After you took some time to be alone, to grieve, to accept and overcome you fears, comes a moment when you realize that you are ready for a new start. You want to find love and happiness again. ...
The Truth About Online Dating Over 50: What Your Friends Haven't Told You
By: Marnie Macauley
A few weeks ago, I called an old friend. Also a Boomer. Also a widow.
“So, Lynda (in the sixties we added “y’s”), are you seeing someone?”
“Are you kidding?” she said with a snort. “What do I want with an old man who collects coupons for Depends?”
“Hmmm,” I thought, picturing Sean Connery, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Robert Redford – in diapers. True, some are almost 100, but personally, I’d be first in line in case of diaper rash.
You see, men and women over 50 don’t “fit” the usual online dating Q&As of our progenies. While things on us may be prey to gravity, those things within us are soaring. Research shows that seniors even have the advantage when it comes to online dating.
Our profile photo? OK, yes. We look. But we know that Quasimodo was a gentle giant. Our age? Two words: “Norman Lear.” The man is over 90, but active, busy, and healthy. I’d kill for a convo (alas, he’s married; I looked it up).
Now, I could hot-wire you to boredom with kewl “Rules” and “Do’s/Don’ts” of dating over 50.
Ah, but there lies the first truth about many of us who have things that wobble and who join senior dating websites such as OurTime or SeniorPeopleMeet. We’re different! We have/are/own/are looking for … join me on our journey!
We’ve “smartened.” Those of us old enough to know that The Rat Pack didn’t require an exterminator are “waay” savvy. We’ve lived it, seen it, smelled it, loved it, been scammed by it, and been analyzed for it (sometimes both by the same person); and like a mighty wizard, we’ve packed or poofed away most of the old baggage with the other rotten junk of our youth. While Boomerangs quake over whether their ears might get hairy and send ear selfies to online prospects, we Boomers have reached our WQ (worry quota). How thrilling to meet a senior who’s grown up with MAD and can finally shout out, “What, me worry?” And mean it.
After giving advice to a young couple, I added: “You guys? You’ll be fine! I’m ‘100.’☺ I’ve seen it. I know it.” Boom! Yes, we Boomers have an indefatigable ability to believe “it’s going to be all right.” We’ve already looked into the abyss and pulled ourselves out and up. Think of it. Millions of us who are actually optimistic (or at least can make gallons of lemonade) and have had our faith renewed time and time again. This--not warts, wens, or numbers--is the singular sexy stuff of seniors even if their photos look like Boris Karloff.
3. You’re Not the Boss of Me:
“Pretzelization” is a hallmark of many online “kids.” I hear it all the time: “Hi Marnie. I’m 22. I met this fantastic guy online, except…he likes to take control, so I let him make all the decisions even about food. Last week, he ordered the chicken. I hate chicken! But…my bio-clock is clanging like Big Ben, so…?”
“So what?” I wonder. “You’ll bend so far, you’ll touch your tailbone?” How lovely not to “need” but to “multiply” our choices from among grown-ups who know who they are and really, really like themselves. How delightful to know ourselves well enough to know if we really, really like them?
4. Sweet Age of Liberty; Of Thee I Sing!
We’re up there. It can be lonely, but it’s also…sweet freedom! The other day, I had a 3-year-old in my office with his parents.
ME: “Stop unwrapping the candies, sweetheart.” “I really prefer my walls without those sticker elephants – honey.” “Don’t touch the cord, or we’ll blow up, darling.”
After they left, I took a five-hour nap. We’ve been there, done that. Now, it’s our time! When we meet for a senior date, I don’t want to ask, tell, or hear about your superpowers (working, cleaning, raising three kids under 12) or who you have to pick up from where, when. I don’t want to “fit in” or be “fit in.” I want you. I want to get in a car with you going nowhere in particular, stopping off at strange diners, auctions, and bad art museums, and coming home at 3 a.m. – without worrying about calling the babysitter (or my mother). Action and active count more than age.
5. Thank You for the Memories That Make Me Feel So Young.
On one of the senior meet sites, I recently chatted with a man who knew all the words to “Venus.” To him it wasn’t just a planet. The song triggered sweet memories of his adolescence. He also knew “That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" wasn’t about carbon footprint(s). He heard it. I heard it. We remember and share the times of our lives, which to us beats trying to figure out if a Kardashian is either a type of shish kebab or heart attack. I added the following to my profile: “I want to feel that special touch again. I want to be WOWed once more. I want to remember that first kiss – with you.”
6. Talk More Than Text!
“Fräulein Felice! I lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you.” This is an excerpt of a letter written by Franz Kafka in 1912 to his fiancée, Felice Bauer, with whom he tragically parted as he was ill with tuberculosis. Let’s flash forward 100 years and translate in online digital-speak: URMG4EVA, Franz (“You are my girl forever,” for those who don’t read “Text” and think a BlackBerry is a fruit.) We talk in whole words, adjectives, and sometimes with clauses. How lovely to meet someone of our generation who understands and appreciates ways to converse that carry emotions rather than sparkless, soulless emoticons.
It’s why our children resent us and our peers adore us. Photos, age, whether you can do the rhumba? Nice, but after decades of the good, the bad, and the boring, we have learned subconsciously to see patterns and read between the lines. It’s a nifty gift. We don’t buy the “resume” or the cliché as easily. He was the grand marshal in the Prune Parade? Where are the photos? You’d adore seeing them. She’s an investor? A consultant? In what? Her herbal garden or a hot startup? We’re puzzle masters who can sniff out a missing piece…or a lie. Very useful to bear in mind online.
8. Just Imagine or Lend a Vision
With hormones in overdrive, the young online are looking at “looks.” Their clocks are clanging to find “the one” who is young enough, sexy enough, and solid enough to provide: babies, step-parenting, a decent salary, the ability to charm the IRS, and a few kopeks to pay back school loans. Whoa. Wrong questions for those of us on the senior dating sites. Think J.B. Fletcher donning her bike or sneaking in the shadows to trap the tsar of cocaine trafficking. I want to play with a man I can trust at any age who is fit enough to enjoy a wine tasting, take me to a whole dinner -- or be my accomplice.
You see, at this age, we want fairly unencumbered, trusted “accomplices” – friends and lovers who know something and adore a reasonable risk. And “one” isn’t necessarily our number. There’s my online friend who knows “the best people” for everything: doctors, accountants, guys who know what those thingies are that make my lamp turn on. Then there’s my online friend who’s a comic. If he’s heard the joke, it’s circularly filed. And my Italian chef. I am alive today courtesy of his meatballs. My James Dean Sr. and his Harley pop in and out, but he’s always up for a mysterious adventure.
I adore them all because my accomplices meet my major criteria. It’s not age. It’s not sagging profiles.
They join me at the end of the day laughing, “What, me worry?!”
If you’re ready to find your own accomplice in the over 50 dating arena, check out some of the best dating sites for seniors.