{FOF Love Connection} Date Stan!

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A good (single) FOF man is hard to find. That’s why we couldn’t resist playing cupid this week when Stan Frantz, our 59-year-old email programmer, mentioned that he’s looking for love. Stan is a lifelong bachelor, but don’t let that scare you, ladies. He’s creative, smart, kind, financially secure, an animal lover . . .

Well, we’ll let him speak for himself. Take a look at Stan’s story, below. If you think you or someone you know could be a good match, leave a comment about why! We’ll choose 3 finalists to send on a date with Stan, and let our members vote on the final choice. It’s Love Connection . . . FOF style.

About Me:
I’m 59; I live in Northampton, PA.
I’m looking for someone to share my life with, a soul mate, but I am open to meeting and getting to know anyone who just wants to spend some quality time together enjoying life.

I would like to be with someone who is curious, open and easy-going, taking life as it comes. You should be able to give of yourself easily, be loving, caring, kind and gentle. Conversely, you should also be open to receive tenderness, intimacy and caring when it is offered. Most importantly, you see my life as it is and want to share yours with me, becoming true partners in all that life has to offer us.

I live in a 200 year old log cabin in the country on about 3 acres of meadow and woods with a creek through it. I have a vintage barn I have converted into a workshop and studio. My home is my dream come true and I love working on it and my gardens. I have a deep appreciation for nature and find great peace and happiness there. I especially love all animals and have many furry and feathered friends.

I really enjoy meeting and talking to anyone and everyone. The amazing variety of human nature intrigues me and keeps me curious and involved. I love to make people laugh and I’m good at it.

I am financially secure but not at all materialistic. I prefer the simple and useful over the flashy and expensive. I am creative and artistic and always working on making something. I am proud of being very self-sufficient; I can make, fix, or build just about anything.

I’ve done quite a bit of traveling pursuing both my passion for surfing and interest in world cultures. Usually I prefer the low budget approach (i.e. staying in a village in a local family’s hut) rather than a luxury resort, but can go upscale too. In the past year I’ve been to Hawaii, Nova Scotia 3 times, California twice, and spent my birthday surfing in Peru last winter.

I loved Nova Scotia so much I bought 3 acres overlooking the ocean and will be building a summer cabin up there this summer. I am excited and looking forward to taking on this new adventure, but at the same time know I will miss my current home, garden and animals. But such is life. You have to make choices. Finding the right balance, that’s the challenge isn’t it?

So what do you think, FOF? Could you or someone you know be right for Stan?  Comment below and tell us why. Then we’ll play cupid…xo

{Dating} What advice would you give your 25-year-old self about love?

If we only knew what we know, now! FOFs, if you could go back and give your 25-year-old self some dating advice, what would it be? Read some wise words about love from other FOFs, and tell us your own advice in the comments below. We’re putting together our favorite advice for a special Valentine’s Day eBook!

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Staness Jonekos is author of the bestselling book, The Menopause Makeover (2010). At 47, Staness got engaged for the first time to the love of her life–her very own “Mr. Right,” as she calls him. You can read her personal story here.

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“I wish someone had told me when I was 25 that:

1. Dating is an interview process, and YOU are doing the interviewing. Qualify your candidates.

2. Men love a mission – be his mission!

3. A man can never read your mind – tell him what you want, don’t tell him how to ‘be.’

4. If you want to be pursued, don’t pursue.

5. Never lose yourself in a relationship, always place your needs first. The right man will want that for you because when you are happy, he is happy.

6. Don’t marry a rich man. Marry a good man. He will spend his life trying to keep you happy. No rich man can buy that! (Of course, if he is rich AND good-–jackpot!)”

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Sherry DeRosa is a life skills coach. Sherry met her current husband Michael in her 50s, and soon after, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Michael supported Sherry while she fought the disease. The two married in 2009 on an ocean terrace in Laguna Beach. Read the entire story here.

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Trust life, love and remain true to oneself. The latter is the hardest thing to learn. At 25, we want to rush everything, get everything done and set for the ‘future.’ Instead, live in the present.”

