The best thing that ever happened to me was transforming myself from a world travelling career woman to a stay-at-home mom who ran her own business from home.
If it weren't for my daughter, I wouldn't be who I am today. I've started three businesses, and moved only twice since her birth. (My record before was a move/job on average of every six months, pick a city/country, any city/country)
Throughout all of this, busy being a mom and an entrepreneur/writer, I forgot how to date, and how to select those I wanted to date. I did see a few gentlemen for a time after my marriage ended, but I realized it was taking away from two very important things… my daughter and my businesses. Now my daughter is in University, my businesses are well underway, and I have the time to look for my best friend.
Dating in the middle ages is a little like playing a murder mystery game but with fewer clues. Julie from Magnetix helped by picking out men she believed were suited to me. Then it was up to me to make a choice to go out with them or not. She's like the packinghouse that culls the ones that aren't right and delivers the ones that might be.
I may imagine myself as Lois Lane with Superman and Batman fighting over my attention, but the reality is much different. And besides, in reality, two guys who wear underwear on the outside of their tights and top the ensemble off with a cape, are probably not my type.
Finding a date is different when you are middle-aged. I rarely get set up by friends, and the last time I met someone at a party was five years ago. It was at a Hallowe'en party and I think he may have been wearing a cape.
But I digress... the rules of dating haven't changed much over the years, in fact, they do bear repeating. Here's my version of the 'rules'.
Make sure you know enough about your date to carry on a conversation, but don't ask or tell about your last partner. It doesn't matter if it was a great breakup or a tragic death, don't do it. Here's more of what not to talk about: Do not tell dirty jokes, do not talk religion or politics, don't gossip, and most importantly… don't talk about sex. Your libidinous lines could end a perfectly good date rather quickly. And quite frankly, talking about sex usually leads to complaining about an ex, which is the first no-no.
The next two are simple. Listen and ask questions. It shows you care about your date and it gives you more information. Do not ask how much money they make or if they are wearing a hairpiece. This is not a job interview.
One of my biggest pet peeves is hygiene. Clean up! If it looks like it's been on the bottom of your closet, don't wear it. (My last date looked like his shirt had been on the bottom of a pile of clothes for weeks. You guessed it, there wasn't another date.) Meeting after work? Take a toothbrush or some mouthwash to work and freshen up a bit. Nothing says 'stay back' like day old coffee breath. Top that off with the Caesar salad you had for lunch and you've got a combo that was meant for keeping away stray cats.
Put away your phone. Yes, that smart phone you are so in love with could keep you apart from someone human you could love even more. Unless you are expecting an emergency call, turn it off. If you are expecting a call, let your date know and put your phone on vibrate. The time to have your phone out is the next day, when you call to let them know you had a good time.
If you don't feel the date went well, let them know when you part for the night. Find a polite way to say you enjoyed yourself but you don't feel it's a good fit. Letting someone know you won't be getting together again is much kinder than leading them on.
Those are the basic rules as I see them. I still have not found my best friend. I know he is out there somewhere; he just doesn't have my number yet.
I wonder if I should make up some cards and hand them out at the next party or mixer I attend. Or perhaps I'll just wait for Julie to cull the herd and send someone my way. Either way, I'll be ready for my next date, l just hope he doesn't wear tights.