But apparently this is “cute.” I am not really into cute; I’m way too busy nursing the root canal in my heart.
Imagine my shock when one of my first matches was Guppy – who just happened to be my ex. Apparently, we were a perfect pairing.
Guppy was looking for someone funny, someone with a personality similar to mine.
Guppy had been online dating two weeks after disappearing from my life. He had moved on before I even realized he had moved out.
So now, when I look in the mirror, I see aging and eye bags. I have become one of those women who want to recapture their youth – or at the very least be given back my 23 lost years. I want to purchase the newest bio-clock, wrinkle-reducing, skin-regenerative, facelifting product that is on the market.
I want to be sold hope, because mine has gone missing.
Patty Silver lives in Vancouver.