By D’Andra Simmons MID LIFE DATING, WHERE TO GO TO MEET…
THAT NEXT OR NEW SPECIAL SOMEONE
Dating after 50 can be scary for a lot of people. Maybe they have recently been divorced, which means they have been out of the dating scene for a long time (like before there was the Internet!), they are widowed, or just haven’t met that special someone. The good news is that all of the empirical data shows dating over 50 to be a much more positive experience for most people, than it ever was in the earlier stages of their life.
The fact is most people over 50 years of age are settled in a career, they have passed the baby and infant stages of child rearing (they might even be an empty nester) and they are confident in who they are as an individual. This is a far cry from the 20’s and 30’s when everyone is still trying to define who they are, what they will become, and if they will have 2.5 kids and live in a well-heeled suburb!
For most people over age 50, the checklist has now been fulfilled with “must dos”, and they are actually enjoying their lives and doing what they want to do. Fulfilling the expectation of others is less important, and focusing on what makes you happy at your innermost core is front and center. Past age 50 you are less concerned with what everyone “thinks” you should be doing. You realize you have lived over half of your life, maybe happily or unhappily, but reevaluation of your life and what path you have chosen has happened in most people’s lives and hearts. They know who they are and are secure in that person. Thus, it should be easier to narrow the dating field and target the kind of partner that is right for you.
So now that we have the good news, what should you do? I am going to assume that you take good care of yourself, you are well groomed (hygiene is not a problem), you exercise a few times a week at the least, and your appearance is not something that I need to address in this article. You are putting your best appearance forward so we can skip right past that issue.
So, where do you find that special someone?
What are Your Hobbies?
One of the ways to find a mate is to consider what you like to do in your spare time. Do you have a particular hobby or interest that you would enjoy sharing with the right person? Do you like art, music or fitness? For example, I love to read. I have always been a bookworm. The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is an oasis in the heart of our city for book nerds like me. From their website, “Our house on Routh Street is home for those who enjoy reading, thinking, exploring, and discussing timeless ideas that make us most fully human. The Institute has been described by our members as a “sanctuary,” as an “oasis,” as a “place for reflection,” as “food for the soul.” This is just the type of place I would visit frequently if I was single and over 50 (I’m 45—so not far from it). In fact, I visit this place now, even though I don’t qualify with regards to this article. This place in just plain stimulating to me! Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is a lively center for discussion about many topics and books in general. They have book clubs, featured visiting authors and classes that enable you to engage with other bookworms and philosophy wonks and feel right at home doing it. This is my kind of place!
Your Place of Worship – More Interesting Thank You Think
My church has many classes and groups for single people of all ages. They also have trips that you can take and be engaged in a mission while pursuing your OWN mission of meeting that man or woman who was meant for you. At least, if you meet someone in your church or place of worship versus a bar, you know they most likely have the same values as you, which is more important the older you become.
Where to Meet Men – Ladies Listen Up!
One of my other secret places to meet men of ALL ages is the Dallas Safari Club. You can join for a mere $100 and be invited to all kinds of lectures, dinners and events FULL OF MEN! Most people who safari as a passion are older, at least past the age of forty. It takes time to safari. What I mean is time off from your job, money to be able to hunt and pay the fees associated with hunting and patience to wait it out on the hunt. All characteristics of the over-fifty crowd! The annual convention and gala, which happens every January is ripe with all sorts of prospects if you are a woman on the hunt! Those who don’t believe in culling need not apply! http://biggame.org/
If you are a woman go to where men congregate, if that means eating lunch at The Petroleum Club every day until you meet someone then so be it! Another great place to meet men is at Car Shows. Men love car shows, and you will find no shortage of good looking, successful men at car shows because owning and trading in cars is one of their hobbies if they are there, and it isn’t a cheap one at that! If you want to be a minority somewhere then head to a car show or if the thrill of loud engines gets you off then head to NASCAR or a FORMULA 1 race. There will be lots of men there that love a good thrill…so make sure you give them the thrill of the chase if you do meet a man that asks you out at one of these events!
Working Out – And I Don’t Mean at Equinox
You can definitely meet someone at the gym. However, if you are a single woman, going to any gym where there is a sea of other single women is kind of pointless. What do I suggest? Go to a gym that separates the men from the boys, if you know what I mean. Go to an old school serious gym like the one my husband and I go to…Doug’s Gym in downtown Dallas. This place is so old school that it doesn’t have air conditioning OR heat! Many times I am the only woman in the gym at all. I get one on one training from the 84 year old owner, Doug himself (yes, there is a Doug and he is still there every day Monday-Saturday), and I am surrounded by men lifting weights, boxing and jumping rope. It is a room full of testosterone! So, take my advice and join a boxing gym or an old school gym, but don’t head to LA Fitness or you will be one of many instead of one in a million.
Cooking Classes – A Skill Everyone Needs to Learn and a Great Place to Meet Someone
Many times over the years I have taken cooking classes. During most of the times, I was single. And, there were single people of ALL ages in the class with me. Normally, you are paired with a partner, so get there early and stand strategically next to the cute girl or guy you want to be paired up with and hope the instructor puts you two together. A glass of wine or two, chopping an onion and you will be laughing and crying it up together in no time! Bonus, you will already know if the other person is a picky eater or a foodie, since you have gotten those questions out of the way during the cooking and vetting process. If you do make a date, you will know if you are headed to a Moroccan joint or Chick – Fil –A – from your conversations about food that night! You will at least know what to expect the next time you see each other.
AWARENESS – IF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW, THEY CAN’T HELP YOU
I know it sounds all too familiar, but ask your friends that are married if they know someone who might be good for you that they could introduce you to. You have to put the news out there that you are actively seeking a partner. If you never say anything, people may assume you enjoy being alone, or are done with relationships because your marriage or last relationship was a failure. People normally are not going to feel comfortable asking you about your single status. Most people view that as intrusive and “none of their business” unless you offer it to them. Let people know that you are single, available and ready to meet someone.
Don’t be afraid to show up at social events or dinners alone, and even bars, for a specific activity. I’m not saying you can’t go to a bar just because, but if I was to go to a bar alone for me it would have to be for a specific reason. I would not feel comfortable otherwise. For example, if you are going to participate in a game, like Trivia Night or another game, that would be a reason to head to a bar alone.
Bottom line…you never know who you may end up talking to that may be single or have a single friend wherever you are. By sitting at home alone night after night you aren’t doing yourself any favors. In fact, you are making yourself more depressed. Who cares if the event consists of mostly couples? Those couples know single people like you! Get out there and hold your head up, be engaging to everyone you meet, and you never know what might happen. If you were actively seeking a new career wouldn’t you do the same thing? Well, think of every social engagement as a networking meeting except for you it is for a life partner. Happy mate hunting!
D’Andra Simmons is a businesswoman and philanthropist. She is the founder of Hard Night Good Morning Skincare and an active volunteer for the Dallas community serving on the Advisory Board of Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts, volunteering with the Junior League of Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas or Cattle Baron’s Ball for the American Cancer Society.