New Math — it doesn’t add up in the online dating world.
I have never lied about my age. I have not corrected assumptions about it which is a completely different thing. Age is a number. Unless you live in a one-stoplight town your whole life, it’s quite likely that at some point you moved away and today your general circle of friends doesn’t know how old you are. It’s rare (read never) for someone to ask your age.
In the online dating world, age is an absolute. It is a numeric value fed into an algorithm. You will be included or excluded from meeting people based on a number. For many the number has no relation to reality.
My friends are emphatic, that as I embark on this new form of entertainment, I will have to lie about my age. I have my first moral dilemma.
Sidebar — I have always looked younger than I am — I did not get into bars without an ID card till well into my 20s. The longest love affair in my life has been with fitness, and that has contributed to holding back the tide. Medical tests indicate my heart and most body parts are decades behind my birth certificate. Quizzes recommended by Oprah say my “real age” aligns with the Doctors’ report. Life choices like having kids later in life put me in a circle of friends that are without exception a few years younger than me. For decades I have smiled as I listened to comments, “ when you get to be my age”, or “this was before your time.” Sadly, none of these factors matters a wit to an algorithm!
So here is the math — in addition to their age, the digital dater picks an age range for the people they would like to meet.
Men have been socialized to believe they should find someone younger. They approach midlife dating as a chance to fulfill a fantasy they missed out on when they married their college sweetheart. This new lease on life post-divorce is their opportunity, indeed their moral obligation to fulfill the fantasy of all their male friends and trade (down) to a newer model, as in ten years younger…maybe more.
Women are not socialized the same way. No one is expecting you to find someone a decade younger. Some of the gal pals may be secretly cheering you on, but your male friends do not want you to pick a new guy that will cause their wives to start thinking they don’t look so good. (Solution guy friends, work with your wife and find me a guy our age, so I don’t have to do this digital dating thing!)
Even my kid describes his friend’s mothers who are dating someone younger as doing something rather odd. They never tell me their friend’s dad is with someone young I have only heard the stories about the mom with the fun younger guy; they like him but, “it’s just weird.” Yes, I know I raised the kid, and this reflects poorly on me.
Let’s do the math on this matter….if all of the men are looking for women who are younger, and most of the women are looking for men the same age the chances of a match on one of these sites are pretty slim.
If you were depressed at the statistics related to your chances of finding love with an equal when you were a smart, well educated, successful, attractive woman in your 30s, this new addition to the equation is going to make you want to open a bottle of wine.
So…I am now considering lying about my age to a perfect stranger on a dating app, and it is keeping awake at night; as a result, I may soon start to look my real age.
Never liked math and hate it now.