Boomer in the city | Anything is possible at any age

I’m already thinking of goals for the new year. This year’s goals are still taped to the inside of my closet door. I check them off as they’re accomplished: I got my latest novel published, built shelves, cleaned out closets and gave up sugar.

But what about romance? “Nothing worked out,” I say to Janet on the phone.

“It’s age, honey,” she says.

“Age has nothing to do with it,’’ I insist. “Romance has no rules.”

She sighs heavily. “Honey, the older Jewish guys are shleps. They think they’re Tarzan. The younger men want a nurse with a purse.”

“Well, I still believe in romance,” I say. “I’m tired of seeing those drippy older couples on TV, on the Cialis ads, looking all goo-goo-eyed at each other. There are no rules.’’

“Honey, go for it. Think positive. It’s a new year. Anything is possible.’’

Janet is right. I write new goals, starting with “Open your heart for romance.” Definitely. I assure myself that I’m going to open myself to romance, and not just write about it. I still obsess about Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara — did he go back to her?

Romance is the heart of life.

The holidays and the nip in the air remind me of Billie Holiday, cocktail shakers and a single rose wrapped in thin lilac tissue. I feel hope.

I decide to be more social. I accept an invitation to my friends’ Saturday-night dinner party. Usually, I’m hermetic. I like to stay home, sit alone in the dark, eat takeout Chinese, listen to Bach and Beethoven, and then watch romantic movies.

I arrive at the Newmans’ Nob Hill home. It’s all glass, with sleek hardwood floors, 22-foot ceilings and spectacular views of the city.

“This is Steven Berman,” my hosts say, introducing me to a short, stocky, handsome man. He has thick, silver-streaked hair, intelligent blue eyes and a friendly smile. I wonder how old he is.

We sit around a huge glass dining table, drinking and eating roast chicken. Steven is a forensic detective and has lots of interesting stories. He also plays banjo in a small North Beach band.

Suddenly I wish I had worn my high heels instead of my black Sketcher shoes and baggy black sweater. I find myself flirting, tossing the wave in my hair, doing my Bette Davis thing, feeling rather silly but stimulated. Our talk turns to the Giants.

Over coffee and ice cream floats, we talk politics. I’m ranting about ageism in our country and hoping they’ll support my San Francisco Age March.

“What do you think of younger men?” asks Steve.

Everyone is quiet, looking at me expectantly. Like I’m supposed to say something earth shattering.

“How old are you?” I ask, noticing the Newmans giving each other one of those married in-the-know looks.

“I’m 58,” Steve replies. His words float in the silence like bubbles.

“Too bad. I’m 78.’’

He smiles wistfully, like a parent smiles at a too-willful child.

“More coffee?” Josie Newman asks quickly.

“No, it’s the bewitching hour,” I say, deciding not to tell them that if I drink any more coffee I’ll be up all night. Nervously, I stand. “I’ll call a taxi.’’

“No. Let me drive you home,” says Steve.

After hugs and promises to see each other soon, I follow Steve to his yellow truck. He drives into the night. The moon is full. The radio is on and Bach plays. I feel breathless.

He stops his truck in front of my apartment and turns off the motor.

“The air is warm tonight,” I say, my voice strident in the silence. “Don’t you think it’s earthquake weather?”

“I think an earthquake occurred earlier tonight,” he says with a smile. He stares intently at my face. A fire truck races by, its siren blasting.

I’m glad for the intrusion.

“Well, thanks for the ride,” I say. “It’s really been …”

“Nice,” he finishes. “I’ll be at your book signing in December.”

It’s near midnight. I undress for bed. I wear my black oversize T-shirt and good black sweats, and tie my hair in a ponytail. I spray Chanel No. 5 perfume around the bed — if I die during the night I want to smell good.

I get into bed and slip under my new down comforter. The mattress springs jounce, and then it’s quiet. Yes, anything is possible.

Barbara Rose Brooker is an S.F. native and author. Her new novel, “The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess,” was released in October.

Barbara Rose Brooker
Barbara Rose Brooker

Barbara Rose Brooker is a native San Francisco author. CW is making a pilot for a TV series based on her book "The Viagra Diaries."