As the world has gotten more used to the idea of the Internet, the once social stigma that surrounded the idea of online dating has, thankfully, given way to an acceptance that meeting someone online is just as respectable, random and ridiculous as meeting someone in any real-life scenario. But with that barrier out of the way, whole new quandaries rear their ugly heads. For example: If the dating scene moves online, how are your parents – who may not necessarily be the most technically-adept people in the world, bless their wrinkled hearts – supposed to find love? Don’t worry, concerned youngster: Help is on the way in the form of the only-slightly-creepy My Lovely Parent.
What My Lovely Parent is, is a website that lets adult children in seven countries set their elderly relatives – That’s right; despite the name of the site, it’s not just for parents; uncles, aunts, step-parents or simply older friends who apparently have no problem being essentially pimped out by the young folk in their lives – up on dates with other older gentlemen and ladies who allow their younger relatives and friends to organize their social lives for them.
The site is the brainchild of Matt Connolly, who says that he came up with the idea after his mother asked him to find her a “knight in shining armor.” He didn’t just create the site out of the good of his heart, however; he says that the over-55 demographic is the fastest growing market in online dating currently, with over 20 million adults aged 50 and above in the US alone. The way that the site works is that the younger person creates a profile for the old person of their choice, and then looks online to find someone that they consider a good match for their dear mother/father/whatever. To hear Connolly explain the concept, however, romantic interests get odder as people get older. As he told the Guardian newspaper in the UK, “I can have a look at all the handsome chaps who live nearby who are into dog-walking and have great big beards, whatever it is, and if I see somebody lovely, I am able to then view his profile and recommend him to my mum.”
Once the match has been made, it’s up to the aged users to share what happens next with their offspring; messages between prospective partners can be set to private settings to avert the gaze of the youth, or made public. Essentially, it’s an easier-than-normal-to-use site that opens up Internet dating to a different audience… but is it one that Connolly is going to share with his own mother? “”All I can say, is I’m going to be putting her on there straightaway,” he says. “Whether she decides to carry on that journey – let’s hope she does, cause I think it’s going to be a great place – but that falls down to her.”