I went to visit my stepmother last Sunday.

Of course she criticized me. (My sources tell me she brags about me when I’m not around. Who would’ve guessed?) Her complaint, as usual, was that I had neither a wife or a girlfriend.

Must be a “mom thing,” because my mother often had the same complaint. When I was 19, my mother decreed that I was to find a woman, get married and have a child so she could be a grandmother. (It seems my mother–who had me late in life–was tired of other women showing her pictures of their grandchildren when she had no such photos of her own to show off.)

Being 19, I ignored the decree.

No two women could be less alike than my mother and my stepmother. Oh, they were both teachers and both survived the Great Depression, but there the similarities end. My mother was a schizophrenic; my stepmother is sane. My mother was raised Catholic but stopped practicing before I was born; my stepmother was raised Orthodox Jewish, but now only observes Passover that I know of.

Yet they were, until death silenced my mother, quite certain they knew what was best for me and that I needed to simply stop thinking for myself and doing as they said.

Which brings me back to their frequent decrees that I get a wife or at least a girlfriend.

As I said, when I was young, I ignored my mother.

I’m 50 now and the tactic that worked so well with my mother way back then doesn’t seem to work at all with with my stepmother. She won’t bend.

I tried a different tactic this Sunday. I said: “I’m married to my job.”

My stepmother, a dignified 93-year-old, advised me to try adultery.

I thought: Only a 93-year-old woman could say something like that and get away with it.

However, I didn’t actually say anything. Keeping your mouth shut seldom gets you into trouble. (Although I can remember a few times …. )

And now, readers, I bring my plight to you to ask: any suggestions for dealing with this? She’s finally stopped urging me to go out with a young (under 30) friend of hers—but my stepmother is as unforgiving as a deadline. (Someday I’ll have to tell you about the time she frightened an oncologist.)

I’m just glad there are no singles bars in Seal Beach—my stepmother would probably be after me to spend all my time there.