Grace Patterson set the table with her best linen tablecloth, accented it with the china, silverware and crystal goblets she and her husband received as a wedding present forty years earlier. Over the years, once a month she made it a point to get together with her best friends from high school. What once started as going out to dinner once a month with the one girlfriend, who stayed in town, turned into so much more as other friends returned to Minter, Wisconsin.
At one point, there were six of them, but last year Margie Hansen passed away, their numbers dwindling to five.
Grace thought of each of her friends in turn. Like all of them Ellen Drake would be celebrating her sixty-third birthday this year. She, like Grace stayed in Minter and married her high school sweetheart. She’d been a widow forever, but one would never know it. She certainly didn’t fit the profile. Even though she gave up dying her hair years ago, her natural white hair didn’t make her look old. On the contrary, with her brown eyes and clear complexion, she looked much younger than the rest of them.
Carol McIntyer moved to New York right after graduation. Three years later she wrote the great American novel. It was on the bestseller list for several weeks. Since then every one of her books enjoyed time on the same list and still continued to be sought after by avid fans. Unlike Ellen, Carol enjoyed her rich auburn hair color. Grace knew she visited the beauty shop every week and touched up the color on a monthly basis. She now taught a course in creative writing at the vocational school in town and worked on the many deadlines imposed by her publishers. Since she never married, there were things the others talked about she couldn’t relate to, but it didn’t matter. They were all friends and married, widowed or single, all their lives friendship always remained their top priority.
If people considered Carol a Bohemian she couldn’t hold a candle to Marie Walton. Her blonde hair and green eyes looked no different now than when they were in high school. After graduation, Marie moved to New York and attended one of the schools designed to groom potential actors and actresses. Marie excelled in dance and went on to dance on Broadway and in several films for Hollywood. After being married three times she made jokes about being on the lookout for number four. According to Marie, her former husbands’ ranged from aspiring dancer, to a banker who loved her on the big screen, to her last husband, the producer who discovered her. When he passed away five years ago, Marie returned home to retire and be with her friends.
Anita James got her nursing degree, back in the day when the hospital still did all the training. After graduation, she served in a MASH unit in Vietnam, where she met and married a sexy doctor. She moved to Ohio where they set up a clinic and worked together until his premature death in a car accident ten years ago. After the accident she sold the clinic and returned to Minter. Once she got home, she worked at the local hospital as both a surgical and an emergency room nurse. Recently, she attended classes at the University in order to get another degree in nutrition. Last year, after retiring from the hospital, she took a job at the athletic club as their nutrition specialist. With her salt and pepper hair cut in a short style, she looked more like a grandmother than a sexpot.
Walking past the mirror in the hallway, Grace assessed her appearance. She certainly didn’t look bad for a woman her age. Last year, she allowed her hairdresser to talk her into a new style. Instead of the comb over she adopted back in the seventies and wore ever since, she grew her hair out to a fashionable bob. Like Ellen, Grace threw out the bottle of dye three years ago when she lost her job and no longer needed to meet the public from eight to five on a daily basis. Her ice blue eyes belied the need for her to wear her make-up even when she wasn’t going out. Otherwise, she looked washed out most of the time.
The ringing of the doorbell ended Grace’s mental ramblings about her friends. The idea brewing in her mind could easily fly or be shot down at today’s luncheon. She hoped her friends thought her idea something they might all enjoy. If so, it could jump-start their love lives like nothing they ever tried in the past.
Ellen and Anita arrived at the same time, closely followed by Marie and Carol. Grace noticed the small arrangement Marie carried. Over the years it became a tradition to bring the hostess for their monthly luncheon an arrangement for the table. Being June, the bouquet carried a bright array of spring and summer flowers.
“I always love coming to your place for lunch,” Anita said, once they were all seated at the table. “You make the most interesting things.”
Grace smiled. She remembered scouring the Internet to find a tempting recipe for chicken salad for today’s meal. Although it she found the preparation to be time consuming, the positive comments from her friends made it worth the effort.
“So what’s going on in everyone’s life, this month?” Anita asked.
“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you,” Grace began, “but I’m bored out of my mind. I haven’t enjoyed good sex in years.”
“I thought you and Henry were in a relationship,” Marie said.
“If you can call going to all the dealerships in town on a Saturday afternoon, looking for a car he’ll never buy, a relationship, I guess we are. The problem comes when I mention sex, he breaks out in a cold sweat. He even told me that he tried Viagra, but it made him sick to his stomach. As far as he’s concerned, foreplay comes in the form of dickering with one of the salesmen. I know they tolerate him, especially since he hasn’t bought a new car since 1992.”
“I know what you mean,” Ellen said. “George thinks he’s showing me a good time when we go to rummage sales and top it off with cards at the Senior Citizen Center.”
