As one who shudders when she inputs her age in her on-line dating profile, I must protest. While we often hear the comment, “Age is just a number”…what a difference the exact digits makes. Recently I tried on-line dating as a last ditch effort to increase the number of men I was able to meet (outside my local gym). Having met my romantic partners in the health clubs for the last 30 years I came to the sad realization that writing is indeed a solitary profession and dating requires some effort on my part.

The image of the lone writer striving to put their heightened ideals onto paper seems virtuous and noble. Oh, so romantic is its seclusion. And, oh, how profound is the very same seclusion. Yet, in reality, this type of profession involves hours of sole confinement, both boring and tedious. The concept of solitude in one’s home or apartment with the computer as the only touchstone to humanity suddenly pales in comparison to human contact. Therefore, the idea of on-line dating appeared an intriguing divergence. Why not enter the modern world of contact and context? Is it possible to connect from a state of privacy to become more connected to the greater world of humans?

Feeling more Howard Hughes than ‘Sex in the City,” I tried this modern approach. OMG. Reality check…I found myself paired with men of little means and little lives on Medicare. The visual realization of my “age currency” sent me into a two-day depression. Are these the men to whom I am to be linked? Men with less monetary worth than I had in High School and fewer dreams and goals than I had at age 6? Am I to consider myself lucky to be desired by decrepit broken men who look at me with a skewed eye as they judge each wrinkle and fault the years I’ve lived and loved? And am I to believe that this is the truth of who I am and my real worth? And, should I be thankful that they might accept me on the premise that I have context and value and are willing to overlook the years it’s taken to become this person?

For any woman of “a certain age” who is entering this horrific terrain of valuation, I can state clearly age isn’t just a number. It’s the determination of one’s value and worth. While I secretly know the sweetness of committed loving relationships with much younger men than the world could possibly fathom, am I now to settle for those who are willing to graciously accept me for the heightened digits that follow my on-line profile name?

We think (and hope) we have evolved as a society. Yet, have we? Are women still only valued on the digits they possess? Haven’t we come to a time and place where we’re finally free of this nonsense? And if not, how may we now proceed in a world that sees us as less, when we know ourselves to be more?

Perhaps the answer lies in the hearts of those who truly see us, the men who look at us as complete individuals. It is those men; those astounding and magnificent men to whom I must thank for reminding me who I “really am” in a world that would see me as less. In a world where my digits are everything I need to thank the younger men who have loved me when they didn’t expect to do so. I graciously thank the men who have seen my value and overlooked many lines on my face that it took to create the woman that I am now. I thank all of you…the amazing and evolved younger men who have seen more in me because you, were more yourselves. Without you, I would be relegated to the barbarism of the cheap pick-up lines of men who live in their mother’s basement in Queens and reluctantly concede to consider me due to the fact that I am “age appropriate.”