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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Rakel

Age Schmage & Ambiguity In Dating

Dating Dilemma Stores Disclaimer: Dear Reader, I feel a responsibility to point out that my dating stories are merely for entertainment. They're not for you to feel sorry for me, rather to chuckle with me at the wonderfully weird world it is and my clumsy navigation of it. Given my dating stories get the most views, I thought I'd expand. I'm grateful for the men I meet. Even if it doesn't work out, there's often a fun story to share.

“Amanda needs someone older than her” my mum will often chime when it comes to the age of men I should date. I was born an old soul (I’d ball park I was born a 70-year-old). 

As a society, we tend to use age as a measuring stick for someone’s emotional maturity and readiness to commit. But if dating has taught me anything, age is no guarantee someone will be emotionally mature or has parted ways with a bachelor lifestyle. Nor are the typical behaviours we use to determine someone's interest in us, always true indicators.

Expanding (swiping) Horizons

I decided I needed to be a little more open minded as to who I was swiping yes to, and then along came K’s* profile. Physically, he wasn’t the type of man I’d typically go for. I’m aware of the shallowness dating apps invoke and of the tendency to swipe based on looks, and I try not to fall into that trap. K's photos radiated positivity and gave me a no-bullshit-I-won’t-waste-your-time kind of vibe (I know, quite the assumption based on limited character space and photos). 

His profile information in terms of what he was looking for was sparse, but I put it down to being 42. Maybe he wasn’t used to the dating apps? It was also clear he was using a pseudonym for his name, but the answers to his prompts were witty and funny, and he seemed intelligent. So despite not being the typical guy I’d swipe yes to, I did. How humble of me. 

We matched. 

He gave me his real name right away and our conversation flowed instantly. I appreciated the effort he put into his messages; they were in stark contrast to the usual dull dating app conversations.

After two days of writing, he admitted he was really 46….I found it a little weird. Firstly, why not just be up front? Secondly, a 46-year-old intentionally swiping for someone as young as 32, seemed a little off. Then again, my age range filter was set to 46, so I note my hypocrisy here.

I didn’t mind his age. I figured he was insecure about it and thought women would discount him for it. The conversation carried on swimmingly and he told me he was off for the Easter break with his son. It was the first time he mentioned having a kid. He asked if it was an issue, explaining that he prefers to be up-front about it, so that no one’s time is wasted. My eyebrow cocked a little here - there’s the option to say what your child status is on Bumble. He could have been upfront about it there. Plus, we were now into our 10th (!!) day of writing - I’d say if you were truly upfront about something, you’d nip it in the bud early into the conversation. But no, it was not an issue for me.  

At this point, he hadn’t been upfront about his age, his name, or having a kid. My alarms should have been blaring. But surely a 46-year-old with a child means business? No dilly dallying. When he gave me his real name, he explained for privacy reasons he didn’t give too much information on his profile. It was also clear from his profile that he had a senior position at a big company, though he didn’t mention where. I figured he wanted some level of anonymity because of this. Seeing as the conversation was so nice, I was able to look past all this. It’s truly amazing how disarming charming people can be. 

Time to Meet 

We agreed to meet for drinks. 

As soon as I saw him, I knew physical attraction wasn’t a given. But I know attraction can grow from emotional connection, so I wasn’t going to write him off. He was slim, with fine features. I’m pretty curvy so if I get the feeling that I can snap you like a twig, I feel too masculine. But I was eager to see how the conversation would flow. Would he live up to his online charm? 

A note on not feeling a physical connection right away: In the dating world, we’re collectively bad at giving chances. We may have a nice time with someone, but if we don’t feel that immediate Hollywood spark, we shut it down. If the other person doesn’t tick a list, we boot them. I try to be mindful of this by being open to seeing someone again even if physically I didn’t feel an immediate attraction - as long as there was an emotional one. As the Jewish Matchmaker says “when in doubt, go out”. Meaning, if it’s not a hard “no” then go on another date.

The Date 

We sat talking animatedly for two hours. I nursed an aperol spritz, him a non-alcoholic beverage. I found K fascinating. He was intelligent, had a good sense of humour and was chock full of interesting life stories. Part of me felt slightly intimidated by what seemed to be a glittering career trajectory and superior intelligence. Was I interesting enough for him? We talked about personal things as well. He told me he’d been married and that his divorce had been finalised 20 days prior, but that they had already been separated for four years. I sighed in relief - hopefully this meant he wasn’t in a sex-fest phase. 

