My glass was scarcely clinked before my online date asked:’ Guess my age ?’

Before they met, Keren Levys date told her he was 54. He turned out to be much older and not even the fact that he claimed his biological age was 48 could save the evening

His profile painting had been on the studied side; suited and staring into the middle distance. It was one of those photos that could prove to be entirely accurate or fall into a dread category known to online daters in which the frozen ego bears little or no similarity to what strolls through the door. But there was a fluency and confidence to his writing that I had liked. At 54, he was five years my senior. It was worth a shot. We agreed to meet.

In retrospect, his email follow-up, setting out not only the time and place but also a detailed request for my drink order was on the pedantic side( a friend put it squarely into old-fart province ). But I had considered it to be getting the admin out of the way. Protracted awaiting at the bar with person you have never met can be excruciating.

On the night, in strolled a human in a polo neck. We are talking 70 s casual rather than cat burglar, but it could have been retro.

It wasn’t.

My glass was barely clinked before he asked,” Can you guess my age ?”

It wasn’t the opener I had anticipated. Neither was the glee in his question. There was a need for an answer. Satisfying him in person, I had thought he was probably nearer 60 than he had said, so I hedged it with” late 50 s “. This was the cue he’d been waiting for. Evidently delighted, he announced:” I am 70.” It had the feeling of a declaration.

I was frightened. To be an older man is not a crime. But I was processing a 16 -year shift in the “facts”, full wine glass in hand, in a crowded bar, with no obvious escape road. The John McEnroe-style (” You cannot be serious !”) answer that sprang to mind ran unsaid. And we were only at the start. We were heading towards the quieter part of the bar where, he said, we could” hear ourselves guess “.

My hearing, my listening as it proved to be. This was a case of leaving the hubbub for something like a seminar. There is probably the standard rules about not casting about for other dates when you are on one but I couldn’t help but notice a relatively youthful Trevor Eve, seated at the next table, as we left it. Waking the Dead seemed both apposite, and a further loss, in the space of moments.

My companion was settling in. Leaning back into his chair, he explained his reasoning.” I seem younger than my age and, had I told it to you in advance, you would never have agreed to meet .”

” You’re damn right I wouldn’t ,” I heard myself say. More Bette Davis than 2017 dating-speak but this type of reveal would bring out the theatrical in most.

He elaborated; he was ” extremely fussy” about who he agreed to meet. Most failed on grounds of spelling, seems or assorted qualifications he found to be lacking. Did I have any notion how lucky I was to have got through the first cull? I said I was fast getting one.

An image of my sofa, and of getting back home to the last, critical 20 minutes of House of Cards was becoming a real potential where reference is would like to know whether I would like to know his “biological” age.

I said I knew it: 70.

Apparently not. A raft of medical exams( heart, lungs- and let’s not go there) said otherwise. I feared there might be slides. “Biologically”, he was 48. Lest I required further assurance, he was, he added “Oxbridge”, and in top physical sort. Merely the week before, he had been racing his seven-year-old son across the beach. Something in the stress on “seven” hinted at the uncomfortable message that the “equipment” still ran.” My ex-wife is less than you are ,” came by way of the clincher.

At this point, I headed to the loo( easier than i thought route to receipt of 10 minutes of text messages saying ” get yourself out of there “) and constructed my exit soon afterwards, with not even a sneak peak at Trevor. It was an evening to walk away from.

Casting back to when I had toyed with the idea of joining a dating bureau, I had been warned that I would need to be willing to meet men up to 10 years my senior. In fact, I have found, from my mid-4 0s, the options have narrowed in the context of peers but extended at the extremes. It took me until the end of my 40 s to be favoured by 28 -year-olds( that is never going to work for me however many times people cite Joan Collins ), and the over-6 5s.

But it was this man’s assumption that had thrown me. Where the alteration of a few years might have been more reasonable, I wasn’t comfy with a skipped generation.

Is there ever an acceptable level of lie, about age? A friend, having bestowed with men and women dating online, said:” We expect humen to be truthful. They anticipate we may’ knock a few years off ‘.” That there is a perceived want by either to do this is a whole other outrage. But I think it is a fair representation.

I have “lost” two years from my stated age on a dating profile in the past. Friends were divided about this. One felt I seemed younger than my years and that to country my real age could conjure an image that was inaccurate and mean I was discounted from a search. Online, we are data first. Others felt no good could come of a lie.

There are arguable degrees of misrepresentation. This human had outstripped mine.

And at the last seem he is still on the site- not having aged a bit.

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