Mature, petite, attractive widow, great personality, seeking fun-loving gentleman, 57-70, with terrific energy for dancing, cuddling the years away!

-- One of 11 advertisements for singles over 55 in TheDate Maker section of last week's Pennysaver.


Who says love only happens in the spring of life? Romance is blossoming in the "active older generation," with many folks still playing the dating game.

Singles advertisements, dance classes, dinner-theaters and sporting events are only some of the ways the over-60set can meet significant others.

Jean Watts, 68, placed a personal ad in the Pennysaver on a dare, she says.

"This is the first time I've ever done anything like this," said Watts, whose husband died 30 years ago. "My daughter told me to do it. Both daughters told me to. They told me, 'You're attractive, why not?' "

Several seniors have found soul mates at the county's five senior centers.

At the Arnold Senior Center, the ballroom dancing class creates an atmosphereof amour, director Mary Ann Cheers says. "The word must be getting out, because more men are joining the class."

At least five couples who met at the center have married, she says, including one pair whoconducted the ceremony there.

The Pascal Senior Center enjoys a long tradition of romance within its walls. The Glen Burnie center hasplayed host to two nuptial ceremonies. One in the mid-1980s featureda 90-year-old man marrying a 76-year-old woman.

"Because there are many widows, some come here to talk or find friendship, and some end up with companionship," center director Ann Wagner says. "We used to keep count. At one time, there were 20 different couples."

Anne Arundel Community College's Guild for Life, a program that targets the county's older population, has seen its share of senior romance. Virginia Cruse, 70, and John Brenza, 68, met during a walking class at the college and recently were wed in a ceremony in St. Mary's City.

One area senior began his own club when he didn't find love the old-fashioned way.

Steve Evan of Millersville was tired of staying home on the weekends. After Widow Brown's restaurant closed in Crofton,he and other singles had nowhere to go dancing on Friday nights.

Nearly two years ago, the 63-year-old decided to create his own danceclub.

"I went through about 15 names, including 'Do It Again' and'Oo La La Singles,' before I settled on 'Love Again Singles,' " says Evan. His group rents the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bowie on Friday nights and charges $7 for non-members, $6 for members. Inside is a cash bar, DJ and large dance floor. "I made $51 in the first seven months and we were going to close down," says Evan. But he and his partner stuck it out, and now more than 400 people ages 25 to 75 attend the Friday night dances in the large hall off Route 3 North.

"I've never met so many beautiful people since my divorce, and I've been divorced twice," says Evan, who recently met someone special during a Friday night dance. "It's in the budding stage," he explains with a grin.

On Friday night at Love Again Singles, Dorothy Bradley sat at a round table with her friend, Teresa Cook. Several couples danced under the glittering disco ball while about 15 men stood on the perimeter of the dance floor, shifting their feet and toeing the border between the red rug and tiles.

"I came here tonight because I just love to dance," says Bradley, a widow. "If they're any good," she added,referring to the men, "I'll ask them to dance."

Cook also comes to the club to dance. "If I ever meet somebody, well, that's another story," she said.

Bradley and Cook were both first-timers at the club. So was Mae Guglielmi, who showed up with her husband of 4 years,Vincent.

"We met at a singles club when he asked me to dance," she shouted over the music. "We had a lot in common; we were both widowed about the same time. We're here tonight because a lot of our friends come here and we just love to dance."

Laurel resident Gary Piatt estimated that about three-quarters of the people who attend LA Singles dances are, like him, divorced. Piatt, who said he would like toget married again, prefers dancing at LA singles to going to bars.

"I've heard a lot of women say this beats the bar scene because there are no drunk men slobbering all over them," said Piatt.

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