This morning I read an excellent article by Shannon Ashley: https://medium.com/@Shesreallyfat/the-fragile-male-ego-has-ruined-online-dating-1f743ea1d115. What that brought up for me were the years and years of experience that I’ve had since 1998 being on and off these systems.
I am with someone now that I met on Match.com some eleven years ago. We’re not without our issues; we’re seeing what we can make of what we have. During the first ten years, we were on and off, and during the offs, we were both back online.
Like Shannon I’ve tried multiple sites. Match.com always seemed to be my default, but I’ve tried others. As I’ve aged, this has been highly instructive.
As a woman in her mid-sixties, the particular challenges posed by dating sites are exacerbated by all manner of prejudice.
I happen to be in superb shape from 45 years of bodybuilding, I’m an athlete, and a very accomplished businesswoman with considerable professional creds ranging from a F500 business base to two prize-winning books. I also do adventure travel all over the world.
It would be fair to say I’m an outlier, and as one, my profile didn’t read like everyone else’s.
So on my profile, I put 26 photos of myself doing the things I love: skydiving, paragliding, horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking huge fucking mountains (Kili at sixty, Mt. Kenya just a few weeks ago for example), kayaking, cycling- in other words I’m damned active. You don’t get a 25-inch waist and big guns by sitting around on your ass drinking beer and watching reruns.
I like younger men with bigger guns than I have. Since I turned thirty, while I was hitchhiking solo around Australia, I have dated younger men. They like me back. And frankly, I am sick unto death of angry old men who are pissed off at me for that preference.
The BF is 49, and he’s a bodybuilder. We have a great deal in common, but I can guarantee you that our commitment to fitness for life has a lot to with why we’re connected.
It is just as bad, and let me be very clear, when an angry old woman attacks a guy she finds attractive for wanting to be with a PYT half his age and in much better shape. It is breathtakingly arrogant and self serving to believe that you deserve this, that, or the other simply because your skewed assessment of your looks, your life and your attractiveness color your opinion of yourself.
There have been men I found attractive who aren’t interested in me because of my age. No harm, no foul. There are men who did find me attractive but whose badly out-of-shape body didn’t turn ME on. No harm, no foul. What is harmful is when people- male, female, LGBT, makes no difference- take personal offense because of preferences.
Look. You may be drawn to heavy women covered in tattoos. Someone else likes men with big bellies. Honest to Christ, who gives a shit? Why does anyone have to attack anyone else because they aren’t deemed date-able? Why take umbrage because some guy prefers a skinny blond, or a woman prefers a guy with a six pack? If they can find a match, why is this a personal insult to the ALMIGHTY YOU?
GET OVER YOURSELF ALREADY.
When a guy looks at my profile and loves my pics, then he stumbles on my age, that’s his perfect right. Many of those same men- not without good reason- assume my photos are either old or photoshopped. They aren’t, but look- if you’re into online dating, how many times did someone show up wearing at least forty or fifty more pounds of “athletic and toned”?
I don’t take this personally. Why should I? My long experience with men who lie about their looks and their age and their athletic prowess has taught me to be very gun shy.
People regularly abuse the implicit trust we convey when profferred a picture. We believe it. And man what a disappointment when Goofy shows up expecting you to be happy it wasn’t Rin Tin Tin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rin_Tin_Tin) Yes. I date myself.
My “athletic and toned” is about 10% body fat. Striated muscle and endurance. I can put in nine hours a day riding horses in extreme conditions for three weeks straight. I did it in Iceland. I just got back from climbing the superbly difficult Mt. Kenya in Africa. I do shit like this all over the world, several times a year. It ain’t bragging if you’ve done it, but boy do the shitheels show up if you claim your geography. How dare I, in my mid- sixties, be out doing epic shit when my job is to make your fucking martini on the deck? How dare I be out there doing what you stopped doing in your twenties, and along the way traded barbells for beer lifts? That’s not my problem. It’s YOURS.
I can think of a lot of folks who, like me, can share stories of people who outright lied about their looks. Now there’s a right fine way to begin a love affair: with a fundamental lie.
Countless times I have been greeted with great surprise: “OMG you look like your photos!!!” (Um, and you don’t. See ya.)
One of the true tests of emotional maturity is how we handle rejection. Before the BF and I got back together last year, I got plenty of that on age alone. You learn to deal with it.
We are an age-averse society, and the older I get, the harder it is to find date-able men. It’s a fact of life. On top of that, the older I get the more alone time I like, and the less patience I have with men who can’t kiss worth a shit. I’m a highly sexual person- being in extremely good shape will do that for a girl- and I long ago decided that if a guy can’t kiss, he’s not worth my time.
