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What Senior Men Want


It’s easier for a senior woman to be alone than it is for a senior man. Men have spent their lives competing with other men, while women have been building their friendships with other women.

Mature single men wear their loneliness on their sleeve, while their female counterparts are networked into book clubs, mah-jongg games, church socials, exercise classes and shopping. These pursuits are of course nicer when you can go home to a loving partner.  What does it take to turn lonely returns from office or girl time into “Welcome home, Sweetheart?” What do senior men want?


Boomer Beauty may have to shine through wrinkles and sags, but your beauty is there, and the man who can see it is the man you want.  Beauty is 90% attitude, poise, and self- assurance.  An average-looking woman with these things can outpace a so-called classic beauty anytime.

Senior men WILL insist on attractiveness.  This doesn’t have to mean a gorgeous face and figure.  It means good posture, tasteful attire, careful grooming, and (this is important) a well modulated voice. It means a tendency to smile with sincere contentment.  A happy face is always beautiful.

And the opposite is true.  No matter how beautiful the face in the mirror, beauty is betrayed by bad attitude.

FIGARO confided this story:  Early in his on-line search he selected only women with gorgeous photos.  Having arranged a meeting with one such, he showed up 5 minutes early at the coffee shop and waited another 30 minutes.  When the lady arrived she was unable to mask her disappointment.  “I don’t think we’ll have enough in common,” she said, taking a seat at the very edge of the booth.  Without another glance at him, she withdrew a mirror from her purse and became engrossed in the only person she found alluring.


FIGARO asked her if she’d like a cup of coffee.  “I don’t know why I came,” said the woman, ignoring the offer, “I really don’t like opera.”  FIGARO’s dating site profiles are full of his devotion to opera in all its manifestations.  “Is that goatee dyed?” she asked. FIGARO eased himself out of the booth, walked to the cash register, paid his bill, and left without a backward glance.  “I won’t say I’ve given up looking for a gorgeous woman,” he says, “but I look more carefully at who a woman is before I get excited about how she looks.”


This is a tricky one for Boomer women who were in the vanguard of the feminist movement.  All guys claim they want an intelligent woman, but in the case of senior men, this can mean “smart enough to let him think he’s boss.”

Dictionary Series - Philosophy: philosophy

Intelligence is a legitimate requirement.  Few men will want to hear you go on and on about your Canasta club and your granddaughter’s math prize. If you’ve not been a regular reader of the New York Times, Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly and Sports Illustrated, you might want to start sprinkling your emails with some of their popular wisdom. BUT – unless you have a clear picture of his political leanings, PLEASE don’t send YouTube videos about how venal, clueless, and unfeeling certain politicians are. You’re liable to hit on his hero and then you’re toast.


Historically, empathy and understanding have been viewed as feminine characteristics.  Senior men are nostalgic for them, and that is why they are high on the single senior’s list of requirements.  Senior men will reveal to you some of their minor failings, because they feel they should pepper the brags about their accomplishments with a few grains of humility.  Your response should be a sigh of reassurance, showing him you understand that these failings are tiny blips in a life of remarkable achievement.


You have to be fast on the draw if your senior man likes clever banter.  He will throw you a zinger and wait for a pithy reply.  If you’re not good at pithy replies, now is not the time to try honing your skills. Better to nod appreciatively, and give him a smile that conveys appreciation of his wit.

Your senior man will use jokes when he runs out of things to say, or when he is unsure of how you feel about him (your laughter at the end of the joke is reassuring). If he is a bad joke teller and you think you may end up with him…..oh, well, God bless you.  You’ll mostly be required to sit quietly and supportively while he indulges himself at parties.


Sometimes perfectly nice men tell jokes that are risqué or even raunchy. I was stunned when a man I had really begun to like told me a story that would make Chris Rock squirm. In fact, I was SO stunned I couldn’t tell him how disappointed I felt, but the next time I was ready, and I politely stopped him mid-joke. There were no recurrences, but I have a sense that I stifled some part of him he regards as important.

If you are dealing with a guy who competently uses humor in the form of jokes, asides, or teases, and you are not naturally witty, let him do his thing. This will be interpreted as cleverness, and in fact, it actually is.


This is a virtue much desired by guys who are getting long in the tooth.  In sickness and in health, a senior men craves the companionship of a female who will fuss over him.

Hand holding a pill box

Do I want to return to that dreary time when our grandmas lived to provide succor to their husbands? Not at all. Nurturing doesn’t mean servitude. It can and should mean a capacity for empathy. What’s in it for us? Acts of kindness ordinarily create a ripple effect. If you have chosen the right kind of man, he will reciprocate. One of the good things about senior love is that episodes of name calling and door slamming are fewer because most elder folk have gotten past the notion that “only I can be right,” an attitude that totally eclipses nurturing.


Make sure your clothes are pressed and the house is clean and tidy.  You’ve spent a fortune on face creams, bought a new wardrobe, learned to cook a perfect Veal Marsala. After all that trouble and expense it would be a shame if something this mundane were to be a deal breaker.


