When she met her husband 20 years ago, Rhonda Hollis surmised, on the first day she knew him, that he was an honest man.
In the conversation he struck up with her at a southeast Oklahoma City cafeteria, he mentioned he liked horses and horse trailers. Then, on their way to their respective cars, a shiny new horse trailer pulled in front of them.
“His head spun around like he'd just seen a swimsuit model,” Hollis said. “That's when I realized he was as honest as the day is long.”
These days, Hollis, 58 — who sadly was widowed 11/2 years into her marriage — finds it difficult to find an honest man. She said she's been disappointed with the online dating services she's tried.
“These guys will say and do about anything,” Hollis said. She's had dates who've posted high school photographs on their online profiles and then shown up with double chins, or ex-smokers who've wheezed through their dinner, she said.
“All that most are looking for is sex, a housekeeper or a nursemaid,” she said. “They either want to grab you or your money.”
E-dating blunders by boomers
AARP dating expert Ken Solin, 68, of the San Francisco Bay Area, said online dating is a good, if not the best, option for people older than 50.
“The problem is boomers tend to make several mistakes,” he said. “Many send emails to too many and respond to everybody, when they should be much more circumspect. It's also a huge mistake to be too specific. Let go of your failed fantasy typecast of a short blonde with big breasts or a man who's 5-foot-10 or taller with black hair, blue eyes and in shape.”
Solin said his sweetheart of one year — whom he met through the free site OkCupid — always dated real tall guys before him.
“We both laughed about how we found the other attractive, but not in a way we'd ever experienced before,” he said.
Most importantly, boomers should seek partners with common interests and values, Solin said.
“You need to be on the same page, and both have the emotional intelligence and capability of resolving problems, including talking about your feelings versus your thoughts,” he said.
Securing the happiness and well-being of companionship is a top priority among many single Americans 50 and older and an important part of living a rich, full and enjoyable life at 50 plus, said Craig Davis, AARP Oklahoma associate state director.
The most popular dates among people over 50, he said, are food-related: trying a new restaurant or seeking out the best chocolate cake in town. Listening to live music and volunteering also are big, he said.
To help its boomers, AARP in February launched AARP Dating (dating.aarp.org). Members, including about 50,000 Oklahomans who are single and in their 50s and 60s, can get discounts and free trials.
Offline dating alternatives
Meanwhile, Ambiance Matchmaking in Oklahoma City and Tulsa offers boomers, and professionals of all ages, an alternative to Internet dating.
“There's a growing number of fake profiles on Match.com, and people need to be more careful,” matchmaker Leslie Wardman said. “You don't know who you're talking to (online).”
Her offline dating service, which requires a significant financial investment, operates with the confidentiality of a law firm, Wardman said.