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Fast & Furious: Dating Men In Their 50s

shutterstock_153137504Fellas, if you’re in your 50s, single and dating (and feeling like you’re not getting anywhere), consider this a little friendly feedback from the ladies.

Maybe you’ve heard it all before, maybe it doesn’t apply to you, maybe you already know it all. It doesn’t matter, because when it comes to dating women, I say you can never know enough.

And women, lest you think you’re off the hook here, you’re not. Even though I’m talking to the men, many of these points may apply to you too. Dating in midlife isn’t always easy, but at least you’re all in it together.

So men, before you break out into a cold sweat, know that all this is well intended and researched. I’ve gathered input from three of my most trusted single girlfriends whose ages range from 40s to mid-50s. They’re smart, sane, successful, and they’re here to help.

And so am I. I’ll be chiming in with my own advice since I’ve dated more than a few 50-something men in my day and can speak from experience.

We love you and want the best for you guys, so listen up.

TOO FAST

Maybe you’re divorced, newly separated, or single forever. Maybe you’re lonely, horny, you want a girlfriend, need some company, or just need to get laid. Who can blame you? We ALL want love, but some guys blow it by rushing.

GF #1:

“There seems to be some kind of ‘trying on of a girlfriend.’ On the first date, I’ve had a guy take my hand and rub my shoulders, without any words of seduction or romance, to me, that’s a turn-off.”

GF #2:

“Some men don’t want to invest the time it takes getting to know you. If you don’t sleep with them fast enough, they get frustrated and lose interest. They want to rush things, have sex first, and if they like it, then they’ll get involved.”

GF #3:

“Online daters, especially the older ones, are like kids in a candy store, not ever giving anyone a chance because there’s always someone else.”

My Advice:

Slow down. Don’t get too flirty too fast, don’t text, and definitely don’t sext. Even if you’re fresh out of a miserable marriage and new to the singles scene, take a breath.

You can be romantic and take the lead, but exercise patience. Guys that are too fast getting in are probably going to be too fast getting out.

Chivalry and romance aren’t dead – in fact, they’re alive and well and much appreciated. So take your time getting to know your date. Ask questions, be curious. And when you’ve accrued a decent amount of courtship hours, then you can bang away.

TOO FURIOUS

Ok, so you’re livid at your ex, or fuming about the divorce, or bitter you’re still on Match.com after all these years. In other words, you’re furious. We get that your circumstances might suck, but don’t let them consume you. Make sure your anger is in check, and doesn’t turn into emotional baggage you carry around everywhere you go.

GF #1:

“The biggest turn-off for me is when a divorced man compares you to their ex-wife. You can prepare a lovely Italian meal for a guy, and all of a sudden he brings up the fact his ex made the best lasagna of all time.”

GF #2:

“Men in their fifties can be cynical, especially if they were in a bad marriage. They talk about how awful their ex-wives are, and how much money they had to give them.”

GF #3:

“Getting involved with a guy who’s still reeling from his divorce can sometimes feel like he’s having an affair, except that the ‘other woman’ isn’t a woman, it’s his anger.”

My Advice:

Dump the baggage, dude. Stop talking about your ex, your kids, your money, etc. If you’re still that angry and wounded, get help. A little therapy, some meditation, or a little alone time wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Neither would some medical marijuana. The point is, don’t date until you’re fully healed.

SO WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?

GF #1:

“Nothing is a bigger turn-on to a woman in her 50s than a man that makes her feel like she’s the best thing that ever happened to him.”

GF #2:

“Be honest with her and don’t lead her on. Listening and wanting to know everything about her earns you major points.”

GF #3:

“Keep an open mind and heart. Let go of your fear and allow yourself to love again.”

Here’s the good news: my girlfriends really dig you fellas in your 50s. Despite the occasional dating disasters and mating missteps, there’s a lot to love. You’re older and wiser, smarter and sexier than you were in your younger days. You’re more sophisticated and polished, and your life experiences give you more depth and better perspective. I say it’s time to use it to your advantage.

We’re rooting for you guys, so go get ‘em (just don’t go too fast).

Suddenly Single? Talk To The Suddenly Married

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Suddenly single to suddenly married.

When I was invited to speak on a panel called “Suddenly Single” in September 2014, I thought, why not? Even though I had just gotten married a few months earlier, I figured who better than me to speak on the subject of being single.

Between all the boyfriends and break-ups, I had been suddenly single so many times in my life, the conference organizers considered me an expert. So I said yes.

Part of the women’s conference “Deal With It: Taking Charge & Facing Life’s Curveballs,” sponsored by the MPTF (Motion Picture Television Fund), “Suddenly Single” was billed as a how-to on “Creating a social network, mastering the new dating game safely, and controlling your financial portfolio.”

http://www.mptf.com/dealwithit.

