Updated: Jan 10
There are some films that are described as "iconic", but have you ever wondered why they're seen that way?
Take the famous musical staring Barbra Streisand, as a widow-come-matchmaker, who decides that a grumpy older store owner played by Walter Matthau is the man she's going to marry next. Hello Dolly was a great vehicle for a lot of talent.
But look just a little deeper, and you see yourself; or at least, I do, to an extent!
Once we get past a certain age, we begin to feel like we're on the downhill slope toward death, with a quick stop at Elderly Town on the way.
When Fairy Godmother (played wickedly by Jennifer Saunders), in Shrek 2, sings, "Where have all the good men gone?", she's singing from her greying heart.
Apparently, men die earlier than women, so it behoves those who remain to keep active and healthy! But it means that women and men, who are interested in men, have a tougher time finding someone special.
Now, I can only speak from my own perspective, and you're welcome (if you've signed up) to add your comments, so we get a wider angle (ha ha, unintended film pun! ).
But, Fairy Godmother has produced offspring (played handsomely by Rupert Everett), so she still has a hope of someone looking after her in her dotage, and therefore has a backup plan!
Dolly, on the other hand, is flying solo, like me. No kids or grandchildren, just a girl looking for a guy to tell her he loves her in return. And will keep her in the manner, at least, to which she's become accustomed!
Dolly has done her time, matching others, and seeing them enjoy their own happy-ever-afters. She deserves some of that happiness for herself. She's still crowing, glowing, and going strong, as Louis Armstrong affirms.
But, Dolly has to get out there and find someone. Lucky she's a matchmaker and they come to her, but it's unprofessional to steal a client for herself. Spoiler alert ⚠️
But what about in real life? Only some of us get around bursting into song without provocation. And only some of us find someone who makes us think, this could be worth making the effort.
You know what I mean. Everything, apart from leg hair, takes more effort to maintain.
But there are other kinds of effort. Putting your pretties on, instead of sticking with house clothes, might be the first thing that comes to mind for many. But, let's have The Conversation.
A previous post mentioned first date ideas, so that's not what this post is about.
Another post talked about being a STAR conversationalist.
Let's get past the first date chat, and get to taking those pretties off.
My first tip for middle age dating, once you've found someone you fancy, is to put the brakes on if they are inclined to call and text frequently. That's because too much too soon, is what I like to call "Stalker Alert".
If a man pesters me for an evening date in the first week, he has one thing on his mind. He might say he's looking for a wife, but it's very likely that he's just looking for someone to fulfil a little fantasy with.
Now, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as the people concerned communicate clearly and with open-mindedness. We're not all looking for the same things. And a hot pursuit is fun!!
Whether you enjoy an evening followed by a morning after, or a little afternoon delight, there is definitely one conversation that needs to be had, and here's a resource to get you thinking about what to say.
You see, it only takes one encounter, of a certain kind, for a person to become infected with something they don't want.
Some of those infections are easily cured with antibiotics, but that's only if you have symptoms or the other party tells you they have that infection. If you don't know, you don't go, and the GP can't help you.
Some of those infections are viral. Here's how a virus works, generally speaking. It finds soft tissue, burrows in, and starts multiplying. Then, it often migrates to nervous tissue in your spinal cord, and sets up permanent residence there. The infection site may or may not be active; but, a bit like a volcano, it's always there. But, it will - most likely - shed.
If you have a viral infection, you can still shed little virus cells, even if you have no symptoms. It's called "viral shedding". You reduce this from happening, by taking antivirals.
It's not all doom and gloom though.
Like the young lovers in Hello Dolly, you can still enjoy those first throes of romance. Having "The Conversation" doesn't mean you will dampen the mood.
It's about choosing your moment, as much as it's about choosing your partner.
If you're on that first date, and you've used your STAR Conversation Techniques to ascertain that both parties are on the same page, move to the next tip.
You might like to start The Conversation with, "Did you know that GPs don't test for all STIs, even if you ask them to?". This might get you talking about test history, so you can discuss recency and reasons for being tested.
What do you do if someone hasn't been tested, and won't be tested?
It's not the end of the world! First, decide if you really do value an up-to-date set of test results. Why is it important to you? This is worth bringing up in your talk.
If you can live with not knowing a person's "sero-positivity", (or you've discovered that the two of you aren't the same kind of sero-positive), then the next part of the conversation is about protection. How do you plan to protect yourself and this other human?
That leads into the next part of The Conversation - how to use protection. As we age, our skin gets softer (read, more easily infected), and it becomes more loose. Our muscles lose their firmness, and our joints feel like concrete!
See where I'm going here? We need to moisturise. We need to get fit and flexible! We need joint support that works, and we need to build and maintain stamina! Before all this happens, we need a check-up with the GP, to ensure all this physical activity is okay to do.
You may as well get tested while you're there!
So, before getting (back) into the dating scene, it's wise to consider what you will and won't do. Decide what you're willing to "put up with", so to speak. And if you really are "putting up with something", is it really worth it?
I suppose, it's the same whether you're 26 or 56, or 96. It's all about learning and practising discernment. It's about self-awareness and taking the time to respectfully get to know another human, as well as caring enough about yourself to respectfully allow them to get to know you. If you want unconditional love, are you really prepared to provide it?
You might find it helpful to share this post with potential suitors.
You might have kids who've hit puberty or experienced separation, and this post could help you to have the conversation with them (the other one, as the responsible parent).
You might feel that friends and family members could use some tips (feel free to share), or give them a gift certificate.