A slight slip of the typist's finger and a woman is shown to be 10 years younger than she actually is! This simple mistake allowed me a new view of the male mindset and also allowed me to think deeply about my own attitude and demeanor regarding aging.

A few years ago a young friend and I spent a rainy Sunday morning hiking a two-mile trail of waterfalls and wildflowers. As we hiked she began to tell me of her latest might-be-love.

Sarah told me she met him through an Internet dating site and urged me to sign up for the site's free trial. I admit she made the process sound very benign and the company well run, and reputable.

My friend wondered if I would be interested in taking the free seven-day trial on this Internet site because, as she said "...so far you haven't found anyone you want to date." Her statement had a ring of truth to it, except her reasoning assumed I had been looking for someone to date.

In truth, since my amicable divorce five years previous from my husband of 12 years, I'd been on a path of discovery, enrichment, fulfillment and enjoyment beyond anything ever dreamed. Therefore, I usually found myself taken aback when friends queried me as to why I had not dated in all that time.

At the end of our hike and our intimate conversation, I told my young friend "if someone fell out of the sky asking for a date, I suppose I would accept."

Driving back through the mist and rain, realizing I had nothing but a warm shower and a long lazy day before me, I decided to try the site when I returned home.

After entering the required personal statistics, I continued entering information such as the age range of my acceptable guy (50-70 years). Definitely not looking for an Adonis or Richard Gere type of fellow!

Very precisely I entered a description of myself. I felt it truthful without being too glossy. I then outlined the type of man I enjoyed being around. Again, very truthful with much leeway.

Hitting the "find my matches" button brought up 71 men! I was astounded. Scrolling through their "screen names" and the short one-sentence introduction, I found about a dozen men who intrigued me.

I checked the detailed profiles of these men, only momentarily surprised to find that most of them were less than 60 years old and the ideal woman for each of them ranged from 40-55. I tossed off the discrepancy between my age (62) and the age of the woman each of them desired as an aberration of the site, since much of their other profile information and desires meshed with mine.

I quickly sent short notes to nine of those men, telling them to look at my profile and see if they wanted to communicate further. Most of them responded within the hour. Open, friendly, sincere sounding men. Five others sent e-mails to me first and I replied.

That cloudy Sunday brought much more than a torrent of water into my life. I finally shut off the computer, but not my brain, at 3 AM.

The next day the communications flew back and forth. After pages of telling information from the men (their divorces, children, jobs, hopes, dreams, failures, passions, and vulnerabilities) I settled on five men I wanted to meet face to face.

Going through this "introduction" period gave me much to think about. In a way, I felt silly using the Internet to meet men. Then it dawned on me that I knew volumes more about each of these 12 men than I had known about any of my lovers before I allowed them into the deepest corners of my life. Ah ha! Maybe there was something to this after all.
Ray (56) and I met at a downtown restaurant the following Tuesday. His picture on the site showed a slightly balding man with a sweet smile and a bit of a potbelly. His ideal woman, according to the information on the site, would be 40-52 years old. Oh well, I assumed my profile and the attached picture had made him think he might be amenable to further friendly exchanges with a 62 year old woman. He communicated beautifully and I was anxious to meet him. Two hours later we said our good-byes to each other knowing we would continue to write and quite possibly, see each other again.

The next morning Bryon (58) and I met for breakfast. Bryon's ideal woman would be in the age range of 40-53. Again, I didn't think too much of this, for the same reasons as before. Bryon definitely looked much younger and more fit than any of the men whose pictures I had seen so far. We two talked for an hour and then I left for work.
Out on the sidewalk, Bryon asked if he could give me a hug and I consented. It felt very good to be held in a man's arms again, if only briefly.

The four-day whirlwind continued. That evening I drove south 40 miles to meet Robb who listed his age as 62 and his desired woman as 40-55. Robb was tall and athletic with a weathered face and silver hair. He owns a winery in California but lives most of the year in my state. At lunch Robb and I talked for over three hours. We had much in common, as well as many areas where one knew quite a bit and the other very little, but wanted to know more. Enthusiasm bubbled at our table.

Robb asked if I had any siblings. I told him I had a much-loved younger sister. He asked her age and when I responded "...almost 60" his rhetorical question came back "You mean, then, your older sister?" My blank look added more puzzle to his face. He told me then that my profile listed my age as 52. I know my face showed my astonishment.
I attempted to reconstruct the event of my entry onto the dating site. I remembered when I logged onto the site and typed in my vital statistics a red-lettered message popped up telling me of a problem with my birthday statistics. Old habits die hard. I worked in a medical laboratory over 20 years and I inadvertently typed the data the way we entered dates in medical charts: day, month, and year. I quickly backspaced and (assumed) I entered 04-15-1938.

That evening when I returned home, I looked at my profile data. I had actually typed in 03-15-1948!
The epiphany wasn't long in coming: the error of birth year and at long last, the realization of the reason I received so many matches. My embarrassment was overcome with the joke of it all. Of course, the consequences of my perceived deception soon set in. I then became very somber.
I took myself off of the free trial as soon as I returned home from my time with Robb. The flurry of writing and emotions bared was already becoming overwhelming and now with this age error in the open I just didn't want to deal with any of it anymore. My once calm and stress free life had taken on a buzz of activity which was not comfortable and didn't even seem to be heading toward any fulfillment.

