Finding a date for a woman over 40 living in a small southern town is a little like searching for Bigfoot. There have been tales and even chance sightings of eligible men, but often just like Bigfoot they are the stuff of folklore. At 47 Charlotte felt like her age read more like a grocery store shelf life and her “best by” date was quickly approaching. Coinciding feelings of desperation and hope led her to the internet, and against her better judgment she joined not one but two online dating services. Supposedly there were a plethora of men who were searching for their second or third true love. They were ripe for the picking. If she couldn’t find love on the internet, she’d never find it. Once a member, Charlotte was shocked to discover how many men were in search of a barely legal, blonde swimsuit model. As she clicked through profile after profile, she realized she really didn’t mind being single if the alternative were to be found in cyberspace.
After taking two graduate level courses online, Charlotte had honed her ability to skim for pertinent information to an art form. While reading dozens of profiles, she was able to quickly decipher the dating jargon. “Newly single” meant I haven’t told my wife I’m leaving. The description athletic and toned meant either “I only date women who rarely eat and only leave the gym to sleep.”, or “I hope to be athletic and toned one day.” Slightly overweight translated to morbidly obese, and self- employed was code for out of work. Aside from what was written, a man’s profile picture also revealed volumes. If a man’s picture was taken by himself with a cell phone in front of his bathroom mirror, he either didn’t know anyone who could take the picture, or his wife was sleeping in the next room. While sweet, a picture of a man with his mother was usually an indication of a package deal. Charlotte wasn’t sure what to make of the countless profiles with men in dark glasses and hats. Were there that many men in the witness protection program, plastered, married, celebrities or bald and beady eyed? If a man was incognito for his dating profile, he probably wouldn’t be any more present in person. Although he didn’t interest her, the man who posed shirtless and in overalls was to be admired for his courage.
After a week or so with little to show for her memberships, Charlotte, began to wonder where were the handsome men pictured in the commercials and on the home page? Had she grown too picky in her old age? Maybe she should lighten up and set aside her standards. She could be missing out on the romance of a lifetime just because someone chose to call himself “Cat Lover”. Should she give the man with wispy hair wearing the Hawaiian shirt a chance even though she didn’t like to read campy vampire novels? Perhaps the man 20 years her senior who owned his own scooter was more her speed. The thought had occurred to her there might be a correlation between the escalating divorce rate and the number of people who found their soul mates online. No, she was being just too judgmental. After all, the last man to like her profile had been married 3 times and he was willing to take a chance on her.