By Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich

Aaah, the single life. Right?
Your married friends remind you: you’re lucky! You can come and go when you want, for as long as you want. You have complete ownership of the remote…and all that entails. You can cook when and what you want.
But those same married friends have companionship. And friendship. And love.
But how to find love? Even before the quarantine, it was difficult to find suitable dates. With the quarantine? Impossible.
Many friends push online dating. “It’s a great time to date online…everyone is home with nothing to do!” “You’ll find tons of great guys!” And “Soooooo many people find love on dating sites!”
So you begrudgingly sign up on one of the popular sites, answer all of the questions, and drop in a photo.
Now you get to see your “matches!”
Hey! He looks promising! You open his profile and find that his primary photo is 20 years old. The other photos show that he’s aged in those 20 years. (Quite a bit.)
A number of men reach out and want to connect (you’d never go out with such a fossil!). But when you look at his age — he’s two years younger than you (how did you get this old?).
These guys all say the same thing! They are monogamous and affectionate, looking for a best friend (and maybe more, wink, wink), they love their “Hogs” and will play romantic songs on their guitar for you. They are all “athletically” built, they go to the gym every day, love quiet walks on the beach, their glass is always half full, and they have climbed Mt Everest (and want that special someone to join them on Kilimanjaro).
Dang! No one mentions that now, in their sixties, they’re not getting around quite like they used to. Or that their once-perfect body is showing some signs of aging. And they’re all so sunny and happy and positive and optimistic (it’s staggering to think they’re still alone).
EW. This one’s lying in bed half naked!
More Harley riders.
Guitars.
And then it happens. An interesting fellow sends you a message. You respond. He writes again.
And off you go! The texts are flying like flags on a used car lot.
Just like that…bam! It’s zero to sixty in two clicks.
After a few days of getting to know each other, a little flirting, a lot of laughs, you decide to talk on the phone. Then FaceTime. You spend a couple of weeks fully engaged, bonding and chatting constantly.
This is “it” (you both agree). You appear to be compatible on every level!!!
How to take the next step? It’s a quarantine! But you know this is the most crucial step, for chemistry can only be discovered in person.
You’ve each been quarantined, yet agree to shower, put on clean clothes and a mask (STD 2020…Socially Transmitted Diseases), and meet at an outdoor café for lunch.
No hugging, but furious grinning from six feet away (you can tell by his twinkly eyes).
“Here we are. Finally. You’re just as lovely in person.” Then he looks over his shoulder, and yells at the waitress, “Yo! What’s a guy gotta do to get a drink?”
“As I was saying,” he reaches to take your hands. “You’re everything I expected. See? You wasted all that time worrying about chemistry. We HAVE it, baby.”
Baby? You regain possession of your hands, smile fading behind the mask.
Oblivious, his head swivels on his neck, surveying the crowd. “Friggin’ tourists. They’re everywhere. ‘Go home,’ “ he says loudly, winking at you.
Maybe he’s just nervous?
“Jesus effing Christ,“ he yells, jumping up. “Does anyone work here?”
You stand up, too. “Thank you for meeting me. I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the chemistry.”
Hmmm. “He was perfect on paper,” you think.
Some things just don’t show up on paper.
Arriving home, your dog bounds over to kiss you, thrilled that you’re back after an excruciating 30 minutes.
You grab a blanket and book, and sit on the lawn with your furry pal.
Companionship. Friendship. Love. You’ve had it all along.
Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich is a member of The BookShelf Writers. To see more of her work, visit www.thebookshelfwriters.com