He paid for drinks and I allowed him to drive me home. I usually never get into someone’s car on the first date, but nothing particular about him screamed serial killer. I sensed a slight change in the mood as he dropped me off. He went quiet. I wasn’t sure if this meant he wasn’t actually interested. Great conversation is not indicative of there being a connection. I have been on many dates where I carry the conversation, am bubbly, thoughtful and ask questions, even though I have no interest in a second date. I see no need to sit and be a mute to reflect that I’m not interested, that feels rude. We’ve both made the effort to meet up, we might as well make it pleasant. But paying for drinks and driving someone home if you don’t want to see them again? I couldn’t tell if he was just trying to be a gentleman. 

In the morning I wrote to him on Bumble and said I’d had a nice time, that I would be interested in another date and sent him my number. I decided physical attraction was something that could grow. I genuinely enjoyed our conversation and wanted to get to know him better. 

When I hadn’t heard back from him after 24 hours, I knew I had my answer. My time on the dating scene has taught me that if someone doesn’t reach out pretty quickly after a first date, then there probably isn’t interest. If there genuinely is interest, one of you will write, and if the interest is mutual, the other one will reply quickly. 

Given his character, I was expecting a courteous “it was nice, but I don’t like you like that”. Just over 24 hours went by and that’s exactly the message I got, except for this part that caught me off guard: He asked if I would I be interested in exploring a physical relationship….you have got to be fucking kidding me.

Here I was feeling oh-so-humble for swiping yes to someone who wasn’t really my type, for writing to this person and being willing to meet again because I thought their intelligence had been so attractive, that I was hoping their physical appearance would grow on me….and here this person was like “hey, wanna bang?”. The sad part is, if he hadn’t indicated that he’d desired me physically, if the message had simply been that he didn’t see a romantic future and wished me well, my ego would have been bruised. But that he desired me physically made the “rejection” feel a little softer. 

I never replied to his message. 

  1. I didn’t feel he deserved a response. 

  2. I wasn’t going to be awful and explain how there was no physical attraction on my part, so what he was suggesting would be very hard to follow through on. No one needs to be told they’re not desired physically - as we know from my previous blog post, that hurts.

I was disappointed for several reasons. 

Reason One: Usually if I match with someone who only wants sex, they’re pretty upfront about it. Here, I felt I’d been manipulated: look how charming I am, look at this great conversation I can immerse you in, let me buy your drink, let me drive you home, look at what an interesting person I am. I felt he tried to build some level of emotional connection so that when he suggested something purely physical, I’d be more open to it than if he’d just been upfront right away. I felt he wasted my time with niceties when he probably already knew he was only interested in a physical relationship. I have nothing against casual relationships, but as I’m so up front about wanting something serious, it really annoyed me. 

Here’s an example of someone who was really up front about what they wanted and didn’t waste my time: 

Opening line - Him: Do you want to play Shark Attack? 

Me: I’ve never played that game before 

Him: I eat you and you scream

….like I said, very up front….I also found it a little funny. 

Reason Two: How wrong I was. I even showed my mum his profile. I wanted her to see what a decent man I had picked, how grown-up of me to truly deviate from the quintessential finance-fuck-boys of Zurich. WRONG. I thought his age, especially when he admitted to being older and having a child, was an indication he might want something more serious. Again, WRONG.

Countless of times I have shown friends a date I'll be going on, and their age and child status are used in our own little scientific love equations to measure their maturity and willingness to settle. Clearly these equations need a re-work.

Reason Three: Remember the funnel I showed in my last dating article about the immense amount of effort it takes to get from match to a date? And how even when you make it to the first date, it’s rare there’s enough of a connection or attraction to meet again? I was thrilled that I’d finally been on a date with someone where I thought “yes, I’d go on a second date”. To finally make it through the whole funnel and want to proceed was exciting! So it was a shame it was so short-lived.

I’m of course glad that he was up front about not seeing a romantic future. He could easily have roped me into another date and delayed being up front about his intentions even more.

I don't think K is a bad person, he merely helps me illustrate a point: On paper, I deemed him as a man who would want a serious relationship. It just goes to show you need to take someone's online profile, as well as your interactions with them with a grain of salt...and perhaps drop societal beliefs at the door: Pushing 50 and having a kid does not mean you're in "settle down mode".

And dear reader, if you're thinking: "She deserved that for feeling so humble for swiping yes to someone she wasn't initially attracted to." I know. The slice of humble pie has been served and eaten.

But what about you dear reader, would your alarm bells have gone of sooner than mine? Or were there even any?

*Obviously he’s not called K.

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