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.

BLOG ART IMAGE – Titled MOON CHILD Original mixed media painting, 9×12″, $75.


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The Creative Epiphany – Playing the Networking Game

?????????? mixed media collage titled “THIRD DAY’S END” by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

Oh wow it feels good to stretch and move around and enter back into the world of sane people…well, you know. Almost sane. What do people do all day when they don’t have to be glued at the hip to their computers? I just noticed there is sun outside today and I heard a bird. I wonder what I have missed in the past 3 days. Where were we, you and I? I have missed you.

I have just spent 3 days of my life (that I will never be able to get back), barely eating or drinking, hunched over into a tight knot, a ball-like posture where my internal organs are all jammed up on top of each other groaning, my chin is nearly touching the desktop and my knees are up into my armpits as I sit beady-eyed in front of my PC and struggle with a website issue that was marketed as being so easy and fast that “your new blankety blank art website will be up and in working order in just 15 minutes!” After a day and a half with nothing much accomplished, I decided my old art website was not so bad after all, but I persevered. It took another day and half to see the light of day. Now I am not a stupid person. So that is just wrong.

For the past 2 nights I have poured myself into bed well after 10 pm after a full day of it, hallucinating instructions and website pages, and even then unable to sleep. I am like a pitbull when this kind of stuff happens – I become so frustrated and infuriated at the counter-intuitive instructions and the stupid names attached to certain actions and tabs and sections that I want to leave my home office and fly to the place where these fools work and scream into their ears up close and personal about how SIMPLE it could all be if they didn’t feel like they had to inflate their own job description with lofty, enigmatic words and phrases in place of common words giving common instructions. Doesn’t it make you wonder if they have a clue what the website is actually supposed to do for the client? Do they understand my needs? I have NEEDS. And why can’t a task with several steps that must be made in the correct order for a procedure all be grouped on the same page so that a person does not have to go back and forth between several different pages to look stuff up in order to enter it all and get it to function?

Do I even have to mention the fiasco of OBAMACARE? Do software computer geeks live in the real world with the rest of us? Aren’t these things given a trial-run before they are released to the innocents? Everybody else has been taught to check and recheck their work before they turn it in. I keep telling myself that I could have designed it better. But I get up from my desk in total, in white-knuckled frustration, stand straight up and spin around 3 times and sit down again hoping for illumination and progress and a new perspective. The HELP option does not even address my issues. There is no live person to speak with. At the end of one of my last and most time consuming tasks, I carefully, holding my breath, click on the exact thingie I have to click on to save my newly compiled list of contacts, which had to be entered by hand (well over 2 hours just for that) into the networking support section, and in a nano-second they fly off to MARS – they are gone – never to be found again.

I scream. Neighbors think I am being injured or robbed. They call. I explain that I am just in the outer ring of computer hell. Oh, they say. Glad you’re not hurt. Been there, done that. It was last week actually. You are not alone. Just chill, step slowly away from the desk, have a drink. Take a bath and shake it all off. Try again in the morning.

I realize that all these social networking venues are critical for a person who paints, who writes, and evidently for anyone who just breathes the same air as everyone else here in the 21st century on planet earth. But I am truly sick and tired of Facebook, not yet twittering at all and don’t want to have to twitter, don’t even know what instagram is or what it’s good for, not active on Linked In, and I very seldom care – about all I do is text and email and blog and paint and eat and sleep. Is there a life remaining out there for a person like me? Or  should I just cave in to ignorance and become irrelevant?

Do you think people would still find me?

Oh and PS – I have passed my 100th blog post and hardly knew it. Whooo Hooo!