Louisa Whitehead-Payne, High50's dating columnist has been detailing her romantic exploits since her husband ran off with the proverbial younger woman. Here, she outlines her tips for how to write that crucial dating profile. It matters!
1. There is no alternative to going online to meet someone in your 50s. Well, a solitary old age, I suppose, but if you really want to get together with someone, there is almost no chance you will meet them in real life. Friends don't introduce you, and the two or three single guys you will happen across in everyday situations are very unlikely to float your boat.
In three years, not one friend introduced me to anyone. Men seem to have a little more luck in this department, as women want to find men for their friends to get together with more than the other way round.
Delightful Dick (my current consort) was introduced to two people: with one there was no spark and the other shocked him rigid, and not in a good way, with obscene remarks at their first meeting at the mutual friend's dinner table. So, since real life is not going to deliver, embrace the web, brace yourself and get on with it.
2. You have a memory of dating that is of a more attractive, younger you and more attractive, younger dates. So seeing and meeting people in their 50s is something of a shock.
If you are female, you most likely won't be getting attention from men that are much younger than you, unless you go on cougar websites. The truth hurts, but the sooner you suck it up, the more successful you will be.
3. Learn the rules of Internet dating so you get the biggest choice. It's first and foremost a numbers game. For every hundred people that don't suit you, there will only be one or two that will. And scrolling through all these "un-suitables" can get depressing. You have to be prepared to spend time and effort on it. Two to three hours a week is what it takes to get any results.
4. Pick a site that you think is likely to have a high proportion of the kind of people you like and the kind of relationship you want. There are a lot of them. Do some research before you sign up to one and it will pay back the investment.
5. When you create your profile, present yourself at your bestest best. The single biggest success factor is your profile picture headshot. Many people scrolling through the site do not look further than this, so it really matters. Feminine and pretty if you are a woman. Smart and handsome if you are a man.
Men go on looks and only read your profiles if they like what they see. Cruel but true. Get a good pic taken, if you don't have one. It pays in spades.
6. Choose an alluring 'upmarket' pseudonym. I chose my nickname, Lizza, but when I met my batch of dates, they told me they had dismissed me initially as they expected me to be downmarket. Think how many I missed just because of this.
A friend who called himself Voyager, because he liked traveling, had to change it when he got too many Star Trek fans for comfort. So think of all possible things suggested by your chosen name before deciding.
7. As a woman, you have to lie about your age because most men are looking for younger women. So to get a man of the age you want interested, I think it's worth lying. Many women do. Wrong -- maybe, but just saying.
I'd recommend telling them the truth if the relationship develops, in case you end up with a second 50th birthday, like one woman I know. It all came out on the night and her chap, who had thrown the party for her, dumped her. And I can't say I blame him. And men, the ladies might be a little older than they claim, so be prepared!
8. Fill out your profile in full. I didn't consider any man who hadn't bothered to fill out his profile properly as it suggested he wasn't that serious about dating.
9. A profile full of slang, typos and bad grammar is off-putting. Sloppy lazy people are not attractive. I can't see that there are many people out there for whom it would add allure, so it's best to take the trouble over it.
10. How you write is as critical as what you say about yourself because it is more revealing about your personality. I think a self-deprecating sense of humor was the biggest thing I found attractive in a man's profile.
11. Get a friend to check your profile. Ask someone who has dated online and knows the game - preferably of the opposite sex - to check your profile. Act on their suggested improvements. Then post it and get active online.
12. Grow a thick skin for the next stage. It's brutal.
Read all our dating articles at High50:
Datings Tips For Men - By A Man Who Was Suddenly Single After 28 Years