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Candida Royalle is an erotic film pioneer, entrepreneur, and author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do. Candida is divorced, but a few years ago, she fell in love and experienced “the most fulfilling sex of my adult life…in my fifties!” she says. She was engaged but broke it off. “I felt we were incompatible in other ways. But, I think it shows that one is never too old to have a fulfilling, intimate life. And, I’m sure there’s another great love affair in me.”

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1. “Be clear about what you’re looking for. Are you interested in finding a man who’s marriage material? Or are you just looking for someone to have fun with? When I was younger, I’d often fall in love with men but then later decide they weren’t appropriate for building a life together. My lack of personal clarity and planning in relationships ultimately led to disappointment and heartbreak for one or both of us. My girlfriends who knew what they wanted, tended to have achieved their desired outcomes with love.

2. Nobody is perfect, we all have flaws. If you focus on what drives you crazy about someone, you will drive yourself right out of the relationship. If you focus on what you like, you have a much better shot at finding deep, lasting and intimate love.

3. Do NOT move in with someone within the first year, and do NOT become engaged or get married before you’ve spent at least 2 years together! The first two years are pretty much a masquerade, where you each put your best face forward while also seeing only the best in one another. Wait for the dust to settle, and find out who you’re really hanging out with before giving up that great apartment with reasonable rent and before putting the down payment on an expensive wedding hall!

4. If you want to know what kind of lover he is, watch the way he eats. Does he take his time eating, savoring each bite and enjoying the flavor and texture of his food? This is probably a man who takes his time making love and enjoys more sensual, caressing lovemaking. If you’re a woman who likes to cut to the chase, past all the touching and cuddling and go right to the end goal, then the guy with a ravenous appetite who plows through his food is the one for you!

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Pamela Madsen is a leading sex expert, founder of the American Fertility Association and author of SHAMELESS: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner which is #1 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases in Sexual Therapy.” She and her husband recently celebrated their 30-year anniversary. Read more about Pamela here.

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“I would tell my 25-year-old self that I was truly beautiful–and that any man would be lucky to get me! I remember not believing in my own beauty at that age. I thought everything was a little bit wrong–my weight, my hair, etc. I’d also tell myself to give the guy a chance! So many young women have this checklist of what the perfect guy should look like, act like, etc. Cut them a break and get to know them. Last, sex is good–but precious. Truly think about who you share yourself with.”

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Francesca Kranzberg, is one of FabOverFifty’s marvelous makeover winners. She works for JConnect in Maryland, helping newcomers get acquainted with the community. She met her husband at the age of 27, through a Jewish matchmaking service.

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“I’d give myself the same advice I give my 25-year-old daughter:

1. Don’t rush into anything

2. Don’t become exclusive until you are sure you have found someone you want to be with. Dating around helps you to learn what traits are important in a mate–and also, what you can live without.

3. Guys love the chase. Don’t be too available or they will lose interest. If a guy calls you on Thursday or Friday for a Saturday night, tell him you already have plans, or even a date.

4. Once you are sure you have found ‘the one,’ let him know it. But, also let him know that you will walk away if he can’t commit by a certain date.  In other words, give him an ultimatum. If he can’t commit, then you aren’t walking away from much.

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Gerri Shute enjoyed a wonderful career in the world of executive recruiting as Vice President of Research for a leading international firm. After she left an 11-year relationship in her late 40s, Gerri met David, the love of her life who she ultimately married. “It was a love affair to the end,” Gerri says. David died of Parkinson’s in 2008.

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“Don’t settle. If after the first date or second date, it doesn’t feel right, stop there. Don’t get into something where you’ll ultimately get hurt or not have the opportunity to open your heart completely. I remember in my 20s I went to a guy’s garden apartment for a drink. It was our first date. Well, the apartment was a total man cave and he gave me a dusty wine glass. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Your first instincts are best. On my first date with David, we were both very relaxed–we never stopped talking and never had an awkward moment. When we got married, my wedding dressmaker said to me ‘Gerri, you didn’t settle.” She was right! David was the love of my life.”

