A Guide for the Out of Practice Romantic
After my divorce, I decided to try online dating. Any sane person would not take back up an activity they hadn’t pursued in over 30 years. I was caught up on all the past seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and I needed something to do in the evenings. My friends warned me that the internet was filled with people who wanted to murder me and/or steal all my money. Despite this I gave OK Cupid a try, and eventually met my fiance. I am still alive and I have most of the money I started with, so I consider my experience a success.
If, like me, your last real date occurred when shoulder pads and parachute pants were a thing, these tips are for you.
1. Chose Your Platform
While there are a great number of programs available, I advise you to pass on Tinder. You don’t want to take the chance of one of your grandkids swiping right on your profile.
Try out one of the free sites first, then if you decide to spend some money on a subscription, talk it over with your kids. With a little bit of persuasion you should be able to get them to kick in on the cost. Tell them you’re afraid of dying alone. If that doesn’t work, mention that you plan on moving in with them so they can support you in your golden years.
2. Create a Snazzy Profile
Pick out some flattering photos, preferably ones that show you participating in interesting activities.
Guys, don’t send pictures of yourself shirtless. Unless you’re planning on spending the first date at a sauna, she can wait to see you naked.
Include photos of your pets, always good for a conversation starter.
Leave off the pictures of your car, motorcycle, vacation home, or boat. You aren’t creating a For Sale ad on Craigslist.
If you post photos of yourself wearing a hat, put at least one in there without the hat. Potential dates want to know you aren’t hiding a third eye or evil alien twin under there. They really don’t care about your bald spot.
The initial conversation after you match with someone is important. There are only so many times you can message someone “Hi! How are you?” before you should move on to chatting about the weather.
Ask questions to get to know the other person. “Do you have a job?” is a good icebreaker. Try and sort out the difference between “retired” and “unemployed.” Either way they will have plenty of free time to spend with you.
Decide on an acceptable age difference. For example, I felt that the person I dated should be closer in age to me than he was to the age of my oldest child. This requires some math, but it’s good to keep your brain active. Try and sort out the age thing ahead of time, that way you aren’t at the first date crunching numbers on your phone’s calculator and pretending that you’re checking the weather.
Be cautious if your match asks if you like children. We all know we’re past reproduction age. If you say “yes” chances are you’ll wind up babysitting their grandkids.
4. Meeting Your Match in Real Life!
The first time you meet your match in real life is exciting, but try not to get carried away. Literally, I mean. Until you’re sure that person isn’t a serial killer, don’t get in the car on the first date. Take their picture and their fingerprints and text them to everyone on your contacts list.
I have a friend who got in the car on the first date, and it didn’t end well. She wasn’t killed, but the car broke down and her date texted his ex-wife to come pick them up. They all wound up at his ex-mother-in-laws house and she spent the rest of the evening watching Matlock while they waited for a tow truck.
Meeting up to do volunteer work can be fun, but make sure you’re actually doing the work for Habitat for Humanity and not just painting his or her apartment.
For our first date my fiance met me at a local park. It was more of a nature preserve, with lots of brush and ground cover. I made sure the location services on my phone were turned on, in case the police needed to locate my body later.
He seemed all right after that first meeting, so for our second date I invited him to my place to assemble some IKEA furniture. When he stuck around after that I knew we were a good match.
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to get out there, you probably won’t be murdered.