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A single woman’s luck in online dating at 40

How being divorced and a quadragenarian is no bar in the new-age world of dating apps.

March 04, 2023 / 12:33 PM IST
Representational image. (Photo: Pratik Gupta viz Unsplash)

Representational image. (Photo: Pratik Gupta viz Unsplash)

Have you ever been called pulchritudinous? Well I have, and that too on a dating app. And before you think it is some form of disease, let me clarify that it simply translates to beautiful. I can just imagine the 20-something boy with that loft of hair on his head googling away synonyms of "beautiful" or "pretty" just to appear more mature to a woman much older to him.

Because that’s me, dear readers — single, divorced and in her 40s, trying to navigate her way through the world of dating apps — okay, just one app, but you get the point. I don’t think I can handle more than one at the moment.

It started from a place of great reluctance. “I don’t know if I am ready to date anyone yet” or “I am too old-fashioned for dating apps. If I meet someone organically, that’s another matter,” I would tell friends who tried their best to talk me into joining one.

Of course, I am not so "old-fashioned" that I think one can’t date in their 40s or even much later. Quite a few of my friends have found love much later in their lives and a few have even settled down to enjoy marital bliss. But dating apps? Well, that’s another ball game altogether.

Or so, it seemed. All it took was a lengthy chat on a lazy Saturday afternoon with a wiser and experienced friend who told me to stop being so judgemental, for me to download one of the apps she suggested. “If you don’t like what you are seeing, you can always delete the app, but keep an open mind,” she advised.

Downloading the app and putting together my profile wasn’t as daunting a task as I’d imagined. There are a number of prompts that let you choose the information you want to share about yourself. It helps, as I found out later, to hear the other person’s voice and so, there are voice prompts as well as videos you may want to share. For now, I was good with the regular text information.

For the main picture, I selected one where the streak of grey in my hair is clearly visible — it’s something I have never shied away from, why should I now? From my favourite travel memory to what a typical Sunday looks like for me, I shared some nuggets of information on my profile, along with a couple of images to give a better insight into my personality.

I would never judge someone for dating someone older or younger than them. To each their own, I believe. The age filters help you narrow it down to the bracket you’re looking at. But honestly, from the little interaction I’ve had over the past few days, age seems to have little to do with maturity. From being asked by someone in his late 40s about my likes and dislikes in bed — on the first day of chatting, mind you — to being told by another quadragenarian that I am a “triple threat” because of my “chubby cheeks, alluring smile and beautiful eyes” — some of the remarks have left me chuckling and facepalming simultaneously.

I’d be lying if I said that some of the comments didn’t make me blush. If I ever need an ego-boost, then I know where to go and look — that’s all I’m saying!

On the other hand, there are also some insightful conversations with men who have a lot more than just sex on their minds. Theatre, food, books, travel, movies, music — there are things you bond over just like you would if you were to bump into someone new at a bar or a café in reality. You don’t have to get into a romantic relationship with any of them, but it sure is good knowing that there are so many others like you out there who are looking to form a connection. Divorced men, single men, men who are single parents or co-parenting and even some married ones — I don’t want to compare men to fish but you get the drift.

And guess what, and here’s the fun part. As a single woman in her 40s, dating can be quite an adventure, too. Forget what you want, you’re absolutely clear about what you don’t want. You can spot the red flags from a mile away!

Staying alone and single also means you have found your mojo in your daily routine. Do I really want to stay up all night chatting with someone when I could be lying in my bed with a glass of wine and Netflixing? Not yet and until I do — and it’s really okay if I don’t either — it just feels nice to enjoy the process. As my wise friend remarked — there is something quite special about having new hope in your 40s.

Deepali Singh is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist who writes on movies, shows, music, art, and food. Twitter: @DeepaliSingh05
first published: Mar 4, 2023 12:33 pm