Dating apps are built upon this connected world. These creations are all dopamine-infested nests that use reward-feedback to trap us into the belief that it will connect us with the most perfect person on earth if we submit to the in-app purchase of “coins”, which will allow us to give a super-like to the person with the photo-shopped, Instagram-filtered profile photo that has just sent our imaginations to paradise. The quiet voice in the back of our minds tell us that everything about this experience is false, but the lonely, horny, tipsy, weary, perhaps even depressed part of our being overrides the super-ego and believes for an instant that we can punch above our league, catch that super-hottie that also has a PhD; makes a ton of money; is super-sensitive; perfectly compatible and tolerant of all our flaws, and who will, apart from fucking like a world champion, also love and adore our grown children, and blindly accept all our circumstances – even the ones that are self-inflicted.
That, in a nutshell is the secret of the middle-aged divorced human that occasionally allow themselves to dream because even though many of us come from imperfect marriages, there was still security that is now ripped away and we feel vulnerable. And then the reality of another Wednesday flashes in our eyes like a spotlight and we find ourselves traversing rush hour traffic, survive a few politically-charged meetings, perform good enough to impress the boss and rush home to work on our private endeavor that we hope, will one day airlift us out of the mouse wheel into a life where we can lie on the beach next to the super-hottie and vacillate between whether we should start the day with margaritas or martinis.
But we are grown, and we understand the difference between Eros and Pragma love. We know that it is better to gravitate to the dating apps that attempt to match people according to interests and personality profile. We dedicate ourselves to the mature search for a stable partner that will be the sober choice; who makes us happy, give us peace, and someone that our kids will tolerate. Someone that we would want to be with when old-age catches up with us and loyalty suddenly seems so much more important than excitement. That person that will stay by our side when we are in a hospital and when the jury is out on whether we will leave through the front or the back door. That one that will be there when we instinctively reach for their hand.
This is where I have to break formation and speak as a man because I know the experience is different for woman – being a man at this age is the crazy dichotomy of seeing the end and knowing we want to be with a good, reliable person, and also looking back in time – as in noticing someone younger than ourselves, and experiencing this crazy thought that we not only want to, but can be a partner to this younger woman. There have been many studies on what the respective genders consider to be the sexiest age for the opposite sex.
The results are disturbing: Heterosexual women consider men in their fifties to be the most attractive. Heterosexual men consider women in their thirties to be the most beautiful. This crazy evolutionary phenomenon manifests in real life and because most women at thirty are generally more mature than men in their thirties, having a relationship with someone two decades younger than us, seems like it could be possible. This is the junction where evolution and societal norms clash. Yes, times have changed, and I have some female friends in their fifties who dated men in their thirties. Perhaps the takeaway here is that we should not let society put limitations on love. Love, after all, at its core, is unexplainable.
Part 3 to follow: