ELDER MUSIC: Jerusalem
Yes, Another Elder Online Dating Post – Part 3 (Unplanned)

I Flunked Elder Online Dating – Part 2

As I reported at the end of Part 1, I was flattered to receive the first response to my profile and photo within about five minutes of posting them to pof.com and OurTime: “Great profile,” it read. “I'd love to hear from you.”

In less than another five minutes, three or four more arrived with, word for word, the same message.

So much for preening over my scintillating prose and gorgeous photo. Obviously, there are canned responses users can choose by checking a box. Hey, fellas. I made a reasonably good attempt to write a profile that would give you a small idea of what interests me. Couldn't you do the same?

Apparently not. Over the length of this experiment (less than two weeks), other canned responses arrived including “I like your photo” and “I saved you as a favorite.” Again and again and again those same messages and nothing more.

I tried to follow the attached links (not as easy as it should be) to find out about these guys who may or may not have wanted to hear from me.

One was 27 from North Carolina. (Recall that I'm in Oregon, age 73.) Another was 43 from Texas. A third said he was was 49 in Indiana and the fourth was in his late 60s, lived in Oregon but in a town that is 150 miles away. Come on. Why would you think I would drive that far for a coffee date?

At this point I didn't know if these men were idiots or if the services were broken.

It got worse. Every day each of the services sent messages, the most frequent being: “We have 12 (or however many) matches for you.”

Nowhere in those emails or on the websites could I find an explanation of what a “match” is – a fairly important question since the majority of the matches from one service lived in other states and covered a 40-year age spectrum.

This, of course, led to my confusion about how to tell the difference between a response from a living, breathing human and an algorithm. I still don't know.

When I clicked the link in the “match email” from one service, the website informed me that I had to pay a fee to see the names and profiles of the matches.

Uh, no thank you. Moving right along...

In the 10 days I could tolerate this experiment, among the 70 or 80 messages and “matches,” there were two men near my age who lived in my vicinity and responded with what seemed to be real messages. Sort of.

“Let's meet for coffee in (name of nearby town)” wrote one for three or four days in succession even though I had clicked the “no thank you” button.

The other, who said he was retired, wrote a dozen excruciatingly long and detailed paragraphs about his former middle-management career, bad spelling and poor grammar included.

In my own searches around the sites for men in my age range who live close enough that it would not be a trek if we wanted to meet, there was not a single one.

Certainly my genuine disinterest contributed to the difficulty. First, I clicked past anyone who listed a religion; that eliminated well more than half. I also ditched the ones who hadn't bothered to comb their hair or trim a beard for the photo; you'd be surprised how many unkempt old men there are on these websites.

A large number of those who remained mentioned they are hunters. Uh, no guns around if I'm doing the choosing. And as much as I like the Oregon coast, it's a two-hour drive from here so we wouldn't be doing much walking hand-in-hand at sunset, fellas. Certainly you could come up with something better than that.

Oh, and almost all profiles I read of men in my age range assured me they are “young at heart” or “look younger than their years.” One even specified that he looks six years younger than his age. Is that so? Exactly?

What I did not see even once was a mention of books, movies, music or even food and wine.

You can accuse me of being inflexible and you might even be correct. I just see it as flunking internet dating which isn't much of a minus in life.

This was one of the hardest things – probably the hardest - I have done for this blog in all the 10 years I've been writing it and not because I didn't really want a date.

It is because these were the worst designed, most poorly built websites I have visited that are not crappy click-bait sites.

But actually, they ARE crappy click-bait sites with ugly advertising plastered all over; no attempt at attractive or usable design; no organization; links that appear to be one thing but lead only to to pop-ups demanding more money for different services; and the need to navigate through half a dozen of such pages before getting to where you thought you were going but have now forgotten.

And you know for sure you are on a cheap-jack, untrustworthy website when you cannot find a way to cancel membership.

I had to use Google to search the web for instructions on how to unsubscribe from OurTime so I would not be charged for another month. Even with help, it was difficult.

It wasn't much easier on POF. Although they didn't have my credit card information so withdrawing was not as crucial, my account couldn't be deleted until I was forced to answer a battery of questions about why I wanted to leave, how many dates I'd had, whether I'd gotten married, etc. etc.

There's that old saying about getting what you pay for meaning, of course, that free won't get you much. But the better website of these two (which is not an endorsement) was the free one, POF.

Yes, there were constant popups hawking me to pay for an upgrade and/or additional services and the navigation didn't make much sense. But those things are wrong with the other, paid service too.

Bunches of commenters on Part 1 of this series said they met their spouses on such internet dating sites so I suppose I am the outlier. Or maybe not. Most said you've been married now for many years so perhaps the websites were better then.

