Pink Bikes, Missing Teeth, and the Perils of Dating at 40

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Editor’s Note: Here’s a blast from the past, and one of the blog’s most popular posts. I think that’s in large part due to how interesting and hilarious it is navigating the dating world as a woman in her 40s. Some people say our standards are too high and some of us (myself included) have a history that proves that those standards probably should have been a little higher…

As I was leaving the grocery store this morning, an old man approached me hollering “hey baby girl…can I maybe…” NO. NO. NO. If you’ve got me by at least 15 years, you should already know that no self respecting woman in her 40s is going to respond to a “hey baby” hurled across a busy supermarket parking lot.  Or would she? Even on the rare occasion that she would, as Rachel alluded to a couple weeks ago, a neck is a desirable trait. And if a neck is desirable, then teeth are a necessity. My parking lot Casanova had neither.

Which brings me to the topic of the day. As we get older, do we “lower” our standards, or do people lower them for us? Of course there will always be men who think they can approach a woman of any age, with whatever game they happen to be playing on themselves at the moment.

Years ago when I volunteered to prepare dinners at a homeless shelter, I remember a young guy coming up to me as I was serving meals and asking me if we could go out. My first thought was, you need to have a place to leave before you can go out. I know, it was harsh, but sarcasm is how I deal with uncomfortable moments. And that was so very uncomfortable. I hear arguments all the time that professional women need to broaden their horizons when looking for a mate, and I’m all for that. But, I think you should at least have a place to stay before you try to pick up a woman. Don’t you?

The other incident that stands out in my mind is once again leaving a grocery store, (what is it about groceries that give old, toothless men gumption) and hearing bike tires screech to a halt as a man I can only describe as being old enough to be my grandfather, slammed what I assume was his granddaughter’s pink huffy bike into the ground. He ran up to me (breathless) to ask me for my number. I wonder if when he borrowed his granddaughter’s bike, he told her that he’d be using it to troll for chicks. While he did get a laugh out of me, he did NOT get my number.

Ok, so in both those cases the answer was pretty obvious, but in situations when we’re approached by men who, years ago, would not have gotten a second glance from us, are we lowering our standards or broadening our horizons when we go out with them? And then there are those of us who hear the opposite, that we’re being too picky. But when it comes to love, life and our future, can we ever be too picky?

Share your thoughts and pink huffy bike pick-up stories in the comment section, on our Facebook fan page, or tweet your response to twitter.com/womenatforty.

On Being Alone

Alone and Loving ItEarly on in the life of this blog, I wrote several posts about dating after turning 40 and the minefield it can sometimes be. Like when I was asked out by the homeless man I was serving at a homeless shelter or the time I got hit on by a man riding a pink child’s bike.  Not to mention Facebook’s recent mission to set me up with Cowboys and/or Native Americans.

I also wrote a post, about love, fear and everything in between, which received several emotionally raw comments from women who, at 40, had never experienced real love or relationships. I turned one comment, from a woman who was turning 40 and had never been in a relationship, into a post and that post hit a nerve, becoming one of the most commented on posts on the site.

Today a member of the WAF community, Tricia, is presenting an alternative view to the theory that every woman, and certainly every woman in her 40s, wants to be in a relationship. She’s alone and thrives in it. That’s not so unusual, as I have many single female friends in their 40s and older who enjoy their single status. Where I think she’s different is, well, read for yourself…

On Being Alone – by Tricia Amiel

I come from a large family of women.  At some point in my life, around the age of 40, I realized that all of them are alone.  There are no marriages that worked out, no long term relationships.  I don’t know what it is about us as a family, and I wonder what it is about me.

I’ve been alone a long time, after a failed marriage and a long string of short affairs.  It wasn’t a decision I made at first, but I’ve grown into aloneness and am finding comfort in it.  It’s now a solid decision that I’m making every day.  I recognize that I’ve made poor choices in the past, and that this has probably influenced my decision to be alone.  But it’s more than that. I really just don’t need or want to be with anybody.  I feel alone in that too.  It seems to me that everybody wants to find the right person to be with, and I’ve wondered what it is about me that finds me in this place in my life, and what it means.

Maybe this is just a stage in my life that will change, but I can’t even imagine that.  I can imagine doing the rest of my journey through this life without a partner.  In fact, I’m comforted by the thought.  There’s a certain joy in it for me.  It’s not that I never get lonely, because I certainly do.  But not often enough to make a difference in how I feel, and it’s easily resolved by spending time with my friends, my children, even the students I am compelled to connect with a couple of times a week.  I’m filled up by working, by writing, by achieving my goals.  It’s enough for me somehow, and more satisfying than any relationship I’ve ever been in.

