Single Men of a Certain Age

Single Men of a Certain Age


Los Angeles single, Tom Bunzel, says single men over 50 want no part in the so-called “fun” things that single women want them to do.

Single Men of a Certain Age

Dear Ladies:

I’m a single man over 50 and I’ve been reading your online dating profiles. I get the idea — you love travel and adventure, you’re high energy and always doing something “fun.”

Here is the crux of the problem:

What you consider fun and what I consider fun are two different things.

Trust me, I’ve had my share of “fun” in my life and I don’t have a whole lot to show for it.

A lot of my fun has cost me brain cells, threatened my liver, brain and life, cost me a fortune in airfare, hotels and therapy, and convinced me that inner peace is where it’s at. Frequently, fun has cost me dearly in terms of drama, anxiety, guilt, confusion and cash. My go-go-go has gone-gone-gone.

Activities that you deem to be “fun” invariably involve one or more of the following: getting up early, driving long distances, getting stuck in traffic, dealing with crowds and jammed parking lots, loud kids and Gen-X jerks, and making small talk with strangers. Examples of places I avoid assiduously include Disneyland, Universal City, boat parades, tree lighting ceremonies and flash mobs.

Oh sure, I have great memories but let’s deal honestly with present day reality.

These days, a good day is getting up without a stiff back, hitting a few winners in tennis, having my cat curl up on me when I nap, and no people ahead of me with coupons in the express lane at the market. A good game on TV, after dinner, is icing on the cake.

I know — you want to “live life to the fullest.” Here’s how I see it.

Let’s take travel. All of you LOVE to travel…  For me, travel means leaving the comfort of my shower, bathroom, bed, couch, and big screen TV for the hassle of at least two airports, scrunched into a seat next to oversized humans, hearing screaming kids, renting a car and then being charged a resort rate and parking fees.

As soon as I leave home, every time I need to pee is an adventure whether I’m on the road or on a plane. In the air, the period between takeoff and the no seat belt sign being turned off feels like an eternity, and if I get up too soon, the flight attendant may tell the pilot there’s a terrorist on board.

Sure, when I travel, I might meet some new friends or reconnect with family, but I’m just as likely to be bored and trapped with people I have no desire to be with or talk to. At home I can pick my friends — on vacation I have to be nice. It’s a really bad deal.

When I get to the destination, since you’re high energy, I’ll also be expected to do “fun” things like scale the waterfall, take a tour and tip the tour guide, buy souvenirs, take photos and “do what the locals do.”

Truly, I don’t give a damn.  And let’s face it, most of the locals are trying to get off their boring island and get to the big city that you insisted we needed to leave. I don’t want to listen to any freaking mariachis, steel drums or Polynesian music and be forced to get up and do the hula or the limbo.

If you let me read in the hammock and swim in the pool, and maybe flirt a little at the pool bar, I’m good with that.  But I can do that in Vegas and I don’t have to pack or deal with the airport.

Or better yet, let me just stay home where there are Trader Joe’s, friendly restaurants and satellite TV.

Here is the other thing. Everything you think is “fun” costs money. I don’t know how much longer I am going to live but I do know how much longer I want to work — and the answer is not much.

Sure I used to be able to make a decent living by having lunch, traveling and hobnobbing, but most of those jobs are gone. These days you have to bust your balls 24/7 and your boss is half your age.

Even if I’m not quite retired now, I have to plan for my future. I have no interest in being a greeter at Wal-Mart. I’d rather play tennis and collect Social Security. Since the stock market is a gamble, and the banks are paying zilch, I need to watch what I spend, which means I’ll use discounts, coupons and cut corners wherever possible. I may even ask you to chip in. You don’t like that.

So what do I think is “fun”?

I like to be quiet, think, have bantering conversations about interesting ideas and eat good food (not necessarily at a trendy fun spot). And yes, I like to take long naps and watch TV.

If I am going to socialize, it’s generally to eat, be sarcastic, or chase inappropriate women.

Sure, I also like warmth, affection and sex when I am excited, and I am more than willing to do what I can to get you excited — and I fully realize that that might take a while — that it might mean holding hands, hearing about your day and going out for several weeks while I play the gentleman.

And it might even include having the kind of “fun” that you like. I am not close-minded or opposed to the concept. And I even have some emergency cash socked away in case the “let’s have fun together” feeling is mutual.

But please don’t make me wear costumes, stupid hats or sing karaoke more than once a year. And indulge me if I want to engage in my very favorite activity — not doing a damn a thing.

Copyright © Tom Bunzel/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.

Tom Bunzel

Tom Bunzel is a speaker and nonfiction writer in high tech, and a consultant and technology coach in the fields of digital video, multimedia, presentations and social media. He has taught at Learning Tree International, West LA College Extension and privately. His most recent book is “Tools of Engagement: Presenting and Training in a World of Social Media.” His web site is and his blog is

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11 thoughts on “Single Men of a Certain Age

  1. Tom,

    Well done! Now, you do realize that you don’t have to indulge those who’ve commented. Why waste time on them or give them space? You’ve made it quite clear where you stand and you don’t deserve to be targeted by these unhappy creatures. Where do they ever get the idea they must get their way at any cost? (It’s a rhetorical question – it’s from each other).

