You haven't gone crazy....you've gonepausal!

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Mid-life Dating

When it comes to the challenges of mid-life dating, I don't want to hear crap from women.  We of the stronger sex have been reduced to mere shadows of our former selves by our humiliating efforts to attract female companionship.  Most of our despair can be attributed to society's unfair expectation that men are still the hunters, despite the fact that the quiver is, by now, depressingly low on arrows.

The fact is women can sit around waiting for something to happen.  Men still have to take the initiative to get a date.  Sure, reticent gals may complain that having to wait to be asked out is lonely and frustrating, but at least they don't risk being shot down.  God only knows how many men have suffered irreversible psychological damage from dating rejection.  Of course, it is not fun for women who are never asked out, but at least it isn't personal.  Maybe no one knew they were even available.

What about dating services, you ask?  Women put themselves out there, too. True, but they do so in the hope of being called.  They can afford to sit back, allow their e-mail to accumulate, and then one night when they're not playing bridge with the girls, have a glass of wine and giddily vet their list of prospects, several of whom went to their club for a double vodka as soon as they nervously pressed the "send" button.

It is all in vain anyway becaue dating services are built on a solid foundation of lies and deception.  I once paid a king's ransom to a dating service to find the perfect mate. 

Forget "Match"and "Harmony."  This was big-time -- background searches, professionally taken photos and personal interviews with the matchmakers to weed out the incompatible.  I said I wanted someone younger, a woman who was fit and athletic.  I was counting on the pictures to help me decide, but the agency never sent me anything but head shots.  I was told not to worry - these women were jocks.  But after several disillusioning encounters with several beautiful looking pear-shahped women, I began insisting on full body shots, preferably in leotards.  And, I told the agency, walking your dog, doubles tennis and (the most misleading) "going to the gym" does not guarantee fitness.  I've seen too many women reading Jodi Picoult novels while walking on treadmills.

My friends' wives were not sympathetic.  After all "athletic" was a euphemism for "younger," meaning younger than they were - and what the hell was wrong with women their age, anyway?  So, dating services aside they were not about to fix me up.  And their husbands, my friends did not know any younger women.  At least they'd better not know any.

So, I reverted to "Match" where I could lie and do my own screening.  Of course, with no background search, I might get stuck with someone equally as disingenuous as I. But my superficial self had taken over and I was only interested in the pictures.  I still risked being shot down, but my own fabricated statistics and aggrandized bio made it less likely.  I was suddenly five years younger, three inches taller and a tad more successful than I had remembered.

Someone suggested that I try "singles" mixers.  It took two weeks and a full bottle of Prozac to bring me out of my funk.  I was in shock.  No wonder these people couldn't get dates.  What the hell was I doing there?  Surely I didn't fit in.  And when was the last time a younger gorgeous athletic-looking woman went to a singles party to find a date?  How about never!  No, she could just sign up on "Match" and wait - wait to see if a middle aged man like me had the courage to send her a profile with just enough credible embellishments to warrant at least an e-mail rejection rather than deadly silence.

It is a jungle out there and the hunters are getting slaughtered.  Rejected by women younger, spurned by ladies disgusted by their fanatsies and deceived by promising head shots from dating services, well-preserved men in the mid-life dating game are toast.  Maybe mixers aren't so bad after all.  At least you usually get a couple of drink tickets.

- anonymous in Ann Arbor, MI

The Men's Room: "Mid-Life Dating"