|"I really like your hair. Do you know Sergio?"|
When you're in your 20's and 30's, dating is so much easier. You meet at an event, a club or in a bar. If you strike up a connection, you exchange emails and phone numbers on the spot with your smartphones. If liquor is involved, you may wind up exchanging bodily fluids later that night. However, one-night stands rarely lead to lasting relationships. Once sobriety sets in, reality takes hold and both parties gather their clothing and head for the exits, even if it's your place. You just need to get away from the situation for a while.
If you're taking it slow and dating in a normal fashion, guys pickup girls where they live and go out for fun - dinner, dancing, movies, etc. It's relatively simple. Conversations are loose and relatively honest. Inhibitions are low. Hormones are running high. And if the time is right, the L-word pops out and everyone sees how that flies. If it doesn't cause a quick evacuation by the receiving party, there might be a love connection in the making.
When you're over 40, you've experience more of the good and bad of life. The Disney Princess dreams of your 20's and 30's have been replaced with divorce papers, maybe some kids, bills, heartbreak, betrayal, custody, alimony and struggles to just make life work smoothly in a solo parent or single adult world.
Hanging out in bars gets tougher the farther you get past 40. Nightclubs - please don't make me laugh. You stick out like a desperate fool, standing in the corner, with your bald spot to the wall. Your clothes and style of dance are museum quality and should not be put on display in a public place, but you're there and you mistakenly think you can hang with the younger set. Big mistake.
If you're still looking for love, you have online dating sites. These can be interesting, amusing, frustrating, treacherous and dangerous. Not everyone on the Internet is telling the truth - except me.
You might meet someone online and decide to meet them in person. Gee... you're a bit - larger, shorter, weirder, balder, fatter, less in shape - than your profile picture. And where did you get those clothes?
Through dinner or a movie, you're making mental notes of all the things that will rule this person out - no manners, uses sleeve as napkin, belches, yells at the movie, passes gas without remorse, picks teeth, weird cologne or perfume, cheap shoes, weird laugh, crooked teeth, bad clothes, not dressing their age, wearing short sleeves or sleeveless top and complaining about being cold, bad breath, cussing, behaves in bad taste, drunk, can't wait to get high in the parking lot, talks too much about last lover, etc.
If the date falls all apart, it will be a few weeks before you go back to see who has tapped your profile on the dating site to see if you want to start the process over again.
If the date was going reasonably well, you eventually have to get to that point of discussing your baggage, and you get to dig deeper into this new person in your life. This is where things can get real interesting,
- "So you've been married six times?"
- "You have five kids from four fathers?"
- "How many years did you say you were unemployed?"
- "Is that your car with the duct tape on the rear windows?"
- "And how long have you lived with your mother?"
- "So, every Saturday and Sunday you spend the whole day at your grandmother's house, eating?"
- "How many heavy metal concerts do you see a month? Oh, that many."
- "Do you carry that Bible with you everywhere?"
- "How long have you been following Sarah Palin?"
- "I've never met someone who liked porn as much as you."
- "So, how long has Satan been your master?"
- "When do your two oldest sons get out of prison?"
- "So, your daughter and her unemployed boyfriend live with you and never leave."
- "You spend 20% of every paycheck on lottery tickets?"
- "Do you feel those shock treatments have helped?"
- "No, I don't Tivo old episodes of Matlock."
- "You still have a Farrah Fawcett poster on your bedroom wall?"
- "Do you think you'll every get off the pain-killers?"
- "Gee, two bankruptcies. That had to be hard."
- "I don't think re-usable toilet paper is a good investment."
- "And how long has the IRS been after you?"
- "You eat a large bag of potato chips every day?"
- "Yeah, the places are called museums."
- "Wow, you do have good credit, it's just a little under you weight. That loan should be no problem."
- "So, you're a Vegan."
- "This New Age religion you follow actually makes you levitate?"
