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Just Divorced: Dating like it was 1977

sad-manDating at 60…after a 35 year hiatus (aka marriage)

Roger (62, newly divorced -suddenly single) was very excited to go on his first date. His last ‘first-date’ was 35 years earlier. Then came marriage, the baby carriage and bam! Three decades later: the divorce. He was now a self-professed ‘swinging single’…did they still call it that?

His new matchmaker of choice, Match.com sent him a bevy of beauties they labeled as “Perfect matches.” Each woman looked young, seemed energetic and possibly good company.  All the women were 10-20 years his junior. He went to great lengths to align himself to a “newer model.”

He was feeling confident. He got bought designer jeans, pulled his old leather jacket out, threw away his Grandpa sweaters and got a couple new shirts at Ross. He was looking good -not a buff jock; he was fit – kind of. And he was witty- yes, he was clever. His married hiking buddies said he would “score” and they wanted the details.

He considered himself tall (over 5’9 in Dansko clogs) and a pretty good dancer. He and his soon-to-be ex-wife  had a repertoire of two dances: one Fast (kind of The Twist meets The Jerk, with a dash of West Coast Swing – it had served him well for decades) and the Waltz. Women love men who dance – he had read that.

In the beginning…

Peet’s on Fourth Street in Berkeley is a haven for first dates. His buddy, John-divorced twice, had advised him to arrive early and score a table. Roger arrived in his new jeans, old leather jacket – excited, nervous and with dry mouth.

He wondered if he should have prepared a set of questions to ask Lidia (49, Albany, 5’4, runner, baker-biker chick.)  She arrived at the table smiling, introduced herself, gave Roger a hug and sat down. She was much prettier than her picture. She was wearing running shorts and a T-shirt. Roger was visibly nervous – her confidence, and attire and ease made him even more uncomfortable.

The opening question has asked every new client, “What brings you here?” popped out of his mouth and he almost fainted when he heard himself.

She laughed and he wasn’t sure if she was laughing at him or his stupid question. He faked a laugh – and said, “I sound like an attorney – sorry.” She was gracious, did not want to a cup a coffee, and actually, only had a few minutes- something came up – she had to go.

Within five minutes, he met a beautiful woman, who stayed long enough to say “Hello” and disappear forever. So this was “Dating 2014”

Three Strikes – Yer Out!

Roger had two more dates that week. He wasn’t quite as glib as he thought he was. He couldn’t stop talking and he was boring himself. Both dates ended with someone saying “Nice to meet you – good luck – good bye.”

One afternoon, he met a very attractive women-15 years his junior-in snug, low-cut, yoga clothes and his mouth went dry in his mind went blank. She seemed bored and also remembered another engagement and dashed off.

His last date was with a “Tiger Lilly”a petite blonde from Dogpatch. Her real name “Cyndi-with-an-i” was eager to meet at La Boulange on Polk Street. She barely resembled her online photograph – she, obviously, had gained considerable weight and age and reeked of cigarettes. After a few minutes of small talk – Roger nervously excused himself and claimed he had to pick up his kids (they were both on the East coast and over 25, actually.) He was ready to throw in the dating towel.

This dating thing was harder than he thought. He went to Amazon.com and bought four books in the Dating for Dummies vein and studied.

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Next: How many “First Dates”  can a person suffer through?

2014: Sex and the suddenly single girl?

Remember the exciting, best-seller Sex and the Single Girl?

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The 1962  risqué bestseller changed the way women thought about the chase and being chaste.

Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan magazine editor, wrote the avant-garde book that instantly climbed and stayed at flying off bookshelves status.

The racy book, renown to be suggestive – in a good way- was a frothy concoction. Women in 29 countries devoured it.

Mundane copies of Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Seventeen magazines were kicked to the curb, as women basked in the sexy secrets and revolutionary advice for the 60’s. At the time, Sex and the Single Girl was considered provocative- required reading.

(Some of us secretly smuggled our mother’s copy off the nightstand and got an instant education.)

