I used the personal columns several times and had replies from women aged 42 to 58. Most of those I met were unable to have a reasonable conversation, possibly due to anxiety and stress from the past. Yes, the first contact is contrived, even after phone calls and letters, but intensive gabbling about past traumas, then photographs of children/grandchildren, does not make it easier or interesting.
I'm still optimistic that I will meet some attractive, secure, feminine kindred spirit interested in present events, art and theatre, with a liking for herself - and men. Not too much to ask? An ad is still a positive step, but needs thoughtful knowledge of yourself and what you want.