What, Me Date?
Separating fact from fiction when it comes to online dating
After serving time in a long-term marriage, I got divorced and joined the dating market. I’m a boomer, and, while it’s been a challenge to find straight, sane men to date, nothing could have prepared me for the wacky world of online dating.
Before Internet dating exploded around 2000, I’d mostly tried the Personals ads in local newspapers and magazines. Then, a few months ago, I signed up for online dating. I hadn’t had a date since before Watergate and I apparently had more tolerance for nuttiness back then, because it’s crazy out there in the digital age.
Online dating isn't just for young singles. According to a Pew Research study, between 2013 and 2015, there was a surge in the number of adults ages 55-64 who have tried online dating — from six to 12 percent. There are many sites dedicated to online dating for the older population including Match.com's MatchSeniors, Senior People Meet, Our Time and Stitch, which is a little more community- and activities-oriented than strictly dating.
After sampling a few dating sites with little luck, I settled on the one where you swipe photos of the gender of your choice. Swipe, swipe, quick and painless. Not really.
So, one evening, I brewed a cup of tea and settled into my chair, hoping to find at least a couple of suitable men with which to correspond, out of thousands of potential Prince Charmings. I swiped on a few photos of promising men and quickly noticed one rather puzzling trend.
Sometimes, a man would post several photos of himself, obviously at various ages. In one, his hair was brown; in another, gray. In another photo, he’d be trim; but in the next, he’d sport a beer belly.
Some of the photos didn’t even look like the same guy. And some featured him standing next to various women (old girlfriends? wives? daughters?). In one particularly disturbing trend, many guys posed holding large fish, beaming with pride. I’m not sure whether this is some form of fertility symbol or has other hidden meanings.
The profiles proved equally as interesting (i.e. confusing).
Some guys didn’t even bother writing (or plagiarizing) a profile. At first, I skipped the profile-less ones, but quickly realized that including a profile was not indicative of quality. And, of the men who wrote dating profiles, many penned ones bearing a remarkable similarity to those I’d spotted 20 years prior in magazines and newspaper Personals. Go figure.
10 Things He Says, and What He Really Means
My cursory meta-analysis of roughly 100 profiles revealed that 85 percent mentioned the same things over and over. So, in the interest of helping fellow age mates navigate the murky waters of online dating, I offer this handy guide to profile interpretation. Having trouble figuring out what those pesky profiles really mean? Think of this as a way to suss what your future “Mr. Right" is really after. It’s a jungle out there.
The first line of these pairs is what he wants you to think; unfortunately the second line represents the stark reality:
1. I’m seeking an open-minded lady.
I want a woman who doesn't mind hooking up with a married man only interested in a hook-up.
2. I'm affectionate, I'm romantic, I love cuddling.
I'm all hands, I'm sex-addicted, I'm only interested in one thing.
3. I'm adventurous.
I don't use condoms.
4. I'm financially stable and successful.
I'm standing on a boat in an exotic locale. Are you impressed?
5. I'm athletic and fit.
Or at least I was when I was 25.
6. I like candlelight dinners.
I'm too cheap to pay my electric bill.
7. I'm witty.
I'm sarcastic, I have a potty mouth, I tell ethnic and racial jokes.
8. I love a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire.
I like to get plastered.
9. I enjoy traveling the world.
I'm a fugitive from justice.
10. And the pièce de résistance, a chestnut which has been around since the dawn of time:
I love long walks on the beach.
I spend my days pacing up and down the beach waving my metal detector.