One of my sweet, recently-single-as-a-grown-up friends recently asked me to write a book about dating as, you know, an adult. Oh, and would I please write that right now? Thanks.
It make me laugh, and it got me to thinking, too. Since I didn't marry until a month shy of my 36th birthday, I guess I am uniquely qualified to talk about what it's like to maneuver about the dating pool after you've realized that you're no longer 23 and would really prefer a padded suit with some boobage support over that little crocheted string thing.
You get my drift?
So, since I don't have time to write a book, like, right this second? I'll condense my Older Lady Dating Advice.
1. You know what you want and what works for you. This means you can be more focused in your dating pursuits. Don't feel like you have to spend time with Mr. Probably Not. Listen to your gut.
Case in point: Remember my match.com stalker? My gut reaction was no. I should have stuck to that and not given him false hope by giving him another chance. He was nice enough on the first date, but I think my gut reaction was based on a subconscious feeling that he was capable of creepiness. And boy howdy, I was right. Which leads us to ...
2. Don't be afraid to be a bitch. Or a whore, or an unmarriageable spinster, or whatever nasty thing anybody might call you. You've made it this far and have earned the right to do what is right for you.
Chances are that if you're single any time after age 30, you've survived some serious heartache. So when some dude tells you, "Good luck ever getting married?" Feel free to laugh. Because, really? We all know that marriage isn't the finish line. It's the beginning of the real work. So ...
3. Have fun.
And yes, at multiple points in my dating life, if you'd told me to have fun, I would have beaten you to death with the chicken drumstick I was eating while sitting on my couch, in sweatpants, watching some vh1 countdown show. Lest you think marriage has changed me, I now sit on the couch, in sweatpants, eating chicken and watching vh1 next to my husband. He knows to stay on his side of the couch.
Anyway. Dating is absurd. And when you're over 30, you feel dumb, like being single is paying some sort of hideous karmic debt. And you bounce between feeling like you're the only single grown-up in the universe who isn't living in mom's basement, or you're the only single grown-up who doesn't know what the fuck they're doing.
Neither of these things are true. Which leads us to ...
4. Fake it 'til you make it. At this point in the game, nobody knows what they're doing. If they think they do, they are morons. The people you really want to associate with will admit that they have no idea what they're supposed to be doing in Adultdatingland. You don't either! Look - you already have something in common!
Be honest. Be really you. Be nervous, but don't let your nerves keep you on the couch, eating chicken. Be brave. If nothing else, you'll have some great stories to tell. Like the time I saw Engelbert Humperdink.
So, in closing: Trust yourself. Stick up for yourself. Be authentic. See Engelbert Humperdink.