My wife died on our 47th anniversary. Two years later, at 70, I still get the urges common to all males past puberty. But, I would never have guessed I might turn to technology to solve my problem.

In the clubhouse locker room, my friend Hayden smiled and said, “You heard about

“Tell me,” I said. We all knew Hayden enjoyed telling locker-room stories.

He said, “Jim went to a new store on the mall and exchanged bodies with a young man.
For two days, he packed in everything he could think of.”

“Exactly what did he do?”

“He went to a store that has an app that lets two people trade bodies. Think about it. We
could be young again—for a price,” he said, grinning.

“That sounds amazing. How does it work?”

“They have a stable of healthy young people willing to exchange bodies with an older
person for a day or two. The kids make a bundle for a couple of days of inconvenience. The bodies switch. Your personalities stay the same. In your rented body, you can do whatever a younger man is capable of. Then when your time’s up, you both revert to your normal bodies.”

I thought: The idea is intriguing. A romp in a younger body might relieve my tension.

I went to the mall and found the store. A banner over the entrance proclaimed: Live your
Fantasy! and a sign over the door read: The Body Shoppe. The owner, a man of about 40, built like he didn’t need the service he was peddling, greeted me. “Come in!” he almost shouted.

Life-sized posters of young, attractive couples covered the walls, and at the back were
two upright transparent cylinders, about 8 feet tall. “This is where the magic takes place,” he
said. “And it’s painless. Lasts for as long as you want, then you’re back to your normal self.
Fully insured and approved by the FDA. Sit here, and I’ll pull up the file of our employees,” he said.

I flipped through images of young men, all healthy, clean looking. Finally, I stopped on
one about my size, with dark hair like I once had, a friendly face, and a baritone voice. “Is the
charge the same for all of them?”

“You interested in Donovan?” he said, indicating the man showing on my monitor.

“I am.”

“The shortest time you can buy is 24 hours. The price for a day goes down by 50% past
the first day. The set-up is the big cost.”

The price amounted to an entire month of my retirement income. In spite of the cost, I
signed a waiver of responsibility and paid for 24 hours.

On Saturday morning, I arrived at 8:00 A.M. for my appointment. The clerk told me to
“dress young,” so I wore jeans and a sports shirt. Donovan showed up; we smiled at each other
and shook hands.

“I’ve done this a few times,” Donovan said. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He

Each of us got into one of the cylinders. The clerk locked the chambers and moved to a
console where he pushed some buttons. It didn’t take long, and I only slightly tingled, but I
stepped out of the cylinder and looked at the hands of a young man. Donovan got out of the other
cylinder slowly. Yes, he had my body.

As I drove away, I reviewed my plans. I had already discarded the idea of searching for
someone at a movie theater. A grocery store aisle might work, but I settled on the golf course at
my club.

I waited on a bench near the first hole like a spider hoping for a fly. Four women came
out of the clubhouse and moved to the first tee. Each teed her ball and drove down the fairway,
laughing as they walked away. A couple of men followed them, and then my luck changed. A young woman about Donovan’s age got out of her car, unloaded her cart and clubs, and came past the bench where I sat. She was alone. Her embossed leather golf bag looked expensive.

She teed up her ball and took out her driver. She was a picture, tall and willowy. I
admired her stance as she drew back her driver and swung with force. And missed!

“May I help you?” I asked. “Are you a beginner.”

“That was an easy guess,” she said with a smile. Her eyes got brighter. Donovan’s body
was doing its job.

“I can help with your drive if you’ll permit me.”

“Would you mind? You can see I’m pretty much a beginner.”

I moved to where she stood, and her perfume, though not strong, was like smoke from a
magic lantern.

“This might be a bit forward, but I’ll have to put my arms around you to show you how to
fix your swing.”

“Of course,” she said, “if you’re not allergic.” She let out a small laugh.

My arms reached around her, and I put my hands on hers, gripping the club. Her hands
were soft.

