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"This is a silver tsunami, these are the people with [the greatest] purchasing power, and they're demanding that they see themselves represented." She notes the current trend comes on the back of recent film and television successes like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the award-winning HBO hit mini-series Olive Kitteridge.

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Ms Daggett and the matchmaking company ended up settling out of court.

Not nearly as fazed by these "dates from hell" was Melbourne-based columnist Helen Razer, who knows firsthand how perplexing — and amusing — dating as an older woman can be.

But according to Helen Razer, the reason these sorts of stories are appearing more frequently on our screens and in our books is profit.

Executives have realised older women "are among the society's biggest spenders", she said.

When American businesswoman Darlene Daggett sued her matchmaking services firm last month for setting her up on a string of horrific dates, the news ricocheted around the world. For her US$150,000, Ms Daggett, 62, was introduced to, among others, a man who passed out from a heart ailment on their first date, and a convicted felon.

Another potential suitor told her he was waiting for his terminally ill wife to die before re-entering the dating pool.

While many women in their 50s and up say they feel more sexually liberated than they did in their 20s — finally released from the worry of getting pregnant, and more comfortable with their bodies — they are frequently tumbling into bed with men who suffer from erectile dysfunction."I hear this from a lot of my girlfriends, and it's depressing," writer Kerri Sackville said.

"Finally, [they think] 'I'm going to have great sex', and it's not working, and there's nothing you can do about it."No wonder filmmakers and TV show creators have come running.

It follows numerous recent articles examining the experiences — and cultural significance — of older women, including from Australia's Jane Caro and journalists from the New York Times.

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