{Dating} 3 pick-up lines that actually work on FOF men

Remember those lines you used on potential “Prince Charmings” in your 20s? “Those probably won’t work anymore,” says FOF Dating Coach Cheryl Savage.

“When you’re in college, everyone is single — you are exposed to thousands of single people on any given day,” says Cheryl. “In our 40s and 50s, we are not exposed to as many single people as we were in our 20s and 30s. You have to intentionally go out to places where there are a higher number of single people, and you have to use an opening line that will gauge whether or not someone is available.”

Last month, Cheryl took FOF Sharon Nord on a dating outing to show her first-hand how to approach men. Sharon moved to New York City just over year ago, after she and her husband split.

“I haven’t had much luck meeting men in New York City–it’s difficult,” says  Sharon. “My insecurities about meeting men are: getting turned down, ignored and laughed at. I was married a VERY long time and haven’t dated since I was a teenager.  I’m still getting used to being more assertive.”

Cheryl and Sharon headed to Stone St., a popular post-work hangout for stockbrokers in the Financial District of Manhattan. To quell her jitters, Cheryl gave Sharon these 3 foolproof openers to use when approaching FOF men:

1. “You’re looking awfully cheerful. You must not work on Wall St., do you?”

Why it works: “This is what I call ‘the art of the question,'” says Cheryl. “Depending on where you are, your question is going to vary. In this case, we were around Wall St. on a day the stock market plummeted so it was appropriate, but you can tailor your question to your location or the specific man you want to talk to.  Remember, the whole idea behind approaching a man, is to find out if he’s interesting to you. His answer will help you determine that.”

2. “My friend and I are having an argument about your nationality… are you Greek or Italian?”

Why it works: “Again, this falls under the ‘art of the question,'” says Cheryl. “Always ask an alternative-choice and not a yes-or-no question, so you can continue the conversation to find out if he’s interesting. At a golf event, you might ask:  ‘What brings you and your friends to the golf event? Do you live in this area or are you just here because of the event?’ If you are somewhere more non-descript, like a bar, you might say, “My friend and I were debating whether you guys are brothers or friends. What is your relationship to one another?”  Jump start the conversation to find out if this guy is interesting.

3. “What a great shirt! Does your wife shop for you?”

Why it works: “This is what I call “the art of the compliment,” says Cheryl. “To compliment a gentleman on his clothing is just nice. However, it should be a sincere compliment. By asking, ‘who shops for you? you or your wife?’ You can determine if this man is married or not. If he answers, ‘My wife,’ don’t freak out, extend the compliment and say, ‘wow your wife has great taste,’ and move on. “The whole idea of a dating outing is to find a man that might be interesting, find out if hes married and find out if he is in fact, interesting. That’s all. As woman we tend to overstress and over-analyze.”


Did these lines work? Using Cheryl’s openers, Sharon initiated conversations with 3 FOF men. “I did give my number to one gentleman,” says Sharon. “However, I never heard from him, oh well, his loss – now onward!”

{Poll} Is renewing your wedding vows a kiss of death?

Wedding vow renewals are a rising trend in Hollywood, according to wedding website TheKnot.com. “Perhaps the desire to reaffirm commitment is a healthy reaction to the changing state of marriage,” writes Anna Jane Grossman, a reporter for The New York Times. But she goes on to say, “it seems that restating vows is not a panacea for the evils of divorce, and may even bring into question the sturdiness of the original utterances.”

Read about these four celeb couples who have re-tied the knot, then decide: Is renewing your wedding vows a kiss of death?

Ramona and Mario Singer


“Real Housewife” Ramona Singer and hubby-of-nineteen- years Mario got a chance to say “I do” again at their December 2009 vow renewal ceremony at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

According to The New York Times, Ramona wore “a custom-made white satin gown trimmed with crystals and ostrich feathers” and “told Mr. Singer that she loved him more now than the first time she married him.” “You know, it wasn’t done as a fluff thing,” Ramona later told a reporter from The New York Times. “When someone does something for real, you feel it. You feel the vibrations. You could feel the love between my husband and I.”

