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L.A. Affairs: I started online dating at 85 (but said I was 75!)

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Was I supposed to be impressed? No, I was just tired.
(Jonny Hannah/For the Times)

I kept saying, It can’t be that bad.

There have to be a few good eggs in all that straw.

After months of widowhood — after consoling family and friends had scattered back to their own lives, and the casserole dishes were empty, and I couldn’t take another minute of TV programs written for the intelligence of a 2-year-old — I decided to give “it” a try.

What is “it”? Online dating.

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But I was 85!

I was born before online was a thing.

I was even born before TV.

And I was definitely born before the technological whiz-bangs that were supposed to free up people to care about each other but somehow have done the exact opposite, if you ask me.

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I’d been married for 62 years, but it didn’t take me long to catch on: The dating sites all want you to enroll, provide your information, what you like, what you look like, how old you are (or what age you can pass for according to the submitted photo), books you’ve read and some bits of your philosophy thrown in for good measure.

“Don’t be too profound; it’s off-putting,” was the sage advice (or is it salesman’s advice?) offered up by one of the dating services.

I unabashedly listed my age as 75. (Why? Because I didn’t look or act like I was 85, and that gets me into trouble sometimes. I’m 86 now.)

Then I sat back and waited for the “algorithm” to do its thing and find me a match.

Finally, the “flirts” and responses came dribbling in.

I got responses from men from Denver to Ithaca, some from men not over 50. Do they want a mother or nurse? Or are they hoping I am a deep-pocketed angel? Who knows? And better yet, who or what is making these matches?

There were some near me in Rancho Mirage. But I had to patiently wait it out to get to the stage in the match process where we’d go beyond reciprocal emailing and get to the date stage.

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That is a process that can take weeks.

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I kept wondering about the ones who responded, liked my profile, told me they “loved” my picture but, when it got down to sending messages, disappeared.

Anyway, back to the dates. A few were arranged with those who hung in there and stayed in contact. I have to admit, my mind would wander, “Maybe this is The One,” even though I knew there would be a good many misfits in this circus.

I planned my wardrobe for these dates. I had to choose carefully. Nothing too revealing. Or too reserved. Or too funky. I had to dress for success!

However, time and again, the manner of dress worn by the dates proved somewhat disappointing.

No long-sleeve shirts. No jackets. Forearms hairy with gray hair. Many barely bothered to run a comb through the hair on their head (if they had any). There were many hearing aids whistling their need of new batteries.

And, most difficult of all, the back-and-forth conversation about lives, yours and his.

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That’s how it started in a recent rendezvous I had at Peohe’s in Coronado. I was listening to a man reciting a verbal book of his life. In 25 minutes, he shared his misadventures and criminal misdeeds. Did he think this would impress me? He claimed to have worked as an assistant to a pimp and a “bag-man” to pay off the police to protect his father’s jazz club. (Not sure I believed a word of it.) He talked up what he claimed was his ever-present libido and told raucous stories of celebrities who had a few too many drinks or too much drugs at his father’sclub.

Again, was I supposed to be impressed?

No, I was just tired.

I cut the evening short by telling him I had to leave because my sister was waiting for me (she wasn’t), and I wished him good night.

His last words, as I thankfully walked away, were: “I never met any 75-year-old as sexy as you.” What can I say? I exercise, dress well and love martinis.

Another gentleman contacted me and we arranged a lunch date at Stake Chophouse & Bar, also in Coronado. (I do prefer going out for dinner, as it’s more romantic to be seen by candlelight.) Our time together was very interesting, no immediate bells or whistles, but we were enjoying a good conversation. That is, until he almost jumped up on the table when I disclosed my feelings about President Trump. We left the restaurant as “friends” with the promise for another lunch date but I think we both knew that wouldn’t happen.

Then I met a man here in the desert. He was not handsome or very trim, but he was very nice and we had many things in common. On the third date, I revealed my true age. He said he was thrilled that I confided in him and kissed me. A few days later I got a text from him telling me that he was doing a lot of traveling and was still in mourning for his deceased wife. I never heard from him again, although I still see him listed on the dating site.

I guess this means it’s back to my popcorn-and-wine dinners with my two dogs, the TV and me.

Straight, gay, bisexual, transgender or nonbinary: L.A. Affairs chronicles the search for love in and around Los Angeles — and we want to hear your story. You must allow your name to be published, and the story you tell has to be true. We pay $300 for each essay we publish. Email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission guidelines here.


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