Dating Games: Out of is element

As women get older they have a harder time attracting the guys they should have no problem getting – guys their own age, but as men get older they have a hard time attracting the women they want – women younger than them. It’s evolution at its (un)finest.

By TAMAR CASPI SHNALL
October 21, 2011 17:42
4 minute read.
Speed dating

Dating games. (photo credit: Pepe Fainberg)

Since I’m out of the singles scene, I try to attend some local Jewish singles events to glean what’s new in the dating world. Recently I went to observe a traditional speed-dating event.

Participants were split up and seated at tables according to age ranges only: 25-30, 30-35, 35-40 and 40-45. The first thing that stood out to me was the upper echelon of the age range – I would have guessed there were people there well over 45. However, event organizers insisted they checked birth dates upon registration.

The next thing that stood out was one specific guy at the 40+ table who looked like he didn’t belong. He was a familiar face to me. His name is Hank (or at least, that’s what I’m going to call him). He not only stood out because I knew him but because he looked much younger than the women sitting across from him even though they were the same age.

How do I know Hank? Well, about six years ago – when he was still in his 30s – we met on a Jewish dating website and went out after exchanging a few emails. I was 25 and although he was above my preferred age range I decided to give him a chance anyway. He was good-looking, in great shape and really nice. He suggested a sushi bar I had never been to and I was impressed when he ordered for me. He is well traveled, having sailed around the world, making for some interesting stories. I was impressed by how much he had accomplished in his life and how established he was. Everything about him sounded great, but alas, the chemistry wasn’t there. So he wasn’t for me, but he sounded great for some other single Jewish gal (probably one a few years older than me). We only went on one date but neither of us harbored any ill will towards the other. He was a “one-and-done,” like most of my dates back then were. No hard feelings, it simply wasn’t a match.

Six years later and Hank is still single and looking for his beshert (soul mate). But now he’s over 40 and although he looked like a fish out of water at the speed-dating event, it was good for him to see all the possibilities out there. Hank and these women are the same age, but looked nothing like it. As bad as I felt for the women, I felt worse for Hank. He takes care of his body, was dressed nicely, clean shaven, black hair slicked back, a smile plastered on his face. His speed dates looked, well... old.

I know plenty of super hot 40-somethings, but these weren’t them. Due to the nature of the event he was forced to talk to these women and maybe this was a good thing. Maybe it was getting him out of his comfort zone and forcing him to get to know women he’s probably ignored in the past (remember he had asked me out at 25 years old when he was in his late 30s) but based on looks alone I highly doubted he was going to find his beshert at this particular event.

The thing is, he needs events like these to open his eyes to all the women out there, those outside his preferences, because obviously whatever it is he’s been doing hasn’t been working, and you never know where your beshert is going to be. I have to give it up to Hank, because he’s not giving up. Hopefully, one day, one event or website soon, he will find his beshert – even if she is wearing a scrunchie.



Lo and behold I received an e-mail from Hank after the event asking me to help him with his online dating profile. He really is willing to try anything, and yet he doesn’t come across as desperate. All of my hot 40- something friends have already dated him, but still I think Hank will meet someone soon – after all, every year women who thought they were too young for him before are raising their desired age range.

Hank’s singledom is becoming all the more challenging because of his age, and that’s not uncommon. As women get older they have a harder time attracting the guys they should have no problem getting – guys their own age, but as men get older they have a hard time attracting the women they want – women younger than them. It’s evolution at its (un)finest.

Online, Hank will be left out of search results because of preferred age range so he will have to work harder to get those women’s attention by contacting them directly. In person, Hank will do better. He will attract women, but may have a problem with retaining some once they find out his age. Really, Hank (and guys like him) ought to reassess his situation each year he finds himself still single. If he continues to desire girls in their 20s then more than likely he’ll continue to find himself single for a long time. Although he looks younger than his age, he needs to remember that there is ageism in dating and it goes both ways. Isn’t it more important that he find someone who fits the personality traits he’s attracted to than the age he thinks he wants? The answer is obvious, but Hank needs to come to that realization on his own.


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