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Computers Are The New Canaries

When my Grandpa died, Grandma was 65. She donned sensible shoes and a baggy dress, covered her blue-tinted white hair with a nylon hair net, and stayed home with her canary.

Today’s world is more complex. Canaries are out, computers are in. When you’re looking to find a senior man, the computer is your best option. Grab your keyboard, sign on to a dating site, and in minutes you’ll have a cornucopia of eligible men literally at your fingertips.


There are dating sites for health professionals, plus-sizers, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, actors, musicians, gays, New Yorkers, teachers, atheists, extreme athletes, Asians, African Americans, Latinos, the physically challenged, Boomers, Gen-X’s, dog lovers, horse-lovers, and sado-masochists.

Choosing the category is the easy part. The hard part is finding the right subgroup (for example, there are sites for both observant and non-observant Jews).

Senior dating sites are proliferating, and it’s wise to avoid jumping on a site that looks interesting but about which you know nothing. The best bet is to ask your friends, but you may not have any who will admit to being on a dating site. If that’s the case, Google “senior dating site reviews” and zero in on those recommended by not just one, but several reviewers.


You’ve surely realized during a trip to the multiplex that movie houses are not in the movie business. They’re in the food business. You know this because a family about to enjoy cheese dogs, French fries, and Slurpies has chosen seats in front of you.


The same principle applies to online dating, a $1 billion-plus industry. At some sites, dates are only a sideline. They don’t really need your $18 per month. They make their money on cruises, resort vacations, self-improvement tapes, t-shirts, photo mugs, flower arrangements, heart-shaped candy, portrait photography, counseling sessions, speed dating, and lingerie. It’s easy to imagine that they don’t really want to hook you up with a partner. You’d be off the site and off their sales radar.


Like their younger peers, senior men are trawling for a pretty face. If you don’t have a glamour shot in your arsenal, get one made in a glamour shot studio. Most of these offer a session with a professional makeup artist who knows how to make you look like a goddess.

Is this dishonest? No. Dishonest is using your graduation picture, or or a photo of your friend who models for Escada.  Honest is looking your own very best.  By the time you actually arrive at a face to face meeting, your senior man will already have been captivated by your warm and witty emails, and you will have had lively phone conversations. If he is a good guy he will cut you some slack because his own photo makes him look five inches taller, twenty pounds lighter, and ten years younger than he really is.


Do not fail to post a photo. Guys will be thinking: Is she older / heavier / less sophisticated than she says she is? It’s best to post the photo now because you’ll have to send it to him anyway.  Besides, would you bother to read a guy’s profile if it’s not accompanied by a photo?

DON’T try to look sexy or alluring. Senior ladies are at their best looking gracious, confident, and in possession of a good sense of humor. You are going to need plenty of the latter anyway, as events unfold.


When you’re signing on to date senior men, composing smart dating site profiles is every bit as important as posting an elegant and honest photo. The mistake made by most women — and men — is to depend on a list of adjectives to do the job (see how to decipher guys’ poor old adjective-sodden profiles in The Science of Senior Man Profiles).

I can’t begin to tell you how many people describe themselves as romantic, thoughtful, intelligent, and sophisticated. Adjectives are abstractions; they cannot be verified. You’re cultured because you SAY you are?

Show who you are by telling what you DO.  Never write, “attractive, personable, caring woman who wants to treat you right.” How does that not apply to at least 15,000 other women on the same site? Say instead, “retired florist and cartographer who loves opera (especially Rossini), wilderness hiking, skiing, face painting, and gardening.” This kind of profile sets you apart — and gets results.


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'Computers Are The New Canaries' have 10 comments

  1. September 8, 2013 @ 10:03 am Elaine

    Regarding the suggestion not to contact men if you fall outside their stated age limits-news flash- most aren’t stating that they’re looking for 65! So, what am I supposed to do? Just sit and wishfully look while men my age ignore me?

  2. May 16, 2013 @ 2:15 pm Sienna

    Filigree – Thanks for your comment. I very much agree with you that the the ideal place to find a partner is in the community of others we meet face to face. But we are creatures of our culture, and social media, of which online dating sites are a part, have created a new way of relationship building. Despite the presence of liars and cheats, there are some honest men out there. Our challenge is to exercise the time and patience it takes to separate the good guys from the users and the phonies.

  3. May 15, 2013 @ 1:12 pm Filigree

    Why is internet dating seen as the only option for single senior women? I have a number of widowed friends who met and remarried without benefit of the internet. They are quite happy. My friends who met and married guys from the internet, not so much. Maybe I am old fashioned, but it seems to me with so many false profiles, pictures not at all representative, etc, why bother? You waste so much time sorting out the turkeys. Get out and do things ladies, and get off the computer. I like fishing, travel, and gardening. I attend events, travel and do pier fishing, all on a regular basis by myself. I have met so many single men that way whom I know share my interests and I can observe them with others and check them out, all without benefit of a computer. Always at least one man will come up to chat. I’ve found some really nice friends and a couple of great relationships that way. It requires you to be open and be yourself and GET OUT. Men will not find you sitting at home alone or in a gaggle of girlfriends. Friends are also a great source, so keep making friends and you’ll keep meeting men. I’m not saying computer dating is bad, but for me, it’s not worth the time it takes sorting through the duds. The amount of lying is a total turnoff for me. Go out and enjoy your life with gusto. That will attract men more than anything else.

  4. December 14, 2011 @ 1:11 pm Claudette

    Men are looking for two things it seems. They want a pretty face and someone who doesn’t look overweight. Women who are fat might as well not waste their time – the world is cruel and online dating men are the cruelist.

  5. August 1, 2011 @ 8:47 pm Sienna

    Teri, I’m so sorry you had to endure this painful experience, but at least you learned what a shallow person this man is before you began what would surely have been a disastrous relationship.

  6. July 30, 2011 @ 6:54 am Teri

    I posted a face photo on a site and a man messaged me and asked me for a photo that showed my whole body. I am overweight quite a lot, and I knew I would lose his interest if I did this, so I sent him a photo that was blurry because it was 15 years old. We corresponded for a while and he seemed nice but when we finally met he couldn’t hide his shock and he was too embarrassed I guess to be seen with me and he made a stupid excuse and left me standing in the shopping center outside the restuarant. It was the worst day of my life.

  7. February 2, 2011 @ 1:47 pm Willa

    I missed this one first time around. It’s great advice, a good list. Thanks.

  8. September 30, 2010 @ 1:14 pm Pollyanna

    I am an English teacher and I strongly support your recommendation that profile language has to be short on adjectives and long on action words. It’s a waste of time to read through self-serving descriptions many men put on dating sites that don’t say anything at all about who the person really is. Bravo.

  9. June 3, 2010 @ 12:39 pm TRThom

    As a man I have to agree that you’re right. I can’t think of any reason I would contact a woman whose photo did not show a spark if not of beauty, of liveliness or a good sense of self. What I can’t stand is someone whose hair looks like it’s stiff as a board. Glasses are okay, though. But there has to be a photo.

  10. December 2, 2009 @ 5:14 pm vizslamom

    What a coincidence. My Grandma wore a hairnet, too.
    Very funny stuff, Sienna.

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