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They had six minutes to meet and greet their fellow seniors, all at least 65 years old, in the first senior speed dating event of its kind.
Richard Rathmann has missed the days of face-to-face interactions, so much so that he has even turned to the internet to meet up with single women in his age group."I find it's really hard to meet people. Rathmann and Hemming were two of 16 people who came out to the speed dating event, a sign that a more mature crowd is looking for ways to make a connection.
John De Lamater, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has studied the subject of senior relationships, notes that the age group is "rapidly growing" and is expected to double over the next 15 years or so.
De Lamater said not only can women expect to live nearly 10 years longer than men, they often marry older men.
She lost her one-and-only years ago, and knowing he would want her to be happy, Hemming found herself at a series of events hosted by the Madison Senior Center centered on helping people make a match in their later years.
Hemming managed to convince a few friends to come with her to the Madison Concourse Hotel.
Hemming told her perspective partners she didn't need a romantic connection anyway.
She was just happy to meet new people."We have to make the rest of our lives the best of our lives," Hemming told one of the other participants.
Perhaps, he said, there's still a strong connection to a former spouse and a romantic ideal that everyone should have only one partner in their life. That was the last date she ever went on."March 19, 1963," Hemming said. Comfortably situated at table seven with a condensation-covered copper cup in hand, she was already well into her mindset for her happy hour engagement."It's an adventure," Hemming said. Kennedy was president when Hemming met her husband.De Lamater also noted while not everyone at events like speed dating will make a match, getting out and conversing with others can be just as important."Just that experience of interacting with a person that you don't know very well can be kind of liberating, particularly if they haven't done it for a while," De Lamater said.While Hemming and Rathmann went out on a date as a result of the speed dating event, neither began a relationship.