Whose adventure are we choosing here?

Man jumping off a cliff with a parachute

(Vitalalp/Big Stock Photo)

While looking at Match.com profiles recently, I was struck by how many men not only describe themselves as “adventurous,” but are seeking women who are also adventurous.

I’m not adventurous. Not even a little. I’m a 63-year-old librarian. What I am is bookish.

I don’t want to date Indiana Jones! The last thing I need is a man who loves to skydive and bungee jump and travel to far-flung locations.  

I just want someone I can read in bed with.      

So why are so many men my age seeking adventurous women? After all, these are men in their 60s. How much actual adventure could any of them realistically handle?

It depends, in part, on how you define “adventurous.”

It’s a word with a wide range of potential meanings — anything from being eager to try that new Indonesian restaurant to being eager to try paragliding over North Korea.

At my age, getting down the block on an icy day without falling could be considered an adventure.

When I asked my Facebook friends about it, they were as puzzled (and sarcastic) as I was.  

“Does trying a new brand of potato chips count as adventurous? If so, I’m in.”

“I’m guessing that for a lot of guys, ‘adventurous’ just means going to a different bar on Fridays.”

“Or drinking a whole bottle of Bourbon instead of just a few shots!”

“Maybe it means he’s living out of his car?”

“So Roz, does this mean that if your hobbies included hang gliding, playing Russian roulette and sampling wild mushrooms you’d get more dates?”

At which point, a friend with more online dating experience than me clued me in.

“In online dating lingo,” she explained, “’adventurous’ means you’re up for participating in the kind of sex — or watching the kind of porn — he’s into. It doesn’t mean that he likes doing new things — just that he likes doing new sex things.”

Was that really true? If “adventurous” means that a guy wants to take me on a luxury trip around the world, I’m open to that. But if all it means is that he wants me to enjoy a special kind of porn with him? I’m not sure that’s an adventure I want to go on.  

I decided to consult my good pal Senior Sex Expert Joan Price. (Yes, there really is such a gig.) “What does it mean,” I asked, “when a man says that he wants a woman who is ‘adventurous?”

She laughed. “It probably means ‘I expect you to pole dance for me and then have noisy first-date sex on the front lawn of my ex-girlfriend’s house.’”

“Almost everything straight men write on dating sites is — euphemistically — about sex,” agreed  my friend Anne. “Any statement a guy makes on Match.com should be read the same way we used to read fortune cookies back when we were in college — always add ‘in bed’ to the end of each sentence!”

“I’m looking for a woman who is adventurous — in bed.”

“I want a soul mate who will share in life’s pleasures — in bed.”

“I’m looking forward to getting to know you better — in bed.”

When it comes right down to it, as a mild-mannered librarian, I’m happy to enjoy adventures — as long as they’re in books. For instance, I love reading Robert Parker mysteries. They’re full of murder and gun play and suspense. I love that stuff!

As long as I’m experiencing it vicariously via the printed page while sitting safely at home sipping tea.

Maybe in my online dating profile I should start referring to myself as “biblio-adventurous.”

I can say that I’m looking for a biblio-adventurous guy. A man who’d like nothing better than quietly sitting in front of the fire with me reading about adventure every night.  

Now that’s sexy.

In the meantime, if you’re a man in his 60s whose romantic ideal is a free-wheeling, risk-taking, AARP-aged librarian who’ll be happy to join you in your seamy erotic escapades?

Finding her should be quite the adventure.

I’ll be in bed reading.

(Vitalalp/Big Stock Photo)

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.