On an episode of “Housewives,” less than two years after the couple reaffirmed their love for each other, Ramona visited a fortune teller who told her Mario was not being faithful. On “Watch What Happens Live” Ramona denied it, saying, “I never take fortune tellers to heart. I know what I have.”

Kris and Bruce Jenner


Kris Jenner, “momager” of the infamous Kardashian clan from hit reality show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” was married to hubby and Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner on April 21 of 1991. The couple celebrated their twentieth anniversary this past year with a family trip to Bora Bora and a renewal of their vows.

The romantic ceremony was filmed for their Bravo reality show and attended by the Kardashian kids (minus Khloe) and the Jenners’ two children, Kylie and Kendall. According to US Weekly, Kris shed tears during the intimate ceremony officiated by a Tahitian priest on a hilltop at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa.

Madonna and Guy Ritchie



In 2008, rumors surfaced that Madonna and hubby Guy Ritchie were on the fast track to divorce. In an effort to re-affirm their marriage, the couple re-tied the knot in a private Kabbalah ceremony in London.

“The ceremony lasted about an hour. They turned up at the Kabbalah centre in their gym clothes and changed into white robes. Everyone at the centre hopes that they will get through their recent rough patch,” according to the Daily Mail.

But, even after a wedding re-do, Madonna and Guy couldn’t “Keep It Together.” The couple split just two months later in October 2008 after seven and a half years of marriage.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony



Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony said “I do,” three times in their seven-year marriage. The pair wed in 2004 and renewed their vows four years later while vacationing in Las Vegas. Two years after that, in 2008, they renewed their vows, yet again, at their estate in Hidden Hills, California.

“We realized the bets in Vegas [on whether we’d make it] stopped at five years, so we’re really looking forward to this one,”  Marc Anthony joked in US Weekly.

Unfortunately for this celeb couple, the third time wasn’t the charm. J-Lo and Marc Anthony divorced just over one year after vow renewal numero tres.

“Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” but didn’t anyone tell “Jenny from the Block” that all these expensive ceremonies do add up!?

Heidi Klum and Seal


Weddings are fun, so why not have one every year a la supermodel Heidi Klum and musician-hubby Seal. This celeb couple renews their wedding vows every year around their anniversary with different theme parties.

Past vow renewal celebrations have included a white trash ceremony, a retro-themed party and a “brides and grooms” night.  Coinciding with their six-year anniversary this year, the couple renewed their vows at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., with a masquerade style theme, according to New York Magazine. Heidi dressed in a Victorian mask and Seal in a pirate headdress.

“It’s our time – a lovely family time,” she told Redbook. “It’s about remembering this moment of love we gave to each other and reinforcing it.”

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Image Sources –  Ramona: Zimbio,  The Hollywood Gossip / Kris: Zimbio, Bossip / Madonna: Girliegossip, TonicGossip / Jennifer: Zimbio, PopSugar / Heidi: Zimbio, Scoop

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{Dating} Here come the brides! Meet the first same-sex couple to be married in NY (They’re FOFs!)

On June 24, gay marriage became legal in New York State. Or, to put it more realistically, marriage became legal for everyone in New York State. The first couple to be wed in New York City on that Sunday were FOFs Connie Kopelov, 85, and Phyllis Siegel, 77. We had the pleasure of chatting with Phyllis last week, and we learned that she and Connie were never looking to be pioneers or heroes. They simply took advantage of an opportunity to feel equal.

How did you and Connie meet?
We met at SAGE, sometime in the late 80s. (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders). We were both attending a women’s discussion group. At first we knew each other just enough to say hello–we never had conversation. A year or so after that, we were both at another SAGE event–a Christmas social. We found ourselves standing next to each other, and we started to talk. We talked for a very long time. I couldn’t tell you how long, or even what we talked about. As they say, the rest is history.

Had you ever been married prior to meeting Connie?
Never married. I had a 16-year relationship before. In between that, I was just dating.

Did the subject of marriage ever come up between you and Connie before recent events?
No.

How come?
It wasn’t an issue for us. There were civil unions, but I thought that was like throwing a bone at us. It didn’t stand for anything, it didn’t have any entitlements.

