Got a question for the Elderly Aunt? Ask her on Facebook or email your question to email@example.com with the subject line “Elderly Aunt question.” (Just please don’t ask detailed financial questions).
Dear Elderly Aunt: A few weeks ago I met someone online, and we immediately hit it off. We texted with each other regularly and had a fun banter going back and forth. Just when I thought this weekend might be the weekend for us to meet up, she disappeared! I haven’t heard from her in days, despite reaching out to her several times. Everything was going so well until then! How do I know whether to keep making contact or to call it quits? What if we might have lived happily ever after? What if we were exactly who we needed?! What if I never get the RBG cross-stitch that she promised to make me?!! Help!!
— Just a small town girl living in a lonely world
Dear Small Town Girl,
Ah yes, the Elderly Aunt is having flash-backs to the beginnings of her own past (and numerous) fizzled romances. Such delightful hope! Such delicious agony! Such glorious confusion! So many fairy tale endings! Such imaginative despair over the loss of something that never really was!
Still, the Elderly Aunt is the first to acknowledge that her relationship with Mr. Delightful began some thirty years ago in exactly the same way—as just another chance encounter immediately engulfed in speculative mush on the Elderly Aunt’s part. So, dear reader, just because you experienced gigantic crush-ness with this person on first text doesn’t necessarily mean that she is notthe one. What it does mean, however, is that the odds are stacked against it.
The Elderly Aunt’s late mother was an intellectual and literary snob who trailed after her spouting Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, and Emily Dickinson. So you can imagine how shocked the Elderly Aunt was when, way up in her 80s, this same mother announced that Bruce Springsteen was a poet. Period. End of discussion.
Because we inherit wisdom along with therapy fodder from our parents, the Elderly Aunt wishes to offer the Boss Poet’s assertion that everybody’s got a hungry heart to you, dear reader, as the God’s honest truth.
It has been her observation over her many decades of romantic involvement, that we have holes in our hearts and our lives that demand to be fed meaningful human contact much as Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors demands to be fed human blood. As a result, we must be fearlessly self-aware to avoid imbuing our fledgling significant others with the qualities we want them to have, rather than paying attention to the qualities they do have. In the Elderly Aunt’s experience, it took enormous self-discipline on her part not to fantasize her latest Dream Lover would fix everything that needed fixing in her life, while she simultaneously fixed everything that was not quite right about Dream Lover’s character, personality, and habits.
I’m sure, dear reader, it comes as no surprise to you when the Elderly Aunt riffs on the advice of the Most Interesting Man in the Worldand counsels you to Stay real, my friend! It is obvious to the Elderly Aunt that your Texting Temptress is unreliable. Yes, she gave you a fantastical fantasy rush, but her behavior suggests she is—alas!—not someone whose company will wear well. Unless, of course, you enjoy emotional tumult. Then, by all means—Cling, baby, cling!
As to that RBG cross-stitch … take it from the Elderly Aunt, cross-stitching is not rocket science. You are more than capable of creating your own RBG tribute. Or if your hungry heart craves one as a gift, the Elderly Aunt would be delighted to dust off her embroidery hoops and get cross-stitching!
Oh, and one more thing. Keep the faith, Small Town! Bear in mind it took forever for the Elderly Aunt’s Mr. Delightful to show up, but since he did, she considers him well worth the wait.
The Elderly Aunt offers her thoughtful responses to your questions about this wild ride we call life on every other Monday. And as a general disclaimer—to quote the elves from The Lord of the Rings — “… advice is a dangerous gift, even given from the wise to the wise.”