Me? I'm done. The experience on these sites is embarrassingly bad, the websites are unattractive, unwieldy and unprofessional, and I wonder if that is reflected in the quality of users they get – the ones I saw were far from interesting, let alone impressive enough to bother with.

Or maybe, as I've heard from single women of all ages all my life, it's just that the good ones are taken.

Overall, I'm glad I'm not looking for a mate or even a date.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: Colonoscopy


Amen to everything you said in this post!

I'm with you, Ronni. And am glad not to be looking for a mate or a date. But this was a fascinating look into the world of online dating. I'll admit I've been curious at times as to the success of it for the now-old generation. So question answered thanks to you. As you say, though, perhaps it was better a few years back as evidenced by some folks finding mates (or dates).

I had to laugh at your comment about the guys with unkempt hair in so many of the profile photos. I had the exact, same impression when I did the online experiment. Made me wonder how often they bothered to bathe if they couldn't even see the value of combing their hair for an online dating profile.

I'm sure there must are some very nice people who find each other online but it's not a process I'm willing to wade through. If I get too lonely, I'd rather just get another (four-legged)dog for companionship.

I have had a similar experience with dating sites in the past and put it down to lack of enthusiasm on my part! If you search for anything Senior on Google, you tend to get a lot of Senior dating.
Recently though, since I have had Skype, I have been getting a similar age range of unsuitable men trying to chat on Google hangouts. "Why don't you go to a dating site if you are looking for love?" I ask. They persist. I'm not sure why they are all French, but my feeling is that they are looking to rip me off, or am I too cynical? Now I have found out how to change my settings and not engage.

Your investigation turned up exactly what I thought the internet dating sites would be like.

My most recent experience with trying to find a long "lost" friend by looking into the purported "free" address look-up sites was similar in relation to the "free" claim, and the not being able to find how to unsubscribe.

We have to face the fact that commercial traffic will eventually take all the freedom from what has
been a great way to get information and to communicate with family and friends.

I have always avoided the sidebar and heading ads by narrowing my viewing window to what I am interested in to avoid the flashing, waving ads.

Now, I am finding that the ads jump from the side, or top, to within my narrowed window and interrupt my concentration on the subject of my search.

A Google search has become more difficult because completely unrelated sites are masquerading as possibilities for the subject you are searching.

I share your happiness regarding not looking for a mate or even a date. And, especially, I am not going to pay to meet what some technology has
decided is a "match."

Ronni, I giggled and understand about the first half of this blog. However, me being me...really appreciate and agree about the poor design, hard to use part of today's article.

Some sites seemed to have been designed by a 6 year old with a crayon. Overseen by a wicked ad group or nasty spammer who has no computer experience themselves.

I was really disappointed ( and frankly embarrassed) by the site by AARP. Aren't they suppose to be on our side?

After just reading about what you went through, I feel like taking a bath! Yuck.

You've summed up my experience pretty much...I can add to that...a few of the men I met were at least 20 years older than their photos...a few wanted to tongue kiss immediately...(we just met)and a few weren't even divorced yet...all in all...meeting the old fashioned way, (involved in something you love) works a lot better...after all, people are NOTproduce you can pick in the grocery store...

Can't imagine why anyone (especially a bright, enthusiastic, intelligent) would go searching for a partner 'online'? Sort of like looking for a lost set of keys in a dark room! Or a good way to get scammed - or thumped over the head.

I've said the same a few times in the past, "Join a club of folks who have common interests; ie photography, book club, stage and screen writers, web page creators, fellow-feline owners, anything that interests you club, church, happy wanderers hikers club, Oregon's New York Social Club, etc.

Best way to rid yourself of that loneliness feeling - is to make a personal effort to not being lonely! Find a friend - and let them find you. Male or female.

Shy? Bashful? Introverted?

Get to know people and make some new friends again.

I know we are in the digital age, but you can't find a partner with zero's and ones. The whole thing is a bit creepy. And it's probably worse for women. There are many men out there that treat dating like commercial crab fishing. Throw out some bait and see what crawls in. Unfortunately, once you are on the boat, you realize it's the cannery you're going to and not Cancun.

Ha! Good one Bruce . . . I'm still laughing!

Re: online dating. Not worth the time. Get another cat. Better company.

The concept of online dating could be a wonderful tool, if only...

I know of two successful matches.

This reminds me of only hearing about gamblers who win be it money, a trip, etc.

The fact that you didn't find any man, or stated "What I did not see even once was a mention of books, movies, music or even food and wine" leads me to believe what you really are looking for is another woman. Are you aware that you have latent lesbian attributes? Any man who mentions a good book he's read or a good recipe is gay, sweetie. What you are looking for is a gay man or a lesbian woman. You won't find either on Christian Mingle dot com.

