78 and counting…hope springs eternal, in terms of the heart

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Senior Online Match-Making Guide, Part One

There is so much pertinent subject matter in the category of senior citizenship, and this blog is just getting started, but I would like to begin a discussion today about senior match-making websites. Perhaps you already have an opinion? That’s fine, but lets give this topic another chance. Open your mind a bit! You may decide that investigating some possibilities is the best thing you ever did for yourself.

If you are still “above ground” and have a pulse, plus a little pep in your step and you are single and enjoy a nice life, congratulations to you – you are a survivor. As my sister says, “Old age is a privilege denied to many, so appreciate it.” But maybe something is missing…you might be interested in finding a companion. Seventy-eight is the new sixty-eight, or perhaps even the new fifty-eight, if you want to play that numbers game. We are not our senior parents. We are more healthy, more active and certainly more engaged in life than they were at this point in time. It might be a full-blown romance that you are looking for (lucky you!) or a traveling companion, a hiking friend, a movie friend, a person you can discuss books with, a dance partner or just a platonic buddy, but life is always better with another person to share it with. Romance is romance, no matter the age, and companionship is a wonderful thing. Especially during the isolating circumstances of a pandemic event I believe it is comforting and fun to find other people with whom you can carry on a conversation within the confines of social distancing. After covid is no longer an issue (and we all urgently hope for that) then whatever friendships have been formed online will have a chance to move forward and become more 3Dimentional.

Google lists the TOP 10 senior match-making websites, two of which I have had personal experiences with, off and on, over the span of several years. I have not magically found my prince charming (in this senior age range he would be a king by now) but I have met a narrow selection of fine gentlemen in the dozens and dozens of choices, learned a lot and become more clever and efficient in my ongoing fairy tale search. I do speak from a woman’s viewpoint, but I am capable of giving help to the guys too, because I have learned a lot from the men I met along the way.

Most of these dating websites want you to take a brief, non-threatening personality test after you decide to fork over some money and sign up for a period of time. These tests reveal things like whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, cautious or adventurous, a leader or a follower and so on….whether you are within the norms, in other words.. The tests also screen out, I would like to assume, the sociopaths from the normal. In reality, I have run across the occasional creepy old geezer who, I imagined, might own a white van and go cruising around in his retirement years looking for younger hot chicks. You can usually spot those guys a mile away. On the wide wide scale of personalities, which starts right here on the left side with the creepy category and goes all the way over across your house to the normal-as-apple-pie category to the far right side, there is a lot of territory in between. Listen to your intuition, ask good questions and do not agree to anything weird. More on this later…

Financially speaking, you will find that some dating sites are on the expensive side, some are reasonably priced and some are astonishingly “FREE but not quite” – you find out after you sign up that all kinds of necessary “perks” ( a contradiction in terms) cost extra money. When you make the decision to sign up, be sure you understand whether the fee you see quoted on paper is the monthly fee or the fee for a period of months, like for instance 6 months. Nobody wants to be sucked into paying for a ridiculous extended period of time. Absolutely do not opt for automatic renewal!

The site will request a picture of you, because you can bet that is a very important piece of your particular puzzle. Some sites will enable you to have a gallery, a selection, of photographs. You owe it to yourself to make them flattering, because like it or not, both men and women really do care how you look. Your photo is your “curb appeal”. People do care what you wear, whether you have any hair left (lots of women like baldness and see it as a sign of virility) and whether or not you look physically fit. You can be a little overweight, or not, have goofy looking hair or none at all, seem to be city-slicker stylish or a tree hugger or a rancher or a dude in fancy clothes…whatever. Chances are that someone will find you attractive and want to know you better. Just be authentic. Do not try to be someone you are not. It never works. As the saying goes, “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.” If you do not know how to take a selfie with your phone and upload it to the internet dating site, find someone who will take some pictures for you and help you do it. Older grandchildren would know how to do this, and they would probably find it interesting that you are trying to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. The photos are necessary for your success in finding a new friend because first impressions are important. It is best to not have other friends or family members in the pictures with you – the internet is never to be 100% trusted, and spreading around the pictures of other people is not OK.

