“Everybody should [try online dating]. It’s the village square of the 21st Century.” -Joan Rivers
We know love works at any age, yet we become more cautious because of our previous “baggage” which we drag around preventing us from being more open minded. Do we not sabotage our own lives? Worry about what people will think, specially our families? Fortunately with Internet dating more older singles of both sexes are getting into the act of finding a new mate–long term, short term or just a partner for traveling or some fun activity.
At sixty-five, I decided I was going to stay ageless. Tackling Internet dating was my new game. Although, my goal is for a long-term partner, someone with whom to drive off into the sunset, the basic dating ritual is very much the same. As long as you are looking for a male companion, you will find this true. Even if it’s just a traveling partner, you want some “chemistry” going—you want to like each other.
We know that estrogen and testosterone play a strong role in the sex drive living in all of us, at any age. The feeling of the excitement of falling in love is due to chemicals that get “turned on” when certain conditions come together. This is science. This is the “attraction stage” or the biological drive to zero in on one person. Men produce more of these chemicals because of their more “visual nature”; this attraction stage is a biological drive. When reading through the Internet dating profiles, you will find most men are looking for that “chemistry”, that feeling of elation and energy which they want to lead to sex. This attraction stage—hyperactivity, sleeplessness and goal-oriented behavior–find people totally focused on developing a relationship. So what is it that brings a man to this stage?
It’s your “uniqueness-attitude-persona-agelessness” in real life and the PHOTO on dating sites.
Men are more visually orientated and readily produce more sex drive chemicals. Of course we–women, know this. This is nothing new. But, what is it in the photo that makes one man more attracted to a particular woman, or more to the point, what makes him attracted to another woman and not you? In a crowded room, some guy will spot a woman and she will be attracted to him, instantly. The researchers who study the science of what makes us fall in love say that our subconscious minds seem to spot members of the opposite sex who remind us of our parents or of ourselves. From my own experience, I like bald men dark skinned, more Mediterranean type men. Is it because my Dad, an Italian, was bald?
In Scotland, David Perrett, a cognitive psychologist at the University of St. Andrews did an experiment. He took a photo of his subject’s own face and digitized it into the face of the opposite sex. Then the subjects had to pick what they thought was the most attractive photo from a batch of photos. It seems that a very high percentage, unknowingly, would pick the photo that looked like themselves.
What else are these researchers finding? Is speed dating based on these findings? You get only three to eight minutes depending on the organization running the event, to make up your mind if you want to see this person again. At an organized event at a science fair in Edinburgh, Scotland, the researchers found of the some 500 speed-dates, that it was half of the women who made up their minds within thirty seconds of meeting! And that the women were twice as picky as the men!
What is also very interesting, especially when it comes to reading Internet dating profiles, is referred to in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, on split-second decision making: two professors at Columbia University who run speed-dating events, Drs. Sheena Iyengar and Raymond Fisman, found from the participants questionnaires, that what people said they wanted in an ideal mate did not match their subconscious preferences. I think this is something one needs to remember when reading profiles and that reading “between the lines” can be more informative than what the guy is actually saying.
These online dating sites rate your match potential, but psychologists from Northwestern University, in 2012 published a paper: Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of five professors led by Eli Finkel, stressed the fact that no algorithm can predict in advance if two people will make a good couple, “…the task the sites have set out for themselves—to pick out mates who are uniquely compatible—is virtually impossible.”
I think the answer is not to read too much into the profile and do not get into long and plentiful email exchanges. If they are looking for a blonde and you’re brunette, don’t let that stop you. Nor let age or distance hold you back from making a contact. And yes, this is the 21st Century and women can make the first move. The only way to really judge if there is a connection is to meet, face-to-face. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, author of Why Him? Why Her? comments, “There’s not a dating service on this planet that can do what the human brain can do in terms of finding the right person.”
Fisher goes on telling us to look at the online dating sites as your “introduction” and not as the end all. Spending hours looking at profiles can take away from that group hike or river-rafting day which can also provide new contacts. Your time is valuable, so do both. Even a supermarket line can be fruitful.