It’s not a great idea for an older woman to reach for sexiness in the kittenish sense, but sensuality can be ours forever.  Being sensual is being alive to what your senses can deliver.  Eating chocolate, slipping into a silken gown, feeling the sand on your feet are sensual experiences.  So is touching and being touched by a man – a sensitive, generous, and competent senior man, of course.


Sensuality is possible only if you have positive feelings about yourself and the man you’re with.  When a man is aloof, sensuality is irrelevant. When he is vulgar, sensuality is too subtle.  A man who thinks sensuality is giving you a major pawing is not going to learn from you what it really is — because you will be out the door.

Sensuality is by definition something that requires an appreciative partner.  Sexuality can be approximated with masturbation. Sensuality is its own real thing.  When a man says he wants a sensual woman, he’d better know how to play his delicate role in the scene.

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'What Senior Men Want' have 12 comments

  1. June 10, 2017 @ 2:06 pm Sienna

    Pamela — Thanks so much for sharing this uplifting story. You and your friend both seem to have healthy attitudes about dating after the death of a beloved spouse. I wish you both well!

  2. June 2, 2017 @ 7:42 pm Pamela

    I luv this site ! I was widowed very suddenly 8 years ago at age 54 right after one of the kids graduated college. Massive stroke. We had been so happy. Six years later I was finally interested in dating. Ugh ! only married guys from college asking me out. Dated only twice a nice widower with a disturbed ex wife/first wife seriously stalking him and he wasn’t concerned! Bye.
    Then I went on a dating site. Met a widower but wouldn’t see him in person for two months. Finally met and 20 months later we are still dating and we get along very well. Family on both sides are happy for me. My son and all the men like him.
    What has surprised me are the continued stares, nudging and phone calls from friends and couples my late husband and I went out with often. Two cousins are widowers and juggling several ladies – must be a double standard. No one questions them.
    I’m a healthy 62 and a size 2 diabetic. Chapter 2 is also slender and diabetic. Genetic in our families. We golf, swim, travel and have a lot of other interests. I get along very well with his daughters and their families.
    He is good looking, 8 years older than me. Age has not been an issue at all. He is a kind man. Holidays mornings we meet early for breakfast after each visiting where our late spouses are buried. He takes a large bottle of his late wife’s favorite fragrances and I take a large bottle of Grey Goose!
    For me online dating worked, but I caution anyone not to rush to meet in person, and choose a nice restaurant – no Starbucks or bar, as my daughter advised!

  3. July 11, 2016 @ 3:37 pm Sienna

    John — What you are reporting is too true. Our later-in-life relationship needs do not include listening to rhapsodizing about grandchildren. And no man wants to feel his attributes and his failures are being shared with a gaggle of women friends. You’re going to have to look for a woman with some discretion. Let your comments be a warning to my readers!

  4. June 27, 2016 @ 6:06 pm John

    Some Brief Thought from an Older Guy.

    I’m a recent widower (3 years). The following praise and critique deals with older women (post 60) who have been single at least a decade. If I had run into a recently widowed woman, my survey results could easily be different. I am only talking about five women.

    I know, this is a really small population. It took me 18 months just to get out of the house.
    The positives —-> I’m impressed with the wisdom, the poise, and the sexual prowess of the older woman. They are attractive, fun in conversation, and absolutely great in bed.

    The negatives —-> Their date (me) comes third after grand children and their flock of fellow long-term single women friends. Grand children (I have none) trump everything and trump it immediately. Their girl friends are a lesser force than grand children, but they (the girl friends) control huge blocks of time that cannot be tampered with.


  5. May 15, 2013 @ 7:37 am Elana

    “Nurturing” has not worked for me. As soon as I make the gesture, the man is either put off or ready to sit down and completely be waited on. I have learned not to offer too much so-called loving care and try to make a man like me for myself first.

  6. May 14, 2011 @ 1:00 pm redhead

    I never thought of it that way, well put!

  7. February 5, 2011 @ 4:32 pm Sienna

    Thanks, Patsy. Welcome back. It’s always great to hear from you!

  8. January 19, 2011 @ 11:10 am Patsy R.

    Wise, wise woman…that’s you, Sienna.

  9. October 30, 2010 @ 8:28 am JakiO

    I know what Figaro was talking about. I live in NYC and I have tried the internet dating scene and some of the men I have met are so rude and hurtful It doesn’t matter that I don’t really like them either, that doesn’t make me feel better about them being so obvious about ending the date. I’m a quality person and I expect a man to be gentlemanly even if he’s not going to call me again.

  10. October 11, 2010 @ 9:12 am Sienna

    “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the punchline,” will do nicely. In the case of an old-fashioned dirty joke, you don’t want to embarrass a man you like and want to see again. A ladylike blush is nice — it will cast you as sensitive rather than prudish. If the joke is filthy it will be because he is a.) clueless b.) overcome by nervousness or c.)a complete jerk, in which case you are justified in making for the door.

  11. October 8, 2010 @ 11:32 am Patsy R.

    Lots of times when you’re on a first date men are nervous and they try to break the ice with a joke. I’m not sure how to respond. Sometimes it’s borderline vulgar, or has a punch line I dont understand.

  12. August 9, 2010 @ 10:24 am LovelyLinda

    Whew! What a list! I am unworthy LOL

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