I’ve thought about doing this for nearly a year. I guess there’s no time like the present . . .
First, a little information about me. (One thing I need to state upfront. I am brutally honest, so if I shock or offend, don’t be surprised–you’ve been warned.) I am a former romance writer. I wrote historical romance novels in the 90s, then left writing to raise a family. In 2004 I became a flight attendant, first for America West, then US Airways and now American. (Gotta love love those airline mergers!) In 2013, after a 34-year marriage, my husband and I separated. Two years later we divorced. Two months after that he died, and I spent the next year looking for the comfort of a label. Was I a widow, a divorcee– a didow? On the one year anniversary of my divorce, I realized it didn’t matter. What I was was alone. And I didn’t want to be. Upon the urging of my middle son I signed up for an online dating site. (My youngest son had met his wife on Match, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.)
During the six months I was online, I wrote a book. Entitled WINK: A Single at Sixty’s Odyssey Guide to Life, Love and Online Dating, WINK is a hybrid–a self-help “how-to” and “do-not do” for women over 40 who think love might be a mere mouse click away and a humor memoir chronicling my own journey down the rabbit-hole that is dot.com dating. I’ve been told by friends who have read it, it’s hysterical. My dermatologist claims she peed her pants it was so funny. (She wants to know why writing isn’t my profession. I’d like to know too.) My ex-editor from my romance days, however, thinks it may be a little too “snarky.” A few agents and editors I’ve contacted claim 1.) books about online dating have been done, 2.) there are too many already published, or 3.) there is no market. (As far as #1 and #2, I’ve looked. I don’t know where they are. Yes, there numerous ebooks [40-100 pages] relaying some thirty-something-year old’s drinking dating disasters or a few so-called “ultimate guides” to online dating for women starting over at 40, 50 and beyond. [ultimate —and it’s 47 pages long???? Sorry, snarky showing.]
As far as rejection reason #3 . . . I think they’re wrong. I don’t think anyone truly realizes the number of 40+ single women who are out there, fed up with trying to online date or struggling to find themselves after starting over. The brutal truth is this: After a certain age women become invisible. As far as dating, they are an undesirable commodity. Men their own age are looking at younger. (Statistics say men online are looking for 13 years younger! ) And as far as older–oh, hell to the no! I don’t know about you, ladies. But this is one gal who had a two year run of young (37, 39, 42, 45). The thought of a 70-something-year-old (remember that 13 year preference!) . . . Let’s just say I’ll head to Kinkos first for a “closed for celibacy” sign before that ever happens. But that’s me.
But I don’t think it’s just me. The fact that most editors and agents in publishing are 30-something may (or may not) be a factor. But I work with literally thousands of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. My purview is a damn sight clearer. Moreover, women are hard-wired to share. We seek the comfort of community and the shelter of commonality. Consequently we gravitate toward those with similar experiences–that “Crap! That happened to me!” reaction or “OMG! I thought I was the only one that felt like that!” relief.
Ergo this blog. Prove me wrong, ladies. Or let me know if you agree.