If you or I are going play horizontal mambo with someone it might at least be delectable. Otherwise I’d rather go volunteer at the local dog shelter, where those kisses are both sincere and heartfelt. Dogs know how to kiss. Many men don’t, and from what I hear, many women can’t either. How can such a simple, sensuous act be so damned hard to learn to do right?
What’s worse, in my experience, those men who kiss like cud-chewing cows think they’re Adonis in bed. I hate to dispell the fantasy, but guys…get a goddamned grip.
This reminds me of Shannon’s comment about how men send photos of the so-called Mighty Sword as though this is the one and only thing that defines their value. Dear god how puerile. It’s no different than when women and girls photograph various body parts and submit them for public consumption.
Precisely what kind of reaction were you expecting? Gee, what a great intellect you have? I love your taste in classical music?
Yah. And we only read Playboy for the articles.
Add to that, and I love this, folks, men who have the gall to tell me that I should “date someone my age.” I tried that in 2017. The guy spent two hours over dinner, no less, regaling me about his colonoscopy, his various health problems, and a whole lotta shit (pun intended) that I could have given less of a rat’s ass about. I don’t date old. That’s one damned good reason.
Besides, given that older men have been dumping their spouses for younger women for millennia, who is anyone to tell me who to date? If I can attract a younger man who is in superb health, then kudos for me. In so many of the men’s profiles- and these guys were in their fifties- their dating range started at 18.
Fucking 18? And these guys have the gall to tell ME to date my own age? Puhleeze, gentlemen. Puhleeze.
The entitlement mentality that drives the selfish, self-serving and downright ugly behavior of people on line- and I mean all of us who head to the computer to do our human shopping- is an affront to the right of each and every one of us to have predilections. Just because there are millions of people online doesn’t mean they are there for YOU. They are just there.
Given that we are such a visual society, your pics — assuming that they are up-to-date, accurate and honest (my god what a rare combination) — will draw those who find you a type they like. You may not like them back. That’s also your right.
That is, assuming you didn’t flail the person by pointing out their failings (you’re too old, too fat, too, whatever) then you have every right to politely decline. Where I wholly agree with Shannon is that vastly too many of us find even a polite no devastating.
GROW THE FUCK UP FOLKS.
When did our poor widdle egos get so tender that we can’t handle the fact that a great many of the 7.6 billion souls on Earth will simply not find us attractive?
As Shannon points out, increasingly, as men dump their aging spouses (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/09/led-by-baby-boomers-divorce-rates-climb-for-americas-50-population/) and head to the Internet to find a replacement, there is greater anger and vitriol when those same men find out that many of us don’t find them yummy. We are convinced that we deserve (fill in the blank) so if some poor bastard doesn’t fit our picture, then he’s outta here.
While it’s perfectly understandable that this can be hurtful to that supersized Whopper Ego in all spheres of the dating spectrum, this is called feedback, folks.
Feedback is a gift. A customer complaint tells us where we’re falling down in our businesses. It isn’t the end of the world.
What it is, however, is perhaps the end of our fantasy of what we look like, the unreality of our expectations, and how the dating world sees us. I got plenty of that feedback, and it was instructive. I also learned how not to take it personally. Their shit is their shit. There are good people, they exist, it just takes real work to find them. I did.
To this I might say that if your delicate ego is such that you can’t handle the heat, go back to getting active in your communities. Get busy in your church, your local charities, be seen. Be heard. Be available.
Your positive engagement and willingness to give to your community makes you very visible. Visibility draws people to you. When you aren’t trolling the Web for Prince Charming or Princess Leia, you are actively making a difference this way. It’s right amazing who you will meet when you make being valuable your priority, rather than searching for a non-existent soul mate.
My BF and I have been back together since my birthday last January. There are the inevitable issues, we’re working on them. Age isn’t one of them. I had a number of online shitholes who warned me that my “much younger man would dump me as soon as I got wrinkles.”
Well, I had them when we first got together, there are more now, and those aren’t the issue. What we deal with are what every couple deals with: priorities, personal bullshit, communication styles. There are no guarantees. What is guaranteed is an education. If you and I approach dating as such, then we win every single time. Nobody owes us love. We owe the world a responsible life, and to behave like competent, mature adults in a polite society.
That’s not what exists online- whether it’s Facebook or OKCupid or EHarmony or Linked In. We have communities of children hurling shite at each other. To enter those worlds, you need a Hazmat suit, one hell of a sense of humor and reasonable expectations.
Good luck out there.