As a single woman over 50 the world of online dating is an interesting place. I swore off Tinder earlier in the year, over the nights where profiles of handsome, interesting men my age, or thereabouts, were rare; over the nights where the only people you'd strike up any kind of conversation with were boys young enough to date your children, when, in your desperation you'd lowered your age range to dangerous levels.
So I was intrigued to see the launch of Lumen, a dating app dedicated to over 50s. It launched in Australia this week, already boasting 20,000 members in Australia - with more than 300,000 worldwide since it launched in the UK in September 2018.
There are more than 2.3 million single people over 50 in Australia and Lumen recognised a lot of them were missing out on connections.
Charly Lester, co-founder of Lumen, has been working in the dating field for about six years, as dating editor at TheGuardian (hmm, how can I convince The Canberra Times we need a dating editor?), global head of dating at Time Out, and chief executive and founder of The Dating Awards, which focus on safety and customer service in the online dating industry. Along with Antoine Argouges, who had worked for Badoo and Bumble, the pair identified a key market.
"One of the most common questions I was being asked, my friends would say, ‘My parents just divorced, what dating site or app would you recommend for my mum?' " Lester says.
"I had no answer for them. There was nothing tailored for them. Or people, particularly women, were having really miserable experiences on them because one of the biggest problems is that quite often men date significantly younger than them.
"If you go on Tinder or Bumble and you're a woman in your 50s the likelihood is that most of the men in their 50s are going to be trying to date women almost 20 or 30 years younger than themselves.
"There's a real generation of 50- and 60-year-old women who are the invisible generation."
Can you see me? But anyway, she's right. So I downloaded Lumen to see what the experience would be like. There were a few features I liked. The first message had to be more than 50 characters. No hey, nor hi. Surely my sparkling wit would shine through with a message that proved I had actually read your profile.
That's one thing Lester recommends.
"There's something with this demographic; they read a lot more. People in their 20s and 30s look at the pictures and say yes or no. Women in their 50s and 60s read everything carefully and the more information you give about yourself the more likely you are to get decent matches."
She also recommends including all six photographs. A full length one - "there's no point hiding anything" - smile, take photographs in natural light, and be quite honest with yourself.
"We've all got that one photo we use on social media that we know is the best picture ever taken of us, I wouldn't use those on a dating site.
"And don't use old photos, if you don't own the clothes that you're wearing, or they don't fit you any more, don't use that one either."
One element the Lumen developers realised was important to users over 50 was the safety issue with scammers often targeting older vulnerable people.
"The primary concern a lot of people have is safety which is why we've got the 100 per cent photo verification process," she says.
"To my knowledge we're the only mainstream dating app that requires every single member to take a verification photo. While it probably means we lose a lot of potential members, it means there's zero chance of catfishing on the site."
Lester has a few more tips for dating over 50. I'm a little unsure how I feel about it.
"Try not to be too picky at first," she says.
"We all have this view of what the ideal future partner is like but online dating isn't a shop. You're never going to get exactly what you want."
But should you settle when many people may have done that in the first place?
"It can't hurt to be open minded, with dating you have to approach it in the right way.
"It shouldn't feel like a chore, if you can enjoy the experience and use it as an opportunity to be a tourist in your own town, try some fun activities, enjoy meeting up with people and enjoy spending a couple of hours having a conversation with a complete stranger, is that a bad thing?"