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Imparting wit and wisdom on the panel.

My fellow panelists included a divorce attorney, a former law enforcement guy who now runs his own security firm, and a divorced single mom. Together, we shared our insights on everything from dating profiles to pepper spray, from background checks to finding Mr. Right.

Our goal was to help those newly single people navigate the world of dating, mating, hooking-up, and breaking-up, all without fear and loathing. As the once-perpetually single person on the panel, I felt it was my personal duty to not only enlighten and empower my single sisters in the audience, but to also show them that single life needn’t suck.

Here are some Q&A highlights from the session:

What’s the secret to being a successful single person?

Striking a balance and being comfortable in your skin. It’s the ability to be alone with yourself without freaking out, and social without feeling pressure to do so. Having balance is doing what you love with frequency and passion, then knowing when to stop and be still.

How do you survive break-up hell?

First, process the grief any way you have to: therapy, exercise, spa treatments, journaling, meditating, drinking in mass quantities or smoking a bowl with your buddies. However, if you’re feeling fragile and your heart is still mending, don’t jump back into the sack too soon. “Getting over someone by getting under someone” is total bullshit and bad advice unless you’re an unevolved guy who thinks getting laid solves everything.

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Hey Ma look at me! I’m a speaker!

What are some red flags to look out for when dating?

Watch out for the guy who texts all the time and doesn’t talk on the phone. He’s either not available, not serious, a total wimp, or worse, married. Men who hide behind texts are a big red flag. So are men who can’t spell.

What are some of your hot tips for meeting guys?

Volunteer, take an extension class at a local university, join a gym, go to Happy Hour with your girlfriends, hit balls at a driving range, and always show up for jury duty– the jury pool is a captive audience filled with great dating potential. Most of all, learn how to make eye contact and smile. You may hate it, but it works. There’s nothing like a smile to say “I’m open for business!” It’s like hanging a welcome sign over your head.

How do you win at the dating game?

Keep your sense of humor and don’t take things too seriously. You want to be able to laugh the whole thing off when things go horribly wrong– and they will at times. Having healthy self-esteem and self-worth is most important though. It’s like dating catnip: it makes you extremely attractive to people. If you always think of yourself as the prize, then the best man will win.

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My groupies: Robby and Ma.

Hopefully by the end of “Suddenly Single,” attendees (including my divorced mother) came away feeling more confident and less anxious about being single and back on the market.

Either that, or they came away needing to take a Xanax and take to their bed.

 

A Career Dater Finally Quits Her Job

b1110503da138461db47e9ad8643011dOther than a few squabbles about bulk buying at Costco, the transition to married life has been pretty smooth. It’s new, but not weird. It’s an adjustment, but not a tough one. It’s a life change, but one that I welcomed, and probably needed.

After living alone and being on my own for so long, you’d think that marriage would be a total culture shock – and it is – but it’s really not that shocking. Or crazy. It’s kind of normal actually, like I’ve been a wife all my life. Weird.

No, the crazy part of transitioning into marriage was transitioning out of dating– a way of life for me for nearly 50 years.

I was a career dater. I dated all the time, at all times of the day. Breakfast dates, coffee dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, drink dates, even a driving date to the mechanic to pick up my car.

I’ve had blind dates, online dates, chance meetings, dates disguised as business meetings, and one Facebook encounter that would lead to the date of all dates (thank you Robby Scharf, for ending the longest single streak on record, next to yours of course).

After a long and illustrious dating career – one filled with strike outs, some base hits, an occasional home run, and lots of times at bat – I finally and gladly retired. I happily hung up the jersey, emptied out my locker, and said goodbye to the game. I’m using a lot of baseball metaphors here, but you get the point.

In other words, I left the business.

I didn’t realize how much work went into being single until I got married. And let’s face it, dating is like having a second job. I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, dating is work. Looking good, spending money, getting out there, going to parties, going to the gym, being charming, being social, being “on,” making an effort, making eye contact, strategizing, chatting, flirting, schmoozing, is all very time consuming, not to mention exhausting.

Online dating alone is like a second job. You spend hours managing your sites, swiping through prospects, messaging, texting, flirting, winking, whatever. You have to sort through profiles, respond to inquiries, distinguish between suitors and posers, coordinate schedules and make plans. Just weeding out the riff-raff is work.

So you can imagine when you’re used to doing it 24/7 and all of a sudden, it stops. It’s like quitting a job you’ve had all your life. This is why the transition has been so peculiar – I mean, one minute I’m hanging out at happy hour with my gal pals, the next minute I’m making my husband a meatloaf, and actually enjoying it.

Hold on. I have to repeat that. “Husband and meatloaf,” two words I never thought I’d say in the same sentence.

