When I was a teenager, dating had its odd moments. If you liked a boy, you’d smile, twirl your hair, and get a friend to ask him out for you. Of course he said “no, she’s a crazy stalker.” So you’d wipe your tears and move on to your next victim. The vicious circle continued until you deciced that all boys were beasts and gave up on crazed stalking. I mean, dating.
If you’re like me,you decided to have another go at it in your 20s. More crazed stalking, but this time around involved alcohol,which only slightly raised your odds. Towards the end of an evening, at least.
This usually ends the dating story. But for some lucky souls, like me, it’s not. I got to enter the dating scene again. I realize that my chosen strategy for dating over the years has not been perfect. But as my parents met, soon got engaged and stayed together for the rest of their lives, I didn’t get a whole lot of dating advice growing up. And before the internet, there wasn’t much advice available anywhere else, either. Everyone just sort of muddled through it.
Dating in my 30s was more fun, as by then the internet had entered the picture. You could lounge around in your pajamas all day and read prospectivedating profiles. Online advice columns and blogs weren’t popular yet, so we muddled through. We pored over dating sites and started conversations in chat rooms with total strangers, thinking we were so hip and trendy.
In my 40s, I got to return to the dating scene. Again. The online dating scene has grown substantially. There are now many trustworthy sites available, and many sources of advice on what you should or shouldn’t do.
Online dating is easier when you’re a Silver Fox (that is, you’re old enough to have silvery highlights in your hair). You’ve reached an age when you know you don’t have to put up with hassles from anyone anymore. If it’s more appealing to you to have a quiet night in with a glass of wine than to dance at a club all night, you’re more likely just to say so. We don’t feel obligated to make excuses. We don’t feel obligated to boost mens’ egos. We know how to just say “no.”
So, with so much online dating experience, what advice do I have to pass along? Here goes…
- Keep personal information personal. Don’t share details, such as your personal address, or the location of your employer, even if you’ve been talking together for a while and he seems okay. Of course, not all men on dating websites are axe murders! But while you’re chatting, be aware that he’ll start to pick up on your habits, like when you’re away from your house or when you’re there alone.
- Keep your first date short and sweet. This isn’t to encourage you to keep him interested and begging for more. (Does that even work anymore?) Don’t pressure yourself or him into a long date. You may not even “click” together, and a long first date will just leave you in an awkward situation.
- Be real about the man you’ve arranged to meet. You’ve likely seen photos of him, and read some details about him. But it’s common for people to accentuate positives and downplay negatives, especially when we’re trying to make a good impression. I’m not contending that slight differences between his profile and his actual self means that he’s no good. But if he’s 20 years older than he said he was, or is sporting a non-tanned groove on his ring finger, it may be time to wave “good-bye.”
- Be truthful with yourself. It’s fine if you’re dating with the intention of finding a life partner. It’s also fine to bail if it becomes obvious that all he wants from you is sex.
Remember that you can find success. I met my boyfriend online, and am happy to report that things are now brighter than a sunny day. I’m old enough to be a Silver Fox, but I’m as happy as a teenager with stars in her eyes.