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Prime Time Dating

Courting After 50 Doesn’t Have to Feel Like You’re Playing the Field Past Your Prime

Jimmy Magahern | May 6, 2014, 10:01 a.m.

“If they lived out of town, you’d eventually get to a point where you’re trying to set up a face-to-face meeting,” she says, recalling a common scenario. “And then right before you were ready to meet, something catastrophic would suddenly happen and they needed you to send them money. They’d say they would pay you back when they got into town—which I knew would never happen. There’s a lot of that going on. A lot of that.”

Nevertheless, Sipple-Stevens insists dating as a self-assured older adult still beats doing it as a nervous, awkward youngster.

“The biggest advantage is that you can be honest. You don’t have to play games. You can tell someone, ‘These are my expectations, and if you’re not going to meet them, then let’s move on.’ At our age, we’re not afraid to say that anymore. And that alone can make the whole experience so much better!”

No Purse, No Nurse

Joann Cohen, a Scottsdale-based dating coach and matchmaker, www.joanncohen.com, is in the business of matching, as she says, “successful men with attractive, smart women.” A good portion of her clients, she says, are wealthy North Valley men wary of the “gold diggers” known to haunt Scottsdale clubs, and many of them are in their 60s, 70s or beyond.

“I just recently matched a man in his 80s, with a woman in her late 70s,” Cohen says proudly. “And they connected on their first match!”

Cohen says there’s a simple mathematical reason why many older singles seek out the help of a high-end matchmaker like herself.

“When you’re younger, single people are all over the place,” she observes. “If you’re in college, you’re surrounded by people around your age with similar interests, and it’s very easy to find people to date. But as you get older, there are less and less places where all the single people in your age group congregate. That’s a big challenge.”

In addition to having fewer like-aged singles to choose from, mature daters are also more selective about who they consider a good fit, which further narrows the pool.

“Older women are looking for men who have been at least as successful financially as they are,” Cohen says. They must also be in good physical shape, so that the woman doesn’t end up being more of a caregiver than a lover a few years down the road. “Women will say, ‘I don’t want to be a nurse or a purse!’”

That can make things difficult for the ordinary older man who suddenly finds himself out in the dating scene again. Cohen says she has to reject about 20 percent of the men who come to her for her services (like many high-end matchmakers, Cohen charges only male clients while recruiting suitable women, for free, as matches).

“Just because they pay me money, I’m not a fairy godmother!” she exclaims. “I’m not gonna get Megan Fox to date a 75-year-old, overweight guy.” It may sound harsh, Cohen admits, but in order to meet the expectations of the discriminating women in her pool (which she assembles by trolling the spas, nightclubs and shopping districts), her business adheres to a strict “no fatties” rule.

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