What’s it like looking for love when you’re over 50? For those who are single and entering the dating arena, the idea may seem scary. But, not necessarily. Joanna Charnas, a full-time social worker, and author chronicles some of her dating encounters in her book A Movie Lover’s Search for Romance.
Charnas, who was born in New York City and now lives in San Diego is honest and open about her many experiences using dating apps, personal ads, meetups, and meeting men the old-fashioned way. She started writing the book at age 45 after her divorce. Now 60, and after many hits and misses, she still enjoys the hunt, is comfortable with her sexuality, and has no qualms seeking new and exciting relationships.
Marriage isn’t necessarily the goal
Although marriage-to the elusive Mr. Right is still a possibility, it’s not a requirement As an older woman who has lived in her own home for 20 years, she’s perfectly happy to remain there with limited sleepovers.
Obstacles in finding romance online
If you grew up in the 60s and 70s you may have been part of the free-love revolution when relationships were casual, and we didn’t have a care in the world. But things have changed since then. For one thing, STDs are on the rise for Baby Boomers who no longer have to worry about pregnancy. As Joanna mentions in my video interview of her at the bottom of this post, if a date refuses to wear a condom, they can just wait.
What’s it like dating with masks?
I haven’t jumped back into the dating scene yet after losing my partner this year, so it’s hard to imagine what online dating must be like during the pandemic. My daughter, who is in her early thirties, has been doing it and says it’s challenging but it’s got to be even more so when you’re in a high-risk age group?
Joanna’s tips to search for romance online
I asked her what dating apps she likes. She said she uses them all but hates them. The one she’s been using lately is Bumble because it’s “quick, easy, free, and women-centered.” Online dating is really hit or miss, and you have to be discerning. Here are her recommendations for the best experience:
- Make a list of things that are not going to work for you and the things you want your date to have. For example, in her online profile, she filters out those who are conservative, super outdoorsy or don’t have a college degree. (she has a Master’s) If she meets someone in person those preferences may not matter but she wants the best possible outcome when she’s using online apps.
- If the person isn’t smiling in their photo, why bother meeting them?
- Be safe when you meet someone new. Joanna will not meet anyone unless she can arrive and leave in daylight.
- Trust your instincts even if they don’t make any sense because they’re almost always correct.
Movies are her escape
When a relationship goes bad, or she just wants to chill out, Joanna goes to the movies. She’s a huge movie buff. Occasionally, she’s found dates who share that love.
A Movie Lover’s Search for Romance is a fun and easy to read.
My Interview with Joanna Charnas
Joanna and I met on Zoom. At the time I was at my daughter’s apartment babysitting her dog while she flew across the country (during the pandemic) for a wedding. So please excuse my COVID isolation hair (getting grayer every day) no makeup, and itchy nose. Joanna, on the other hand, looked perfect.
R: I know you’ve been working as a social worker. What made you decide to write a book on romance?
J: It wasn’t a conscious decision at the beginning. I had done several drafts of my first book, Living Well with Chronic Illness, and was just letting it rest so I can give it a fresh look. At the time, I had this weird, strange, disturbing crush on Adrian Brody who starred in The Pianist. Even though I’ve always been passionate about movies for over 30 years, I never had this kind of crush.
So, I wrote about it to amuse myself and sort of process it and sent it to various family members to amuse them, and I got such a positive response. I also had a crush on a friend of my father’s which was also strange, but not disturbing. That was just delightful and I wrote about that. And, when I read it to my dad because I was very open with my father, he said, “You know, you should really publish that.”
Then I started this bizarre, not really bizarre, but a whirlwind year of dating and I just started writing about it as a way of processing my feelings and for fun. I sent it out to family members and they really liked it. About half-way through I thought, maybe I have another book here.
Please listen to the rest of this fun interview and some of her dating stories in the video below.
Have you been searching for romance lately? Tell us about your experiences by leaving a comment below: