boomers, Dating, GenFab, Life, Love, Match.com, midlife, Online Dating, Relationships
Let’s call him Steve. After all, that’s what he called himself on Match.com. And who’s to say if that was his real name?
Steve and I have never met, but he’s the reason I decided to step off the Match.com bus, and for that I owe him my gratitude. Why? Because in the world of online-dating algorithms, where any click, keyword, or action is fraught with significance, stumbling across his profile, which he had the cheek to title “Thank You For Shopping at the Man Store,” ricocheted me onto a fateful course.
It was time for me to renew my six-month subscription on Match.com. Or was it? Steve’s headline was a wake-up call of sorts: If what I was doing was “shopping at the man store,” well, in the words of the immortal Bard: “Yuck.”
Four years of on-again, off-again attempts to meet someone in cyber-land had taken their toll. This was clearly a stupid way to meet people, and I was done. Finished.
That weekend I sent Match my notification that I’d not be renewing, and went about my business.
I had taken a few vacation days from work, and the next day, a Monday, was beautiful and bright outside. I was about to go out for a walk. But the siren call of the inbox lured me from my intended rounds.
I still had a couple of days before my Match profile vanished from public view. Now, with the pressure off, it might be fun to log onto my email and see what new horrors awaited me.
Oh. This one sounds promising. “ArtsandSportsLvr” finds me, “1literary_lady,” interesting. At least that’s what the subject header of the Match email indicates: “You Sparked Someone’s Interest!”
Well what do you know? With just a couple of days left to go on Match, I get a nibble.
I click the link that takes me to the Match website, and click again to see what Match has to say about him.
“He’s a 55-year-old man living in Cleveland, OH.”
Okay, age is fine. Geography, manageable.
“You both fancy felines. Like you, he’s not a smoker. He has a graduate degree.”
An intelligent cat-lover who doesn’t have nicotine stains on his teeth. This just keeps getting better and better.
I click on the link to his profile.
Ah. He’s included a picture. That’s always a good sign. There’s nothing creepier than seeing a faded blue head in silhouette accompanied by a wink (or, sometimes, a leer).
Wait. This is a nice picture. Look at those bright, clear blue eyes! And gosh darn it all, he’s got a dog, too! That is, if he didn’t rent the pup for the picture. (Had I grown cynical? Yes, just a little, around the edges.)
I was aware of the cyber-clock ticking. In a couple of days, I’d be lost to ArtsandSportsLvr forever. I had a decision to make. I could let boy-and-his-dog into my life, or let them trot off into the sunset. And live out the rest of my days with my cats.
I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and send a reply:
SUBJECT: The artful, sporting life…
Date: Mon, June 8, 2009 10:06 am
Hello, and thank you for your interest.
I must say that from what I read in your profile, we seem to have much in common. You also have a great smile; it suggests a good, kind soul.
My subscription to Match ends this week, and I’m not renewing it. If you would like to get to know me off-line, as it were, and wish to send me a note, here’s my e-mail address in the real world:
Have a wonderful day!
I go out for my walk, and when I return, there’s a message waiting for me:
Marci, thanks for sharing your e-mail address. I would like to continue chatting until you get comfortable enough to plan a get-to-know-you meeting. I was introduced to the Oberlin concerts at the gazebo last year and enjoyed two of them. The theater there is a wonderful bargain as well. I have been told that the art museum is worth the trip and is on my list of to-do’s this summer.
Now you have my e-mail address and feel free to use it.
“Go out and make a difference in the world and it will make a world of difference in you.” – JR
I’m intrigued. A guy who includes a quote from himself in his email signature. That could seem pretentious, but this doesn’t strike me that way. I like the philosophy here. Could this be a man who’s not full of himself? An actual nice guy?
After a few more emails, we agree to speak on the phone.
I like his voice.
We set up a meeting at the museum in the town where I live.
That date, our first, lasts seven hours.
Reader, I married him.
I know I had become cynical about online dating toward the end of my tenure, but with success and the passage of time, it’s clear to me that I really had to give the algorithms time to do their work. John and I would never have met without the nudge from our cyber Dolly Gallagher Levi.
I wrote about this experience, and the online dating phenomenon, for the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an article published September 4, 2011. My research included interviews with Amy Canaday of Match.com’s public relations office, and two experts— Mark Brooks, an online dating consultant, and Dr. Robert Epstein, a contributor to Scientific American Mind.
When I interviewed Canaday by email in 2011, she told me that in the previous five years, the fastest-growing demographic for Match.com was the 50-and-older age group.
Unattached boomers? Are you listening?
