Writing about "girlie" stuff for 23 years
Writing about "girlie stuff." Helping older singles through the dating maze for 23 years
Tom's partner Greta--writing about "Girlie Stuff"
One of the requirements of being a columnist is having a thick skin. When you write about a topic that can be controversial and touches people personally—such as dating and relationships after age 50--you have to be prepared for responses you might not like, and don’t agree with. But, you need to be impartial and whenever possible, present both sides. After all, responses provide the information that keeps a column fresh. Can you imagine trying to write on a topic for 23 years without the benefit of inputs from readers? So, even when I hear from a reader (I call them Champs) that I do not agree with, I have to be grateful that the reader cares enough to take the time and make the effort to write. A while back, a man who had recently started reading this newsletter minced no words in an email: "Why do you write about girlie stuff? Shouldn't men our age be out playing tennis or golf instead?" Girlie stuff? Wow, those were fighting words. The hair on my arms stood up. I was ready to give him a blast of Artic Air and get all defensive. But, I remembered my mantra, reader responses keep the column fresh. So, I took a deep breath. Then I realized his questions provided an opportunity to explain to him--and others who don't know--how writing about this so-called girlie stuff started, how it expanded into a second career, and why I continue writing about it now, in 2016, after 23 years. I love questions that open doors to column ideas, which his did. Some of you who've subscribed to this newsletter for years know the story of how I got into the business of writing about dating, life, and love after 50. But, over the last couple of years, we've had many new subscribers who've been curious about how I started writing on this topic. Here is a quickie explanation. On Xmas Eve, 1993, my wife of six years, without revealing her intentions, cleaned out the house, took what furniture and belongings she wanted, and moved out of my life. Before you get out your crying towels, let me say in retrospect that she did me a great favor, although at the time I did not see it that way. After she left, I put my golf clubs and tennis racquet in the closet, replacing them with pen and notepad. You see, I was really pissed at her and needed to organize my thoughts on paper and formulate a plan of action. Writing about the experience was cathartic. I was not a writer, not a journalist, but a guy who owned Tutor and Spunky’s, a deli he founded in 1988 in Dana Point, California, that kept him as busy as a cranberry at Thanksgiving. After the divorce--she had pre-planned that also; divorce papers were served at my deli during lunch--I started dating, thinking it would be a breeze. After all, I was certain that I had so much to offer women that there would be a queue of single women (of all ages) at the deli door, waiting, not for a sandwich, but to ask me on a date. When no lines formed and women rejected my advances, I'd run home to my journal and whine in it about how hard and unfair dating after age 50 was for this poor single man. The journal grew, filled with woe-is-me love failures. I wrote about boring dates, bad dates, blind dates, getting stood up and spending too much money on women. When the journal reached 78 pages, I took it to my local newspaper and said I could write a story about how this single man was being so mistreated by women. At the time, the Dana Point News, my hometown newspaper, had two women editors. After perusing my material, they felt that the single women of south Orange County, California, would be so unsympathetic with my pathetic whining that the paper had a smash-hit on their hands. A column, "Middle Aged and Dating Again," was born. Soon, it was running in a syndicate of ten newspapers. Over the years, I didn't take the tennis racquet or golf clubs out of the closet; I was having too much fun writing, making speeches and appearances. Very few men write about finding love and romance, even fewer about finding it in the later years. And since women are curious about the male point-of-view, they read my girlie stuff, (but don't always agree.) Do I favor women in my “girlie stuff” articles? Probably. After all, about 70-75 percent of our Champs are women. In 23 years, the number of newspaper articles and newsletters written exceeds 3,500. I keep writing because people tell me that the articles help them get through the dating maze, which is so challenging as we reach into our 60s, 70s and beyond. Many have said that my advice led them to love. Again and again through the years, I've been reminded that opportunity arises from adversity. And how blessed I’ve been. I have published four printed books and six ebooks. I’ve been on the Today Show twice, Good Morning America, and Fox and Friends. I've reminded thousands of wounded singles of the “opportunity arises from adversity” message when their relationships and marriages have soured or ended unexpectedly. What have I learned about finding love after 50? That one should never give up hope of finding it. We learned that in last week’s column when Sue got married to Pat in an Irish wedding, four years after meeting him in a NYC pub near Penn Station. The deli drought of not meeting women didn’t last forever. On June 27, 1998, I had a first date with a woman named Greta, who, three days prior, had ordered a fresh carrot juice in the deli. When I saw her sitting at a table across from our counter, waiting for her juice, without hesitation, I walked around the counter and asked her to dinner. We've been together since, in our 19th year now, traveling together in India and Nepal, appreciating the opportunity. As for those golf clubs and tennis racquets, well, they're still in the closet and that's where they'll stay. I've got another book to publish, my Finding Love After 50 website to update, and another newsletter to write about--you know, "girlie stuff." Happy Thanksgiving, Champs! http://www.FindingLoveAfter50.com ------------------------