And then came Governor Cuomo, who many people credit with making this happen. Do you agree?
I listened to Cuomo’s inaugural, and everything he said came through to me – about balancing the budget; how he was going to do that. And I said to myself, ‘This guy is a doer.’ I didn’t have a problem believing him, which is kind of unusual with politicians. I don’t remember what he said specifically about the gay community, but somehow I had knowledge that he was pro. He stands right up there and he rears up and he roars and he says what he means, so far.

Did you watch the state legislature vote?
No.

So how did you find out?
TV, radio news maybe.

When did you start to think seriously about it?
When he signed the bill (two weeks before it became law), I thought, ‘Do I want to do this? I have a right to do this. What do I think about this?’ I let it roll around in my head. I felt I wanted to be married. And a couple of weeks before the 24th, I said to Connie, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ She shrugged her shoulders. I waited for some time to pass and I asked her again, and she grinned from ear to ear. I took that as a positive sign.

What made marriage so appealing to you suddenly?
I’m not sure I can answer that. I felt good about being an equal person. It was there for me to have, so I just took it. And I’m glad that I took it. I love Connie dearly. The county clerk who married us – I listened to his words, as I’d never listened to them before, and they got through to me. I took it seriously. This is not a whim.

Once you decided to do it, what did you have to do?
It was the last week before (the law came into effect). I went down to City Hall, to the licensing bureau, and I said ‘What do I have to do to get married?’ A man explained it to me and gave me a piece of paper, and I said ‘Well, Sunday would not be a good day to come down here. Maybe we should come later in the week when it isn’t so mobbed.’

And yet, you and Connie turned out to be the first ones married–and there was a lot of fanfare. You were in all the New York papers.  How did that happen?
After I went to the courthouse, I had occasion to speak to a friend. I told her ‘We’re thinking about getting married.’ An hour later, she called back. She said she had spoken to somebody, maybe the executive director at SAGE, and the next thing I know, we’re whisked away on this. We didn’t have to do anything. Christine Quinn’s office, and people at SAGE, did everything. (Quinn is the Speaker of the New York City Council.)

Why do you think SAGE chose you?
I think they were looking for an older, female couple. And there we were. I didn’t ask any questions. They sent a car service for us and whisked us down to City Hall. And they filled out all the papers and took wonderful care of us. It was so surreal and wonderful.

How far in advance did you know it would happen?
May have been 24 hours.

In a few weeks you went from not really thinking about it to being married.

Yes.

Did you have any sort of reception?
No. It was so sudden. Nobody besides the people around me knew about this. And then there it was on television, newspapers, everybody.

How does it feel to be the first?
In a nutshell – I’ve been a private person and suddenly my privacy has exploded. I’ve been getting calls from radio stations across the country, all congratulating me and wanting me to say something over the air. Most of them want me to be encouraging, but I can only say what I feel.

How do you feel?
I’m very happy to have done it. But I don’t usually advertise, I don’t wear a sign. If it comes up in conversation, I do mention it, it’s there. And since this happened, people in my building have come up to me and congratulated me. People on the street have come over to me and congratulated me.

What’s it like to know you’re an inspiration to others?
I have to tell you, it feels good to come out. And it feels good to be noticed for a positive reason, in a positive way. And I want to say that if you’re in high school, if you have a problem, talk to your guidance counselor. Talk to an older person who is compassionate, who can understand you. Please do that before you do anything else.

What makes you say that?
We know that for many people, high school is when they realize they’re gay. It scares them, and they think they’re being unnatural. There is nothing unnatural about feeling love.

When did you first realize?
I may have been a day or two old.

So your whole life.
Mmhmm.

When did you come out originally?
I’m not sure if that happened.

It was more fluid.
Yes.

Has there been any downside to marriage thus far?
This is good. There is nothing negative. This is all good stuff.

Was this a life-altering event or does it fit in seamlessly because you weren’t striving for it?
I’m not sure. It is life-altering to some extent. The relationship now is formal. It’s legal. It’s mutual. Everything is a “we.” “I” becomes “we.” I don’t have to parse my words anymore.

{Dating} She married her best friend…30 years after they met!

