Middle-age women often ask me for advice about dating after age 50. I tell them to note my three non-negotiable nuggets of knowledge before baring their souls and body parts: Do Keep a Positive Attitude, Don't Settle and Don't Snore on the First Date.
Single women in their fifties face new and daunting dating dilemmas that they didn't experience in their 20s and 30s. Back then, their breasts were closer to their shoulders than to their knees. Decades ago, they didn't wet their pants every time they sneezed. When they were young and carefree, the skin on their necks didn't resemble a dryer hose. And, in those fabulous but fleeting days of youth, they could party all night with plenty of energy remaining for an hour-long festive romp between the sheets.
After living for half a century, reality sets in like an irritating ingrown toenail that won't go away. We're faced with new insecurities when we receive amorous advances from a potential suitor. We know our boobs will never get back to elbow level without nipple clamps tied to our ears. Stifling a sneeze to prevent leakage in the lower regions only will result in a ferocious fart. And, we'll never stay awake after 9:00 pm, especially if we swill a few glasses of wine. And, who wouldn't want to do that?
Before we accept a date, shave our legs and exchange yoga pants for a sassy outfit, we should mentally remember our three rules of engagement:
1. Do Keep a Positive Attitude. Maybe your date is apprehensive, too, and regrets that his high school physique graduated long ago and left the state. His priority might be to have an intelligent conversation with a witty, seasoned woman who dazzles him with her self-confidence and natural charm. There is about a 10 percent chance that this fairy tale will come true, but don't give up.
2. Don't Settle. I know a middle-aged woman so desperate for a relationship that she cavorted with a professional loser with no assets, no job potential and without any socially redeeming value. He moved into her house, brought along his menagerie of dogs and snakes, and proceeded to deplete her refrigerator, bank account and self-esteem. By the time she finally kicked out the dude, she was a ruined shell of a woman who sat alone in her backyard and talked to flies. Don't become that woman.
3. Don't Snore on the First Date. We all know first impressions are important, so that's why we check our teeth for broccoli, remove the toothpick and change the wine-stained shirt before meeting a new date. As for the snoring, I'm not suggesting that you hop into bed an hour after meeting. Wait at least a day or two. The snoring can result on the first date after you're so exhausted from a busy day that you fall asleep during dinner or in a movie and then make grotesque nasal sounds like a congested warthog with severe allergies. This unfortunate action can kill the romance before there is any chance of giggling down the hallway toward the play room. If you think you might snore, stay awake. You'll thank me later.
Many middle-aged, unmarried women don't need to take a chance on dating and are happy with their single life. That's just fine. But for those who want to tiptoe back into the dating pool, feel free to jump in and make a big splash. After a few strokes, you might even feel confident enough to remove your life jacket.