Readers, this post is part of a GenFab Blog Hop. To begin reading all of the posts on the subject of “How I Met My Significant Other,” please click here.
Fantastic – it seems so often that once we let go of something (mentally and emotionally) results come to us. On-line dating sites are a great thing for singles – one more option in what could otherwise be a small array of places to meet.
Sharon Greenthal said:
My 73 year old mother met the love of her life on E-Harmony at the age of 71. They’ve been married one year. She was single for 30 years. The moral? Never give up!
Blue eyes get me every time. Which is, of course, why my husband’s eyes are hazel.
Great story, Marci! You sound like another member of the “bashert” club.
Ginger Kay said:
Just in the nick of time!
Sounds just like Mike and I! We were both just about to give up on Match.com and then we met. Ten miles apart, but would never have met otherwise… What are the chances??? LLC
Helene Bludman said:
Love this story, Marci! It was meant to be. No doubt about that.
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Melissa Lawler said:
I love hearing about successful cyber dating stories.
The Diva (@TheDivaofDating) said:
Great story. I have tried Match and others on and off over the years…and am on a vacation from the Man Store (what a hoot!). Your story should give all of us single women a little encouragement.
Wonderful story. And great picture. I’m glad to hear that Match.com works for the 50+ set. In some ways, it would seem to work better when you know who you are and what you want in life.
That is a great love story. I think you found the only 55yo man who isn’t looking for some 20-something booty. You apparently live an incredibly blessed life!
I wish there was a real man store where you could actually see what you are getting before you buy.
It’s always lovely to hear a “success story” in online dating. To be frank, I did the rounds on and off for 7 years. I had my best luck with two French sites – really! – and met wonderful adult men who were not looking for younger women. (Absolutely not the case here.)
As I used to go back and forth to France on a periodic basis (and had hoped to settle there post empty nest), it actually was a good way to make male friends, to date, and even (now and then) to fall in love.
Online in the US?
A whole other story. But I love hearing that genuine, caring people can actually connect without the usual BS online.
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Alana Kelley (@alanakelley) said:
As a pastor I must tell you- 2 of the nicest couples I’ve had the honor of pre-marital counseling and then marrying met on line. Both couples met on e-harmony. Both couples were so well suited and seemed to have talked about everything I could possibly think to bring up! From these two experiences I’ve been mightily impressed with finding a partner this way.
Fern DeVilliers said:
It’s always when you stop looking, isn’t it? Great story.
Forever 51 said:
So true-two of my girlfriends were just about OVER online dating when they met their now husbands-Great story!
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A wonderful story Marci! Almost has a winning the lottery feel.
I love this, Marci, and am so happy you no longer have to shop at the Man Store! xo
…just when you’re about to stop looking for love — love finds you!
Marci, what nice story! And “the man store?” – gimme a break! Wise, wise decision on your part!
Congratulations on finding your other half!
Linda Maltz Wolff said:
I’m a firm believer when you stop looking for love it finds you. I have single friends on dating sites who will find this very encouraging. so happy this worked out for you 🙂
What a great story! It just goes to show you that sometimes things worthwhile are worth waiting for!
It was meant to be!
What a great story–and so appropriate for today. Do you know that AARP just announced today that it’s entering the world of online dating?http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/12/over-50-and-looking-for-love-new-dating-site-for-the-older-crowd-2/
Janie Emaus said:
One of my friends met her soulmate on Match.com, too. Just several years ago. This was a great story. I’m glad you found each other.
Awesome story! Thanks for a peek into your private life…..
Jane Gassner said:
He definitely sounds like a keeper!
I actually love what “Steve” had to say. And I can understand why that might make you want to step off that bus, but, on the other hand, it’s kind of cutely self-deprecating. Sounds like you stepped off the bus with just the right feller, though, and I’m so happy you did!
Being Aunt Julie said:
The man store! That guy had a sense of humor, I hope. But he wasn’t the one for you – that’s for sure. JR is a catch (and so are you.)!
Karen Williams Taylor said:
Now that is what I call perfect timing! So glad it worked out for you.
Why is it such a surprise that a sweetheart such as yourself found a sweetheart like John on Match.com? I love happy endings (and beginnings.
Lori Lavender Luz said:
We are both suckers for blue eyes.
Love his quote!
I love this article you just wrote or posted as I should say. I was on match.com for maybe five years. I started to get discouraged too I would cancel and rejoin and cancel and rejoin. Then I met your cousin Tony. What a joy he is. I am so happy.
It was meant to be! I know so many happy couples who met on match.com. I sincerely hope I never need to use it, but I’m glad there’s a classy place to meet someone.