Love at first “flirt”: finding love online in your golden years

Remember the “good old days” when girls sat around waiting for boys to ask them out? And the boys would rather eat dirt than face rejection?

Things have changed a lot since then. Internet dating sites have proliferated, as have the horror stories of scams, bad dates and more rejection than anyone should face.

Five years after I was widowed, I decided to dip my toes into the brave new world of eHarmony.com and OurTime.com. Since a woman of a certain age is no longer considered hot, I was willing to pay their one-month fees, figuring at least I’d get an article out of the experience.

I answered a lot of questions for my profiles. My parameters were pretty strict as to religious and political leanings, facial hair was not my cuppa and a smoker was nowhere on my list of attractive qualities. I wondered if revealing my true age might have been a harebrained move, but since I wanted a relationship based on honesty, I decided to go with it. I may be 70 but I hardly ever act it.

My kind of guy

It turned out that a lot of guys were looking for that special someone.

It was like being a kid in a candy store. I sent smiles and flirts—the first level of communication on these sites—to a lot of them, then waited. And waited. Then one morning I got a message in my email that “Stoney” wanted to get to know me better.

Michael “Stoney” Merriman’s subscription to Our Time was about to expire and he wasn’t going to renew. Then he received a flirt from guess who?

I checked out his profile. Local, nice smile, no scruffy beard, similar belief systems. So I replied.

We exchanged a few messages, then he gave me his phone number. We met for coffee at Main Street Bagels and talked for over an hour. I left thinking he was a pretty nice guy: smart, had common interests, retired but busy with his own groups and hobbies. Could be my kind of guy.

We walked the trail around Connected Lakes on New Year’s Day, getting to know each other. He had some of the same issues with online dating that I’d had.

He said, “Sometimes you have to decide if you’re interested just from their pictures. A lot of women were frowning and not well groomed.”

He also found scams.

“Women under 40 showed a lot of interest in a man over 70 and asked for my email, a real red flag,” he said.

Life’s golden

We’ve known each other for a month now. We’ve gone dancing, fixed dinners together and laughed as we reminisced about foods we grew up with and the TV shows we watched. We both grew up in the Midwest, which is one of many things we have in common.

We’ve both agreed to be in the moment, without expectations, no games because our golden years should be about fun and not require that our partner be a mind reader.

Is Stoney my forever mate? Sorry. I never kiss and tell. However, we both canceled our online dating subscriptions two weeks ago, and that’s good enough for now.

Safety tips for internet dating from eHarmony

  • Never share financial or personal information, such as your Social Security number or mother’s maiden name.
  • Be cautious about sharing your phone number or email.
  • Research. Type your match’s name into a search engine, or contact your state or local government to obtain public information.
  • Take your time. Don’t be in a hurry to become too intimate too soon.
  • Meet in public for the first time, let one trusted friend know where you’re going and use your own transportation.
Jan Weeks

Jan Weeks

Jan Weeks has been writing and dreaming since childhood. She’s worked as a public school teacher, heavy equipment operator, surgical ward secretary, waitress, administrative assistant and fly fishing guide. Her articles, short stories and essays have appeared in “Outdoor Life,” “Guideposts,” “Natural Health” and other markets. Her award-winning novels and short stories include “Season of Evil, Season of Dreams;” “The Centerville Code” and “Anna, Old.”
When she isn’t writing, she teaches writing workshops and edits both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. She facilitates the Colorado West Writers’ Workshop and belongs to the Authors’ Guild. Visit her website for more information and links to her books and classes.
Jan Weeks

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