Now a few weeks pass by, and I am discouraged with the whole dating thing already. Try Plenty of Fish, a veteran online dater offered to me. Plenty of Fish i asked? I couldn’t decide if that name was as tacky sounding as I was hearing it, but thought , is it really any worse than some of the others? I decided to research it. This one is a free dating site, so once again i filled out all of the questions, and profiles, added some pictures and voila! i am out there. This site has no age restrictions( there are now age restrictions of a sort which I will discuss in the near future) and now the fun begins. Let me throw in , yet another confession. I am attracted to younger men. Yes, sadly 50 is now considered a younger man given my just over 60 status, but younger is younger. Doesn’t mean I rule out others, Though, just as a precaution, my daughter gave me a rule- no one near her age or younger. Not to worry i said. You are 35! though really the temptations are out there!
POF, as we online daters refer to the Plenty of Fish site, has , as i said, all ages. So now I started keeping track. The youngest that I have had contact me is 19. i should say 18, because he was turning 19 in a few months! This boy was in high school. Did his mother know he was on this site, searching for older women ? Mommy issues? Boredom? I didn’t want to ask. The oldest so far is 82. He was a very kind, polite gentleman whose message asked if I had an age limit? I never had that question in the older category! It was always in the 18-30 category so I was bit taken aback. I did politely message him back and told him I lean towards my age or younger. He was very polite and didn’t bother me about it.
Again he was not my cup of tea. but as i said, don’t respond if you don’t want to open a can of worms. But he was so polite I felt the need to be polite back. Truly , a man within my age range, will have lots more in common to talk about. Sadly, some of the conversation will turn to which joints are acting up and how much one creaks when getting out of bed in the morning. though,with younger men, you tend to want to hide any creaking parts or ailments that may be presenting themselves that particular week. Though , I do have limitations. I mean if you don’t know who the Beatles are, or are amazed that i was alive during Woodstock, then maybe we just need not to have a conversation.
So back to the profiles, I responded to 2 of them and yes I accepted dates with them. First one, who was 59 years old, suggested a place for drinks and appetizers. Good for a start. Not too long, but enough time to chat and get to know each other. We ended up talking for almost 3 hours, which really surprised me. The time went quickly and it held our interest. Good conversation, a few laughs, talked about the dating site and our experiences. I didn’t really have much to share about that, but he seemed to be a veteran. I thought the evening went okay. “Well let’s do this again” he said , and that was that. No contact since. I stand corrected, I did receive a message asking how I was , and was I having any luck on the site. I responded with I am doing fine and yes I was having fun. It was mostly true and I felt that was the only answer he deserved to get. Oh well, no great loss there.
The other gem asked me to go for a drink also. He was 51. Yes, as you will see, I like younger men. We went to a nice local eatery and thought a glass of wine was in order ( I do get a bit nervous initially) First thing, which I feel I need to emphasize, is , that if you post a picture on a dating site, try your best to look like that picture. Don’t post a picture that you took ten years ago and is, at least, 25 pounds lighter. I did a double take when I saw him, and a second one when he proceeded to complain about all the women he had previously met on this dating site that didn’t resemble their pictures! Really I thought, did you look at yours? We chatted for about 45 minutes and parted. Would I see him again? Not sure. I figured I would play it by ear.
Trying not to be a complete snob, I decided to go for a second date when he asked. He wanted to pick me up at my house. No thank you I said, I will meet you. First rule of online dating. Do not have them come to your house. Always meet them in a public place. So I did and though I had agreed to this restaurant, it was awful. . The food was terrible and my date stared off into the distance the entire time we sat opposite each other. He talked in my direction, but made sure he didn’t miss anything coming in or out the door. That never sits well with me. But the icing on the cake was when he so graciously offered to follow me home and “watch a movie”. Is that what they call it now? hint hint. NO THANK YOU I offered back. and promptly left praying he wasn’t following me. Two weeks later , I received a message from Mr. Manners,” hey let’s do dinner again. “ This time i did not respond and the matter was dropped. Rule of thumb. Don’t respond if you don’t want to open a can of worms. I learned that the hard way which i did mention earlier.
The joys of dating over 50. Okay , first confession, over 60. Some of the online dating sites’ claim to fame is dating over 50, so I went with that. You see, in my head I am 40, so right away, I am ahead of the game. Oh I fought this for a long time. I am not that type of person who goes online to date. What is that type of person? I have no idea, but I knew it wasn’t me. I would think it is a combination of not wanting to admit that I wanted, or even needed, to go on the internet to find a date. but really, where else? The bar scene is old news, especially given my age. And we know that most relationships formed at a bar are not usually long-lasting. Well, in my experience anyway, though I imagine others have fared differently.