The 1960’s model citizens: June Cleaver, Donna Reed and Marlo Thomas types were “out” and the gossamer gowned Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” was “in.”

heart baba

Then and Now:
The Cosmopolitan magazine of that era was innovative and suggestive. Today’s version of the magazine is a poor little paltry ‘zine’ and a far cry from Cosmo back in the day. Today’s version is a blend of National Enquirer, True Confessions and “I was a teenage mutant nymph-oh”.

Prolific author, Gail Sheehy, famous for her best seller, Passages, later wrote Sex and the Seasoned Woman, touting the benefits of sex and the single, married, or widowed woman over 50. She cites happy stories of women 50 and 60+ happily and successfully dating men 10 and 20 years younger. The consensus?  Everyone lives happily ever and more relaxed. Is this the end? Honey, we’ve only just begun.

Blame it on the Babes in Yoga

Today more women, 50+,  are lithe, supple and sexy as a result of yoga. Yoga is that personal panacea that addresses both mind and body. Legions say no other endeavor can compete for multiple level results. Women don’t do yoga for the cute outfits, the brightly colored mats and matching bags or the Sigg water bottles; it’s all about energy, strength and focus.

Secret Bonus: clarity, agility and yoga buns. Namaste.

Suddenly Single

San Francisco Dating@50 Examiner, Page Larkin, welcomes your feedback, questions and queries at page.larkin@gmail.com

Don’t miss a single Page Larkin column- click the Subscribe button at the top of the page.

Are you divorced, but not dead? Dating again at 50


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Tricia had not been on a date in 24 years.

She met her now-former husband in college-married – no kids.

Twenty years flew by before he decided the younger, blonder, BMW sales gal was more his style. Bam! Tricia woke up divorced -after being confounded by the nefarious San Francisco judge, Marjorie Slabach. That’s another nightmare.

When he moved out, he took the best of everything: the best art, the best wine, the best sheets (Frette) towels, silver (Georg Jensen.) Thinking, “He’ll be back,” Tricia was compliant, numb and pretty much brain dead -for a time.

Dazed and stricken dumb, (anger had not reared her ugly little head, yet) Tricia cocooned and watched a lot of Netflix. She saw all of Madmen, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Wallender/Swedish version, Luther, and The Wire.

Then, for some reason, she was drawn to “Say, Yes to the Dress.” She wanted Randy, the star of the show – slightly sarcastic, enormously calm, the wedding dress ‘Divo,’ to be her new best friend. When she shared this last bit with her therapist, Dr Q- he strongly urged her to turn off the TV, get out of the house, and return the calls to her friends – it was time.

Friends and family had been calling, showing up and having mini- interventions, to no avail.

Eventually, Tricia went back to book club, started hiking with her pals Linda and Julie, and was slowly getting back to her old self. Her patient and loyal clients re-surfaced and she eased back to work full-time.

Beginners Luck?

On the second anniversary of her divorce, Tricia was up and running on Match.com. Months before, in a pique of boredom, she had taken a look at Craigslist singles, OKCupid, and Plenty of Fish. She picked up the rope and decided to join the fun. Slowly.

Edward, (San Mateo, 59, medical researcher, newly single) had been on Match.com for less than 30 minutes before Tricia sent him a quick note. He was flattered and intrigued – and wrote back. After a spate of e-mails- they spoke on the phone. For an hour. They spoke again, that night – for 90-minutes. It turns out they had mutual friends in Los Angeles, had much in common and the rest is history – they been “an item” ever since. It happens. It could happen to you.

Reality check

No glass slippers, no magic apples or mirrors and smoke. It takes a little verve, a little nerve and a desire to “meet someone.”

So you kiss a frog, get over it. Now is the time – get social – be social – and have fun out here.

Try a 7-Day Free Trial on the dating site that resonates with you. Good luck!

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No L-o-v-e? Facebook says Christmas is break up time

Tis the season to be jolly  HOWEVER, According to Facebook, it’s the War of the Roses time and breaking up is de rigueur.

