When my boyfriend died in 2000, it was the first time in my life that I wasn’t involved with a man. Trying to find a new one was a pain in the neck. I was 53 and had never been much of a dater before marrying at the ripe old age of 21. So I started going to dinner after dinner, away for weekends, and on all manner of cockamamie rendezvous. There was the Princeton graduate with the Ph.D. from Cal Tech who wanted a golf companion and someone he could show off at his fancy Connecticut country club, the Robert De Niro look-alike who was on-again of again with his deceased wife’s best friend, and the man who was still moaning about the wife who left him 20 years before.
I worked every angle imaginable: Bought ads in the personals sections of the New York Times and New York Magazine; answered personals ads; asked every friend, relative and acquaintance if they could fix me up; paid (or should I say lost) $5,000 on a dating service that promised me five dates and delivered two (and they were awful at that.)
I made out with a police detective like I was 19, drank way too many martinis with the Ph.D., and shed pools of tears over the De Niro look-alike. Why didn’t he call in three days? Was he going back to Gloria? I was a top editor and publisher with a thriving business but didn’t have the slightest idea how to be successful at this meeting-a-man business. I was acting like a jerk.
Those were two grim years.
If only I had known Cheryl Ann Savage, a 54-year-old Fab Over Fifty woman who I recently interviewed. Cheryl owns a successful real estate business in Monterey, CA, but recently opened a second business as a “dating coach.”
“A dating coach,” you ask with a quizzical look? Yep. Here’s how Cheryl explains it: “I don’t set people up together. I am not a dating service. I don’t teach women how to throw their hair up, raise their boobs and become overt to attract men. I teach them that single—whether they’ve never married, are widowed or divorced—is not a ‘condition’ and they need to be comfortable with it.
“We’ve fought to be equal with men in so many ways,” Cheryl said, but when it comes to dating, even powerful, strong women feel like they did when they were “juniors in high school.” She believes we still have a powerful need for companionship and dynamic social interaction and that she can give us solid advice based on her extensive dating experiences. “We can approach dating like adults and still have fun like we did at 17.”