Double Garbage, Musty Ballz

Online dating in your 50s

Image: Fernando via Unsplash

Online dating in your 50s is less fun than you can imagine.

For one thing, I’m not the most photogenic person, so I don’t like to judge someone specifically on a photograph. But if you’re a 50-something hetero male, and your handle is Musty Ballz, and your profile picture shows you sitting on a pony, which totally looks like it’s squishing your musty ballz, then my advice to you would be to rethink the notion that “this is attractive.”

Also, because I’m in no position to not be flexible, I don’t care if a potential dater carries an extra five to fifteen pounds on them. I’m not a money-grubber either, so a person’s salary is not my top concern, though maybe I’d be better off. Nevertheless, when I click the options that say I’m open to these realistic expectations in an older man, my inbox soon becomes full of messages from fairly overweight truckers.

“Wanna truck? I mean, rhymes with truck?”

“No, thanks,” I always reply.

Every once in a while as I’m deleting uninspiring messages, a mini screen pops up, with a much younger man’s face, who also wants blind sex, despite that I specifically noted I’m not interested in cougar-seekers. Been there, done that, hate the moniker. I also do not make the rounds on eHarmony, because the one time I did fill out their form, which took up an entire sick day from work, I waited patiently for my results, then opened the email immediately upon receiving it:

“You are unmatchable,” it said.

The sites I frequent seem to boast the same types of men: those in need of serious styling lessons. Forget the clothing (I wish I could), these eligibles want to impress via pictures of themselves with their car, motorcycles, or houses, or that one I can’t get out of my head — that man on the pony — which do anything but. Or they’re on the beach, wearing sunscreen and a sun visor, flexing tattooed midlife arms and chests, which is overall not flattering, at minimum. Or they’re posing with a woman, and it’s unclear if this person is a friend, a girlfriend, a wife, an ex-wife, a daughter, or who knows who. More importantly, why would they want to project that? For example, when they say they want a LTR, do they mean with that other person in the photograph?

There was also a profile that recently appeared on one site’s “We think he’s a good match for you,” but his name was “DoubleGarbage,” and I did not check him out. I also wasn’t interested in “deerhunter47” or “DaddyYou”.

Here’s where my old-school romantic sensibilities come into play: I’m a believer in real-life matchmaking and have set up three marriages myself, which in Jewish law supposedly gives me an automatic entrance to heaven. I’ll take it.

One of those three marriages ended in divorce, but I’m only intuitive in pre-marital attraction, so I can’t be responsible for that. Another was cut short via the sad passing away of one of the partners, but they are together forever in spirit, and I got an automatic entrance to the late friend’s last performance, at Carnegie Hall, when he did his trick roping act onstage with James Taylor accompanying. (He was a British cowboy I’d met in the circus, and she was a rock ’n roll singer who grew up on a horse farm in Wisconsin. Perfect.) The third marriage is still going strong, another circus guy with an old friend who is a dancer, and while they don’t seem to talk to me anymore, three set-ups is three set-ups. Ding, ding, ding: heaven.

I’ve actually created more matches — it’s a gift, sigh — including one that was so spot-on they basically had sex on top of a pinball machine within 10 minutes of meeting. Not all romance ends in marriage, though, and I’m fine with that. I was married once already, so nuptials aren’t my ultimate goal, but I wouldn’t say no under the right circumstances. And I don’t mean by the cougar guy, the Italian dude who swore on our first date that he had a green card, but then three years later apparently he did not.

To be fair, I’m probably not a particularly easy sell, but I thought “five-foot-two, eyes of blue,” was pretty cute, or certainly acceptable. I knew I was being provocative though when I also wrote, under the heading of what I’m looking for:

“No emotional lightweights, please.”

It’s no wonder I’m single.

I may have an attitude problem; I’m aware of that. But as the years roll by, and I find myself perpetually single, I’ve come to realize that my desire for a relationship is more important to me than holding on to my bad attitude, as challenging as that is, and as much as I love a good snark. I keep thinking there must be another way, a more organic way, because for me, connecting goes beyond the superficial, the screenshot, the generic forms to fill out. In fact, it’s partially because of those internet and techno hoops that now surround my life that I’m yearning for something that is created and nurtured off the screen. I’m pretty sure that in live-action life I wouldn’t come across any man sitting on a pony.

“You’re too sensitive,” my mom liked to opine, but this from a woman who couldn’t smell the two dead raccoons that were caught in the chimney of her beach house.

“No, I didn’t notice,” she said.

I have a pattern with online dating: get very frustrated, go online, find one guy who seems a possibility, make a date, meet him, do not enjoy, and then say “never again.” Three months later, though, I’m back on it. Kind of like my ex-husband with his drinking. Whoops, there goes my attitude again!

Maybe I’m blaming the system, so I went back to a couple sites recently, changed my “no emotional lightweights” proposition to something I can’t remember now, and I’m afraid to look. But it wasn’t so sassy, though I tried to keep it honest, and only lied about my age by two years, just to round up the birth year.

My friends are hitting their 20- and 30-year marriage anniversaries, and I consider that a great achievement, an accomplishment I haven’t been able to celebrate for myself. I want to believe that love is still possible, and I’ve read enough inspiring books and meditated many hours away, trying to reconnect myself with that belief. That it is still possible. That there could be someone out there for me….

Interested? Just call 1–800-Jenny. No emotional lightweights, please.