Research done by the elves at Facebook reveals that Christmastime can be called ‘Merry EX-miss.’

Single and Afraid of Another Silent Night?

Finding yourself suddenly single can make the Christmas holiday a totally new, sometimes unsettling experience. These can be the times that try men’s and women’s souls, stamina, and spirit. 

Business Insider reveals that David McCandless did the due diligence on ‘Yuletide dating and breaking up’ by examining trends on Facebook. Research indicates breaking up at the holiday season is a so-called tradition.

Blue Christmas, indeed. And, you don’t even want to know about Mondays.  Is there really such a thing as Empirical evidence from Facebook? Who says if it’s from Facebook, it’s got to be true?

If your December dilemma

Once you were  half-of-a-couple, now you find yourself flying solo – what do you do? Get off the couch, push away from the computer and go out and play. Wear red. Listen to Christmas carols. Invest in mistletoe and wear a sprig on your lapel or on your hat.  

Scour the San Francisco Chronicle for events, read Marin’s Pacific Sun  for fun events; read Johnny Fun Cheap.

 Say ‘yes’ to every invitation to go out; go dancing; see the beautiful decorations on Union Square; master the art of making latkes; learn the words to ‘Mele Kalikimaka‘; throw a Christmas party – at home, with friends, in a small café or a pub.

Got Dates?

A passel of people (see movie Love Actually) who find themselves in the dreaded  ‘kiss-free mistletoe zone’  actively seek out sweethearts for the season. These pro-active romantics re-up on Match.com, Craigslist, Eharmony, or Plenty of Fish.

Follow suit: they smile and say, “Merry Christmas” to everyone – especially at Trader Joe’s, Bryan’s, Safeway and default to jolly and bright.

Some say ‘lose the Santa hat’ and lead with a hearty “Merry Christmas.”

(Don’t waste one minute debating the PC-ness of wishing everybody a “MC”)

And, don’t let a Facebook statistic get in the way of having a holly-jolly holiday.

Your mother was right: Go outside and play!

San Francisco Dating@50 Examiner, Page Larkin,welcomes your feedback, questions and queries at Page.Larkin@gmail.com

What is the best online dating company?

Today’s column is all about “The Best.” 

Is there one single dating site that is better than another? Depends- are you Christian, a cowboy or a playboy, a Geek, an Apple fan boy, a gold miner or a gold digger? There is a site for everyone.

Best Advice: Buyer Beware.

Dear Page,
Help! I just looked. There are dozens of on line dating companies to choose from. In your research, what is the best online dating site?
Paulie boy

Dear Paulie boy,
The best dating site? My opinion changes like the weather in San Francisco – constantly. Let’s see, today I would say the best online dating site is JDate Why?  Because yesterday, Maureen, a devout Irish Catholic, told me she had the very best success and romance on the famed Jewish dating site.  Maureen reminds me that JDate has a very pro-active marketing team ( read: pushy) who are forever sending their clientele suggestions, updates, and pointers on succeeding at dating.

Granted, JDate is like those kids at the high school dances that kept pushing  you on the dance floor. A little awkward in the beginning – and then, voila, you’re dancing.

Anyway, Maureen (“Be Gentile with me”) revealed that she met the love of her life on Jdate –  as fate would have it, her new beau, Sean, is also Catholic (claims he is a “collapsed Catholic”) and yes, they met on the Jewish dating site.

Perfect Match is a lot like flypaper – express an interest in them once and they swarm you with emails. Tread lightly.

Chemistry.com is Match.com’s more expensive stepsister. Exactly the same as Match with a twist and a turn here and there it makes for a good change of pace. If you get bored by Match – quit. Dabble in a new site. You can always go back to Match.

MillionaireMatch – Be careful out there- if it is too good to be true – (See: Two Worst Dating Sites)

Is EHarmony a waste of time and money?

There are some (read: thousands) who are totally seduced by the wonderful television campaign ads touting the magic of EHarmony.  Others will tell you it takes forever to fill out the 50-plus pages of mind-numbing questions and that the results are glacially slow. Really, really slow. And, other people say they been extremely happy with the pace and the product of EHarmony. Your call.  See EHarmony: like the titanic or a kayak?