Although I’ve been accused of deluding myself, of being bitter,  I like to think that maybe I’ve finally learned to love myself and my life enough, that I’ve come into a state of grace after years of struggling with life and with love.  There’s nothing bitter about this…this is a kind of deep, meaningful peace, something I’ve never found in romantic relationships.  It’s about me, and having the space to come into my own way of living and being.  That way simply doesn’t require the presence of another being.  There’s just enough of me now to give myself the joy, the comfort, the love that I need.

A very important person in my life once told me that the only way I was ever going to feel complete was to be with the right person.  I can honestly say to her that I’ve found that right person, after 42 years of searching, that she is my one and only, hopefully for a lifetime.  That she is me.

What are your thoughts on being single at 40? Are you like this reader who not only enjoys it, but plans on staying that way? Share your thoughts here or on The Women at Forty Facebook page.

Facebook Wants Me to Date Cowboys and Native Americans

The Village PeopleFacebook is on a mission to hook me up. With one of the Village People apparently. Let me explain.

For some time now Facebook has been “suggesting” posts in my news feed. Sometimes the suggestions are food related. Other times they’re of the health and beauty variety. So far so good.

But sometimes Facebook misses the mark.

A few weeks ago, it began “suggesting” I date Cowboys and Native Americans. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – she says in her best Jerry Seinfeld voice.

The fact is, I’m good with dating either Cowboys or Native Americans (or both, caus’ I got it like that), but not if they come by the way of a Facebook suggestion, and definitely not because they’re either one or the other. I’m trying to figure out what it is about my Facebook profile that says I’m ready to saddle up with a caricaturization of a man.

Full disclosure: I have started listening to country music again. I say again because back in the 80s while many of my peers were listening to R&B and Pop, I was twanging and twining with Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and Barbara Mandrell and the Manderell Sisters.  And then there’s that thing I kind of have for Blake Shelton…but how does Facebook know that? Has Facebook determined that I’m an unmarried woman in her 40s so therefore I must be looking for love? Is Facebook mocking me? Facebook is mocking me.

The truth is, I got a kick out of the suggested posts. I even clicked over and checked out the sites.

I shouldn’t have.

But you can go see for yourself. If you’re interested in a “Handsome Cowboy”, click here. “Handsome Native American” more your style? Click here.  If you’re looking for unattractive Cowboys or Native Americans, or anyone else for that matter, according to Facebook, you’re just plum out of luck. 😉

 

Alone for life?

00430895“I’ll be 40 in May and I’m sure I’ll never find anyone.”  Thus begins the most recent comment posted on what is, to date, the site’s most commented on post, I’ll be 40 soon and never been in a relationship.

And there’s more where that came from.  Statements like “I turned 40 this year. It was a major bummer because…I’m still alone for another birthday” and “I am a 48 yr old female, to this day never been on a real date,” remind me that for some women, 40 is not the joyous, liberating experience it is for others.

I never quite know how to respond to these comments. I’m certainly no psychologist or relationship expert and I don’t claim to be. My first instinct is to send a virtual hug to somehow let these women know they are not alone.  I want to tell them to talk to somebody – a trusted friend, a family member and certainly a professional who can help them discover the ultimate source of their feelings.

But I don’t have to be a relationship expert to relate.  As someone who has spent birthdays alone, who has yet to find “Mr. Right” and often questions his very existence, I understand the sadness and hopelessness behind their words.  Continue reading Alone for life?

All the single ladies: Why aren’t we dating interracially?

Battle of the Hands SeriesI opened up a can of worms yesterday by talking about an article that’s getting a lot of buzz. The title: 8 reasons black women should date white men. The title is misleading because what the article is really offering is reasons “successful/educated” black women shouldn’t date black men. A friend’s comment sums the article up best, “full of the typical stereotypes with no added value.”

As someone who’s known plenty of black men who look and act nothing like the men portrayed in this piece, I’ve been able to take it for what it is, an oversimplified swipe at a targeted group of men who aren’t handling their business, at the benefit of another group of men who aren’t always (as the article would suggest) handling theirs either. Who’s left out in the missive are the drones of women who continue to allow the men in their lives to mistreat them, perpetuating a kind of “if she won’t, I’ll find another who will” mentality, leaving those of us who refuse to put up with bulls**t single for the long-haul.

Side note to the article’s writer: I’ve had the pleasure of working with and befriending women of all nationalities, ethnic groups, and races, believe me, I’ve heard the same sweeping generalizations made about men of all races and nationalities. Continue reading All the single ladies: Why aren’t we dating interracially?