Why did I finally crack? Maybe it was in my head for a while , but just didn’t surface. In my mind I had thought about it, but was never brave enough to do it . Friends had gone online and my siblings went online. There are a few who have had serious relationships, some have had plain fun, some have even gotten married. Then my son suggested I should do it. What harm can it do? You should get out there and not sit home by yourself.
For some reason that hit home and I started looking into some dating sites. There are so many out there. Should I pay for it? or go with the free ones? Most, as far as I know, let you browse, like window shopping for dates. And , of course, when you look at the sites, or advertisements for these sites, the pictures they show are simply perfect looking men. Don’t be fooled. At least 85 % do not look like these men. Sort of like when you look at the models in a magazine, you know no one in real life really looks like that.
The first site I stumbled upon, was the over 50 dating site, Our Time. I saw it on a commercial. 2nd confession. I was watching the Hallmark channel. Where else would they advertise an over 50 dating site? Makes sense, doesn’t it? Okay I can try this, I thought. I will get a membership. That would make it official, so I told myself.
Now I had to write a profile and unfortunately find a picture. That was about to end the entire project , but I searched through my photos and found one I wouldn’t mind making public. Had to do some digging. One does not want to get a photo that is too old. You want to have a current photo, well at least within the last couple of years. I posted a current one, one from a trip a year or so before that. and one holding a grandchild. Diverse, different aspects of my life, and yet clearly showing who I am.
The profile proved to be easier than I thought, though just starting it was a bit daunting. So, I just began with where I grew up, where I live now, family, and interests. Short but sweet I thought. I can’t write sappy stuff like I am looking for my soul mate or my life’s journey. Looking for someone to date. That seemed cut and dry, simple and non-committal. Deciding on a title of sorts was a challenge. It is suggested you get a catchy phrase to catch an eye or two. Like “looking for Mr. Right” or “lonely no more”. I went with a variation of “taking the plunge”. I figured , in a sense, that is what I was doing by just signing up for this.
I even went with a 6 month membership. That will prove, even if just to myself, that I am serious. I went through all the steps, picture, profile, answering questions about interests, my sign (no idea why they need this), how long was my longest relationship, kids, do I want kids (haha that was a funny one) and now I am in. I have to say I was quite surprised, when suddenly all these messages started coming in. Fresh meat I thought. New kid in the neighborhood and they pounced!
What a smorgasbord! Skinny, fat, young, old, every ethnic group you can imagine, and many combinations in between.
You can pick and choose who to respond to, and of course you can search with your own criteria. So I put in age 50-60 males, and started looking. I also found out that if you click on a profile, the other person can see that you have looked. oops. That proved to be interesting in itself. The minute you click and read their profile , and they have seen that you did that, they feel it is justified to send a message. Fair enough I thought. I can ignore the ones I don’t want to respond to, and I did. Once in a while , for fun, I would respond. The idea to do it was fun, but of course, the person on the receiving end may not be thinking along the same lines. But I did find that would get me into situations, I then, had to get out of gracefully. Or in some instances, not so gracefully. lf one responds to a message, it is logical that the sender will assume you are interested and not just doing it because you are bored. Not a good idea in the long run. I found myself making up excuses , couldn’t say, well I am already seeing someone because , well, I am on a dating site. Quick thinking , I went with , oh this isn’t a good time I am travelling or busy and then gracefully bow out. Much easier to not respond if I am not really interested, but then again I don’t always do things the easy way.
I will confess it made me feel good that I was getting so many responses. Were there any I wanted to respond to? Not yet, but it still felt good. … for a while. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is very flattering to get numerous responses, though some of the messages I could live without.
After a couple of weeks I actually saw a few profiles I would follow-up on. One thing I will say , is, I look at the pictures first. Yes many people will say it is what is on the inside that counts. True enough, but then reality hits, and you and I both know you will check out photos before responding. It is a natural phenomenon. If you are physically attracted to someone, then the conversation will begin. I am sure it does not hold true for everyone, but I do think a physical attraction is a common thread in the beginning. Especially when you are dealing with online dating. It is not like you know someone for a while and they grow more attractive to you as time goes on. You are shopping and what catches your eye is what you want to try on!
If there is no picture, then I have no idea who I am dealing with. I confess I have to be attracted to someone in order to pursue a meeting. Jumping ahead for a moment, I once did meet someone for a drink that I did not see first. I decided, after that meeting, I will not do that again. Need I say more? Put it this way, his voice did not match the overall package. Basically he should work in radio. I am aware how bad that sounds but that is my reality. No attraction is not going to work .