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Dating Figaro: The Relationship Is Opera-tive


I met FIGARO online. He’s an opera singer living on New York’s Upper East Side.  He spends his leisure money on Broadway shows, operas (of course), and dinners at neighborhood restaurants, which is to say he eats in some of the best restaurants you’ve never heard of.  At nearly 70, he’s set in his ways and knows it.  He takes taxis everywhere, hates to drive.  Oops, now THERE’S a red flag — I am NOT eager to be a chauffeur.

The opera singer the man

FIGARO has a prickly sense of humor, and he’s quick-witted in a way only New Yorkers, surrounded by such powerful stimuli, can be. Some women would be turned off by his brashness, but I like the way it keeps me off balance. I like that he’s not boastful or vain. He sent me a photo and admitted that he had darkened his hair with shoe polish.

Senior men are by nature opinionated, but FIGARO takes that axiom to a new level.  With senior men it’s best to pick your battles. Even if a senior man knows you wrote your dissertation on 1940s Cantonese water supply methods, he will hold forth on how the Chinese effected crop irrigation during WWII. When I don’t agree with FIGARO I stay monosyllabic.


You may think continuing with FIGARO, knowing he’s not Old Mr. Right, is a waste of my good senior time, and wildly unfair to him. But my philosophy is this: I want to learn new things, and I can learn a lot of things from FIGARO, music and opera for starters, but something of the larger cultural scene as well.

I knew from the outset that I would never, could never wake up in the morning next to FIGARO, but he’s a wonderful, brainy companion for dinners in Greenwich Village and operas at Lincoln Center. I don’t have to march to the marriage drummer. I want just to relax, enjoy, and learn something.



FIGARO called tonight and we talked for 89 minutes. That is, he talked. And sang. Some men tell jokes when they feel the conversation lagging, but FIGARO sings. Every now and then he asks a polite question, but his experiences always trump mine. He calls his life “a fascinating story,” but it’s really more like a series of vignettes.  He once sat next to Helen Mirren on a train.  He gave directions to Jack Pallance in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria.  He took 250 photos of Niagara Falls on a snowy day. He sang 380 dinner theater shows with his mezzo-soprano ex-wife and just minutes before the 381st she dumped him for the production’s tenor (Figaro is a baritone – was that a problem?).



Figaro, like most free-lance artists, lives from gig to gig.  For free-lancers, jobs invariably come in bunches – the phone rings off the hook for weeks, you work like crazy, and then there’s a dry spell. During these scary dry spells you become convinced that no one will ever call again. Figaro is going through a dry spell now, and I suspect that his intense interest in me is in direct proportion to the amount of fear he feels that professionally, the end of the world has come.  If a job comes through I’m probably toast.

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'Dating Figaro: The Relationship Is Opera-tive' have 7 comments

  1. September 1, 2010 @ 3:49 pm Lillian

    You may be right, Sienna, but I’m not taking any chances.LOL

  2. August 15, 2010 @ 3:35 pm Sienna

    Lillian, please don’t assume that by virtue of his age alone a 70-year-old man is unable to perform. I maintain throughout this blog that men in good physical and mental health can perform at any age, certainly into their 70s and 80s. Our culture has long tried to convince us that sex is only for the young, but — thanks in part to the Boomers — we’re learning that senior sex can be energetic, creative, accomplished, and exciting.

  3. August 12, 2010 @ 7:07 am Lillian

    I don’t know why you would date someone who’s 70. You write a lot about sex and this man would probably be too old to be a viable sexual partner. I am 58 and the oldest man I would date is maybe 65 and then only if he’s in good health. It’s not that I want a lot of sex but a man should at least be able to perform.

  4. July 10, 2010 @ 11:53 am TPG

    Do you live in New York? If so, you should be able to find someone more attractive that this. From what I can see all he does is pontificate and wait to be driven around town. I think you’re wasting your time. I also agree with others that he’s too old.

  5. January 6, 2010 @ 1:50 am Mamie

    I wouldn’t want to be with someone who is this opinionated and who doesn’t drive. There are a lot of taxis in NY but what if you want to get out of town?

  6. December 12, 2009 @ 3:11 pm MsPreserved

    You date a lot of strange men and by that I mean that it’s hard to tell what you are looking for.

  7. December 3, 2009 @ 7:54 am Alicia

    He’s too old. I’m not getting any younger, but while I can still run 5 miles and ski I’m looking for someone who wants to do something besides eat in restaurants and go to operas.

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