FOF Elizabeth Larson and Steve Steele met in Minneapolis in their 20s and dated briefly. Although the two broke up and lived miles apart (Elizabeth moved to Denver and Steve stayed in Minneapolis), they remained best friends for almost 20 years. After losing touch for 13 years, they reunited in 2009 and married in 2010, both were age 52. Read their heart-warming love story, below:
(Waterproof mascara and tissues recommended!)

In 1986, 28-year-old Elizabeth Steele was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, a particularly aggressive form of cancer. She underwent rounds of unsuccessful treatment. Defeated, Elizabeth decided to leave her life in Denver and move home to be with her family in Wisconsin.

Her best friend Steve (living in Minneapolis), flew to Denver and drove a terrified Elizabeth home to Wisconsin. “Despite the gravity of the situation, we had a grand time,” says Elizabeth. A few months later, as a last resort, Elizabeth opted for a bone marrow transplant, a new and extremely risky procedure at the time. “The odds of survival weren’t in my favor,” says Elizabeth.” Again, Steve flew from Minneapolis to be by her side. He spent the weekend with Elizabeth, which she thought might be her last. “[It was] a last hurrah,” she says.

Elizabeth survived the treatment (“a miracle,” she says) and at that point she knew Steve was more than her best friend. He was her true love. Steve knew it also, and Elizabeth moved to Minneapolis, the two married and lived happily ever after…

Wait, not so fast. Life is more complicated that that… After Elizabeth’s treatment, she did move to Minneapolis to be with Steve. They tried to make it work but it was the wrong place and the wrong time. “The job market [in Minneapolis] was bleak, so I applied for and was offered a job back in Wisconsin. I accepted it and moved.”

More distance, another failed romance… but again, Elizabeth and Steve remained friends. Elizabeth became engaged to another man. Her fiancee, jealous of Elizabeth’s friendship with Steve, urged her to cut off communication with him. They lost touch for 13 years.

In 1996, Elizabeth terminated her engagement. “[It was] for many practical and serious reasons,” says Elizabeth. “But the greatest one was that he wasn’t Steve.” Still wondering about his whereabouts, Elizabeth searched for Steve to no avail.

Then in 2009, Elizabeth found a man’s profile on Facebook, she believed could be him. “It sounded like his humor, so I took a chance and asked him to be friends,” said Elizabeth. “Within minutes, he responded: ‘I had to hit the “accept” button because they did not have a “you bet your ass button!”‘” “I was certain he was married with kids,” she says.

He wasn’t. And after a few visits, getting to know one another again, Steve told Elizabeth that his past relationships had always been missing something. They didn’t measure up to his relationship with her. Elizabeth told Steve she felt the same way.

“I never believed in a million years that I would marry the man I loved and dreamed of for most of my life,” says Elizabeth. The two had a small wedding celebration in 2010. “I look at my wedding ring and still can’t believe it. Steve has commented on how well I sign my new name (Elizabeth Larson Steele). I tell him that I’ve been practicing it for decades!”

{FOF Friends} These women say, when you’re FOF, you’ve got to have friends.

FOFs Leslie Saunders, Marquita Olive and Cynthia Anzaldua are longtime friends with a passion for helping children. This year they launched KitchenKids!, an “edu-tainment” resource for children ages 5-12, that promotes knowledge, self-esteem, healthy eating and relationship building. The women all credit their friendship for keeping them successful, strong and sane through the tumultuous FOF years. Here they describe how one great friendship can be an FOF’s greatest asset.

How did the three of you become friends?

Leslie: I guess I’m the central piece here. My career (management consulting) has afforded me the opportunity to move to several different communities. I met Cynthia in 1986, when I moved to Dallas. We became friends immediately. Two cities later, my career moved me to Memphis, where I met Marquita in 1996. We also became fast friends, and when I introduced the two of them, it was like the three amigas.

What draws the three of you together so tightly?

Cynthia: I think a love of young people has kept us young, and has been the driving force in our friendship. I’m a 31-year veteran art teacher. Leslie used to work for Girl Scouts of America. Marquita has a 12-year old daughter, Grace, who’s been growing up right in front of us as we work together. It’s a love for children, and helping children – that commitment.

