Everybody loves a love story and we're no exception here at ThirdAge. That's why our curiosity was piqued when we got an email from a happily married California couple letting us know that they found one another on the original ThirdAge.com dating site in 2001. The message said that the husband, Virgil Jose, is a 74-year-old retired private eye, and that his wife, Jeanne, 72, is a retired teacher who still does some tutoring. They were in their 60s when they ventured into what was then the brave new world of matchmaking in Cyberspace. To find out what prompted them to do that, we gave them a call.
"I had been alone ever since I lost my wife of 37 years in 1999," Virgil said. "A woman friend who had already joined ThirdAge encouraged me to try it. So I thought, why not? I ended up dating 15 women. We would meet for lunch or a drink and none of them were losers but nothing clicked. I decided I didn't want to spend my twilight years seeing one woman after another so I let my membership lapse. That was in 2000."
As for Jeanne, she had been divorced for 9 years when she decided on a whim to post her profile on ThirdAge. She met a man who became her fiancé. Sadly, he died of cancer in 1999 before the wedding. Not long after that though, she re-upped her online profile in hopes of connecting with someone new. At about the same time, Virgil got an email from ThirdAge asking if wanted to join again.
"I figured, hey, I might as well give it one more shot," he said. "My original profile had been deleted so I just threw something up there, just one sentence."
But one sentence was enough to get Jeanne interested. "I guess that's because I'm devilishly handsome," Virgil quipped. "Especially in my white tux and black patent leather shoes."
"Oh, and he likes a pink carnation for a boutonnière," Jeanne added with a musical laugh. "Me, I get dolled up in 1940's fashions."
"Seriously, she is beautiful," Virgil said, a slight choke in his voice.
"Anyway, it turned out we lived 90 miles apart," Jeanne went on to say. "We doubted anything would come of our relationship since that's quite a drive. But we agreed to meet anyway. We're definitely delighted that we did."
"We fell very fast," Virgil says. "We moved in together in 2002 and we got married in 2003. Back then, online dating was vaguely disreputable in some quarters so
Jeanne and I manufactured a story about meeting at Parents Without Partners. After about a year, we confessed to our kids that we had met online and their response was that they never believed the PWP nonsense anyway. We're pretty conventional people but the online dating scene definitely worked for us."
Virgil and Jeanne each have a son and a daughter from their first marriages and between them they have nine grandchildren ranging in age from 6 months to 22 years. The family is far-flung so the Cyber lovebirds travel to see everyone. Virgil also spends time writing. His debut novel, "The Examined Life," is a semi-autobiographical mystery about a fictional private eye.
"We're truly happy," Virgil says, and Jeanne agrees. As for those of us at ThirdAge, we're honored that the predecessor of our BetterDate online service brought these two lovely people together. There's no greater endorsement that that for the power of the Internet when it comes to playing Cupid at any season of life!