‘I’m trying to meet a gentleman friend, but so far I’ve only found creeps’

Nov 15, 2020
Robyn has discovered online dating can be tricky business. Source: Getty

Sitting at home during the various lockdowns, I had a lot of time to think about my life and where it was and where it might head moving forward. Feeling frightened and anxious about Covid-19 gave me a new perspective and made me think long and hard about what my needs and wants are. I also thought a lot about my mortality and how many more years I might have left in this old body.

I’ve been on a New Zealand dating site for about six months now and in that time we’ve had various levels of Covid-19 lockdowns. Auckland is now at level 2.5 and so I decided that the time was right to start to meet a gentlemen or two for coffee and see if we were in the least bit compatible and could, over time, become friends

Well it’s not as easy as I thought it would be, in fact, it’s fraught with danger thanks to the pandemic. I expect the men to wear masks, sanitize their hands and use social distancing as I’m in a vulnerable category and want to feel safe. Mind you, wearing a mask means you cannot see their faces, and the only way I can see around that is sitting 1.5 metres apart at the cafe.

All this has been instigated because I’m lonely and bored and want a gentlemen friend to talk with and especially laugh with – even if their jokes aren’t all that funny.

In preparation for my first meeting I went to a foot spa and had a spa treatment on my feet, ending with nail polish on my toes, which now look great. I’ve shaved under my arm pits (this I haven’t needed to do for over 20 years) and have decided when I meet someone for coffee I’ll put on a reasonable amount of makeup. I’ve also coloured my hair from grey-white to a slightly golden blonde and still get a fright every time I look in a mirror!

I decided to change my appearance to assist with my self-esteem. I’m not trying to look that much younger – because at 71 I’m no spring chicken – but a little less elderly woman. As Grace and Frankie (from the Netflix show of the same name) are both in their 80s and look surprisingly sprightly and pretty all the time, I thought I should pick myself up by the boot straps and do something positive. Once my mini-makeover was complete I made hunting down men a priority and thought it would be reasonably easy to meet someone.

Now here’s the rub: it seems nearly all men my age don’t have computers and don’t use dating sites. There is the odd one here and there but mostly it’s younger men who use sites like New Zealand Dating as stalking zones. I got so many emails from men in their 30s – I thought they were mad as hatters! – always saying that they’re looking for older women. My God, most of them were younger than my children and used the kind of language in their emails that me feel very uncomfortable, so the blocking button got a lot of use.

Every once in a blue moon I would receive an email from someone in their 60s and even a couple in their 70s so it wasn’t all a total dead loss.

Tomorrow I’m going for coffee with a man who is the same age as me. Now that, in my view, is quite fun and I must admit I’m a little nervous meeting someone with as much life experience as myself – at least there should be a lot to talk about. His emails have been interesting and he has told me quite a lot about himself already, which is a good thing as hopefully I can remember some of his experiences and we can start talking about his work life and how he is coping now with the Covid-19 lockdowns and more.

When I first joined New Zealand Dating, I did go out for coffee with a couple of men who turned out to be nothing like their profiles and had basically lied through their teeth. For example one turned out to be married! I found that so unexpected and wrong on so many levels. Married with three children and hunting down older women on a dating site – and also wanting to be up close and personal (no way Jose!).

Let’s hope the man I’m meeting tomorrow isn’t like the others and maybe, just maybe, we could end up friends. I am trying to be glass half full about this but I hope my expectations are right and he is a decent individual and not a lying creep.

It’s an interesting concept to go to meet a perfect stranger. Years ago you would be out somewhere and start talking to a person about the same age as yourself, but I don’t go out at all at night anymore and neither do older gentlemen. This dating site is hopefully the answer. I will update everyone after my meeting in another blog.

Stay safe.

Sue's sassy!

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