Some feminists might gag at this, but I have also discovered that I love doing his laundry, underwear included. Every time I fold a pair of his boxers, I think: Wow, look at me! I’m a wife! And the fact that Robby hasn’t thrown up yet from my cooking must mean I’m holding my own in the kitchen.

Dating might have felt like a second job at times, but I always did it with a good attitude. The key for me (and for any single person out there) is to not take it too seriously, to have fun, and to always keep your sense of humor. That way, it won’t feel like a job. A prison sentence, yes, but not a job.

And here’s the great news when you’re ready to retire: instead of getting an office party and gold watch, you might just get a diamond ring and a wedding.

One Last Blast Before Take Off

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The gang gathers for the big send off.

When you’ve been single as long as I have, every night is a sort of a bachelorette party. With no husband, no kids, not even a pet, I’ve been able to come and go as I please. I can get wild, go crazy, live it up, party hard, stay out late or not come home at all.

Let me tell you, single life might sound exciting, but it gets old and boring especially after so many years of it.

I’ve seen it all, dated it all, experienced it all, and have sowed every last wild oat. I have memories and stories and lots of secrets and stuff that I’ve shared with my curious married girlfriends. You know, like the time me my friend and I ended up in a limo with Rick James and his entourage, or the time I had to take a blind date to the emergency room because he got bit by a scorpion, or the like the time I tripped on pot brownies in the middle of the ritzy El Paseo shopping area in Palm Desert.

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A few shots in.

You get the picture.

I look at my single life as one big horizon-broadening learning experience for which I am grateful. Sometimes it was challenging, sometimes it was painful, but mostly, it was a wild, wacky, and wonderful ride that made me who I am today. Now, after 50+ years of bachelorette hood, it’s time to move on to something a little quieter, a little more stable, a little more permanent, and a lot more domestic.

Not before one last blast though! Bring on the bachelorette party, middle-age style, that is!

No male strippers here, no tequila luge, no body shots, no stripper poles in the party van, and no puking at the end of the night, although some of us did come close. We were just a bunch of old friends ready for some fun, a few laughs, and a chance to stay up past 10pm.

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Official bachelorette head gear.

I’d share with you the naughty things we did and who got drunk as a skunk, but you know what they say: “What happens at the bachelorette party stays at the bachelorette party.” The only people that will ever know for sure are our Uber drivers.

I’m ready for take off. I am ready to start this new chapter of my life. The best way to say goodbye I’ve decided, is to let my good friend Joanne Sala do it for me. This was her toast to me; it wasn’t so much a farewell to single life as it was a warm WELCOME to married life.

“I cannot believe your single days are behind you. How am I going to live vicariously through you if you’re not going to have any more crazy single girl escapades? I guess it’s goodbye stolen kisses, brazen flirtations, and hysterical dating horror stories.

This marriage thing is going to be a major adjustment for you, but I know you’re ready. As someone who’s been married for 23 years, I can tell you that you have to be loyal, faithful, trustworthy and have sex with your husband at least once a month, whether you want to or not. But bonus – take it from me – being married means never having to swallow again!

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But seriously, I wish you and Robby every happiness in the world. My advice to you is to be good to each other. Be kind. Patient. Put each other first. Resolve conflicts quickly. Don’t hold grudges. Let the phrases: ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘You’re right honey,’ and ‘I don’t know, what do YOU want for dinner tonight’ roll off your tongue.

Enjoy this next phase of your life as the happy honeymooners I know you will be. I love you guys so much.”

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See ya later single life. It was fun, but I can’t say I’ll miss you.

5 Ways To Know If Mr. Right Has The Right Stuff

IMG_4286Many years ago, my good friend Kathie Gordon gave me this needlepoint pillow for my birthday. It was in the 90’s, and I was in my late-30s. For the single girl who had everything, it was a perfect gift.

At the time I thought finding Mr. Right was right around the corner, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to meet him, but I knew he had to be somewhere in the neighborhood. But as time went by and the 90’s turned into the 00’s, and I turned into an old maid, I realized that Mr. Right wasn’t right around the corner, but in fact, he was a million miles away.

That pillow has sat on my couch through countless dates, hundreds of fix-ups, tons more blind dates, boyfriends, break-ups and bullshit, and it always asked the same question:

“Star light, star bright, where oh where is Mr. Right?”

Actually, I’ve found Mr. Right many times – in bits and pieces, that is.

One Mr. Almost Right was professionally successful, but emotionally unavailable; one was age-appropriate, but had arrested development; one was great looking, but couldn’t keep his dick in his pants; one was a Harvard grad, but was a total idiot; one was a superior athlete, but had no moves whatsoever. It was very frustrating.

I would kick and scream, stomp my feet, and yell at the top of my lungs to the universe: “Fuck you Universe! Where the hell is Mr. Right!?”