Now, however, the real dilemma arose in this oh-so-foreign Internet dating melee. How to tell Bryon-someone I honestly felt I could care for on a long-term basis-that our relationship began on a dishonest note. As of this date I am convinced that I will tell him immediately, next time we meet. I can't bring myself to tell him via e-mail.

I hadn't heard from Ray. My usual way would be to send him a note of chatty talk and request continuation of our e-mail dialogue whether or not we see each other again. Now, though, I was reluctant to broach any additional conversation with him. I didn't like wondering how he would accept the fact that I was 10 years older than he thought. Call it Chicken Little thinking, but that's the truth.

I sent a tell-all e-mail to a man of 51 whose ideal woman reached way up into the stratosphere of 53 years old! I begged off of our two-weeks hence hiking date; I simply had to assume he wouldn't want our contact to continue.
Robb has not communicated with me since our nice lunch of a few days ago. It's possible he just doesn't feel he wants a woman of my personality in his life. It's possible he can't bring himself to date a woman over 60 years of age.

During this process, I read profiles of men 50-68 on the Internet site. Some of the photos posted showed sagging jowls, physiques round and flabby and balding pates. Yet for the most part none of these men wanted to communicate with a woman over 56! Except for my typing error, there would have been no dialogue with me by any of them.
This entire panoply of meeting new men via the Internet gave me much to think about. One area of enlightenment involved my new knowledge of the extremely good points to this type of introduction. There is no doubt that men open up much more via this channel than most of them ever would in an initial face-to-face meeting. One day I may become a trial-member again.

Looking back on the evening, I recall Robb laughed with me and appeared sincerely astounded at my true age, saying I didn't even look 50, much less 62. I admit that most of the time I agree with this assessment. Most of the time.
There are many days when I feel I look much older than my actual years and days when my body lets me know in no uncertain terms that I am definitely at least that age! Fortunately, those days are overshadowed every once in a while by the times when men less than half my age make a pass at me and women my age and younger fill my head with compliments about how young I look.

I had often been told I looked more like a woman of 45, maybe as much as 55. I glowed with these compliments. However, it seemed I always listened most intently to that small voice inside that told me those people simply didn't know what they were talking about.

Over those seven days I spent hours at my computer typing messages to virtual strangers, telling them about myself, children, family, adventures, hopes and dreams. The men too opened up their lives to me. I felt energized from all of the wonderful communication.

I found myself being a voyeur as I sat with the men I met via this Internet dating service. I watched myself be open, vital, opinionated, descriptive, vibrant, secure, and, sensual. I watched myself be someone I truly admired. I observed a woman who might seem too much woman for most men my age to handle. It's not something that comes with being a 62-year-old woman. It's something--some indescribable something--which many women develop when they are 30 to 40 years younger, ages when this "something" is much more acceptable. I simply took a long and winding path to get here. And while it felt wonderful to me then, and still does, to have finally reached this point, I know I may have to round the next bend in the road without a partner.

I began to scrutinize how I believe I appeared to men in my younger days. The shy and unsure girl of all those years ago presented herself as vulnerable, pliable, and willing.

The first man I married loved the childlike, awestruck, soft and gentle woman I seemed to be. I never questioned my husband's decisions, never argued with his opinions. There was no intent to deceive. I truly was naïve--about life and about my own intellect and ability. Our life took on a fairy-tale quality. He glowed with happiness, I shone with acquiescence.

Over two decades I evolved into an assertive woman who appeared to be confident in herself and sure of her motives. My husband stepped back as I took over every major decision, handled all household accounts, and disciplined our children.

Very soon, resentment set in. Resentment that all the work and worry was on my shoulders and resentment of my husband's inability to rein me in. Our marriage became an unhappy and hostile environment. I am aware that my actions and personality contributed 99% to our divorce.
Three years later I fell in total lust with a man I met at a business conference. He was brash, tense, opinionated, and sensual. We began an affair almost immediately upon our first meeting. Marriage a year later set us on a path of unbelievable emotional experiences and storied adventures of sailing and world travel.
As with the beginning of my first marriage, I accepted the role of demurring partner. It took no effort to fall back into that old script. This time around, however, I also knew the power of expressing my own feelings and when I opted to do so the resulting fury from my partner sent us to round after round of marriage counseling.
My love and admiration for this second husband overrode much of my need to voice differing opinions or question his reasoning. This subservience resulted in anxiety attacks and long dark times of resentful silence.
Neither of us knew how to escape the morass in which we found ourselves. Even though we both continued to love each other, our marriage died.

It's amazing how the omission of my role-playing parts has given me so much life-staying power. I am not who I purported to be 56 years ago. I am not who I fashioned myself to be 20 years ago. I continue to evolve, grow and learn.

I feel very, very comfortable with my life as it is now. Comfortable enough to unzip my skin and bare my soul and sure footed enough to know that I don't need to have a man in my life to show me the road to happiness.

There are times when I do yearn for a partner walking beside me on these last pathways, sharing the joys and eventual sorrows, holding my hand and welcoming my touch.

Click here to see how to tell if a guy likes you.

Author's Bio: 

Torsi is a professional blogger.