Evans’ (The History of Abortion, 2012) memoir follows her return to the world of dating after two divorces, 12 years of celibacy, and 60 years of living.
In 2003, when Evans had not been on a date in 19 years, she decided to “seek out the touch of a man”—perhaps a courageous choice given what a minefield dating can be at any age. She knew she was taking a risk and defying assumptions: “The normal, respectable sixty-year-old woman was expected to be quiescent sexually—that is what I had expected myself. It was shocking to find out that libido could flame intensely so late in life.” Evans was admirably not quiescent; she was instead proactive in finding sex and companionship. Her primary venues were online, where she encountered men with a wide range of manners and charm. Throughout, she kept an open mind, asking for nonjudgmental clarification when she came across a fetish she wasn’t familiar with and gamely taking trips to such places as a Vermont nude beach. She even traveled to Zimbabwe to meet Guy—a businessman she met on Craigslist—in person. Early on, one of Evans’ friends advised her to turn her dating adventures into “a research project,” and in the sense that Evans is observant, thorough, and informative, her memoir does have a researchlike nature. But it’s also funny and introspective, filled with compassion and written without an ounce of affectation or disingenuousness. Her reflections on the dubiousness of some situations—particularly those relating to the many married men seeking sex—address some of the ethical issues surrounding digital dating, which are well-worth considering. At times, readers may not agree with the author’s stance, but as she notes, she is “not the morality police.” She doesn’t go into detail about her sexual escapades; she’s more interested in exploring the social, biological, and emotional components of sex than depicting the deed itself. Her explorations are illuminating. They’re also a kick, with a surprisingly uplifting effect.
A candid, breezy memoir that may inspire even the most dating-averse.