While I was busy yelling at no one in particular, something happened: I wised-up and started dating smarter. I also became hardened and jaded, which comes in handy out there in the dating world.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Mr. Right comes in many different packages. He’s not perfect, and he doesn’t have to be. All he has to do is THE RIGHT THING.

The following is my MR. RIGHT CHECKLIST, five simple observations that will ascertain early on whether your new dude has what it takes to be your Mr. Right.

  1. He communicates early and often. He isn’t afraid to express his feelings, his thoughts, his values, and his plans. He’s open, honest, and authentic about who his is and what he wants in life.
  2. He doesn’t try to get to know you through texting. A real man who’s interested in you picks up the phone and TALKS not TEXTS. A guy who carries on an all-day conversation thread is simply hiding behind his texts. Too much gets lost in translation, and too much can be misinterpreted, so don’t tolerate it.
  3. He would move heaven and earth to see you, even if it’s for a quick coffee at Starbucks. Having real face time with someone is crucial, and if he means business, he’ll do whatever it takes to see you. Effort is everything.
  4. He pursues and courts you like a proper gentleman. He makes plans, asks questions, doesn’t wait till the last minute, doesn’t push or pressure you. And if he starts sexting too soon, you’ll know all he wants is to get inside your pants, not inside your mind.
  5. He does the right thing. Whether it’s bringing you flowers for no reason, being nice to your mother, or coming to your door to pick you up instead of calling you from the car, a guy who digs you will always do the right thing.

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So when you’re out there dating, keep your eyes open. Observe, maintain your standards, and always honor your highest good. Watch for red flags. Being a little cynical and skeptical isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in fact, it can weed out the riff-raff real fast.

Demand a certain level of decorum, transparency, etiquette, and protocol at all times. It may sound old-fashioned, but trust me, you’ll respect yourself much more in the morning.

Above all, don’t be in too much of a hurry. Love has a way of finding you when the time is right, and so will Mr. Right.

And Now, A Word From The Late Blooming Groom

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you Robby, my future better half. Since I’ve been doing all of the talking on these blog posts, I thought it might be time to hear another perspective on finding love later in life. So here he is, former bachelor, current fiancé, and fellow late bloomer Robert Ira Scharf, in his own words.

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Robby trying out wedding rings with his bass…comfort is key!

A year ago, I was a single guy. My last “relationship” ended a year before that, and since then, I had settled back into a somewhat dull single life. I knew if I ever got involved with someone new, I’d need to be much more careful and selective.

I never before felt I needed to get married. There were some girlfriends in the past I got close to, but none close enough to propose. Being in my mid-50s, I had a somewhat Zen philosophy about relationships; I felt if something was meant to happen, it would.

Treva and I both graduated from Beverly Hills High School, but didn’t know each other at all back then (I’m six years older, so I was long gone by the time she was a freshman). But with our similar backgrounds, we had over a hundred mutual friends on Facebook (some of them actually “real” friends). One of these friends was a guy I was very close to when I was young. He had been going through a tough time and I felt the need to reach out to one of his friends to see if we could help.

That friend was Treva.

At the time, she was hesitant and kept her distance as she didn’t know me or necessarily trust me. We had a few pleasant Facebook messages, but that was it. Months later, I received a message from Treva inviting me to her 50th birthday party.

I had no reason not to attend, but without knowing her at all, what was I going to bring? I decided on champagne, and realizing that first impressions are everything, I got the good stuff: Veuve Clicquot. I think it worked.

Was it love at first sight? Very possibly. We hugged each other hello and something clicked. It felt natural and good, and unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Our time together has always felt that natural, and after 6 months of dating, I realized I was done looking – and what was I waiting for anyway?

I didn’t want Treva Brandon to go one more minute knowing that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with her.

A week after I proposed (and she said “Yes!”) I became acutely aware of a few amazing things that I would’ve never been able to experience prior to becoming engaged:

1. While waiting for a table at a restaurant with friends, I realized that not only was I thrilled to feel a love I’ve never felt for someone else before, but I also had a feeling of euphoria come over me thinking that someone as incredible as Treva could possibly feel a similar love for me.

2. I knew I was in the right relationship when “compromise” was the first thing I wanted to do, not the last.

3. Even though my life has changed completely (for the better), I don’t believe Treva and I have changed to please each other. We’re exactly who we are together, and that’s the best affirmation that we’ve both found the right person.

As for that mutual friend, well, he’s still unable to shake his issues, but Treva and I are far past that and can’t wait to start our life together.

Announcing An Engagement Fifty Years In The Making.

IMG_3929Finally, the words I’ve waited fifty years to say: I’M ENGAGED.  Why now you ask and not five years ago?  Ten years ago?  Twenty years ago?  Not sure, but I think it has a little something to do with the right time, the right guy, and being in the right place emotionally and personally.  Being a late bloomer had a lot to do with it, too.

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