You all enjoy mentoring young people.

Cynthia: Exactly.

Marquita: Leslie and Cynthia are the big sisters I never had. They have helped me to grow up, and to be a better mother. Leslie is my daughter’s godmother, and Cynthia is my daughter’s god-aunt, and we’re just one big happy family.

Leslie: I think one of the big pieces of glue that holds us all together is that we like to laugh. Whenever we are together, life becomes hilarious, even though we may be dealing with personal dramas. Over the years, we’ve had so many wonderful encounters together that when we get together, we spend half the time laughing about the crazy stuff that we’ve done in the past. Like Ethel and Lucy: ‘How did we get here again?  And aren’t we glad that we’re all here together?’

Can you each describe how your friendships has helped you in life, though the years?

Leslie: These friendships helped ground me as my professional life took me from community to community.   Sometimes it’s very difficult to get to know new people. As our friendships have matured, we’ve lost parents, and our lives have changed in many ways. But these are the same two sisters who hold my hand through it all.

Cynthia:  I lost my father not long ago, and he was my world, and they have been here for me through thick and thin, through my depression, through everything I had to go through and they’ve made me a stronger person. They’ve made me appreciate life and friends, and friendship more. I know there’s nothing that I can’t tell them. I know that they’re always there for me. We speak to each other one to three times a day. We might start the conversation crying, and then we end up laughing.

Marquita: I’m going to use a quote from A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson: ‘Every encounter is a holy encounter.’  And that’s how I feel about Leslie and Cynthia. When I met them both, we had a spiritual connection, that, as a wordsmith myself, I can’t find the words to describe!

What gets the friendship through trying times?

Leslie: We’re able to be very honest with each other. And we don’t expect perfection. We expect honesty and truth and we know that none of us intentionally does anything to hurt the others. Even if it takes months for someone to say, ‘You know, you hurt my feelings last year, when you said such and such,’ we are still quick to apologize and explain ‘that’s not what I meant, and I need you to understand, because you are more than my friend, you really are my sister.’

Marquita: The three of us love each other unconditionally. There’s no competition here. There are no egos here. There’s just genuine love.

Cynthia: We realize it’s sometimes necessary to say something to one another that might be hurtful. But we’d all rather it come from us than from the outside.

Do you think that level of trust is something you can build, or does it have to be there originally?

Leslie: It’s both. We liked each other, and we wanted to be friends, but friendship has to be tested, nurtured, and well managed.  Those are the things that you work on. Although the three of us have many things in common, we are three distinct individuals, with unique talents, interests and experiences, and we don’t try to outdo each other or compete. That keeps our friendship fresh. There are times when two of us will experience something, and we’ll say, ’Oh Lord, we better call so-and-so and get her take on this!  We know she’s gonna have something hilarious to say about this.’

Marquita: I follow Dr. Wayne Dyer on Twitter. And the other day, he said, ‘Your friends are God’s way of apologizing for your family.’  That’s how I look at these two ladies. They are my family. They are not relatives.

{Dating} Land a date for Valentine’s Day: An FOF video guide

Stop waiting for cupid to find you. FOF dating coach Cheryl Savage puts the bow and arrow in your hands. Watch her foolproof guide to landing a date for Valentine’s Day.

The best part? Cheryl shows you how to untangle yourself from any awkward entanglements that may arise. She mistakenly chats up a married man, has an uncomfortable exchange with two total duds, but still ends the night with a few solid date prospects.

You’ll want to take notes….

{Dating} 3 Late-in-Life Love Stories

Sometimes love really is better late than never. 3 FOFs share their heart-warming love stories.
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FOF Gerri Shute found love in her late 40s

“After I left an 11-year relationship, my friend Curt introduced David and me. We hit it off from the beginning.

I wanted to be married though [and didn’t think he’d marry me.] When I told him this, I thought he was going to end it. Instead, a week later he took me to the International Club and made a formal proposal.  We both wept.  He said, ‘I cried all week long thinking of what my life would be without you.’

