What's somewhat ironic is that young singles who are so digitally immersed are at the forefront of this move to meet face-to-face."People of my generation, in our 20s, think a one-on-one date — especially a blind date — can be a lot of pressure. By early next year, it aims for 10 more cities in the USA and Canada and will add London."I cringe a little when people describe it as online dating," Waxman says. The typical experience for a Grouper member is to spend about five minutes on our website and about two hours at a bar with your friends."Online dating industry consultant Mark Brooks, who has worked for many such sites, including POF (Plentyoffish), says the AARP move into dating seems smart."Seniors is a very good niche," he says.We've found most of our relationships — whether romantic relationships or just friends — happen a little more organically. "Most dating sites skew toward guys, with more guys than women. Being a 75-year-old single man is the equivalent of being a 21-year-old hottie."That's good news for AARP member Judith Schwartz, 65, of Clermont, Fla., an IT consultant and adjunct professor of computer science who began online dating after her husband died in 2008."The younger men were primarily interested in sex and the older men were primarily interested in having somebody take care of them," she says.Add some art or culture in between and it could be fun." That got him a few dates, including one woman he's seen several times since.

Older sites such as and newer ones such as Dinner Date, Cupid Radar and Grouper, all are focusing on the importance of a personal connection offline that just can't happen via technology.

This retro appeal is especially evident with Grouper, which organizes something like the old-style "double date," where a couple of friends go along for moral support.

By the end of this year, officials say the site will have hosted nearly 2,000 events with 150,000 singles. Plentyof Fish, a free online site, also hosts face-to-face events."I think what people have reached is a saturation point of wanting to do everything digitally," says Andrew Connell, president of Dinner Date, that launched in January.

"A lot of people were saying 'it just feels like work.' "Dinner Date currently operates just in San Diego.

A study earlier this year in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest finds "no compelling evidence" to support the online sites' claims that their algorithms work better than other ways of pairing people."What's been amazing for us is that the industry in 2012 — be it or site after site after site — they're emphasizing meeting face-to-face as a chemistry check," says the study's lead author, social psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

In May, Match.com, founded in 1995, announced "innovative features for connecting people that eliminate the distinction between online and offline dating," including monthly mixer events in 80 cities.It operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Match.com, which purchased it in 2009.For the new partnership, AARP is offering its members a seven-day free trial and half off the normal rates.AARP senior vice president Sami Hassanyeh says after the website approached the organization a year ago about a partnership, AARP decided to plunge in."I do not think we're late in getting into this," he says."I think the market is getting bigger, not smaller."New 2012 Census information released in November says there are almost 38 million unmarried Americans ages 50 and older in the USA. Research suggests face-to-face chemistry maybe be more important than some online dating sites initially realized.When we have a match who we think is going to be good for you, we basically organize a time and place for two of you to meet and you are each responsible for bringing two friends along."Daniel Katz, 23, of New York City, isn't an online dater, yet says he has been on three Groupers."I'm looking to meet new people.