Dating at 72 with Author Anne Roiphe

In her new memoir, "Epilogue," author Anne Roiphe chronicles her sudden widowhood and attempts, at age 72, to date again in the Internet era. She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Katie Baker.

Have e-mail and the Web made things easier than when you dated as a young woman?
This is a great addition to my life. Most of the people I know don't know anybody who is single and available. If I go to a party, there aren't single men there. Let's start with that. So I would never meet anybody.

Your book is a contrast to Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking," where she's almost stuck in amber after her husband's death.
What interested me was the place [Didion] wasn't able to write about, which is the healing process, the real afterwards. Shock wears off, numbness wears off, and there you are. And life goes on.

You began dating again after your daughters placed a singles ad for you in The New York Review of Books. How'd they react to your decision to write about these experiences?
I think it must be very hard for children to see their parents in a state of grief they can't overcome. So I felt it was important, for me and for my family, that they saw I was strong and living and doing well.

You write frankly about the sexuality of older women. Do you think we'll see a change in our society's attitude toward it?
I think the way to deal with this is twofold: I'm not a 24-year-old girl. I'm a 72-year-old woman. And I accept that. But I don't accept that that means I can't have all kinds of girlish, womanish feelings. Why not? I am a grandmother and I love being a grandmother. But if I believed that because I'm a grandmother, I should stay home and knit socks for my grandchildren … I'd last another six months in this world.

Join the Discussion