Dear Shirley:

I’m writing this not because I need help, but because my Mom does. My Mom lost her husband — my Dad — five years ago, and she’s mourned her loss ever since.  I understand that. If my wonderful husband died, I would take it hard, too. But even though I tell her that her life isn’t over — so far as having another man in her life is concerned –she seems to think it is.

Not that she’s totally miserable. She has girlfriends and volunteers at our community hospital. But I think she’s missing out on the love and affection a partner could light up her life with. Should I give up? Is she a lost cause? Or is there a way — besides nagging which doesn’t seem to work — to get her dating again?


Dear Regina:

Funny you should ask.  The first chapter in our book is entitled “Minnie’s Makeover,” and it’s all about a similar problem I had with my own Mom after my father died. It had been a bad marriage, and I suspect that in some ways she was relieved that it was over.  Still she was clearly lonely, and whenever I visited, I’d find her sitting listlessly in the living room in a house dress eating potato chips and watching TV. Maybe she thought her life was over, but I didn’t. I lured her out of her apartment in Lawrence, MA and into mine in New York but telling her how much happier she’d be surrounded by her grandchildren.

She took the bait and I proceeded to do a total makeover on her — clothing, hairdo, even bunions and the unsightly hair growing on her chin. I put her on a diet, helped her into an up-to-date wardrobe, and presto, after an ad in a local paper brought interested responses, within six months she was married. And very happily. When her husband died five years later, she told me they had been the happiest years of her life. And she whispered, “And I never knew that sex could be so wonderful.”

There’s a lot more that you can read in the chapter. The point is that it really is never too late to date — my mother was in her 60s — and (I hate to sound like a commercial, but how else can I say it?) the book will give you lots of tips about cyberspace dating and a lot more that can help you get a man for your Mama. It’s a little crude  to say that having a man in her life will get her off your back — because your concern tells me how much you love her — but I guarantee that helping her find a new partner will be good for both of you.

So good luck and happy hunting!