Ellie Goldstein’s dating drought has ended.
Last weekend, Goldstein, 84, went out to breakfast with a man, her first date since her “sweetheart,” Bob, her life partner, died almost eight years ago.
Goldstein’s search for companionship was detailed in a Fine Print column last week after she contacted the Globe about the matchmaking service she had hired for nearly $4,000 and immediately regretted. They refused to refund her money.
But the publicity brought Goldstein four suitors, including the 93-year-old man she had breakfast with last Saturday.
And three of the four found her the old-fashioned way: the phone book.
“The Globe article attracted more men than a matchmaking service, and it didn’t cost anything,” she said with a chuckle, before ticking off the four men who asked her out.
“Arthur,” who is 93 and a widower, took her to breakfast at Christopher’s Restaurant in Reading, where Goldstein lives. It was very enjoyable, she said.
Arthur was easy to talk with and his “full head of hair — white, not gray” impressed her, she said.
As they were saying goodbye, he wanted to kiss her, she said.
“But I wasn’t very obliging,” she said. “A little kiss on the cheek would have been fine, but not more than that.”
Arthur followed up with a call to her the next day. “He said he was just thinking of me and how much he enjoyed our date,” she said. “I told him I really enjoyed it too.”
The call was sweet, she said, though the pair didn’t discuss a second date.
Would she go out with him again?
“If he asks me, yes,” she said.
Goldstein also got a call from “David,” who is in his 80s, but she put him off because at the time he called she was busy getting ready to go to the local senior center to play Pokeno, which is similar to bingo.
She said she hopes David calls again.
Another man in his 80s called and asked her out but it wasn’t practical because he doesn’t drive and she’s not willing to drive to him 40 miles away on the other side of Boston.
“He said his kids took his car away,” she said.
The fourth suitor contacted the Globe by email, which was forwarded to Goldstein. She promised to give him some consideration, too.
Goldstein is still focused on getting a refund from The Matchmaking Company, which refused a refund because she had signed the contract knowing it was “non-cancelable and non-refundable.” Goldstein does not dispute she was aware of that.
A representative of The Matchmaking Company told the Globe the company was willing to refund Goldstein $1,200, which is the difference between the almost $4,000 she paid and the $2,800 the rep said was how much it costs in advertising and other expenses to get each client in the door.
Goldstein rejected that offer, saying she wanted the full amount refunded.
Many of the reader comments on the online version of the Globe’s original story said it would be cheaper for the matchmaking company to refund Goldstein than to suffer the bad publicity. One such comment: “The money [this company] will lose going forward is far greater than what the cost of refunding her would have been.”
She has asked her credit card company not to pay the company the $3,995 fee and has sought help from the attorney general’s office. (Both are pending.)
Goldstein said she would like to see Arthur again soon. “I thought he was very nice and it felt good to go out on a date,” she said.