You will be asked to write a brief Bio for your own page on the site – it should reveal who you are and what makes you tic, with information about hobbies, interests, what you do for fun, etc. etc. It might ask what faith you are, and other more personal questions. Be honest, be funny if you want to, be spiritual if that is who you are, be enigmatic and a bit private or boldly frank, but be human. You do not have to answer every question that the form asks of you.

After you have gotten yourself established on the site of your choice, jump right in. No guts no glory.

Pictures of people and their personal info who have been expertly computer-matched to you and your unique personality will begin showing up for your consideration. It will be overwhelming at first. Dozens and dozens of guys or gals will pop up ( yes, sometimes both sexes). You will feel like you have gone to the circus and there is not enough time to see all the acts and the side shows. So many people! Whatever site you have chosen will offer you a way to get the attention of the guys/gals you find interesting. You will be able to send them a wink, or a smile, or a wave or a star – a clue of some kind that will indicate you want to know more about them. Then you are off and running. Some will respond and some won’t, but don’t give up. Maybe someone will not even notice you for a couple weeks, or perhaps he/she is zeroing in on someone else at the moment and does not want any new distractions. Every day new people will show up and you have to be dedicated to checking in frequently on your site or you will definitely miss something good. It is like a huge chess game with lots of moving parts.

Remember that your entire full name will never be seen by anyone else who is represented on the site. You will be given an anonymous email account on the site, so that you can communicate with others, and you can call yourself whatever name or nickname you want, but you never have to reveal anything personal about yourself ( address, private phone number, email etc) unless you decide you want to. If you do decide that you want to give a guy, or a gal your private info, be sure you have vetted that person well, in many email conversations where you ask a lot of questions and your questions are answered. Decide carefully if you are comfortable enough to open the door to your life to that person. Once your private cell number or your email address is out there with him/her you can never get it back and he/she is able to find other info about you based upon that info. Whether you are a male or a female, be cautious, because you could be unpleasantly surprised at any moment with a request for a Face Time call from some person you barely know! Make wise choices and let things develop over a period of time before you get too familiar. It is a process that keeps unfolding but it goes much quicker than sitting around in your kitchen waiting for some terrific person to ring your front doorbell.

In PART TWO of this subject we will discuss the nuances of senior match-making websites and the many circumstances you might encounter. Stay tuned, we are just getting started.

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JO ANN BROWN-SCOTT

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What Bear Problem?

  

First photo courtesy of artltdmag.com –  Second photo courtesy of democraticunderground.com

Denver does not have a bear problem – oh well we have the occasional lost cub hiding in a suburban tree or perhaps a “repeat offender garbage raider” who loves going through the yummy garbage placed for pick-up on rural roads, but other than that, we are good. Oh, except for that one time at the weekend retreat in Conifer, just 20 minutes up the canyon from Littleton suburbs west of Denver, when a medium-sized rascal stood on his hind feet and placed his muddy front feet on the kitchen door so that he could look through the window in the door to see if he had found the correct room where the fridge is located, (because the smarter bears have figured out which room in the house has that tall box full of delectable gourmet delights)…that was before he tried to break in through a living room window by slapping those same muddy paws repeatedly on the glass…. But he wasn’t being nasty. Just hungry. Everyone in the foothills and larger mountains west of Denver has bear stories, and usually they know their bears…and have perhaps named them…because mama bears come back every year and bring their cubs. Generations of cubs.

Tahoe people have the best bear stories; those bears are quite sophisticated about the layout of mountain homes and whether or not anyone lives in certain ones  year-round or just in certain months. They know that a car in the driveway might mean the seasonal arrival of the family who brings the groceries. After all, there is no use breaking into a home unless the fridge has been well stocked. They also know which yards have apple or plum trees and they teach their cubs the map of that vital information.