Double Dipping: Try Two Dating Sites at Once?

Dr Diane Kirschner, the lively and popular author of Love in 90 Days suggests signing up on two different sites – concurrently. You might want to try a free site and sign up for a “reputable” site.

Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid are  famous, fast, and free – and, it has been said, you get what you pay for. It is a fun and easy way to test the waters. Take a look. (See:  Say OK to OK Cupid)

Got Class?

Another reader is a total cheerleader for Classmates.com – she re-connected with a high school acquaintance and they are now in the happily-ever-after chapter of their lives.

Meetup.com is a veritable gold mine of opportunities for meeting people with interests that match yours- hiking, biking, wine tasting, art, spelunking – there are groups for every taste.  Take the  time to plug in your zip code and interests. Every day, there are dozens of events  in the the Bay Area to choose from.

Go out and have some fun!What About Craigslist?  See: New to Online Dating

See: http://suddenlysingleminded.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/new-to-online-dating-sample-free-sites-craigslist/

Is San Francisco friendly? City Slickers or slackers?

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Hey, San Francisco

I say: Play Hard and Work Soft

In my small rural hometown, I noticed most people say ‘Hello,’ and ‘Good morning,’ and ‘Hi’, as they get to work and play in the morning.

Eye contact is involved. People wave and nod to one another. Men and women- alike – hold the door for one another. You hear, “thanks” a lot.    I think there’s more hand-holding in that small town, per capita, than there is in all of San Francisco.

This more convivial behavior is not Amish, Quaker or Mormon. It’s just another mindset. Maybe it’s a throwback to the 50’s. Granted, it  is very Mid-West.

I’m told in San Francisco there’s more emphasis placed on Career Success, than (sit down, drink optional)   Relationship Success.* What’s up with that?

 Why is merely “being friendly” so foreign in San Francisco?

After a week of this time-travel-world, I recently returned to the City.  As my luggage came off the carousel, I was forced back onto the merry-go-round of San Francisco, where we go so fast, we miss meeting one another.

We’ve all got a blog, we’re Linkedn and were on facebook, matchme.com or Eharmony. We belong to social clubs ~of some sort… and still it is like two ships passing in the aisle at Trader Joe’s?

Did you ever think that just as you’re going out the side door of the store- with exactly the same carefully selected food items in your recyclable bag- that I’m about to buy the same items? And, I too, will walk out, alone, with my recyclable bag?

Revolving doors?

Did we both just work out, see the same film, and go out to dinner with single friends? What are the chances we ski, hike, ride, walk, stroll, or spelunk in the exact same location at different times?

Whether it’s a merry-go-round or teeter-totter – it is a bizarre time to be at the Singles Playground.    
I’ll go out on a limb – unless the ground rules change to involve more social interaction-  like simple  “Hey,” Hello,” Hi,”  and “Good mornings”  we will all be living single solitary parallel lives – so close – and, yet so far away.

     I say play hard – work soft.

*Article  by Dr Tom Lewis – UCSF

After the Break Up:Top Four Tips for Moving On


Move on, dream on, dream big

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Okay, life happens.

So you got temporarily toppled by a rocky, challenging chapter in life

(a separation, divorce, break-up, hiccup- call it what you will.)

At one point, friends may tell you it is time to get back on the horse.   Oh,you’ve never ridden a horse?

Okay, time for a new metaphor: get back on the bike. What? You say the sleek and fancy, tres cher, Titanium (too Specialized? Too Trek-y?)  bike with tires as thin as black licorice intimidate you?  You prefer a pastel pink Schwinn bicycle with fat tires and pink streamers flying in the wind? Take it at your own speed.

Get Back in the Dating Game

Whatever mode you decide upon – it is time to dream big and move on. Sure, your heart might have been hurt or shattered. Take the time to do the grieving; stick pins in the voo doo doll; write in your journal; take long walks and short naps and snap out of it.

