Rochelle, 71, is not looking for that special someone to spend the rest of her life with, but still she wouldn’t mind finding “someone to do things with, someone who cares whether or not you are alive, just somebody who cares about you and just knows you are among the living.”
Rochelle was one of about 50 seniors who gathered at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington March 12 to watch the humorous, yet poignant documentary, The Age of Love. The 75-minute film features 30 intrepid 70- to 90-year-olds who decide to jump back into the dating game.
The people in the movie are wrinkled, need a breathing tube or have heart problems, yet they all still miss having a significant other in their lives. Age of Love follows them as they put themselves out there.
Movie goers can’t help but empathize as they realize these 30 people in Rochester, N.Y., may be old, but they aren’t ready to lay down and die. One 82-year-old man is a body builder. One women tends a large and very productive vegetable garden. Still another man continues to manage his family’s tree farm. One has been single his entire life. They travel — one even parachutes — and they love spending time with their children and grandchildren.
It is difficult to listen to them speak of the agony of going to bed and waking up alone.
The film traces their individual decisions to step into the dating game, and in particular, speed dating. Speed dating entails sitting at a two-person table and meeting a new person in a five-minute conversation before moving on to the next person at the sound of a clanging bell.
Some of the encounters are painful; one man tells a woman he guessed she was 71 or 72 after she just told him her age is 70. And others are beautiful, as the older adults find that connection, whether it’s Disney World or a favorite restaurant.
Having surrendered the typical obsessions of adolescence, the speed daters no longer focus on looks. Rather, they want someone to share time with. No more “table for one.”
Scorecards in hand, they keep tally, marking “yes” or “no” to various questions, and noting if they want to see the person again.
What follows is heart pounding as director Steven Loring aims the camera at the people as they open their envelopes to see if they have a match. The daters revert to their teenage selves with melodramatic reactions when they realize they weren’t as popular as they had thought or are
more popular than they had imagined.
But not everyone in the JCC audience wanted to mimic the movie.
Terry, an 82-year-old Rockville resident, said she has adjusted to life alone. “Those people were brave,” she said of the speed daters.
Still, Frieda Enoch, director of the JCC’s Coming of Age program, believes there are enough hopeful seniors to hold a speed dating program locally, probably in the fall.