“Remember, you’re not aiming for the ball, but underneath. So, you want to lift it. The
higher you knock it, the further it goes.”

She took four practice swings before placing the ball on the tee. I backed away, and she
swung hard. The ball soared down the fairway, quite far for a woman.

“Lucky shot!” she yelled.

“With that kind of luck, you could win a tournament.”

“Hardly,” she said, “That’s only one shot.”

I teed up and drove my ball about the same distance she had gone. There were no players
behind us, so we strolled down the fairway. It turned out she was a widow, had not played for a long time, and felt the need to get out more. “The clubs,” she said, “belonged to my late

I told her I, too, was a widower, and that I understood her feeling of loss and the
difficulty of adjusting. For a second, I thought she was going to tear up, but she took a deep
breath, pursed her lips, and took her second shot.

We continued to play and chat as we walked. By the time we reached the ninth hole, the
weather had warmed up, and I learned she had been a widow only a short while. I said, “Since
this is a new activity for you, perhaps you shouldn’t overdo it your first time out.”

“I am tired,” she said, and we sat on the grass in the shade of a giant elm.

“It’s past noon,” I said. “How about we get a bite? There are some good restaurants in
this part of town.”

“That’s thoughtful of you, but I couldn’t impose.”

“Since we are both alone, we could get better acquainted,” I said.

She said, “I planned a light snack at home. How about sharing my lunch?”

Was she kidding? I said, “I’d love to” and followed her car to an affluent part of town
near the golf course.

She cut the crusts off her chicken salad sandwiches and placed a pickle spear beside
them. A fruit bowl finished the menu. We sat on high stools around a granite-topped kitchen

“What would you like to drink?” she asked.

“Whatever you’re having is fine.”

“I have a cold beer if you like.”

“Iced tea is fine.”

After the meal, we sat in silence till she moved her hand to cover mine and looked at me.
I felt aroused, but I needed to be sure.

“Should I go?” I asked, hoping she would say no.

“Please stay,” she said, an open invitation to spend time with her. My venture was about
to pay off, and my hormones were raging.

Then the worst happened. My brain kicked in, and I made the mistake of thinking. She was a vulnerable widow, and I was a fake. She needed care and understanding, friendship, before moving to the stage I was contemplating.

I told my brain to shut up. My brain said, “You’ll be gone in a few hours. She needs a
relationship, not a roll in the hay. Tomorrow, you’re gone, and what’s she left with?”

I could feel my heart crumbling like a day-old cookie. I was about to satisfy my urge but
to leave her damaged in the process. I faced an ogre of guilt.

It was hard, but I forced myself to say, “I’m sorry. I must go. It’ll be better for you if I
just disappear.”

She almost pleaded, “Can’t you stay—for a while?”

I hurried to escape before I weakened. I opened the door, jacket in hand, and turned to see
a tear on her cheek. I ran for my car. My 24 hours couldn’t be over soon enough, and I could
return to being a lonely old man unwilling to injure someone. I learned I still had standards, and I
was better off being myself in the real world and not playacting.

Sunday morning, I felt like a sad, noble failure. I had spent a lot of money and all I got
for it was a small shred of self-respect.

Staying indoors I was suffocating, so I headed for the golf course. I didn’t go to the
clubhouse where my friends would expect a full report. Instead, I sat on the bench at the first tee,
trying some slow breathing to get back to the real world. Finally, groups began to emerge from
the clubhouse and began their rounds.

After about 45 minutes, a lone woman drove up, more in my age range, unloaded her
clubs and headed for the first hole. She was stately and exuded quality, a classy lady.

As she strolled past me, I noticed her unusual, embossed leather golf bag. I waited while
she teed up. Her technique wasn’t bad, but she sliced the ball to the far right. I thought Some
neighbors are probably picking her golf ball out of their pool this very moment.

I smiled as I walked over to her and said, “May I help you with your swing?”