“At least George can be called easy on the eyes,” Marie commented. “When Albert found out I danced in Hollywood, he insisted on taking me to every dance in the area. I usually enjoy going, but George can’t dance to save his life. My toes are permanently black and blue from being stepped on with great regularity and don’t get me started on how he slobbers all over my shoulder.”
“Well, at least you three have someone,” Anita said. “I haven’t been out on a date in years. At this point, I’m willing to welcome someone who wants to go out to eat once in a while.”
“Don’t jump into anything too quickly,” Carol advised. “I thought I wanted a man in my life again until I met Phil. He was so hot to trot, we ended up in his bed on the first date. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be fucked. The only way he can do it is with my legs over his shoulders, because of his acid reflux and doing it the regular way made him sick. Trust me, in that position, with a guy who’s less than hard, can hardly be called fulfilling. I told him to find someone else. When he didn’t understand, I told him I considered our time in bed to be nothing more than him fucking me and I didn’t even have an orgasm. At least having one makes the whole thing better. I get better results with my dildo, you know, the one with a vibrator. But what can we do? We aren’t twenty-something anymore and that’s what good sexual partners are interested in.”
“I don’t think so,” Grace said. “I started doing some research on the subject. The Internet proved to be a fantastic tool. I found a group called D.O.L.L.S. It stands for Desirable Older Ladies Love Specialists. It started with a group of women like us. They were fed up with celibacy and decided to do something about it. They did a six-month test of advertising in various ways, and found more young lovers than they could handle. I figure it’s worth a try.”
“Are you sure about this?” Anita asked. “Those women were probably from a big city. We live in Small Town USA. There can’t be any horny men here who can’t get a sweet young thing in their beds.”
“I think the results will be surprising. These gals were from a small town in Oklahoma. If they can do it, why can’t we? I made up a chart. We can each try for a month and see what happens. I’ll be the first. Since my husband always called me a firecracker, I’ll take July. Last week, I came across a statewide publication for lonely hearts. Here’s the ad I wrote up.”
Anita got up to look over Grace’s shoulder. Having even one of her friends interested in what she was saying brought a satisfied smile to Grace’s lips.
Pleased with the acceptance, she reached for the file folder and pulled out several typed pieces of paper. Anita snatched up the first one and then passed them around the table. The ad brought giggles from her friends, but once they read it through, they started nodding their heads in agreement.
Single older woman, desires sexual relationship with younger man, if interested call 608-555-DOLS.
“This all looks good, but we can’t all advertise in the same place,” Marie said. “We’re all going to have to be creative. I’m a dancer, not an author. I don’t know if I can come up with something convincing enough to lure men to my bed.”
“How did you come up with a number like that?” Ellen asked
“I went down to the cell phone office and requested a second phone on my line, with this number. It only costs me an additional fifteen dollars a month. If it results in a healthy sex life, I consider it money well spent. If it works for me, each of you can use the phone during your month.”
“It might work at that,” Marie said, as she looked over the spreadsheet attached to the ad. “Since things are wide open here, I’ll gladly take on October. I always loved Halloween. It’s about time I got something other than a hollow weenie when I go trick or treating. Now that I think about it, I can advertise at the dance studio.”
Everyone laughed at the terrible pun Marie made. Of all of them, Marie would be the one to get silly. She accredited her wit to all those years she lived in Hollywood. Out there, she told them she lived in a dog eat dog world and if she didn’t make jokes about it, she would have cried.
“I need something to be thankful for,” Anita quipped. “I’ll take November. As for advertising, I work at the health club. That might be a good place to look for a hunk. They’re running around there all sweaty and handsome. Someone there might be interested in pumping something other than iron.”
With only two months remaining, everyone looked at Carol and Ellen. “Okay, since I’m teaching a creative writing class at the vocational school this fall, I’ll take September. As for where to look, there are a lot of great guys going back to school these days.”
“That leaves August for me,” Ellen said. “I guess it will be Happy Birthday to me. I don’t have anywhere spectacular to look like the rest of you, so I’ll see what yahoo.com has to offer. I like to play on the computer and who knows what I’ll find there?”
Grace breathed a sigh of relief. If she held any doubts about her friends’ accepting her idea, their comments dispelled them. The open hostilities she expected never materialized. It came as a surprise to realize her friends were as lonely and sexually frustrated as she felt over the years.
“Well, before we jump into anything, I went on line and purchased a porno video. I suggest we all watch it and decide what we like and dislike about it. I’ll keep it until I get an answer to my ad and then pass it on to Ellen. In turn she’ll pass it on to Carol and so forth and so on.”
Single older woman, desires sexual relationship with younger man, if interested call 608-555-DOLS.