40.3 F

Internet dating in the over-50 club: a field study


Yep, summer is upon us, it is time once again for yours truly to dip his toe into the storm tossed sea that is internet dating. My primary interest is in “50ish” women, and as such, I have a few observations that I would like to relate. Young fella’s take note, it‘s a possible future you may want take steps to avoid.

It may seem hard to believe, but single women at 50 are even pickier than single women at 30. My theory on this is that they know they are on the tail end of the attractiveness bell curve, and knowing that we fella’s are sex-obsessed, visually stimulated creatures who lose our minds at the slightest hint of cleavage, they feel they have to get it right this time. Spending the next 2-3 years with some ne’er-do-well goofball means spending the next 20-30 years by themselves. It’s a classic case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

Thanks to modern technology, women no longer even have to say “No”. They are now equipped with a reject button, and it works like this:

Step 1) You cruise through the pictures and profiles picking out someone who is tolerably attractive, seems reasonable enough, and isn’t overly picky about who/what she’s looking for.

Step 2) You send her an email, written in a light-hearted and breezy tone, suggestive of what a fine, good-natured fellow you are. Careful attention is paid to include the proper amount of wit and charm, along with an offer to spring for lunch, should she be so inclined.

Step 3) After nearly a week or so of outer-space-like silence from her, you send a second email. This is written in a more serious tone, suggestive of your maturity, good sense and magnanimity, and that you are not nearly as goofy as your first email may have indicated.

Step 4) After several more days of vacuum-like nothingness from her, you send a third email, all but begging her to just acknowledge your existence. You are now one click away from virtual oblivion.

Step 5) Intuitively sensing that you are at the lowest point of morale that you can achieve on your own, her nurturing instincts now compel her to “help“ you discover new depths of despair. She taps the reject button, and away you go.

Step 6) News of your departure is cheerily delivered by “the staff”, who inform you that although this particular woman thinks you’re a twit, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the total loser that you now feel like. They encourage you to try someone else. It’s enough to make you long for the good old days when a woman would just slap you across the face and walk away.

In my own survey of 50ish women on one particular website, I’ve been able to identify 3 distinct groups so far: The Incline Villagers, the soul-mate searchers, and normal human beings.

The Incline Villagers: The first thing one notices about this group is the marvels of medical science. I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that granny is hot. I mean, attractive, sure, pretty, you bet; yes, even beautiful is believable, but hot? Man, I don’t think so. Call me old-fashioned, but natural is always preferable to bionic. Even a good looking Frankenstein is still Frankenstein.

They all make a point to tell you they are “financially secure”. No doubt, this is because they took the last poor sap to the cleaners. Sure, some of them had professional careers, breaking glass ceilings and generally being a middle managers worst nightmare. Either way, even medical science can’t completely hide sharp claws and fangs. If you’re a 50ish guy and you’re still working at getting that first sailboat/airplane/Caribbean condo, you’ll want to skip this group anyway.

The Soul-Mate Searchers: Seriously. If your soul-mate had been on planet Earth at anytime in the last 50 years, wouldn’t you have found him by now? I mean, it’s a little late in the day for King Arthur to pull the sword from the stone, isn‘t it? Am I being too practical here? I’d like to think I’m a romantic at heart too, but please. Maybe setting one’s sights just a tad lower, like say, someone who loves children and animals, is kind and thoughtful but not overly so, adventurous yet stable, sincere, honest and witty, strong yet gentle, generous yet thrifty, open-minded but with solid values, is forthright but knows how to compromise, is in touch with his emotions and makes $100,000 a year. Y’know, a real man.

The Normal Human Beings: This group is easily identifiable in that they have no idea what-so-ever in how to describe themselves. They’re normal. What is there to say? They go to work, they come home, they do what they do, and so what. Who doesn’t? Most of these women got traded in for a newer model by their former husbands, and there are at least 2 subsets.

The first is the group that, having found independence from both kids and husbands, are now ready to PARRR-TAAYYY! Check the contents of your wallet, and if you must, proceed with extreme caution.

The second subset is a more nuanced group. After decades of child rearing, her idea of a party is something involving cake and ice cream. She is facing another Saturday night with a bag of low sodium popcorn, a chick-flick DVD, and her cat. Before the night is over, the idea will enter her head that she is too fat. Although she’s a bit out of practice, she is still capable of gracefully delivering a well-timed slap across the face.

All in all, it’s an interesting collection of humanity. More study is needed.