How do single middle-aged people find partners? By midlife most of us have settled into jobs and social circles, and we don’t see much turnover. Some social advisers say we would find like-minded candidates if we joined charities such as Habitat For Humanity. Whereupon we wonder what planet social advisers come from–and wouldn’t they be better off pounding in sheet-rock with Jimmy Carter.
Tens of millions of people of all age–including more and more mid-lifers–rely on dating sites. Despite the drawbacks, diligent, relentless, and not-easily-demoralized users often find worthy others. (Every woman who contributed stories to The Magic of Middle-Aged Women I met online.)
In the last few years, a new dating site has risen in popularity: OK Cupid. Its unique feature is its algorithm: there are thousands of (user-generated) questions, ranging from the usual (are you looking to get married in the next three years; what do you like to do on a first date), to the less usual (do you like to have your hair pulled; would you film yourself having sex), to many that are not at all love/sex related (should people be able to carry concealed weapons; would you watch a meteor shower at 2 AM; is Jesus Christ your lord and master). The site does not pretend to fashion from your answers your “personality type.” It simply shows, numerically, how similar you are to others, based on your responses. The site is also unusual in that it allows for the pursuit of all romantic ambitions, from a chaste long-distance relationship to a closer one bound by a bullwhip.
Each question offers multiple answers, and leaves a place for comments. This is where the magic happens. I have accumulated what I think are some of the more noteworthy comments, all written by the middle-aged:
Q: Would you enjoy going fishing with your partner?
But if we can be honest, worms usually work better.
Q: Do you know the first name of every person you’ve ever made out with?
Q: Are carbohydrates something you think about?
Unless I’m really attracted to them.
Q: Would it bother you if your partner kept pictures of previous partner(s)?
If she kept limbs or scalps I would put my foot down.
Q: How long do you believe people need to be in a relationship before before
A: Less than 6 months/no requirement.
Q: Would you shave something you usually don’t because your boyfriend/girlfriend asked you to?
Not if it was on my body!
Q: Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
Usually no one knows what that reason really is, but there is a reason.
Q: Do overweight people annoy you?
Unless they sit on me.