QOTW: “When Does the Age Thing Get Ridiculous?”

Got a letter from a follow of this blog (not the man pictured here) with a question about age and online dating. Thought this is a good time to get all of you involved with giving him some answers!

Dear Christelyn:

I am a white man who has dated interracially on and off all my life – my first GF in high school was black!  It wasn’t intentional – I was an awkward skinny teenage boy who had no idea how to talk to girls.  But she approached me!  It was wonderful.  Here I am years later, single again and I found your site about 3 years ago and have been following you ever since.  It has been a terrific experience reading your topics and all the comments.  We are never too old to learn and one of the best ways is open discussion.  So thank you for all you are doing and for the forum you are offering.
I’ve been on the general dating sites and the interracial sites and I have a question I’d like to see as a topic so I can read the thoughts expressed during the discussion.  The topic is the “age range” that women choose in their online dating profiles.  Wow, would I like some insight as to what women are thinking there.  All I have to reference is my own thinking.  For example, in my profile, I sometimes left it as the “default” of 18-99.  Do I want an 18 year old?  No!  But I do want to cast a wide net.  More importantly, I ponder what that looks like to women.  I hope that seeing the default tells them that I am open, that age is just a number, that “age range” is not a consideration.  Now, sometimes I will try to set an age range but still cast a wide net such as 10 years before my age and 10 years after my age.  Or, 15 and 15.  I definitely want someone I can communicate with and relate to, so too young wouldn’t work for me.  But I find the whole age range thing off-putting for myself and confusing and wonder what women are thinking.
Topic:  As far as what woman use for an age range:
  • What do you put as an age range?
  • How did you decide what to put as an age range?
  • Are you inflexible?
    • For example, if an inquiry is outside your date range do you just delete the message?  Or, do you politely respond that they are outside the desired range?
  • How flexible are you?
    • For example, if you are 40 and you put 35-45 are you really going to turn down in inquiry because the man is 46?  Or 34?  If yes, why?  If no, what is your criteria for making exceptions?
  • Do you find inquiries outside your age range offensive?  
    • I have had mixed results messaging women where I am outside their date range. Here are some responses:
      • No response
      • Polite reply that she is not interested because I am one year outside her range
      • Happy responses that like my profile and continue the discussion (at that point I don’t dare ask why she had made me an exception LOL)
      • Happy responses saying her age range was a few years old and is no longer valid
      • Angry rejections
I do not want to bother anyone if I don’t fit her critieria but the age range thing, while mathmatically measurable, seems to be as subjective as any other, non-measurable, critieria.
I realize I might be in “over thinking it” territory here but I sure would love to see a discussion on your site on this specific topic.
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