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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.

“Almost everybody I deal with is really fit,” she says—which Cohen notes is particularly selective for the Phoenix area, ranked as the 18th “fattest city” in America in the latest Men’s Fitness round-up, with 41 percent of residents tipping the scales as overweight. “Seriously, I have men in their 60s with six-packs! That’s what they’re competing with.”

Appearance still counts—maybe even more so than in our younger years, when a so-so slouch could be chalked up to a diamond-in-the-rough waiting to be refined, over time, by the right woman. In the what-you-see-is-what-you-get world of senior dating, that finished product has got to be top-notch.

“Everybody, once they hit 40, says, ‘I look young for my age.’ I get that all the time,” Cohen says—and the research bears her out. In a new AARP survey, 45 percent of respondents aged 40 to 90 felt they looked younger than their age, while roughly the same percentage categorized other people in their age group as looking at least that old or older. “Everyone thinks they’re an exception. So they want to date their age or younger. And that can be a challenge, because other people may not consider them as young-looking as they do themselves!”

There are, of course, some actual exceptions—like that man in his 80s Cohen matched with a woman in her 70s.

“But both of them were exceptionally attractive, and in exceptionally good health,” Cohen notes. “That certainly helped.”

Saturday Night Live

Dave Gorman has been arranging singles dances and matchmaking parties for older folks since 1983. “Actually, when a friend and I started this back in New York, our idea was that we were going to run dances for young people and help them find love,” says Gorman, whose company, Calculated Couples, staged singles events in some 60 cities nationwide before finally settling in Phoenix (another company, Singles and Friends, organizes similar Saturday night dances and potlucks in Tucson).

“But then we found out young people don’t care who they’re with, as long as they can go out and do fun things. So we started doing events for divorced singles. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.”

Along the way, Gorman, who goes by the name “Love Dr. Dave” and, for a time, dressed the part, donning a doctor’s oversized white lab coat while making the rounds at his dances, has weathered the competition from online dating services.

“When Match.com and all the other dating sites started coming online, people were telling me, ‘Boy, they’re gonna put you out of business!’” Gorman says. “And for about six months, our parties were down about 20 percent in attendance. But then, people started coming back. They told me, ‘You know what? I spent four months chatting with somebody online, thinking we had so much in common, and then when finally we met in person, two minutes into dinner I’m thinking ‘This isn’t who I thought it was.’ There’s just something about meeting people in person and doing it all live that really can’t be beat.”

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