"finding a guy about my age who is interested in a meaningful LTR? Seems to me that most of the guys my age are just looking to get banged-up for a night in the small college town where I live. I'm just having a hard time finding a guy who's down-to-earth and not way older than me. Any ideas how I should go about my search?"
I've found just about every age group has the above questions. Here's what I did. I simply went out and flexed my emotional/social muscles. Like your body, they need exercise, too!
So, Doug's rule. I went out every day or night. To a club, a pub, a restaurant. I had to talk to one person, woman, man, old, young, short, tall, heavy, skinny etc. for 10 minutes then I could go home. There were many unfinished beers and coffees.
Many times I left the apt in the evening at 10 and was home in bed by eleven.
5 years later and about 1,500 people later, walking up to people and starting a conversation took as much effort as talking to a co-worker.
Bill was standing at a club under a huge light show fixture over the dancefloor. Glitter ball, flashing lights etc. The thing's mounting was girders suspended on chains and they wobbled.
I walked up behind him and leaning forward said into his ear (the music was LOUD),
"If there's an earthquake, we're all going to die." in a Data-like cheerful voice. He turned around, turned the most delightful shade of red, and we just stood there grinning at each other.
Nov 18, 1989.