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A couple of weeks ago, a TV morning show did a segment on dating for women over the age of forty.
The gist? After 39 you have a better chance of winning Powerball than of finding a man who'd actually want to date somebody so old, crotchety, and utterly undesirable.
The subject of the piece was a recently divorced 44-year-old who's been trying to land herself a new man, with no success.
The kicker? She was an absolutely gorgeous woman.
She dated an oil magnate in his 60s, who had the audacity to tell her she was just too old for him.
"Why must you go out with much younger women?" she asked.
"Because I can," came the answer.
The perky TV hostess chimed in, claiming that she knew of one rich and successful geezer who has a rule about the women he dates: Half his age plus seven years.
Watching this, I could understand how women would be sucked into believing that no man in his right mind would dream of dating a woman over 40.
But then I did a reality check: I don't know any man who wouldn't (and some of those men are well under 40!).
The fact is, if you think you're too old to attract a good man, you are.
Don't let yourself be lulled into the middle-aged mindset (what is middle age, by the way, and when exactly does it begin?).
You know you've bought into it when you start telling yourself you can't do the things you used to anymore, that your best years are behind you, and you'd better not hit the singles' scene without a trip to the plastic surgeon first.
It's just not true! My very good (and handsome, smart, and fun-loving) friend was 37 when his 15-year relationship ended.
After a reasonable mourning period, he dated a 41-year-old woman steadily and happily for at least two years.
That relationship ended when she relocated to another state for her career.
About six months later, he began dating a woman just one year his junior (instead of a 20-year-old with a belly ring) and eventually proposed to her.
They remain very happily married three years later.
My friend's mother was widowed in her 50s.
After a couple of years, she met and wed a man her age.
They were married over 20 years when he died two years ago; at the time, she was well into her 70s.
At a graduation party for her granddaughter last summer, men her age lined up to dance with her.
(They definitely weren't pity dances, either).
She's vital, attractive, and clearly enjoys life.
Men (the ones who view women as humans instead of hood ornaments, anyway) appreciate that.
Then there's Kay, a 48-year-old real estate agent, who thought she'd never meet a decent guy (I have known Kay for decades; she dated a parade of creeps and nice but boring guys).
She's the type of woman who hits the Y to do a few laps before work.
After five, she often hops the train to New York to catch a musical or a concert.
She had pretty much given up on love when she met Barry, a 50-something podiatrist, three years ago.
Last week, she called me with fantastic news.
"He wants to marry me," she said, "and I've decided to go for it.
I've given him ample opportunity to hit the highway, but he won't go away.
And I'm crazy about him.
" So, you're never too old for love.
The key is to allow yourself to stay young and attractive forever.
Here's how: 1)Turn off the TV.
Stop allowing yourself to be assaulted by messages that make you feel you're old, fat, ugly, and just plain not good enough for love and happiness.
2)Forbid yourself from making the following statements (I know women who started at 25):"I can't do that because I'm older now," "Well, it comes with age, I guess," "I always wanted to be a __________, but it's too late.
" In other words, refuse to let your age stop you from doing anything.
3)Learn something new every day.
Book a flight (or go to the library and take out a travel video about a place you've always wanted to visit).
Learn how to change a tire.
Stop and say hello to your neighbors instead of giving a perfunctory wave and buzzing past them.
Learn to dance.
Take up yoga.
Learn a second language.
4)Use an affirmation.
I know a man who spent his entire adult life joking, "I'm younger than springtime," whenever somebody suggested he was getting on in years.
At 74, he's in excellent health, is considered handsome by women of all ages (sorry, women under 68, you're not seasoned enough for him!), and may begin a new career because he finds retirement boring.
If you leave your house with the attitude that you're past your prime, trust me, people will agree with you.
And if you go out on a date wondering if you're "too old for this guy," you'll give off the I-know-you're-going-to-reject-me vibe that ensures you will indeed be cast aside for someone bubblier and more confident.
If you should ever find yourself out with a guy who seems turned off by your age, thank your lucky stars that you saw the poor schmo for what he is from the start: Shallow, ignorant, and more than a little sad.
The world is full of wonderful men who want to meet a woman they don't have to help with their homework.
"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.
" -Richard Bach
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