I couldn't wait to hear how you progressed, Ronni, in part 2 or IF you progressed. Your online endeavor incited me to try it myself out of curiosity. I did POF and OKCupid for free. I actually did get some responses perhaps because I mentioned I was traveling in an RV. I think they saw a free ride there in more ways than one. Most were at least 15 years younger than me (I tend to think they are the same age but knock off 15 years from their profile). I have to admit I had fun trying this out but had to cut it short as I found myself too involved in responding back to correct their grammar and/or give them advice on how to write a more intriguing profile. When one messaged me with one word, "Yummy," as if I were a lollipop...that did it. I promptly unsubscribed after I chastised him first of course for insulting me! Ha! The experience definitely fortified my feelings of forever being content to be solo.

If online dating had been in existence 23 years ago when I met my husband via a print newspaper "singles" ad, I'd still be single! Your experience sounds horrible.

Thanks for enduring the weeks of research that enabled you to report to us about your findings.

I'm in a good marriage with a man 8 years older. If I were to be widowed, I certainly would not look for a new mate, as I'm pretty happy as a loner (married to another loner), but I would get a dog for companionship.

However, here is a story of an internet match that worked. The man in question, a finance blogger, used a high end matching service, and he tells his story here: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.ca/2013/06/celebrating-life-i-got-married-on-friday.html

It's a bit creepy to see how similar your experience was to mine. I tried two different dating sites in the last year, each for several weeks. Canned responses, replies from half way across the country (despite the distance I'd specified), replies from much younger men (despite the age range I'd specified), and very, very few profiles that bore even a remote resemblance to mine. My conclusion, as with all my "dark ages" dabbling with church groups, chat rooms, singles ads in newspapers, and video dating is that most of the guys found there are just looking for someone to sleep with. Bruce Cooper nailed it. Crab fishing.

@ Alicia,
"Any man who mentions a good book he's read or a good recipe is gay, sweetie."

That's an unreasonable generalization and completely untrue. I never checked out online dating but was fortunate to meet a man at my last job who seemed quite compatible.

On our second date, he came to my house and saw that I had a very large number of books. I took him bird-watching,to a bookstore, and then to Starbucks.

Some time later he told that he knew then that I was The One. We've been together for 9 years and married for over 2 years.

Before I retired, there was a lady at the office, 64, who was using the online dating services, and every day I'd talk with her about her results. She and her friends in the office would endlessly study the profiles - which they found quite amusing. One trend that she pointed out that I thought was fascinating, was some guys cut and pasted content from other guy's profiles into their profile, as if they couldn't write their own. Another thing she noticed, was how often guys posed in front of their motorcycles. She was in her sixties, and aiming for 60-70, so seeing all the old guys riding motorcycles was strange. This lady eventually went on several online dates, and liked a handful of the guys, but she eventually ended up with a guy she met at a dance group.

Another lady I know, age 63, said she went through 130 profiles to find two guys she considered okay, but one turned out to be a winner. So, even if online dating is full of horrible obstacles to overcome, it can pay off if you're persistent.

Thanks again, Bruce, for adding great humor to the comments.

I had no intention of trying a dating site and am now glad I followed my instincts. Sounds like a way to waste time and money.

I'm way too old to date now and men my age are in the same boat. I don't want to take care of an old man and I don't want one taking care of me.

Ronni, your experience simply confirms what I'd already decided long ago: if I ever end up single again, I intend to stay that way! I've been married to my wonderful husband for 37 years. I'd NEVER find anyone else who comes close, so why go through the online hassle--and disappointment for those who are seriously seeking a relationship?

Yellowstone, you make a good point about joining similar-interest groups, but one group you can pretty much rule out for male membership (unfortunately) is anything cat-oriented. About 95% of the volunteers in my cat rescue group are women. Also, the true introverts of the world like me, would probably consider "getting to know (strange) people" about two steps short of torture.

I also tried two dating sites, and for some reason only creeps were interested in me. One asked for my bra size and another one called me a "ho." After those two responses, I closed my account, never to do it again.

A friend of mine met her husband on an interest-based site, theirs was music. I know there are quite a few of those, and you probably meet more serious and interesting men there.

A few years ago I met a very nice, well educated man at a seminar, who also loved to dance. He was my age, and I thought he would be a nice friend. He called me a few days after we met to ask me to go dancing, but, thankfully, before I said yes, he gave me his opinions about Obama and our government, which were so far out, and ridiculously right wing, that I finally had to tell him good bye. So glad I found out before I wasted my time.