- "No, I don't have all the Backstreet Boyz CD's."
- "So, your last girlfriend said your penis really hurt because it's so huge."
- "You don't shave your legs or underarms?"
- "What do you mean it's been two years since you cleaned your house?"
- "I've never acquired a taste for box wine."
- "You're right, fast food isn't what put on all that weight. It's genetics."
- "No, I don't have anyplace you can put that booger."
- "And how long has your driver's license been suspended?"
- "You think White Supremacy is gaining in popularity?"
- "What year did you say you were acquitted of the rape charges?"
- "Three heart attacks? Yes, I'll wait while you go out and smoke."
- "Explain why your Ex got that restraining order against you?"
- "No, I don't own any whips or leather masks."
- "Gee, that offer for a threesome with your bi-sexual Peruvian roommate sounds tempting."
- "I've never tried making spaghetti out of ketchup. I'm sure it's as good as you say."
- "Eleven cats. Wow, that makes my eyes water just thinking about it."
- "And the fish talked back to you?"
- "No, I don't think an eight-year-old should drink."
- "How much did you embezzle from the church? Are they pressing charges?"
- "I know they didn't prove it, but you did say your last two husbands died of poisoning."
- "300 parking tickets?"
- "Someday you'll have to show me that five foot bong."
- "And what are your plans after you get your GED?"
- "Do you always use a picture of a super-model as a profile picture?"
There are groups geared toward business professionals that arrange lunches. Those seem harmless. You're not committing a lot of time. You have a reasonable excuse to leave, "Got to get back to work." But, again, you go through that mental checklist or some of the questions above.
Now, you can go to events called "Speed Dating." Thirty or forty adults of both sexes get three minutes to chat with someone, make mental notes and then move to the next person. You meet a bunch of people in a short period of time. Each person has a sheet. On your sheet, you can mark if you want to exchange email addresses. What happens from there can be good, frustrating or just a pain in the ass.
It only gets worse when you get over 50. Most of the people who had kids now have grown kids that are not usually living with them, but they might. Or they have kids with lots of financial problems and they're being drained by the kids.
Another thing that happens as you get older, the walls get higher and thicker.
I have a friend that has been going to "Speed Dating" events. He's met several women and they agreed to exchange emails. All of the women suddenly turn real evasive. They only want to meet somewhere, he can't pick any of them up at their home for a date.
He made a real good observation about one prospective date. He wanted to take her to the air show. She wanted to go to a bar about a mile from the airport and watch the planes from there. He said, "I'm going to be standing there looking up at the planes and she'll be looking around the bar, trying to see who's looking at her."
But getting information out of a woman over 50 is like finding an elephant that swallowed a golf ball and trying to retrieve it by yanking it out of his ass. It's messy, not fun and can take a long time.
I think people are just too cautious. They're actually getting in their own way. It can also be a lack of confidence. I'm completely secure in who I am and what I'm about. (But I gave up dating years ago.)
I think if I was in the pool, looking for fish, I'd be very frustrated and a bit blunt with someone that was evasive with me. We're adults. Act like it.
What do you do when you're over 40 or 50 and looking for love - you have to play a numbers game.
Find places where you might find people of similar interests - hiking clubs, bowling leagues, church groups, art clubs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and other social networks. Expect relationships to develop over longer periods of time. Women, more so than men, are self-conscious about their bodies as they age - so don't push intimacy. For men, have patience with the women you meet. Be a good friend, companion and partner, before you become a lover.
I know my long-term goal is to find a companion, more than anything. Company. An adult to share life with. Travel. Experience new places and things and have someone to be there with me. Simple. But that is a ways off. I'm not getting involved until my 10 year-old daughter is up and out on her own.
I'm in no hurry. I have my writing and my computer. I'm married to both. But for the rest of you. Good luck. Take your time. Don't rush. Expect and demand the best for you. Don't settle.
Yes, dating over 40 is different. The rules have changed for finding love.
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