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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The Creative Epiphany – Moving Back To The Future


Living creatively means always keeping your options open. It was Yogi Berra who said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  See more of his “yogi-isms” at www.yogiberra.com/yogi-isms.html  After realizing he was often being quoted, he also said, “I didn’t really say everything I said.” Well I agree – neither did I.

As many of you have heard me say, I live in a very active 55+ community in Lincoln, California. This is an idyllic place, situated at the western fringe of the Sierras in northern California. We enjoy rolling hills and delicious scenery that feeds our souls and fills us up. San Francisco is just over an hour to the south and west and Tahoe is equal distance to the north and east. We have the best of both worlds and everything in between. Wine country and Yosemite are our neighbors.  The people here are intelligent, delightful, supportive, and for the most part enlightened about life and how it works. Many high-powered careers have settled down here. Wisdom comes with years and we live around a wealth of wisdom and insight. When my husband died two and a half years ago I could not have hoped for a better place to be to lick my wounds and recover.

But now I am planning a move. HUH? What? Why? AND WHERE? But you see I have a history of never choosing the easy, predictable path. Call me crazy, but do call me. I am “all in” this thing called life. 100%. Let’s get goin on the next part.

I am moving back to Denver, not where I was born but where I was born again when I arrived as a young woman to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. For me, an Ohioan, the west was wide and free and full of promise, so I never looked back and proceeded to settle right in.  My mother, brother and sister eventually joined me. That  was the pivotal decision of my early adulthood. I have never regretted it and I am more at home in the Denver and Boulder area than I have ever been in any of the other five or six states across the country where I have moved for marriage and career.  The Rocky Mtns. are my comfort zone. My art career took hold there and provided me with the second most pivotal decision in my life, to pursue lifelong careers in various fields related to the arts.

So. I have decided to move “off the reservation” as we affectionately call our community consisting of 6,783 homes here in Lincoln. We also refer to ourselves as a campus, because living here does fit all the required criteria of a campus. We have many amenities, many avenues for continued education and pursuit of hobbies, umpteen  social events and sports available, trips to the city and local entertainment right here as well.  We gather, we learn, we socialize and we party. Life is full. Life is precious. Every single day counts.  We value time. Most of us would trade our most valued possessions for more quality time. We take nothing for granted,  because we see it all and we know that time is not to be wasted.

And as with any community we have our lovable eccentrics, our local celebrities, our tragedies, our celebrations, circumstances and stories. Have you ever been cornered by an enthusiastic “Viagra-ed up” 75 year old man who is determined to have you go home with him under the pretense of seeing his backyard waterfall? I will grant you that things move a bit slower here and yet they do still move – the same wild-eyed infatuations that you see in the eyes of testosterone driven sixteen year olds are evident everywhere – just a bit weathered over time. And you know you can out-run them if you want to. Conversely there are amazing specimens of physical fitness who defy the odds and continue to be all that they can be. We offer the full spectrum of human beings – don’t discount us because we are 55+.

Perfect strangers here will strike up a conversation with you in the check-out line at Safeway over any number of different personal subjects and ailments, offering lessons learned and warnings and pointers – how to prevent this and that and what to do for what, when some wierd new “thing” happens to you practically overnight, as things do when you are over 55. Everyone is eager to be helpful.

And then you notice in the check-out lane next to you that some elderly gentleman is handing out dog biscuits to anyone who will take one, announcing proudly and loudly that he has some great dog biscuits, pulling an endless supply out of his bulging pockets, nibbling each one as he extends his handfuls to virtually no takers. You just have to shake your head and realize that this could probably happen anywhere – it perhaps has nothing at all to do with Safeway being located in a 55+ community, does it?

I could go on – but I will just say that I am returning to Denver once again not for a love of my life but for the simple love of life itself. For me. I would like to live off-campus now. I would like to live among all age groups. I would like to not constantly be asked how old I am. I would like to blend in and make age a little bit more irrelevant. Instead of being a teacher of art, I would like to once again be a student of art. I have a lot I want to learn.

Instead of no one showing up at my door on Halloween, next fall I would like a couple dozen trick or treaters, because I usually have great candy to offer – no dog biscuits at my house.

And here are my marbles – I haven’t lost them.