‘The fun I had – and what I learned – joining an online dating site’

Oct 19, 2019
Robyn isn't sure what she's looking for, but she's having a lot of fun with her online dating experience. Source: Stock Photo/Getty Images

A friend and I were talking the other day about meeting new people and we decided that maybe a dating site for mature people would be a good place to start. This was in an embryonic phase only and I didn’t think about it too much at the time.

I came home and while trawling through my Facebook newsfeed an advertisement for a dating site for mature men and women popped up. This made me think a little more about it and I decided to join.

What a mission though! I didn’t click on the Facebook advertisement. I decided to go investigate two other New Zealand websites, wanting to ‘stay local’. Now both sites required me to have my profile written and photographs uploaded. I started with one dating site, and the process took quite a lot of time. Questions were coming hard and fast to my computer, but I finally got my dating profile finalised and made it ‘live’.

Following that I set up a profile for the other site, which was much larger and more technical. The website was difficult to navigate and it was not as easy organising the information I wanted to share. Where I was asked ‘what I wanted’ I tried to keep the information fairly brief. When I was asked ‘what I was like’, I tried to be succinct. There were prerequisites for age, date of birth, height, religion, my likes and dislikes, whether I was looking for romance or friendship or something else … This all took a considerable amount of time to complete.

They were all filled in and I pushed the button that would make my profile live after loading two photographs of me — one professional picture and another one a selfie.

You wouldn’t believe it! I wasn’t quite prepared for what happened next. Within 10 minutes of having my dating profile online, my inbox was inundated with emails from ‘blokes’ asking all sorts of questions, many of which were quite racy for people I’d never even met.

I received communication from men of all ages, from 24 years of age to 85. I had no interest in the younger men, but even when I blocked them they persisted. Emails were going back and forth … It was a nightmare!

I finally came across a few gentlemen, men who were able to construct a sentence of more than five words at a time. I appreciated how polite they were.

Not one to ‘sit on my hands’ I arranged to meet up with two of the men. I organised a coffee date with each one.

While they were very nice people, I learned a valuable lesson from using the dating site. For starters, so many of the men don’t use their real first name (the ‘Paul’ I met was actually a man named William, and ‘Bruce’ was just a cover for Tom). Was I naive to use my proper first name?

I discovered that their ages were not accurate either, but I have to admit I was just as bad on this front, shaving 10 years off my life to be younger than I really am. Being honest and upfront with people is something I value, but I didn’t think anyone would be looking for a slightly older woman. Neither of the men I went to coffee with blinked an eye when I told them though.

Since joining the site, I’ve had coffee dates with a number of men. All perfectly pleasant. To give myself a safety net, I always let my close friend know where I’ll be and provide her with their name and phone number and the place we are meeting, just in case. I’ve never met any of the men in a place that wasn’t in public.

To be honest, I don’t know what I’m actually looking for but I do want to widen my circle of friends. I’ve spent a great deal of time at home, so this is an opportunity for me to break free. One thing’s for sure, I’m having some fun!

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Have you joined (or considered joining) a dating site for singles? What was your experience like?

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