If, like me, your recent dating history reads like lost episodes of Friends (The One Who Lived With His Mum, The One With The Tiny Personality, The One Buried Under The Patio etc), you’ll be aware that middle aged dating is a lot like middle aged job hunting – excessive form filling, erratic availability, sub prime options.
The great thing about middle aged lady dating is that the menopause will have set fire to the field where all your hoots – I’m being polite - grow. Instead of scanning for possible baby makers or mortgage sharers, you are, like the clitoris, there purely for pleasure. Welcome to entry level anthropology, where field trips are conducted in coffee shops. I say field trips. I mean interviews.
But before the interview comes the CV – or the profile, as dating apps call them, with middle aged index fingers arthritic from all the swiping. Men, here is some free advice you didn’t ask for, gleaned from heterosexual female brain ache after reading the same lines over and over again from all you chaps who ‘don’t take life too seriously’ and who are ‘seeking a partner in crime’. Guys, don’t write that. Everyone writes that. It’s like writing ‘passionate about customer service’. Write something else. Anything.
Also, don’t put ‘no baggage’. That’s horrific. You’re a middle aged human, and are stating as some kind of bizarre reassurance that you have reached this far in life without forming significant relationships, or (step)parenting anyone. Who are you, Norman Bates? Calling former significant relationships ‘baggage’ is definitely baggage – maybe get some counselling.
And sorry if that sounds sexist. I’m sure women write terrible things on their profiles too - like ‘bubbly’ - while adding Snapchat face filters that turn them into Disney creatures with doggy noses and bunny ears. Men don’t seem to like this. Can’t imagine why. Who doesn’t want to date a disturbing digital hybrid of Jessica Rabbit and Goofy?
But back to you, chaps. Never proudly hold up a dead fish. Women don’t respond to dead fish. Not just the vegans, but I’ll stick my neck out here and speak for all of womankind – keep your dead fish for other blokes who appreciate photos of dead fish. We are not your target audience.
And stop with all the lycra. So you’re middle aged and own a bicycle. Great. Maybe you even cycled to the place where you caught the dead fish in the other photo. But we are not that interested in your lycra-related endeavours; aiming your phone at a gym mirror is teenage boy stuff. Stop it. See also snowboarding, bungee jumping, marathon running, mountain climbing. We don’t care.
Worse than all the lycra and dead fish pics combined, however, is the posed come-hither shot of head-on-pillow, doing a smouldering selfie. No, no, no! You’re not in a boy band. You’re a middle aged man on a dating app trying to get a woman to meet you for coffee. Keep it simple. And remember – NO FISH! NO LYCRA!