We traveled, we entertained, we did everything. It could not have been a better 20 years. My friends said we used to look at each other in a way that said, ‘Boy, I sure won the prize.’

Then he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  The last three years or so of his life were very trying for him. He never once complained. I felt privileged that I was the one taking care of him when he got sick. It was a love affair to the end.”

FOF Sherry DeRosa found love in her 50s

“I met Michael at a Super Bowl Party in 2001. He was explaining how hard it had been to get health insurance for his assistant. I said, ‘So you arranged health care for him? I don’t mean to be rude, but that had to cost a fair amount of money.’ And Michael said, ‘Yeah, but it’s the right thing to do.’ I remember thinking, ‘there’s a person who puts his money where his mouth is.’

When I got cancer, I remember him saying, ‘We have breast cancer and we are going to fix it.’ And I said, ‘If you’ll still have me and we get through this, will you marry me?’ And so on April 25, 2009 we got married on an ocean terrace in Laguna Beach surrounded by all the people we love.”

FOF Mary Nedvins found love at 51

“I met Skip on Match.com in 2005. After two or three dates, I realized that I was head over heels. All I talked about morning, noon and night was Skip, Skip, Skip. He was handsome, he was smart and he was well made.

Then he went away for almost seven months. He called me once and said only, ‘I have to go away, I can’t tell you where I am. I can’t tell you what I’m doing.’

I was heartbroken. I just didn’t understand why God put somebody in my life and all of a sudden he was gone. I was still on Match.com dating my ass off, literally trying to forget him. I remember one sweet fellow said to me, ‘Is there somebody else in your life? No matter what I do I just can’t seem to get to you, you’re in there but you’re not there.’

One day I was in T.J.Maxx, my phone rang and the caller ID said ‘Skip.’ Someone came up to me and said ‘Do you need a chair, you look like you’re gonna pass out.’ I was going to pass out. I could not believe it was him.

I answered the phone and told him, ‘I’m upset, you just left and I feel like you dumped me.’ He explained that his top-secret government job had kept him from telling me the whole story. ‘Well you know there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think about you, and I had your picture with me all the time,’ he said. We haven’t been apart since.”

Do you have a late-in-life love story? Share it with us, below.

{Dating} 5 Places to Meet an (FOF) Man!

“FOFs tell me they want to get married, they want to find love… but first, you need to be open to dating and having fun,” says expert Cheryl Savage.”

Cheryl warns against going somewhere with the sole purpose of meeting “the one.” Instead, she has this sage advice: “Go for fun, go for adventure and if you see an interesting man…go talk to him!”

Here are her top picks for places where single FOF men congregate…and where FOF women have the best chance of meeting them!

1. Golf Course Bars and Restaurants– After finishing up a round of golf on a Wednesday or Thursday night, many FOF men will unwind at the restaurant at the 18th hole. Many of these men might be married, but there certainly will be some singles amidst the group. Recruit a married girlfriend to accompany you. Married or happily-in-love friends can often be quite encouraging.

2. Car shows – Here’s a spot FOF men, many of them single, gather. Similarly, they gather at car races and sport races. Grab a girlfriend and carouse around. Approach a man you find interesting… If you don’t know much about cars or sports, use it to your advantage. “What do you think is the best car at the show?” is a great conversation starter.

3. A restaurant with bistro tables – Don’t hide in a booth in the back. Sit at a tall table or at the bar. It’s okay to go alone. It is easier for men to approach you when you are at eye level and by yourself. They won’t approach you if they have to bend down to a table or if you are engaged in conversation with someone else. If you’re in a group, turn away from them periodically. I call this, “separating from the herd.”

4. Sports Bars– Especially during big games, men congregate at sports bars. Go with a girlfriend, not another man, even if he is gay or your brother, because a man who wants to approach you may not know that.

5. Bike Riding Groups– Many single, professional FOF men go cycling on Saturday mornings and then head to coffee shops after.

Are there any places FOF singles should avoid?  “Sitting home on your couch cuddling two men by the name of Ben and Jerry!” says Cheryl. “My best advice is to get out and have fun. The chances are better than when you don’t.”

Image via Millie Motts