NBC’s Age of Love, took the adage that true love knows no age to a new level when it had thirteen different women competing for 30-year old Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis’s attention. The show takes seven women in their 40s and six women in their 20s, places them in a variety of situation and “group dates,” and sees which group better attracts Mark’s attention.
This guilty pleasure has been a source of heated conversation in message boards all over the Internet since it first aired in Summer 2007. Age of Love has been an interesting mix of personalities, maturity, youth, and confidence as the women are repeatedly thrown into a variety of challenges and unique situations. Each week they not only have to perform in selected tests, but vie for time in getting to know bachelor Mark in the hopes of being chosen as his love mate. The stark contrast in age groups becomes apparent with each increasing week, as the true nature of each woman is further revealed.
While it’s true the competition between women on Age of Love is a unique situation, the show does highlight some great dating lessons for all. Among them:
When Mark has a lunch date with both Amanda and Kelli, he has to split his time between them. This makes getting to know each girl even more difficult. The lunch had the added caveat that whichever woman Mark happened to be with at the end would get the bonus of having dessert with him. Kelli, having the benefit of maturity on her side, pulled off that victory by monopolizing the conversation. Mark was too polite to just leave her mid-sentence, and ended up having dessert with her instead of the one he really wanted to eat with: Amanda. But did she really win? Turns out Mark wasn’t getting to know Kelli’s personality, and despite her ability to chat for long periods of time, she was ultimately sent home at a later date.
- Lesson: Monopolizing a conversation doesn’t make you more attractive. A good tête-à-tête takes two people interested in hearing what the other has to say.
In Week Three each group of women plans a date with Mark for the other group. The 40s chose a day at a child’s playgroup for the 20s, with kids screaming and running everywhere. The 20s in turn chose a day of geriatric water aerobics for the 40s. Both of these dates were meant as distractions, as each provided little in the way of true quality time with Mark. However, on each date a few women were able to stand out with their easygoing personalities and ability to laugh right along with the awkward situation. Mark, for his part, managed to have a good time with both groups, choosing one woman at the end of each date to ride home with him in the limo.
- Lesson: You can have fun together no matter what you happen to be doing. While planning an enjoyable activity usually helps ensure a good date, the reality is that two people have the ability to bond during even the most extreme situations. When you’re in a relationship you’re not always going to be doing fun things, but it doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy each other’s company.
When Tessa finally has her alone time with Mark, she spends it by verbally obsessing about Amanda. It’s obvious Amanda and Mark have formed a bond, but by talking about Amanda (instead of herself) all Tessa managed to do was turn Mark’s attention away from her, and eventually, turn him off. She is eliminated shortly after.
- Lesson: When someone takes the time to get to know you, let them. Focus on the person you have in front of you and the bond you both have developed, rather than on anyone else.
Mary is known for the girl that cries on Age of Love. She cries when she’s happy, sad, or angry. Despite her obvious emotion, she doesn’t channel any of these deep feelings into conversation or bonding with Mark. She can barely get out a sentence before one of the other girls steals his attention away. Perhaps, like most of us, she’s better in a one-on-one situation. However, that’s not what she signed on for with the show. She seemed to blend into the background, even though she obviously had a unique personality.
- Lesson: You don’t always get asked by a date to describe yourself or what you’re like. Consistently practice good conversation and people skills, because sometimes you have to go outside your shell and put your personality out there. No one is going to pay attention to you if you don’t show them who you really are.