There are some accusations flying around that people who sign-up to online dating agencies are too picky. I'd normally admit to that but now, I'm not entirely sure.
It's alleged that ticking boxes or having a list of attributes is being fussy. I disagree. I have a type and don't think there's anything wrong with that. The new problem I face is not knowing exactly whose type I am. Apart from those sites where much younger guys are looking for NSA fun, I don't appear to be anybody's match.
I decided to do a couple of experiments. The first was to choose one very popular site and begin a search based on what I actually want.
I am self-confessed shallow because if I don't fancy someone, chances are it's going nowhere. If they have the looks but don't have a sense of humour, no interesting things to say or nothing in common with me it's still going nowhere but generally I want to have chemistry and fancy the pants off a guy for it to get off the ground. I'm looking for the whole package to tickle my box.
I stuck to my preferred search criteria of age and distance from me to discover there were upward of 2500 results.
I'm 42 and looked at the 30-40 age bracket within ten miles of my postcode. I limited myself to search the first 150 guys it brought up. I squinted to see who looked aesthetically pleasing to me. 20 thumbnail photos piqued my interest. I clicked to show the larger photos that on the whole were rather less representative of my preconception. Only three had my age within their preferred bracket - it was in fact the oldest age they were looking for. One of them was my mate. In answer to the question "want children?" none had put "no" and less than half had answered "maybe".
The next phase of my experiment was to search 42-45. I clicked on six profiles. One of these didn't want children. My age was a 50% success rate though.
I bravely typed in 50-60 and if I'm honest I didn't fancy any of the options but clicked to look at eight. Three out of eight didn't want children. My first reaction was that obviously if a guy was looking for a woman between those ages, she wouldn't have a choice but to put "no" to the same question. Oh cruel Mother Nature. The good news is I wasn't too old for any of these men - result!
This led me to try one further experiment based on the mathematical theory of how to determine the youngest a love interest can be by halving your own age and adding seven. This would make mine 28 but astonishingly, if we work out me being the youngest acceptable age, my potential suitor could be 70 years old. I had one rule that I will never hook up with anyone young enough to be my son. Now it seems I need to include or old enough to be my Dad (who is 72). If I wanted to be with someone my Dad's age, I'd save myself the subscription fees and ask my Dad if he had any single mates.
Why shouldn't I be picky? I wouldn't pick an overripe banana from the market.
I returned to the earlier site for research purposes and this time I threw caution to the wind and typed in 70. There were only six members, five of whom hadn't been online for over six months - they may be dead.
I jest of course but thankfully they all said they didn't want children. One cited 30-50 as his ideal age range, practically an age gap of my age.
I feel younger than my 42 years but must I search so far above my age to find a like-minded guy who doesn't want offspring?
There are plenty of niche dating sites offering chances to meet uniforms, millionaires or mature dates but maybe I should set one up for non-parents with no desire to have kids.
I choose not to have my own children and would rather not inherit anybody else's.
If any of this makes me picky then at least it's saving me around 30 pounds a month.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters - including myself - may be entirely fictitious.
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