Online Dating

Online dating at the age of 55, in a word, “Ugh”. Don’t get me wrong though, I love writing whimsical profile narratives, searching through my massive collection of pictures to find the best pics for my profile and swiping left and right can be crazy addictive! However, it sure seems like a lot of work to find that “perfect” match and that could be my problem. Is it possible to set one’s sights too high and therefore, becoming too picky? At my age, do I have time to be picky? So, here I am putting my thoughts on virtual paper.

First of all, when entering the online dating scene, there are so many online sites (Match, EHarmony, Bumble, Tinder, Farmers, POF, Our Time, Fitness Singles, Coffee Lovers, Dog Lovers, etc.) and all of them with different price points and the amount of data collection that some of them need for a profile. It’s mind-boggling! So instead of researching for days, the online dating site that would best suit my needs, I just picked a couple of easy and inexpensive ones, just to get my feet wet. I went with Tinder and Bumble which are two sites that are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. The swiping is so addicting provided you can ignore the carpal tunnel pain. Many people have told me that those two sites are for “hookups” but that has not been my experience. In the age group that I search (45 to 55), 95 percent of the profiles that I look at are women looking for a long-term relationship or “life partner”.

Once I settled on a site, all I had to do was write a profile narrative, post a couple pics and choose my settings. The profile narrative requires a little thought. It’s got to be short, sweet and to the point. From a “marketing” point of view, however, it’s got to be good enough to encourage a “swipe” right. I figured I would include a little about myself, what I’m looking for in a woman and make it a little bit funny. The narrative seems to be working okay but no profile is complete without some good and RECENT pictures. I have learned in the last three months that in the online dating world the idea of “recent pics” can be interpreted in so many ways. It comes down to the point if I find an interesting profile and the pics are too good to be true, they usually are. I have even searched Facebook and Instagram for a person that I am interested in to find recent pics. I admit though, the dilemma of posting recent pics versus “good” pics is tough. But for the sake of a smooth “first date”, it’s always better to at least post pictures that resemble your current “look”. Now with the pics and narrative good to go, I just have to choose the settings. Basically, the two that count are distance and age range. Even though I realize that my “soul mate” may be a few more miles than I’m willing to commute, I have to be somewhat realistic. So I set mine to 30 miles. Then there’s the age range. As much as I thought I would like to have 25-year-olds swiping right on my profile, I have come to the realization that I prefer mature, attractive, intelligent, witty, active, women around my age that I can relate to. And there you go. The profile is set and the real work begins.

Who do I swipe to the right? And when I get a match, how do I proceed from there? First of all, as a man, I have certain physical characteristics that I’m looking for in a woman. I prefer women who are my height or shorter. I prefer women who take care of themselves and are active. Of course, I like attractive women. So for me the pictures in a profile, both quality and quantity, are important. If there is only one picture, I swipe left. If there is no profile narrative, I swipe left. Yes, I enjoy reading the profile narrative. They are very entertaining. I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they write and what they put in their profile narrative. Once I swipe right on a profile, that’s when the fun but real work begins.

Fun for me is the anticipation. Waiting to see if my “swipe right” leads to a match. It’s been my experience that about 10 percent of my “swipe rights” lead to a match. Then the real fun begins. The first contact, texting back and forth with “witty” remarks and probing questions, narrowing down the criteria required to move on to the next step…the “meet”. Sometimes we never get that far as we get to know each other a little bit more through texting and find that we aren’t compatible. Many times we’re in the middle of texting and suddenly my “match” just stops texting and I never hear from her again. Every once in a while we agree to meet in person. This is when it gets real. Where to meet and what to wear are very important. I have found that when meeting for the first time, it should be a casual rendezvous. A cup of coffee, yogurt or maybe a hike. Nothing too expensive. I’ve only had four “meets” and only one has led to a second. The reasons being “no chemistry” or “I don’t like your sense of humor”.

So basically, if I look at my performance numbers, they aren’t very good even with all of the effort that I put into my profile (actually not really a lot of effort). After text and chats with around 20 women and four “first dates”, I’ve managed only one second date. Maybe I could do better meeting interesting women at the library or the grocery store or maybe join a cult.  Maybe I’m not as attractive, witty and intelligent as I think I am.  As far as what I’m looking for in a woman, it’s possible that I’ve set my sights too high. There is so much to consider. But I’ve only been at it for about three months. Maybe I should just be a little more patient.

By Mike C

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