No more dating for me.

I'm pretty much with the rest of you. When my 2nd husband left me, (the first died at 44) I decided I didn't have the stamina to do this again. I would learn to like being single, so that if I were ever interested, I'd do it "right." I finally, years later, gave e harmony a try. I had indicated I like animals, so I got a number of farmers with livestock in my inbox, several widowers in their eighties who were looking for a replacement (I was in my mid sixties) and finally, a possibility, a man a bit younger than I, but in his photo he wore sunglasses. There was some back and forth--canned multiple choice responses--I guess to screen us before real conversation started. At some point, after reading what he required-e.g. that I should love his children as my own--I threw up my hands and fled, forfeiting the up front payment. And I never saw his face without those shades.

The results you got Ronni would be discouraging to anyone... plus you really do not WANT to meet a man. I already posted meeting my darling husband 20 years ago through answering his newspaper ad. I neglected to state however, that I answered ads (even placed one myself) for 6 months prior to meeting my man. In defense of the hairy faced, unkempt men out there, men are not like women - they think they are handsome and sexy without doing any grooming. I regularly trim my husband's hair (he's bald on top), and trim eyebrows, ear, and nose hair...besides bad eyes, he just does not care about those things. I must say I got discouraged during those 6 months, even telling my daughter to shoot me if I answered another ad - glad I didn't quit, since I found my darling husband.

Ohh...it's awful story...I think that it depends on website. I used many of them, but i liked only a few. And even my mother( 63 old) liked one of them. She even has some sort of relationships with one man there))) I think, you should get through all bad sides od online dating, as a first step))

"Any man who mentions a good book he's read or a good recipe is gay, sweetie."

Alicia: No sweetie, they are not :-) Good lord woman, where are you living, in red-neck-land? In the city where I hang out, good recipes and good books are a normal part of conversation for everyone: men, women, gay, straight, who cares. And thank heavens that is so. I can't imagine how boring it would be to be hemmed in by stereotypes left over from 1958.

This post has had some of the most entertaining and surprising - to say the least - comments yet!!

I used to "meet" interesting people to correspond with in the very early '90's when I was newly single and a little knowledge of Unix/Linux was a requirement to do so.

I, however, do live in red-neck land - finding good conversationalist can be difficult regardless of the gender or sexual identity!

Yellowstone, Katie and Bruce!

Wow! Not an original thinker in the lot! What an experience! I appreciate your going thru the trouble for us.
I miss my men-pals who have all passed on, but I'm not about to try online dating. Maybe I'll try the old-fashioned way-hang out at the local pub. (Kidding!)

And Alicia: seriously?!

Total rip-off. With your knowledge maybe you should get with a younger web developer and create a site for those over 60. I think you could make some money!

Sounds like the glowing reports these websites present on themselves or simply a dog and pony show to draw you into their web of "how to profit from gullible, love-starved lonely people."

Thanks for doing the research on this Ronni. Not that I would be using it, at least anytime soon, but because too many people want to believe what the sorcerers on the tube try to sell them.

According to Alicia, my husband of thirty years is gay!

You tried to use a service without paying for it, didn't like it, and slammed it. Perhaps you should have a column from a guest who had a better experience. (Who probably paid for it.)

I've had a very different experience. I am on OKCupid, the free version. I've learned quite a bit over the course of the 6 months I've been on. I'm possibly more open than many women, so I didn't at first a priori rule anybody out. After some time, I respectfully turn down people who say their religion or God is a priority on their lives. I'm not turned off by guys who want to text sexy talk, nor by men who live outside my area. You never know, is how I look at it. I am finding some truly nice, smart, real people. I'm also finding jerks, but I shut them off immediately. If this were a group of strangers in real life...a bar or a Sierra Club meeting, I'd look around the room, rule out all but a couple on looks and body language alone. With a dating site, you have to reject them one by one.

Just catching up after being away, but want to weigh in about elder online dating and a longtime friend's Feb. marriage--the result of a golf "dating-site." The couple met a bit over a year ago. He's a doctor and avid golfer (76); she a novice golfer (69) who left her career shortly before getting married. Both intelligent, accomplished people who seem very well suited. Perhaps sites with a more specific focus are better suited to elder online dating. I know golf is popular in Oregon, Ronni. By chance do you golf? :-)

Couldn't stop laughing Ronni, because your experience mirrored my own foray into 'online dating'. The folks at E-Harmony felt sorry for me and gave me 3 extra months gratis because "there was no one in our database who matched your profile"...uhm, okaaaay.

Guess in the digital age, being a bonafide human is irrelevant. Your 'persona' must match keywords, avatars, Google rank and social media likes.

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