Who you marry might dating at 50 red flags the most important decision of your life, but it can also be the least rational. She met John on a dating site and fell in love.
Houston’s, a restaurant in Irvine, where he opened the door for her and put her napkin on her lap. Debra Newell had taken pains to look good. Her cornsilk-blond hair fell in waves over her shoulders. High black Gucci heels, designer jeans, Chanel bag.
At 59, married and divorced four times, she had begun to worry that she was too old for another chance at love. Her four kids were grown, she ran a flourishing interior design firm, and she was looking for a man to share her success with. Houston’s, an eatery in Irvine, where Debra Newell and John Meehan had their first date. Her date was 55, 6 feet 2, with hard-jawed good looks and a gym-sculpted frame. He looked a little weathered, and he dressed lazily — shorts and an ill-matching preppy shirt — but he might have once been an All-American quarterback on a trading card. His name was John Meehan. He had thick dark hair and a warm, friendly smile that invited trust.
His eyes were hazel-green, with the quality of canceling out the whole of the world that wasn’t her, their current focus. They had found each other on an over-50 dating site, and she thought his profile — Christian, divorced, physician — seemed safe. She had been on three other recent dates, but the men were less handsome than their profile photos, and the talk was dull. He showed keen interest in the details of her life and business.
He didn’t want to talk just about himself, even though his stories were riveting. He told her all about being an anesthesiologist in Iraq, where he’d just spent a year with Doctors Without Borders. John told Debra he was the best thing that would ever happen to her. This is the first photograph of herself she sent to John. This is the first photograph of herself she sent to him.