If you don’t believe I’m sinking, look what a hole I’m in
If you don’t believe I love you, look what a fool I been
Baby don’t believe I love you? Just look what a fool I been
Don’t believe I love you, baby, just look what a fool I been

-“I Will Turn Your Money Green” -Alex Chilton (orig. Fuzzy Lewis)

I would greatly appreciate it if the mainstream media would kindly refrain from telling me how everyone from grade schoolers to nonagenarians is having sex. I am not. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. A couple of weeks ago it was The New Yorker. Today it was The New York Times. Apparently at 70 and 80 you are not too old for sex, and that’s great. Apparently, at 46, I am. The expectation is, of course, that I am married and safely ensconced in the suburbs with my children. I am emerging from my divorce into no-man’s land-literally and figuratively.  It’s bad enough that nearly everyone I know is having sex and those who are not are doing so voluntarily; trust me, they would have no trouble finding a partner, if they so chose. So far they have been kind and not made fun of me, but I can’t help but think that it’s only a matter of time.

Two weeks ago my therapist advised me to flirt. You work at a research hospital, she said. You’re surrounded by men. Flirt with them. Learn how to flirt again. She doesn’t understand the rigid caste system that has arisen in such communities. I do not have an MD or a PhD. I have a Masters degree. I am also not 25, like most of the nurses. These factors put me, socially, on par with the administrative assistants who are mostly married women around my age or older. In short, I am useful but invisible. Doctors pair up with doctors, lawyers pair up with lawyers, executives with executives, and librarians used to pair up with librarians (if you were lucky enough to find one). If anything, I would get a reputation for being – I think Jane Austen may have said it best – the most determined flirt that ever made her family ridiculous. It’s hard enough to get respect where I work. who needs that. Besides, flirting is pointless. Sure it’s fun but and it’s nice to feel that little spark, but in the end it serves as a reminder that you have no prospects, that you are alone, and that you have been cast aside for someone younger, more traditional, with proven fecundity. Fuck flirting.

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