You can do this. It’s time to take the shroud off your heart and get out there and dabble in the Suddenly Single Playground of Life, aka Dating World.

Top Four Tips for Moving On and Into a Real Social Life

#1. Get out. You aren’t going to meet anyone in your living room. Get out of the house.

#2. Go where the action is: – not the library, not the far left front pew at church or synagogue. See Top 10 Places to Meet Men.

#3. Tell all your friends you are ready to date. Sign up for online dating – today, the top three sites are Match.com, Chemistry.com, and the glacially slow and methodical, EHarmony. They spend more money on advertising than the next 10 sites, combined. There are hundreds of sites –buyer beware as you review some of the more bizarre – fly by night-  dating sites.

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter:

Catholic Date is too Opus dei…and OMG, Atheistdate.com is too trippy. Millionairematch.com is rife with ethical  problems, and the infamous Ashley Madison is the adultery niche market. Any dating site with the word “adult” in it the title will not be PG-17.

#4. Flirt Often. Once you are on – up and running on a dating site – for the best results you must: Flirt three times every day.  Send a short – one line note to – three different people – every day. What to say? Easy:  “Enjoyed reading your profile. We have some things in common. Take a look. Hope to hear from you.”

Make it simple, succinct, polite, and inviting. Go ahead – give it a whirl… Leave Heartbreak Hotel and move into happier spaces and places.

The best half of your life is waiting.

I believe that it’s better to be looked over than it is to be overlooked.   Mae West

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” Henry David Thoreau


All Page Larkin Dating@50 Examiner articles © 2012 by Page Larkin; r

Top Ten First Date Buzz Kill Topics

 Page Larkin’s Top Ten Buzz Kill Topics

to Avoid on a Date

In polite society there are certain subjects one evades and escapes. It’s what we do.  Everyone knows a first date can be very much like that famous Charles Dickens line about the best of times and the worst of times.

Did I Say That Out Loud?

First date? The best thing you can do is relax and be aware of what you say and how much information you share.  When ‘suddenly single’ people meet for the first time, they may be nervous and may blather on mindlessly. You want to avoid doing that. Seriously.

This is one of those times to be mindful of the conversation and the subject matter. As you navigate merrily down the stream (of consciousness), be aware several subjects you should avoid like the plague.

In Random Order- First Date Subjects to Keep Away From:
The Top Ten Buzz Kill Subjects:
1. Plagues (i.e. frogs, gnats, flies boils, livestock, locusts)
2. Your Ex and your exploits – b-o-r-i-n-g
3. Your problematic divorce
4. Your problems (mental, physical, spiritual, emotional)
5. Details of your recent dates: good or bad or ugly
6. Deaths, dying, funerals – cast a pall on most meetings
7. Misbehaving kids. Don’t play the game: ‘My Kid is Worse Than Yours’ on a first date. Ever.
8. Financial plights and problems
9. Recent forays into rehab, the slammer, big house, or correctional facility
10. Politics can be incendiary. Tread lightly and practice diplomacy. Take a pulse before leaping into a potential inferno. Fox-TV, The Newt, The Mitt,  are not loved by all.
What Can I Say?

Yes, cards should be placed on the table. Choose your cards wisely.  Honesty is always the best policy…however, in clichéd reality: discretion is the better part of valor. First impressions are lasting and first dates can only lead to a second date or a “Don’t call me, I’ll call you. Maybe.”
San Francisco Dating@50 Examiner, Page Larkin, welcomes your feedback, questions and queries at Page.Larkin@gmail.com. Don’t miss a single Page Larkin column — click the Subscribe button at the top of the page.

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All Page Larkin Dating@50 Examiner articles © 2012 by Page Larkin — reposts permitted with copyright notice and link  to original article. All other rights reserved.

How Rude! Page Larkin’s Easy Dating Etiquette Tips

Heard horror stories about rude online dating behavior?


 Page Larkin’s Five Online Dating Etiquette Tips:

1.) Respond, sil vous plait or You talkin to me?

