Every 50-year love affair begins with a first date. This first official time of being “with” a new man often contorts your mind and emotions in ways that are very intimidating and nerve-racking, leaving a woman (and her date) feeling scared and vulnerable. Still, all good things must overcome the discomfort that comes with “square one.”
Take some time to think about your date before it happens, realize the man is in a similar situation, and make sure you understand he is not the enemy. It takes two to make a good date, so consider some of these do’s and don’ts to give the date its best chance for success.
1. Do put your best foot forward.
Your best foot is not the one with all the bunions, callouses and ingrown toenails. It is, metaphorically speaking, the nicely pedicured one with trimmed and painted nails that is ready to star in a bath soap commercial.
“Be yourself” is great advice, but on the first date, you want to reveal the most endearing aspects of yourself.
Save the banter about your last five doctor’s visits for a later date. (Much later.) Certainly, it is reasonable to briefly address mobility and dietary issues that might become important during the date, but there is no need to drag any drama or shocking personal information into the first date.
“This is a clean slate and a fresh
start, so don’t begin it with old fears.”
2. Don’t talk too much about the past.
Your date may be interested, in general terms, to know if you’ve had a wonderful or pained existence. Just keep the details to a minimum.
There’s no point in baring your soul to someone you will only see one time, and if you go on and on too much, that might guarantee there will be no repeat performance.
You can tell him your daughter has some challenges in her relationship, but he doesn’t want to hear about the daily misdeeds of your “good-for-nothing” son-in-law yet. Touch the surface, but leave the depth and emotion for later.
Remember, the point of a first date is to get to know each other to determine if there is a reason to have a second date, not to dump all your baggage at his feet.
3. Do have an open mind.
Don’t set your expectations too high, and don’t make a snap decision that he’s not the guy for you. You know you are a little more set in your ways these days, if you’re being honest with yourself.
Men aren’t like comfortable shoes you can just slip into and hit the ground running. They’re more like your selection of handbags.
Sure, you miss the zipper compartment where you kept all your special things in the purse that’s gone, but the new bag might have some good features you will adjust to and find to your liking for very different reasons.
Give him a chance, and if the date wasn’t horrible, be open to the possibility of a second date.
4. Don’t blame him for the mistakes of other men.
Men don’t like women who wear their emotional scars on their sleeve or who have an overt distrust for all men because of the sins of a few.
It’s pretty obvious where the questions are coming from if you start asking things like, “You’re not a drinker, are you?” “Do you beat the hell out of all your women, or just some of them?” or “You’re not going to die on me next month, are you?”
Your insecurities and pain are important, but these questions are not appropriate for someone you hardly know. He might just think you’re a psycho lady and run for the hills.
You are an equal partner in the dating relationship, so take some responsibility for the success of the date and the course of the relationship. If you don’t want to see him again, just wish him good luck and be on your way.
If you think one more date might be called for, tell him you had a nice time and that he can call you between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. tomorrow if he wants to.
The best advice is just to treat the date like a chat with a new friend, and not like there is any urgency to force him into the role of the perfect prince. For better or worse, he will be nothing like the man you left behind, and you will be nothing like the woman he raised a family with.
This is a clean slate and a fresh start, so don’t begin it with old fears, foolish expectations or harsh judgments right out of the gate. It may take a few tries to find a good fit, and it may take a few dates to break in the relationship until it feels comfortable.