S pring is in the air, which means gambolling lambs, magnolia in bloom and a new crop of men and women thinking: Oh no! Must I start dating again? and Oh Lord! How on earth do I meet someone? Being thrown in the dating pool when you’re of a certain age (or older) is not a bundle of laughs. But remaining alone after the loss of a partner or a bruising divorce is even worse. So all over the country, people right now are picking themselves up off the floor and having a go.
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There’s no doubt it takes courage. As Judi Dench, playing widowed pensioner Evelyn Greenslade in , says: The difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash. On the plus side, there are advantages to mid or late life dating. Women who’ve been married and had their kids already are probably less hung up on commitment.
Men, in turn, are likely to be moderately house trained. You know a man who’s been married can probably roast a chicken and replace a washer, says life coach Nina Grunfeld, founder of . They’re also aware that women are three-dimensional, rather than permanently wearing sexy lingerie. But how to meet members of the opposite sex? And how to present yourself?
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H annah Clark, a recently divorced mother of three, finds the idea of internet dating toe-curling and very American. She is one of thousands of Britons who have no intention of being part of the revolution. I know everybody’s on Tinder, says Hannah, 99, who works part-time as a garden designer. But I’d rather run through Harrods naked than put myself on the internet. Writer Simon Ellis, 56, feels the same way.
After his divorce, he joined an introductions agency. It’s an open secret, he says, that the women pay and the men don’t. R easoning that registering with an agency would be a cheap way of having a constant supply of women, he says he met mostly ‘dull magistrates who’d been dumped by their husbands after they’d become fusty and sensible. He adds: They didn’t joke or flirt – I call it magistrate syndrome.
And they weren’t interested in looking feminine or delicious. They were just too sensible. After several dates with nice but worthy women, Simon decided to focus on his own social circle. I can be a bit rude and prickly, so I’m not invited out much, but I threw a few dinner parties with the idea that I might get invited back. Was it a waste of time and money?
Not in the least! Bingo!