    All you women who’ve commented, think. You’ve been through all the available guys and now you’re scratching at the unavailable guys.

    Desperation much? You’re the creator of your own unhappiness and you’d do well to take a lesson from Tom’s book and accept the reality with good grace. Whatever you think you’re coming across as, you’re wrong. You’re coming across as bitter harpies, infuriated that you’re expected to moderate your behavior when with someone.

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  3. Tom has a point,
    As a single 50ish man myself, divorced for many years, and currently in the dating scene, I have seen the women he describes, the ones who seem to always be “on the go” and never satisfied with some quiet time at home, or simpler forms of “fun”.
    Most always these are the ones who live “day to day” and “paycheck to paycheck”, renting instead of owning, little support in any type of retirement savings (common statement I hear..” I will have to work the rest of my life”) and holding large sums of credit card debt (oh, whats $10K in credit card debt, everybody’s got it”).
    You can criticize him, but he has his priorities, and a smart head on his shoulders
    BTW………I have “fun”………riding my Jet Skis and Motorcycle, driving my old Classic Chevy, attending the local festivals and events,………….but I have a budget and utilize the TV in an equal fashion ……..with no need to play the part of a “world traveler” to enjoy life…..

  4. In the past year I have written a book, published my mother’s memoirs, taken three trips, played tennis regularly, swam during the summer and put on a conference of spiritual leaders at the Gateway Portal. I couldn’t have done any of this if I had let myself become distracted and drained by living up to or meeting others’ expectations of what I should be doing. And yes, taking a nap has also helped. My intent in writing this piece is just to shake things up a bit and make people–and yes mainly women–take a step back and consider what all of this frantic seeking for external experiences costs them, and how it affects some men. (Apprarently not Michael Sheehan). To me the fun is exploring ideas and challenging conventional wisdom. If that cuts me off a bit that’s a shame (thanks Susan Shatz for standing up for me). And yes Amy, a nurse would be nice and Dot I wish you well with the younger men if that makes you happy but I’m actually found a nice balance between being a monk and going to Jarrett’s to buy jewelry to keep someone happy. Happy holidays!

  5. Thanks for your comment, Rhona,
    Maybe I should clarify–my parents were married for almost 40 years and my father is my role model and hero. He took my mom around the world, but it was never because she expected it; it was because he loved her and wanted to share that experience.
    I would do the same with a woman I loved–but not on the first date.
    When i came to L.A. I dated a woman I liked a lot and she bugged me to go to Vegas with her roommate and her boyfriend. I could barely afford the weekend and the car ride was an eternity but it was all right–but no sooner were we home than she began bugging me to get tickets to the Eagles…
    I realized right then that marriage to her (which she was also bugging me about) would be one endless set of expectations that needed to be met–a treadmill I wasn’t getting on.
    There are two dimensions to the notions of wanting to travel and living life to the fullest that I find problematic, and that I think turn off men:
    1) That every moment has to be full of excitement and stimulation–believe me, I’m all for a good time but I’m not looking to get on a nonstop ride–I want a partner and
    2) There is the implied suggestion that the man is supposed to provide both the means and the energy for all of these “adventures” and that if he can’t or won’t he’s not worth it.
    My mother didn’t marry my father to be her entertainment center. They were partners and built a life together based on mutual respect, not a set of expectations that one put on the other.
    If you want to go to Paris a year after I fall in love with you, I will knock myself out to make it happen. But if you expect me to take you to a five star hotel shortly after we meet so you can brag about it to your girlfriends, I am not getting on that ride.
    I’ll just add that unfortunately travel is no picnic these days and I want a partner who is REALISTIC about what it entails. I have travelled a lot and know my way around the block (I can get around Paris speaking French), but I won’t be going hiking in Iran anytime soon.

  6. That was interesting. This is very eyeopening but I guess your ideas sound very different to me. I understand fun things are not your bag anymore but you might have to narrow your search for women who like less exciting things. I don’t know one young woman who would like to nap all of the time and sit and talk and not travel etc, etc. You have done that and been there but if you are looking for a younger woman, sorry but most of us do not want what you like to do right now. In any case, this is the sort of lifestyle I guess I will crave when I am around your age…..but hopefully not…in the nicest of ways.

  7. Theresa, my joie de vivre is intact. I’m just a lot happier not chasing external fulfillment and succumbing to the pressures of bring me, take me, buy me show me. I just don’t understand the preoccupation with being impressed by doing a bunch of stuff that is essentially meaningless. I can still appreciate a beautiful moment and sunset or a fine meal, but what I really cherish is peace and quiet.

  8. Oh Tom … whatever happened to your “joie de vivre”?! I hope you get your groove back, or nobody will want to date you :)

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