We don't like to even call them dates," says Michael Waxman, 26, co-founder and CEO of Grouper, which launched last year in New York. "The younger men were primarily interested in sex and the older men were primarily interested in having somebody take care of them," she says.
"People of my generation, in our 20s, think a one-on-one date — especially a blind date — can be a lot of pressure. By early next year, it aims for 10 more cities in the USA and Canada and will add London.
We've found most of our relationships — whether romantic relationships or just friends — happen a little more organically. "I cringe a little when people describe it as online dating," Waxman says. The typical experience for a Grouper member is to spend about five minutes on our website and about two hours at a bar with your friends." Online dating industry consultant Mark Brooks, who has worked for many such sites, including POF (Plentyoffish), says the AARP move into dating seems smart. "Most dating sites skew toward guys, with more guys than women. Being a 75-year-old single man is the equivalent of being a 21-year-old hottie." That's good news for AARP member Judith Schwartz, 65, of Clermont, Fla., an IT consultant and adjunct professor of computer science who began online dating after her husband died in 2008.
But now the order is reversed: a growing number of sites are geared to helping users plan offline activities to size each other up and decide if they've got chemistry.
Most dating websites used to focus on helping singles get acquainted with extended online communication before meeting face-to-face.
The AARP partnership with How About We is part of the broader evolution under way among dating websites to focus more on the elusive ingredient that the online environment has never been able to provide: a reality check.