Entertainment

Joan Barrett writes about S.I.N.S, or Singles-INternet-dating Services

Paul Brian

By Paul Brian, The Enterprise-Bulletin

SUBMITTED PHOTO

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Joan Barrett believes that mature adults and seniors looking for love or friendship online is a pretty great thing.

In fact, she’s written a book about it.

Barrett, who hails from Wasaga Beach, had her book Candyland S.I.N.S. published earlier this month in which she explores many aspects of online dating, from making a profile to dealing with rejection.

“The book is about mature online dating, and this is the largest growth-area in the online dating industry, which is a $2 billion per year industry in North America,” Barrett said. “Matures have been entering in record numbers because they’re Baby Boomers that are coming to online dating. The divorce rate of over 50-year-olds has doubled in the past 20 years,” she added, referencing statistics referring to the United States.

Her book and the subject it explores is especially applicable to many people in the Georgian Triangle, according to Barrett.

“The Georgian Triangle has a lot of people in that age group. Many people come up in their later years, in their mature years,” Barrett said, adding she define mature as anyone in their late 30s and up who has had considerable experience dating or a previous marriage.

Barrett said she worked on the book for two years and it was something that came to her through late comedian Joan Rivers.

“She was writing a book on mature dating and we have a mutual friend, so she asked our mutual friend what was I doing on the subject? And I wrote her a 10-page story and she was laughing so much and she called her writers and said ‘we’re going to blow the lid off this thing,’ she really liked it,” Barrett said. “Then my friend said to me ‘Joan you should be writing the book, you’re living it.’”

Thus though Rivers had initially been researching a book and their mutual friend knew Barrett had insights on online dating, it ended up being Barrett who went ahead with the idea.

As for Barrett’s reasons to get into online dating, they were because of a sudden life change.

“I was left suddenly single at 62 and what do you do? Mature daters are marginalized,” Barrett said. “The traditional communities aren’t there anymore for introductions – the church groups, and the friends don’t step forward as much as they used to, the ethnic groups don’t come forward and say ‘so-and-so has died or so-and-so has just divorced,’ so the only real game in town is online dating.”

Barrett told an anecdote of playing tennis doubles with three strangers recently to bolster her claim.

“I was playing on one court, and it turns out as we started to chat we were all on online dating and we didn’t know it and we were all in our 60s,” Barrett said with a laugh. “There were two courts of doubles and four were married and four weren’t married, so we wound up on the court together and when you start talking you’d be surprised. Out of 54 million singles in the US over 40 million have online-dated at one time. And at some point along the way most singles will be online dating,” she added.

Barrett went on to cite 2013 statistics from the Pew Research Centre which found that one-in-three marriages in the US are from individuals who met online. The survey goes on to predict that in 15 years half of all marriages will be of people who met online. Barrett also acknowledges that online dating doesn’t have to be romantically-focused.

“It’s not an act of desperation or needing to be completed it’s now an area of social interaction,” she said. “It can be companionship, it can be friendship, it can be travel. It’s not the world that people had seen it as before.”

Barrett, however, said what surprised her most in her research was that over half of Americans are single and have come to be the largest demographic. Barrett said that while being single can be an intentional choice she also wants to encourage daters, especially mature daters, to be willing to accept imperfections and

“Your expectations have to be realistic. When you get to a mature age you’re not offering perfection so how can you expect to find perfection in a partner as well?” Barrett asked.

So why Candyland?

“Candyland I chose because it is like a candy land,” Barrett said. “It’s full of treats that are very, very tempting,” she added with a laugh.

Barrett will be having a chat and signing copies of Candyland S.I.N.S Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Best You Spa located at 10 Keith Ave. in Collingwood. There will also be gift certificates given away. For more information call (705) 445-1007.

paul.brian@sunmedia.ca

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