And now you also have a bear story – this whimsical 40′ sculpture by Lawrence Argent was installed at 14th and California in downtown Denver in 2005. The Big Blue Bear, as everyone in Denver affectionately calls him, is pressing his nose to the glass in order to peer into the third floor interior of the Denver Convention Center, and the title of the popular sculpture is “I See What You Mean.” For more photos and information go to Google or Bing and ask for images…of the Big Blue Bear. He has quite a fan club.

 

   Photo courtesy of forum.xcitefun.net

Ten Great Discoveries about Singapore & Siem Reap, Cambodia

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During our recent trip to these two enticing places we experienced a number of amazing things and had our eyes opened to sights we will never forget – the glitz and glamour of orderly, polite, uber-wealthy Singapore in stark contrast with the crumbling ruins of mysterious Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia set amid the poverty stricken, red dirt countryside  that surrounds that site.

Sometimes, however, it is the smaller discoveries on a trip that stick in your visual memories and linger in your heart and soul. My traveling companion and I are both artists and I am a writer – we cannot even comprehend how NOT to be visually oriented. We take thousands of pictures; we describe scenes, light, color, people and smells using a different vocabulary known only between the two of us…we store away ambience, mood, a fleeting happening there or a dialogue overheard here that will later fuel a painting or a paragraph in the book I am writing. We absorb everything, keeping it all in the loft of our minds for later use.

Here are ten things both large and small that impressed us, amid the hundreds of overwhelming experiences we had:

1) In the Singapore airport there is a special dimmed area of grouped reclining chairs for the purpose of giving travelers a place to sleep. Such a civilized, valuable addition…

2) In a different area there is a long table, supplied with free paper and crayons, where children and adults can do colorful rubbings of raised designs – perhaps a dozen or so  – in various Singapore-related images. It is easy, it is fun, and for weary travelers it is certainly a welcome change of pace.

3) All over Singapore on various street corners you will notice a lattice-roof area which shelters a sort of courtyard perhaps as large as your living room, with sturdy wires, arranged in a grid, hanging down about 20 inches with hooks on the end, and each hook is numbered. What could this possibly be, I ask ? Well of course these places are there for people’s caged household birds, so that they can enjoy an outdoor afternoon.

4) Do not go to Singapore without eating Chili Crab – it is messy, best eaten outdoors, perhaps at a restaurant along the water. Spend a long, leisurely amount of time for this dinner; it is an experience! Bring friends; keep ordering food.

5) Go to the Marina Bay Sands resort hotel in the city, have a cocktail on the top floor and take in the view, but sneak around to the infinity pool (that is  just for guests) – you must have a good look at it!  The pool is located on the top floor, visually losing its edge as you swim, and the top of this building, at closer glance, is the shape of a long, sleek ship balanced atop a logic-breaking skyscraper in three sections. It is the iconic image one remembers of Singapore.

6) Siem Reap is a short flight from Singapore to the sweltering interior of Cambodia.You are transported to another time and place. Hit your re-set button and dial it down a bit so that you can understand and appreciate the wonderful people there and what their brutal recent history has dealt them. Buy things – they depend upon tourism and they have lovely silver jewelry. Talk with the people – they are hungry for information from the outside world.

7)  If you are not faint of heart get yourself an authentic Cambodia massage. Lovely wafer-thin young women who cannot weight more than 70 lbs will walk on you, pull your limbs until you fear they will come off, bend and twist you like a pretzel and give your muscles a wake-up call the likes of which you have never experienced.

8) The most expensive restaurants in Siem Reap are not necessarily the best – you can have a gourmet Cambodian meal for about $12-15 per person, beautifully presented and delicious. The fruits and vegetables are delightful.

9) Do not spend less than two days touring Angkor Wat – if you do you will miss a lot and you will not be getting all the history and information you need in order to comprehend the vast importance of the ruins. It could not have been possible to construct such an enormous complex of temples and buildings were it not for the 40,000 elephants who hauled the stone.

10) Embrace the immense curiosity evident everywhere you go for the United States. People crave conversation – they want to understand you, where you live, what it is like there and why you came. You will love the people.