Dorothy Heller

A writer, blogger, mother, medical interpreter, bookaholic, grandmother, shower singer, translator, tea-aholic and an aspiring songwriter. Still writing her novel and wants to write at least one good song.

Allergies and Online Dating—Romance is in the Air

Romance is in the air, according to a 2020 Hallmark Channel movie. So is pollen. And the two are on a collision course when you’re a mature single Boomer trying to find your middle-aged soul mate through online dating.

Ninety-five percent of the men on and other sites want to be outdoors, it seems—hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, mountain climbing, camping. There’s a whole Reddit chain on the topic. Then there are the men you see on the freeway at rush hour in their male menopause convertibles, with grit in their teeth, inhaling pollution with the top down. And the men who like to bicycle on the edge of cliffs or zoom through the night on motorcycles.

Based on dating profiles, it’s astonishing the number of men—software engineers, middle managers, accountants in their day jobs—who say they love nature. And there are an unlimited number of singles activities that are organized around romping, tromping, and stomping in the Great Outdoors.

According to the whole concept of scientific matching, this means that 95% of men are out of bounds for me as potential mates, or even dates.

Because I have a love/hate relationship with Mother Nature. I love trees, flowers, animals, house plants,Chia seeds. She hates me.

There’s very little that’s sexy about allergies—red eyes, uncontrolled sneezing, runny nose, snuffling, coughing. There is an old joke about the woman with allergies who had an orgasm every time she sneezed. Sadly, this has not been my case, and my allergist has been strangely reluctant to discuss it.

In Sleepless in Seattle, it’s obvious that Meg Ryan’s fiancé is not going to be the right love interest for her—he has allergies. Although he is a sweet, attractive man, he is obviously unfit to be her romantic partner—unlike Tom Hanks, who never sneezes, gropes in his pocket for a Kleenex, or has to worry about taking his medication on time.

In popular culture, the outdoorsy person is always depicted as the good one–superior to the indoorsy person. My daughter loved to watch The Parent Trap, with the evil step-fiancée being unmasked and undone by a camping trip, not realizing that her own mother wouldn’t have done any better under the circumstances.

Fussy people—people with allergies, special dietary needs, sensitivities, issues—are always objects of ridicule and never of romance. We won’t even mention people who are allergic to flowers and/or perfume or cologne, or even chocolate (God forbid), all of which are considered to be basic ingredients for a romantic evening.

These are not the Big Ones—cancer, heart disease, leprosy—that elicit sympathy. There is nothing more laughable than a non-life threatening ailment that you don’t suffer from.

And you’re even more of a fussbudgett if you’re one of those Catch-22 people who can’t just pop a pill or take a shot and get on with it because of side effects or drug interactions.

As contrary as it seems, I still want a mate/date who is fit and active. Just because I’m frequently allergic to the outdoors doesn’t mean that I go for Heroin Chic—someone so pale and flaccid that they look like they could pass through walls like ectoplasm.

After all, if I can tough it out on my treadmill and exercycle and lift weights while I watch PBS, so can they.

It is discouraging, however, to be eliminated from so many prospects and activities because of histamine and antibodies.

Is there a gentleman out there who excels at indoor sports, horizontal and otherrwise? Please advise. Non-allergenic romance awaits you.

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