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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 01:12 pm

Jenny from the blocked

I appreciate that you tell it like it is instead of telling people what they want to hear. I heard you on the radio saying that an online dating site isn’t a very good venue for women over 40 who aren’t very physically attractive. Honestly, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably a 5. My marriage ended last year, and I’m ready to start dating again. Should I bother with online at all? –Realistic

Like the 24-year-old part-time model you’re competing with on the online dating site, you are female and have owned swimsuits. In fact, you’d wear that same tiny little gold bikini she’s got on in her profile pic – if it were socially acceptable to go out on the town in a little gold sleep mask.
Online dating is like going to a very snobby bar where everybody has the attention span of a firefly. People do find love and even marriage online, but those most likely to get lucky are hot 22-year-old women just looking to get lucky. Hot 40-something women will get dates, but because guys tend to go for younger women, many of those messaging them are one foot out of the nursing home (if they aren’t using the computer in the nursing home’s activity room to troll for younger meat).

The problem for anyone online dating is that the format – endless choice – is overwhelming to our quaint little human brains, according to research by social psychologist Dr. Sheena Iyengar. Although we think having loads of options is ideal, when presented with more than a handful, we often choose poorly and are bummed out afterward, or we find ourselves unable to choose at all. So, like a rat pushing a lever for more cocaine, even a man who sincerely wants a relationship and who’s just gotten home from a promising date often can’t help but make a beeline for the computer. (There’s always another one … thousand where that last one came from. No need to stop and smell the 45-year-old roses.)
Especially for women who are over 40 and physically underfabulous, a more fruitful and less confidence-eating option than a dating site is a group meet-up site like meetup.com or grubwithus.com, where you sign up for group dinners and other activities with people who share your interests. Some groups have hundreds or thousands of members, and the criterion for joining is whether you, say, like to combine tennis and Bible study, not whether you have a waist the size of a chewed pencil.

Also, online, the risk of humiliation is low for a guy who’s a 5 messaging a woman who’s a 9.6 (on the off chance she’s bored with rich guys with movie-star looks). In person, it becomes clear that he can either go home alone for the rest of his life or go for the more evenly matched. That’s when he starts talking to the nice 5 lady on his right – giving you a chance to sparkle in a way you can’t online. But, all the better if you sparkle inside and out. (Get Staging Your Comeback, by Christopher Hopkins.) A little money smeared around in the hair, wardrobe and makeup departments can be a powerful thing. Without it, as you see in shots of famous actresses caught sans makeup and groovywear, even some pretty stunning women can end up looking like they’ve taken a break from picking their pimples in the doublewide to duck into the holler and shoot a squirrel for dinner.

2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon

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