THE BLOG
07/11/2014 07:40 am ET | Updated Sep 10, 2014

An Octogenarian's Adventures In Online Dating

That's really scary, I said to Heather, my 46-year-old trainer. I don't want to do this. Heather insisted, it was not about a new set of exercises that she was promoting, it was for me to get online on a dating site. As I was resisting, stating huge embarrassment, she got onto my computer and signed me up. This was two years after my husband died.

A couple of days later, she asked how it was going. What was she talking about? Oh, was I supposed to look? We did together, one ninety-year-old man had found my profile interesting -- well, that's a relief. He wanted a photo, which I was reluctant to send. His photo looked a lot younger than his supposed age. I did not reply. A young man in his sixties wrote he wanted to meet me. I wrote back that he's younger than my children and he wrote: "Goodbye, mother" and so ended my online adventure.

The problem is that I don't know any older, single men in my social circle, neither do my single women friends. This is obviously the reason for this new way of meeting people. We are a disbursed generation -- having often relocated -- with distant friends and relatives.

The protocol, as I understand it, is that first you e-mail each other for several weeks, then you talk on the phone for several more weeks, then you meet in a very public coffee shop and decide whether there is a future to this relationship. I'm in my eighties; I don't have time for all this -- it will be one e-mail, one phone call, and then on to the coffee shop.

As I was scanning the various supposed matches, I noticed that eighty-year-old men's cutoff age for women was seventy-five and their preference was someone in their sixties and thin with a good sense of humor. I don't qualify. No one seemed interested in a "woman of eighty-plus years, retired professor, author, warm, friendly and fun, looking for conversation and a long-term relationship." Perhaps I just should sit quietly by the fireplace in my rocking chair with my slippers on, doing my needlepoint and forget about adventures. Although that doesn't sound appealing either.

There are many sites: PlentyofFish.com is free, others, such as E-Harmony, Match.com, and JDate require a fee. There are also many senior dating sites. The statistics are that a large number of marriages today began at an Internet site.

This is just a new technology to replace the marriage broker of past generations. My Russian great-grandfather had never met his bride until their wedding day. They were both thirteen. When she lifted her veil, so the story goes, he exclaimed, "She's so ugly!"

This is probably why, to avoid such disasters, photos are posted with the descriptive profiles. From what I have been told, some people use photos of their younger selves and lie about marital status and jobs. According to the New York Times, "men exaggerate their height by two inches and people exaggerate their income by about 20 percent." But as I perused some of the photos, there are many grey-haired men who seem honest, at least at first glance. The Shadchans (Yiddish for marriage broker) of yesterday had correct information and could be relied upon (shades of Fiddler on the Roof).

Yes, I still wish for companionship, as do so many widowed people, and I would like to find someone to share thoughts with, someone with whom I can have an ongoing conversation about the latest newspaper article or what we had for dinner. The minutiae of daily life is meaningless when not shared, and a lot of fun when given a little prominence.

It is now two years later and I have not tried this again. I am waiting to be in my nineties and possibly appeal to a centenarian.

Find One First

The books proliferate with advice
teaching you how to get a man
and keep him forever

The book jackets promise
that you will know
what will make him love you

The books will help you
to not fall in love
with the men who hate women

It is like writing a recipe for an omelet
when there are no eggs available!

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Where To Meet Singles Over 50