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Seniors Speed-Date In 'Age Of Love'


There's a new documentary out with a very simple message - people want to find that someone special no matter their age. It's called "The Age Of Love," and it takes us to a speed dating event for seniors. NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: Oh, that's hilarious, was the reaction I heard most frequently when describing "The Age Of Love" to friends and acquaintances. Well, the film definitely has its ha-ha moments, but most of the time it lets it subjects reflect on that need for intimacy that never seems to die. This is a woman called Donna.

DONNA: I want that guys that when I'm doing dishes will come up behind me and nuzzle my neck and give me a hug. I want that guy that'll pick up the phone and call me during the day just because he's thinking of me. That's who I am.

JAFFE: So why not try speed dating?


JAFFE: Fifteen women spent five minutes with each of the 15 men at an Italian restaurant in the Rochester, N.Y., area. All were in their 70s and 80s.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What makes Matt happy?

MATT: Baking, cooking

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, you like to cook?

MATT: I love to cook.


MATT: I bake pies - apple pies, apple crumb pies.


MATT: Pecan pies.

JAFFE: Five minutes to judge and be judged.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Time to move. (Laughter). Nice talking to you.

JAFFE: Filmmaker Steven Loring profiled 10 men and women - widowed, divorced or lifelong singles - and followed them before, during and after their speed dating adventure. Particularly powerful are the scenes where some of the speed daters, alone with Loring and his camera, open the envelopes that will tell them if the ones they liked liked them back.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It's kind of scary, you now? Oh, my God. There's five of them.

JAFFE: Loring says being there for these moments was as full of drama as anything you remember from high school.

STEVEN LORING: If a 75-year-old woman opens up an envelope from a speed dating event and doesn't get the man she was hoping for and bursts into tears, what 16-year-old girl in America wouldn't understand exactly what she was feeling at that moment?

JAFFE: "The Age Of Love" will not be playing at a theater near you - at least not anytime soon. Loring has been focused on getting it in front of older adults who might be inspired by it. So except for a handful of film festivals, it's mainly shown at senior centers and housing developments for older adults, like Merrill Gardens in San Diego, where, truthfully, it got mixed reviews.

JIM SOULES: I thought that this was too slow.

SHEILA SOULES: It was entertaining. In some ways, it was sad.

JAFFE: That's Jim and Sheila Soules. He's 87. She's 76.

S. SOULES: My husband and I met four years ago in the old folks' home next door.

JAFFE: They were both widowed, never thought they'd get married again, but they did last year. And what they found in each other is what everyone in "The Age Of Love" is looking for.

S. SOULES: It is different the umpteenth time around, certainly. I mean, I had a wonderful marriage and I never thought I'd have that sort of intimacy and connection ever again. And I have and it's wonderful.

JAFFE: So much so that even the speed daters in "The Age Of Love" who didn't find a match say they won't stop trying.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Taking a chance on love.

JAFFE: Ina Jaffe, NPR News.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Were a frame-up I never would try. Now I'm taking the game up and the ace of hearts is high. Things are mending now. I see a rainbow blending now. We'll have a happy ending... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ina Jaffe is a veteran NPR correspondent covering the aging of America. Her stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered have focused on older adults' involvement in politics and elections, dating and divorce, work and retirement, fashion and sports, as well as issues affecting long term care and end of life choices. In 2015, she was named one of the nation's top "Influencers in Aging" by PBS publication Next Avenue, which wrote "Jaffe has reinvented reporting on aging."