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Hot To Trot: Dating With A Few More Wrinkles

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Brian Unger is the host of the History Channel show How The States Got Their Shapes.

When we talk about our moms, many of us end up crying. Barbra Walters made her career exploiting this universal weakness. Newt Gingrich proved it recently, very publicly, in Iowa talking about his mom.

I'm going to try to control my emotions as I discuss my mom.

Because I'm not ashamed to say — lately, there have been a few tears.

My mom's not sick. No, she beat cancer.

It's worse than that: My mom is lookin' for a man. Yeah, she's on the market.

Who needs a teenage daughter when you've got a post, post, post-adolescent mom who's hot to trot? She's down in Florida, right now, prowling the beaches looking for a retired astronaut — like a hormonal Snooki but with an artificial knee.

Florida's spring breakers, those Cancun-Fort Lauderdale-Miami beach-partying-kids, they've got nothin' on the Midwest snowbirds who fly south to avoid the polar winters. About 1 million retirees invade Florida each year, and stay, on average, five months. It's a senior tsunami producing a giant tidal wave of Old Spice and prune juice, leaving behind a shoreline strewn with empty pill bottles of Viagra.

My mom is bare-armed and dangerous. She has a whole new body, and she's lost weight. This Christmas she showed up in a form-fitting workout ensemble from the store Lululemon. I wanted to tell her to go to her room and change.

I've tried to discourage these developments. I told my mom, if it's warm weather she wants, she has an open invitation to join me in Southern California. She declined, claiming she's afraid of my dog. Yes, he's quite large, but the most ferocious thing that my Great Dane does is to lie on your feet to keep them warm. Which only confirms, she's looking for a different kind of warmth.

And not just on a beach. My mom's hitting the scene, online: eHarmony, Match.com and SeniorFriendFinder.

A recent crisis occurred when Mom's caps lock button was on, and she couldn't access her favorite dating sites. I had to talk her off that ledge.

Mom claims her ideal man is handsome, loves the arts and isn't crazy. She's not picky, but most of the guys sound like dumb high school boys. She has attracted a few suitors, but more of the Craigslist caliber than what she's looking for — 40-somethings who find the post-65 set attractive and their retirement accounts even more so. One cyber swordsman offered to give my mom a ride, on his Harley. That's when I shed my first tear.

I shed the second tear when my mom said she might hook up with a retired naval officer she met online. That might sound nice, but this guy is hardly Richard Gere. I get the sense he's only looking to dock his boat for the night. And my mom is not one for a short pleasure cruise. She's the kinda gal you stay with for the long haul.

My mom was married for five decades to my dad — who died a few years ago. And she worked for 31 years in Ohio's public schools. In fact, she was my high school guidance counselor. Now I'm giving her a lecture on chlamydia, and how it's spreading twice as fast among her peers than it is among mine.

Oy.

Moms these days. They're gonna do what they wanna do. But if mine doesn't listen to me, I may have to take away her car.

This message was approved by Brian Unger's mother.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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