The Hook Up: What Do I Say To Women on Tinder?

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Long-time lurker of your column, an excellent read by the way. I’m in my early 40s and single. The issue I have is that I’m not into the scene, clubbing, etc. The thing is I have little success with dating apps. I find that they are aimed more for women in their 20s. That’s great and everything but not so much for me as I don’t see myself as a viable, attractive asset to someone of that age. As flattering as it is, those who are (and I hate to say this) aren’t that mature conversationally (I sound like a snob) but that is something I’m attracted to. I’m starting to feel as though my options are small if at all in the dating scene because of my age. I’m starting to get a bit of a complex about it too; confidence isn’t the greatest for me at times. I am social in that I’m fit and active and I’m a member of clubs and things but I have yet to meet anyone that way. I just feel frustrated as I feel I have a lot to offer someone. I live in the UK, by the way. Any advice?—Too Old To Date

Dear TOTD,

Forgive me if this seems condescending—I don’t mean it to be—but I first have to ask if you are filtering your matches by age. It’s usually one of the first options asked by apps when setting up your account and can often be easily accessed in your account info. In Tinder, the option can be found in Settings. Here’s a screenshot:

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I agree that apps are generally geared toward a younger audience, but that doesn’t mean women in their forties aren’t also using them. You just have to look in the right places.

Just to be sure, I asked a representative from Her, who found that 16 percent of Her users in the UK are over 40. “This means that there are hundreds of thousands users in that age bracket on the app,” she wrote via email.

She also reiterated checking your age settings: “A good thing about Her is the filter settings: If you only want to interact with ladies closer to your age, you can set to only see users that are, for example, between the ages of 35 and 45.” So check those filters first and make sure your age range is set to your preferences, so you’re not unintentionally frustrating yourself.   

If you HAVE adjusted your settings and are still getting matched with babies, you might want to contact the apps customer support or try another one that might have better options.

Because the internet is vast and accommodating, there are, of course, other dating sites geared specifically to women in their forties who are queer and in the UK. I haven’t tried them, so take these with a grain of margarita salt, but here are a few options I found.

The first is the rather literal 40lesbian.co.uk. There’s also a Meetup group you might try called LOFT (Lesbians Over Forty in London) and a broader social meeting site that includes outings, meals, cultural activities, and networking called (appropriately) Gay Social Networking. At first glance, it seems geared more toward gay men, but a quick scroll through shows plenty of activities for women too, with pretty amazing titles, such as “Bitter Women (“for London women who love real ale”) and “That Dinner Thing – connecting gay women in London.”

Then there’s Pink Sofa, which includes online dating, friendship, and acts as a community hub. Another option is Out Everywhere, a site that organizes a bunch of different gay events, including paintballing, craft nights, go karting, murder mystery weekends, camping, and more traditional bar nights.

You don’t have to go clubbing or hit the bars in order to meet women who like women. You do have to put yourself out there, however, which it seems like you’re doing—staying active, belonging to clubs, and so on.

Dating is frustrating at all ages, from newbie to nursing home. And even though it may seem like the “scene” is mostly for the young and strong of knee, the truth is you’re never too old to date and fall in love.

Best of luck!

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