Online Dating: A 'Mature' Woman's Search for Romance With Cyberspace as Cupid.
It all started as a sort of joke. Several months after my husband’s death, my son — who met his wife eight years ago an online dating service — asked me if I intended to join an on-line dating service, and facetiously suggested one called “burned out match.com.” It doesn’t exist, of course, though maybe it should.
I hadn’t thought seriously about going that route in search of romance. After all, I’m pushing four score years, a long way from my days of blind-dating at an all-woman’s college. Besides, I come from a generation that was warned, early on, not to talk to strangers, even if they've now morphed into virtual ones. To make matters worse, modern-day electronic media constitute unfamiliar territory for many of my age.
More to the point, was I really interested in looking for a companion on a computer screen? And even if I missed having a man around, was it too soon after my spouse’s death? Was it too late for me altogether? Would I be paying for the privilege of getting nothing but a painful reality check?
Still, I’d seen TV advertisements of dating sites that do actually exist, showing happy senior couples enjoying meals out at a fine restaurant or strolling together along a sandy beach. Somehow it seemed like a reasonably harmless escape from the doldrums of widowhood. And if I could approach it in the spirit of a diversion, rationalized further by the old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, what would be the harm?
It’s relatively easy to enter the world of cyber-dating. One doesn’t even have to pay fees, initially, to sample the service. Most sites require only that you answer some brief questions e.g., how good-looking you think you are, or if you like to cook, or whether you tend to be punctual on a date. Subscribers set their own parameters for possible “matches” based on age, interests, level of education, geographical distance, etc. Add a (recent) photo, press “send” and wait for the tsunami of would-be dates to deluge your in-box.
I’m still waiting. Initially, I sampled three different sites, figuring it would be like pressing my lined face against a bakery window. But something odd was happening. Instead of guys around my age, I was being matched with those a lot younger than myself and a lot farther from where I lived. Imagine my surprise, for example, when I got a 'wink' from a 50-year old in Austin, Texas!
The reason was obvious enough. There aren’t that many men my age signing on for cyber-dating. Men die earlier than women, of course, and those who don’t most likely have mates already. If they are divorced or widowed, they’re not looking for a woman their age, anyway.
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