Wanna Be Your Dog: Online Dating in Your 50s

I broke down and started online dating again. Having been online intermittently for a few years after my split and now being in my 50s, I knew exactly what I’d be in for: roller coaster emotions, lying / cheating / ugly truths, and a crash course in the complete failure of our educational system.

Meeting someone in person is unlikely, given my lifestyle. I inhabit a circle of approximately seven square miles. A choice needed to be made: either I would put myself “out there” and be receptive to meeting someone or I would give up entirely and revel in my spinsterhood. After an incident at work, I decided to bite the bullet and go online. I’ve given myself one year. One year of whitening my teeth, wearing jewellery that jangles and makes me feel like a gypsy, and squeezing into jeans two sizes too small until they actually fit. I tell myself it’s not as weird as it used to be considering that I now order nearly everything online, including cat litter.

All Locked Up and Nowhere to Go

So an acquaintance came into the store last week. We had been in a drinking book club together several years ago. Lots of boozy discussions of books and low pressure to actually read any. She was telling me of her new beau, who has been incarcerated 26 years for a crime he did not commit. They met when she emailed him after he was interviewed on a true crime podcast…not online dating. There is hope for me yet. She asked if I was still with my boyfriend. When I said “no,” she began asking me details about him. It turns out that he’s been dating a friend of hers and they are “very happy.”

How Soon is Now?

Well. I went home after work and I’ll admit to having a few stiff drinks. I was angry. But why? I realized that I had been waiting for him to text me – maybe use Christmas as an excuse. He was not going to text. Then it hit me: we have been split up for a year and a half! In my mind, we’d been apart only six months. I had lost a year. I knew he’d missed wishing me a Happy Birthday but he’d missed TWO birthdays and a Christmas already. Lordy! It is so over.

The next night I was at work and told my co-worker of my folly. Later I checked my watch to see how much time we had left – the watch that he’d given me – and it had stopped. At ten after five, if that means anything. I took it off and let it dangle from my fingers like some dead animal. My co-worker said she’d always liked that watch so I gave it to her.

The next night, I joined the dating site.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

The best part about online dating is writing my profile. I change it every few days and try out some amazingly cheeky and creative ideas. Note: few men actually read what I write. If they do, they completely miss any point I was trying to make and offer me misguided sympathy or condolences in short messages like, “that too bad how you’re day so far?” Annoying. Just let that volley fly over your head, Barney. Trying to return it just embarrasses us both.

The worst part is realizing you truly are alone in this online world.

I’m a Loser, Baby

Now, I don’t mind being different (or “weird” or “whimsical”, etc.) but to be discarded without a chance because of your age or how you look is a reality check. Guys my age want to date women 20 years younger. Blech! I don’t know how they can stand it! It’s tough enough explaining cultural references to a 55 year old kid let alone a baby of 40. Jokes lost. Time wasted. So I thought I’d try 56 to 64.

Unfortunately, most of the older guys speak only Bob Seger and talk about their “glory days” of playing hockey, football, or drumming in a garage band 40 years before. Even more unfortunately, because they are single they have no one to advise them and many have taken to wearing shirts that are tight across their beer bellies and growing out their stringy, grey hair. (New realization: Bald is actually a blessing.) These physical flaws I could forgive – who is perfect, anyways? – but for a complete lack of interest in me. Is this too much to ask? I wonder.

Beach Boys

Guys over 50 on internet dating sites have new puppies that need training and friends who come over to smoke cigars on Friday nights and kids they need to help with time consuming things on a daily basis. Sometimes they profess to being retired but play several hours of golf every day or have done 42 days at the ski hill already this season. According to their profiles, in between, they hike, bike, camp, quad, fish, and “go for long walks on the beach.”

It’s shocking that people are not meeting along the shoreline of every lake, ocean, and river in this province because everyone professes to going for these long walks on a daily basis. In addition, every guy lists himself as “easy-going.” There must be dozens of these dopey guys plodding along the beach, jumping dogs at their sides. Can’t say I go to the shore much. Guess that’s why I’m still single.

Reality check: not “every” guy writes that he likes walking on the beach. Most guys don’t write anything in their profile at all. Perhaps, like hair, it’s better that way.

Let Me Count the Ways

I’ve dated “simple” guys and it’s a lonely business. Rock and roll type guys are fun – for a while. Intellectual guys I’ve met online dating only argue with me non-stop and I feel like an exasperated Annie Hall. Let’s do some math. At this age, we need to be emotionally solid on our feet and not addicted to anything. This rules out 30-40% of anyone online right away. Maybe more if you include narcissists, sociopaths, fraudsters, and the clueless. Say, 50%. Then you take away those unable to communicate their thoughts or feelings. There goes another 15%. (This is from personal experience. I’m being generous…it’s probably more like 20%.)

So that’s ruled out 65% of anyone online right off the top. Add to this the guys who are either cheating on their wives or too cheap to pay for a subscription as well as those who don’t bother to have any write-up and you’re up to 90%.

From the 10% left, I am assuming honesty, integrity, and the usual virtues people expect in a quality relationship. This I know is a stretch. But hey! I’m an optimist!

What Do You Want From Me?

I want a guy who is on the shy side and appreciates my social ability to work a party or sing karaoke, who can build or fix nearly anything and has a passion for it. He should appreciate good design – like the Airstream or the “not so big” house – and be able to bring my visions of spaces to life so we can work as a team. Independent and well off enough to do as he pleases most of the time, he also needs to love cats and kids and think dogs are silly and require too much work. His health should be a priority and his hobbies interesting. He should know his way around The Smiths and Bauhaus and be able to recall obscure details about even obscurer bands from all genres – except country.

For my part, I could compromise on my veganism by going back to vegetarian if necessary. Fair is fair, right?

The Song Remains the Same

Something new in online dating: had my first video “date” last night. Result? Same as usual: now I need to exit that “relationship” with kindness and tact. I am no ghoster and am, as far as I can tell, the only honest person online.

Not sure if I can last a year. In the meantime, I’ve ordered a new watch from Amazon and have amazingly white teeth….


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