Clarification: In an email to the Town Crier after this article was published, Gail said she seeks a waltz partner to compete in Vienna next February who is close to her height, weight and age, and that finding a life partner in that prospective person would be a bonus.
When Cheryle Gail of Mountain View posted what essentially turned out to be an ad for a life partner on Nextdoor, the first comment on her Feb. 24 post – left by another woman who resided minutes away – asked simply if “this was the right platform” for Gail’s 1,000-word post, titled “Viennese Waltz Partner.”
“You never know in life where the right platform will be, but well-behaved women rarely make history,” Gail fired back, with two exclamation points for good measure.
In turn, another female Nextdoor user commended Gail for her courage.
“I love your asking simply for what you want,” a Los Altos Hills resident said. “So shocking for a woman to simply state her needs. Well done.”
Gail concurred. As a student of nonviolent communication for the past seven years, she realized that many women, and even humanity as a whole, do not verbalize their needs.
She has never had a problem speaking out – or living a life of adventure. She cycled across the country to celebrate her 30th birthday, and she sold her massage business on San Antonio Road to travel around the world, eventually relocating to New Zealand.
An act of will, too, involved moving back to where she had been raised in the South Bay to be near her grandchildren.
“(Leaving) my rural, late-1800s homestead on 17 acres for a mobile home in the Silicon Valley has not been easy,” Gail said. “The traffic, congestion, cost of living, the rat race that life is here – are ten-fold worse now.”
It’s not that Gail is looking for a literal dance partner, which is how several neighbors misconstrued her Nextdoor post – by the following day, Gail drew several responses offering contact information for dance companies and instructors. But her girlfriends informed her that what she was pining for sounded more serious than ballroom dancing.
“I was telling them, ‘I have to look at this as marketing myself,’” Gail later told the Town Crier. “How … do I find this human being? (Friends) all told me, ‘No, no.’ When anybody tells me ‘no,’ I tell them, (expletive) you. That’s what comes out of me.”
Living for herself
Gail said moving back from New Zealand to be near her family was as selfish as it was selfless. As a single mom, the now-grandmother moved with her daughter at least 10 times as she put herself through school. Gail earned degrees from De Anza College and San Jose State University, a feat she noted was “really hard.”
Life in her self-described paradise of New Zealand was easy, and while the South Bay isn’t really home anymore, some things here are easy, Gail said. The moments with her grandchildren, such as when 7-year-old Tanner wants to sit down on a bench and watch a crane, remind her of how much of a miracle being a grandparent is. They watch for as long as Tanner wants.
Shuffling into the ballroom and following a man’s lead is easy, too, she insists. There’s a certain amount of trust involved, but that trust is justified when a good lead comes along. According to her Nextdoor post, Gail wouldn’t mind if she could bring a tall, 60-year-old (or younger) lead home to hold her “Amazonian” body, complete with flowing gray hair.
Aside from the dance resources sent her way, her post hadn’t yielded a fruitful response as of last week. Gail knows that posting an earnest wish for hundreds of people to see can be scary. She chooses to focus on the underlying layer: hope.
“I’m 54, so it’s really now or never,” she said. “I’m going to die, we’re all going to die. So if I want to make this happen, it’s time to make this happen.”