THE BLOG

My Cyber Dance Card Is Empty: Online Dating After 40

05/15/2015 04:25 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2016
Liesl Testwuide

Recently I met a single girlfriend for coffee and she bitched, "Jesus, this online dating thing is like having a part-time job. I can't manage all the emails. I have to use descriptive code names to keep them straight: 90 degrees, Firepower, Beard of Love, Jagger Tongue and Hairless Harry. But-"

"What's the 90 degrees stand for?" I interrupted.

"He's got a curved --"

"Really? A right angle? I'd like to see that."

I cringed as she complained about being overwhelmed with dates. That hasn't been my experience. There's no line of single men wrapped around my cyberblock. "Yeah...I don't know," I confessed, "I think it's time for me to throw in the towel on the whole online dating thing and go back to wearing comfy undies."

"Don't do that. You need to get out. Be seen. Have fun. You can't spend every Friday and Saturday night in your bathrobe watching HGTV."

"I'm all for having fun, but the online thing never works for me. One weirdo insisted I send him a selfie on the scale to verify I have curves, not rolls. Another said he was divorced when he wasn't. One creep's opening line was, "So...what's your favorite line in The Hobbit?" I might just buy a Snuggie, a Slurpie punch card, and adopt seven or eight cats," I said.

"Lemme see your profile," she insisted.

I thought it was pretty decent. After all, I'm a writer. I sounded smart, creative and kinda funny. But after careful examination, I realized it read more like an ad for a rescue dog: friendly, outgoing, dependable, and loyal. It may have been code for: please take me home, pant, pant... I'm desperate...pant, pant. The only thing missing: great at licking balls.

My friend was adamant, "Men are looking for a sexy, confident woman, not a lonely pup from the pound. Simply bedazzle your profile. Add stuff like: former gymnast, culinary whiz specializing in aphrodisiacs, and financially independent Victoria's Secret hoarder."

"Yeah, but that's a bunch of bull. I'm not all those things," I said.

"Right," she said, "but who cares? You only need to sound interesting. You don't need to actually be interesting."

"Oh God," she moaned, continuing to read my profile. "Epic fail here. You can't mention you've got three boys."

"But I have three boys--"

"Well, you don't need to brag about it. Kids are a turn off. The mother-thing is a drag."

"The mother-thing? Most men have their own children."

"News flash: divorced 45 year-old men don't want to date 45 year-old moms. They want women in their 20s and 30s. Younger women -- even if they have six kids. In fact, 50-60 year-old men want women in their 20s and 30s, too. I suppose some older men might settle for a 45 year-old."

"Settle? Jesus, don't hold back."

"Yeah, well, this is the shit people don't tell you when you get divorced."

"You see," she continued, "for the most part, men 55 - 65, the ones who might have an interest in you, have grown children. They don't wanna carry your lawn chair to soccer games, spend Saturdays at swim meets or help with homework on school nights. They rode that roller coaster with their first wives. You need to appear flexible, carefree, and able to travel on a whim. They won't invite you to the BVI or Vail if you've got three kids. They want a playmate, not a second family to raise."

"So, let me get this straight," I said. "I should fake that I don't have kids in order to get dates with men who have kids, who I'll eventually have to stop dating because I have kids."

My friend bit her lip and tapped her fingernail on the table. "Yeah," she said, "basically you're screwed. Good thing you have a dog."

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