By Tom Blake
When I owned Tutor and Spunky’s Deli for 25 years on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point, it became a gathering place for older singles. One reason that happened was the deli sponsored a meet-and-greet for singles age 50-plus one night each month.
I know of at least 20 couples who met at those events, and it pleases me to know many of them remain together years later.
I sold the deli four years ago to Jim and Shelley Mouzakis, who have continued operating it as a popular locals’ place to eat.
Tutor and Spunky’s has won the “People’s Choice Golden Lantern Award” for “Best Sandwich” in the Dana Point Times’ Best of Dana Point Magazine 10 years in a row, including 2019.
I believe one of the key reasons for winning the Golden Lantern Award is that employees Teresa (30 years), Debbie (20 years) and Sandy (17 years) are still working there. They were among my favorite and most loyal employees.
Last week, I received a text from Debbie. She wrote: “A man by the name of Ray asked about the age 50-plus singles group that you and Greta hosted here at the deli before you retired. He asked if any of the singles from that group still come here.”
I texted Debbie, “Thanks, Deb, you have always been so thoughtful and considerate of customers, always helping them. How old do you think Ray is?”
Always being the diplomat, Debbie responded, “He is older—guessing late 70s, maybe 80. He seemed very eager to find a new lady friend. He took his girlfriend of 13 years to a community center Valentine’s Day party, but something happened; she is no longer his girlfriend.”
Thinking that Ray must be very sad or might not be able to cope with being alone—after all, it was just five days since the alleged breakup—I phoned him and left a message.
I was prepared to tell Ray to take a deep breath, think about what happened and not be so eager to rush out and replace his girlfriend; also, there is no place of which I’m aware in south Orange County where older men go to hang out to meet older women close to their age. Places like that don’t exist.
Ray called me back on Feb. 22, leaving this message:
“The reason I called you: I was a single. My woman-friend and I broke up after Valentine’s Day. I was looking for a place where older singles hang out and knew you could help me.
“But, she and I are attached again. That’s just how it is with women: one day it’s one way; the next day, it’s another. We are happy now, but if it happens again, I will call you. Thank you.”
Some older men can’t handle being alone, not even for a few days. They rush into a new romance, and after a while realize they weren’t prepared mentally for a new relationship. The result: they often end up breaking the new woman’s heart. Not good.
I didn’t find out what transpired in Ray’s case—why they broke up or why they got back together; he didn’t say.
I notified Debbie that Ray was already back with his girlfriend.
Debbie’s reply: “How funny. Oh, well, we gave him the best customer service we could provide. I wish him success.”
Perhaps, in 2020, the Dana Point Times, San Clemente Times, and The Capistrano Dispatch “Best Of” magazines will add a new awards category: Best restaurant to dispense senior dating advice.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites findingloveafter50.com, vicsta.com and travelafter55.com. To receive Tom’s weekly online newsletter, sign up at findingloveafter50.com. Email: email@example.com.