The biggest complaint heard from online daters is about the lack of response. Hey kids, here’s the rule: if somebody takes the time to drop you a polite note of interest – you have a responsibility to answer back.
(Note: If the message is wacky, bizarre or peculiar- or the person sending it appears to be all of the above, you need not reply- simply delete and move on.)
However, new dater, if you receive an email from someone – okay, maybe not your ideal mate – maybe not even close – but he or she took the time to write you a note. Your job? Write back. Not a tome – not a poem – a simple message along the lines of, “Thanks, we are not a match – good luck in your pursuits.”  That’s all. Simple and sweet.

2.) Can You Please Say Thank You?
The men have spoken and complain loudly some women barely utter a “thanks” after a date. Hello, ladies? Are you Ms Manners or missed manners?

3.) Hit-and-Run
Knowing full well that online dating is truly a numbers game, (See Catch and Release in the Coy pond) there are some who send out a dozen “winks” every day. What is a wink? A wink is the lowest form of online social connection. It requires little time or effort.  It involves the wannabe dater to click a tiny icon, which sends a message to the recipient, indicating absolutely no effort made. How popular is a wink? Many online dating profiles start with, “No winks, please.” Translated: “Come on, and make the effort to write at least one cogent sentence.”

4.) Talk, Talk, Talk
Okay, so you are fascinating and you don’t mind telling everyone. One of the biggest buzz kills on a first date? The non-stop talker. It’s okay to be nervous. It’s okay to be chatty. It’s a mortal sin to blather on and neglect asking questions. Save the monologue for a Stand-Up routine.

5.) The Houdini Disappearing Act
So you‘ve exchanged a half dozen emails – share many of the same “likes”, seem to have a little chemistry- and boom! They are gone.

Not a word: text-email-nada. What’s up with that? Are they players? Fakes? Voyeurs? Or just plain rude? If, at any juncture, the chemistry isn’t there – politely bow out of the conversation with a well meaning, “Thanks for the conversation, enjoyed it and wish you all the best.” Yes, that’s a lot better than nothing.

Can’t we all just get along? Be nice. According to Greater Good in Berkeley – being kind –(polite) – will make you happy.

Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politenessOtto Von Bismarck

Can we talk? Girls just want to have a chat…

 It’s a fact: women tend to be more glib and voluble.

Girls just want to have dialogue

For the time it takes to push your cart through the checkout at the grocery store, two women can share a succinct, lifetime of information.

A simple, “Love those shoes,” can launch a conversation covering shopping, kids, schools, sales, babysitters, therapists, recipes, divorce attorneys, events, and books. All this before checkout.

Dr Tom Lewis, the darling of San Francisco’s famed Fromm Institute, lecturer and co-author of the book, A General Theory of Love, said findings indicate women say 1000 more words, every day, than their male counterparts. We can talk about this, if you like.

The San Francisco 3-D Club

It started with three newly divorced women who were 50-ish, avid movie buffs who had coffee and dialogue once a week.  Over the next few years, their numbers increased and a monthly dinner meeting replaced the coffee date. When the group hit 20 members – the membership doors closed. Though many knocked, wanted to join and would “pay anything to join” the eclectic, energetic group said,  “No more girls allowed.”

Each quasi-clandestine meeting has an emcee, a film reviewer and a “Top 3-D List” compiled by the host. The “Top 3-D List” is made up of three things that are divine, decadent or benevolent. In addition to being film junkies, the group has altruistic bent and has quietly supported St. Anthony’s, OneBrick, Community Thrift and the Casa de las Madres, the Pachamama Alliance, and the Avon Breast Cancer walk.

While there are no dues and no don’ts, the group has a philosophy steering clear of the negative and emphasizing the positive. They are positively social and the Club has an unspoken, “Girlfriend, have I got a guy for you” component where sometimes members introduce their male friends and colleagues to other members.

As a result, some wedding bells have pealed and repealed.

Members who have re-married have their own private club- couples only.

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours
”    Swedish Proverb

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