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But women's desirability starts high at age 18 and falls throughout their lifespan. So what's it like to get out there as an older person? Laura Stassi is trying to find out. She became newly single after her nearly year marriage ended and she's been working with the WAMU Pod Shop , a podcast incubator at our home station. She's been creating a podcast that tells "the true stories of people age 50 and older who are seeking that special someone. Stassi says she's found no gender breakdown thus far. Listen to the pilot of her podcast here.

He quickly deduced that she was the appropriate height finally! They decided it would work. A week later, they were married. And they still are, 35 years later. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages. First I texted four friends who travel and eat out a lot and whose judgment I trust.

I checked the website Eater for its Heat Map, which includes new, tasty restaurants in the city. Then I checked Yelp. Finally I made my selection: Il Corvo, an Italian place that sounded amazing. Unfortunately, it was closed. It only served lunch. At that point I had run out of time because I had a show to do, so I ended up making a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich on the bus.

The stunning fact remained: This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decisionmaking. The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission. I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives. People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage.

Throw in the fact that people now get married later in life than ever before, turning their early 20s into a relentless hunt for more romantic options than previous generations could have ever imagined, and you have a recipe for romance gone haywire. In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.

Almost a quarter of online daters find a spouse or long-term partner that way.

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It provides you with a seemingly endless supply of people who are single and looking to date. Before online dating, this would have been a fruitless quest, but now, at any time of the day, no matter where you are, you are just a few screens away from sending a message to your very specific dream man. There are downsides with online dating, of course.

Throughout all our interviews—and in research on the subject—this is a consistent finding: Even a guy at the highest end of attractiveness barely receives the number of messages almost all women get. On the Internet, there are no lonely corners.

Medium height, thinning brown hair, nicely dressed and personable, but not immediately magnetic or charming. At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on OkCupid and let us watch as he went through his options.

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The first woman he clicked on was very beautiful, with a witty profile page, a good job and lots of shared interests, including a love of sports. Imagine the Derek of 20 years ago, finding out that this beautiful, charming woman was a real possibility for a date.

If she were at a bar and smiled at him, Derek of would have melted. But Derek of simply clicked an X on a web-browser tab and deleted her without thinking twice. Watching him comb through those profiles, it became clear that online, every bozo could now be a stud.

But dealing with this new digital romantic world can be a lot of work. Even the technological advances of the past few years are pretty absurd.

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In the history of our species, no group has ever had as many romantic options as we have now. In theory, more options are better, right? Psychology professor Barry Schwartz, famous for his book The Paradox of Choice , divided us into two types of people: We have all become maximizers. When I think back to that sad peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich I had in Seattle, this idea resonates with me. If you only knew how good the candles in my house smell. When you watched their actual browsing habits—who they looked at and contacted—they went way outside of what they said they wanted.

When I was writing stand-up about online dating, I filled out the forms for dummy accounts on several dating sites just to get a sense of the questions and what the process was like.

The person I described was a little younger than me, small, with dark hair.

My girlfriend now, whom I met through friends, is two years older, about my height—O. A big part of online dating is spent on this process, though—setting your filters, sorting through profiles and going through a mandatory checklist of what you think you are looking for. People take these parameters very seriously. But does all the effort put into sorting profiles help?

Despite the nuanced information that people put up on their profiles, the factor that they rely on most when preselecting a date is looks.

Now, of course, we have mobile dating apps like Tinder. We're speaking to Stassi about what it's been like, and what she's learned, as a part of our series on modern dating, Cuffin' Season.

Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. Dating While Gray What's it like to get out there as an older person? Laura Stassi is finding out.

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2 comments

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