I have been married and faithful to my wife for 30 years so becoming single at the ripe age (never say ‘old’) of 60+ is something unanticipated and unplanned. I am still walking a strange path through the dating jungle, but can offer some early observations, especially with regard to Internet Dating at my age.
I was on the local newspaper’s web site when I noticed a big ad for Australia’s biggest dating service with a link to their website. It turns out the newspaper owns the dating service, which is probably more profitable than selling the news. One click, a few quick forms, and Bingo – my profile is available to the world.
It did not take long for the exploratory introductions (called ‘kisses’) began to arrive. In a typical week, about 30 unsolicited kisses show up in the special mailbox. It is impossible to hold a job and respond informatively to every inquiry. So here are a few rules I have developed to screen the volume of inquiries.
1. Decline all inquiries from anyone who looks really attractive or really young. At my age, no one looks that beautiful and I know they are not young so the pictures obviously lie.
2. Decline all inquiries from anyone who looks really unattractive or really old. It’s not their look that kills it; it is the fact they are too stupid to realize how unappealing their pictures are.
3. People who refuse to show a picture must have a reason.
4. Avoid anyone who claims “some college or university.” This means they drove by a school on their way to work in the beauty salon.
5. Someone who claims ‘degree’ may have a university degree or a degree in word processing. “Post graduate” is safer but not completely secure.
6. Avoid anyone who is working in some industry and lists their role only as “professional.” I talked to a woman in the publishing industry – with 17 years experience! Maybe she can advise me on publishing my book? Turns out she is a secretary in the marketing department for the publisher of crossword puzzles.
7. Assume the real age is 3-5 years older than the listed age. Either everyone’s memory is failing and they can no longer count or they are hoping to rediscover youth.
8. Cut anyone who is looking for a partner that lives within 500 kilometers of a city; this person is desperate.
If you receive an email where they actually have to write something instead of check the box to send a pre-written comment, look out for the following.
9. The dating service does not offer Spell Check. When every word that exceeds 2 syllables is misspelled, it is probably a good indication the sender is not too smart.
10. When someone takes the time to ‘buy’ an email stamp, it usually results in a few paragraphs of prose. The 1-2 sentence request for contact is not impressive. Either they have nothing to say or are engaged in mass mailing inquiries.
Let me share some actual experiences, changing the names to protect the guilty.
I am contacted by ‘Anne.’ Her picture shows a younger, very attractive woman; her profile indicates Post Graduate Degree / Professional / Business Owner. Sounds great! I am excited.
We exchange emails; she is very articulate. No misspelled words. She is a psycho therapist; my ex wife always told me I should look for a therapist!
We talk on the phone and she gives me advice on how to avoid the problems of Internet dating. She seems nice and concerned about my welfare. We agree to meet for lunch. This is looking promising. Maybe being single is not so bad.
I arrive early and wait outside on a beautiful sunny day. My mobile phone rings; it is Anne. “I am at the gate in front, where are you?”
I look around but do not see her. The only one at the gate is an older lady, who is very fat …. and has a mobile phone to her ear.
I am contacted by Bonnie. She is very attractive and is from Holland. I have worked in Holland and came to admire the tall, handsome women there. At my New Year’s Eve party last year, several Dutch women came as friends of a friend – I know there is a Dutch community here and the women are attractive. It must be my lucky day.
We exchange emails. She writes well and has an acerbic wit which makes me chuckle. She is insistent that my picture is recent and my profile is correct – this is a good sign.
We talk on the phone and I immediately detect her Dutch accent. She seems genuine. We agree to meet for breakfast. This looks promising.
I am stuck in traffic and I text that I will be a few minutes late; she responds she is already at the restaurant.
I arrive 5 minutes late walking quickly and arrive almost out of breath. I look around but do not see Bonnie to my surprise. Maybe she is in the bathroom? Then I notice an old woman with a slight resemblance to Bonnie. I wonder if it could be Bonnie’s mother?
No more lunches or breakfasts; the pain lingers too long. The new routine is a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The coffee can be consumed quickly and the escape plan implemented. The wine works too; drink it quickly and order a second glass – it dulls the senses.
I received the following email from a professional, degreed woman who owns her own business.
“I am sure that your accrewed knowlege is a breathe of fresh air here. I have just had a wonderfully busy past weekend travelling to Jamberoo with my work which is breathtakingly exquisite with its undulating pains and green pastures and just a hop skip amd jump is nearby Kiama a beautiful beach resort-then went on to Coldale another beachside small town.”
I do not know what her business is but am pretty sure it does not involve writing anything.
I receive contact from Candy, who has a cute picture, a degree, and owns a business. I meet her for a light dinner. Not sure where the degree is from; she seems a bit vague. She was a partner in a singles event service but her partner ran off with the business; not sure how you run off with a singles business, but what do I know.
During a lull in the conversation, she asks “so what do you do?” “I am the CEO of a property company here.” “What’s a CEO? Is it like an accountant or something?”
She is delightful but her degree must be from 8th grade primary school. Live and learn.
Most guys I know are motivated in part (actually in large part) by sex. After my divorce, I expected my sex life to improve compared to recent years of marriage. I was surprised how available sex was after divorce but even more surprised how unfulfilling it was when decoupled from a deeper emotional attachment.
I wonder how the suicide bombers who expect 21 virgins waiting for them in paradise would feel if they were told there was a reason the women were still virgins and were likely to remain virgins long after the bombing. My guess is there would be fewer bombings. Maybe the CIA should propagate such rumors.
Despite the false starts and unexpected twists in my journey, I have met some really nice women and have enjoyed serious relationships and good friendships. And I remain ever optimistic about the future but wonder if there is not a better way to meet people.