Fuck dating! She said ironically.

I’m on the phone right now with The Most Boring Man In the World. He hasn’t let me get a word in edgewise for 30 minutes. I asked him what kind of work he does, and he proceeded to give me his entire resume since college. I guess I should have been more specific, and asked, “Right now, what is the name of the place you work for, and what is your job title and BRIEF description?”

[This is why I always give a bitter laugh when anybody trots out the old stereotype that men are quiet and women can’t shut up. Bull-fucking-shit! In my experience, many men go on and on and on talking, and all you have to do is say “Uh-huh,” at appropriate intervals. Oftentimes, if I want to add something to the conversation, I have to interrupt. But if I do that too often, the man gets all butthurt that I interrupted. Well, if you would shut up for five minutes, I wouldn’t have to.]

Guys, let me give you a couple of pointers about dating. If you have been out of the dating world for a while, your skills might be rusty.

First, just because you and a woman hit it off pretty well, that does not mean you’ve got an instant serious girlfriend.
I don’t know if this is just me, or if it has something to do with dating in your 50s as opposed to dating in your 20s – but I have now met more than one man who seems to want to get me locked down.

What the hell. I thought men wanted freedom and promiscuity; and that women were the ones who started planning the wedding after the first date.

But since last October, I have met at least two men who wanted me to close my online dating accounts and see only them.

But I like to take my time before closing off all my options.

When I was younger, I think now that sometimes I did this for stupid reasons, namely, “He seems great, but what if I meet someone even better after I’ve already made the commitment?”

In those days, it seemed plausible. I was nice-looking then, and fairly normal, ha ha.

But most men in their 20s are not ready for a serious commitment. That was true in the 80s, when I was in my 20s, just like it is now. However, there are a few, and I met one of them. Tony was a junior in college and I was a freshman, and he wanted me to stop seeing other guys. At the time, I was nowhere near ready for this. I was 18 years old and away from home for the first time. I wasn’t ready to pick a major, let alone enter a serious relationship.

Hindsight is 20/20. Now I think I fucked up, by not sticking with Tony. One thing I vividly remember about our period of dating is epic, passionate makeout sessions. And having Googled him and found out what he’s been doing since then, it seems Tony has turned out to be a good, solid guy. Good sexual passion PLUS a good guy? At 18, I didn’t know I’d found a unicorn. If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I’d say, “Stick with Tony. Most of the other guys you will meet don’t have nearly as much to offer. Also, party less, study more, and take your writing more seriously.”

So here I am now in my 50s. I didn’t want to be dating at this age in the first place. Although I can be single, I’d prefer to have a partner.

But not so fast. Before I stop dating other men and narrow my life only to one, I want to know that one pretty well.

Chemistry is absolute must. If there’s no spark there, we’re just friends.

I also want to know how you behave when you’re in a bad mood. What do you do when you don’t get your way? How do you treat people like restaurant servers and store clerks?

Do you get depressed? If so, do you stay in that dark place and put up a wall shutting me out? That’s what my last serious long term partner did. It was devastating. I couldn’t handle it, and it’s the main thing that ended our relationship.

How much activity do you need, versus just staying home and vegging out? How much time do you want to spend with other people, versus alone time? I like moderation in both those areas. You do not have to be exactly like me – in fact, it’s probably better if we are not exactly alike. But before we get to a commitment, I want to have some idea of how much energy you have and how extroverted or introverted you are.

So, don’t rush me into being monogamous. Before I give you my heart and a lot of my time and my life, I need to be sure we have chemistry; AND I need to be sure that the two of us can be happy with each other’s real selves. And the real self shows up in the things we don’t always think about, like “What does he do as soon as he gets home from work?”, “Does he insist that we have to do everything as a couple, or can we visit our families on our own sometimes?”, “Will he stay in a bad mood forever if I do something that annoys him?”

I want to be in a serious relationship; I would even like to remarry if I could have someone I really want. (And only if that’s the case. I’ve discovered I like being the boss of my own household, and I don’t think I want to give that up unless I’m head over heels in love.)

All this is a rather long-winded way of stating my first pointer to guys who are dating me: Don’t rush me into a commitment too early. I’m not an instant-girlfriend-just-add-water.

More pointers to follow.