Woman of Experience Helping midlife women make sense of modern relationships.

A date is simply one moment in Time.


What is a date?  Essentially it’s a meeting, a moment in time that may turn into a series of moments or stop there. So where’s the problem? The problem only exists if you have projected all your hopes on that moment. Since you’re reading this right now, you’re more likely to be in a logical frame of mind, so it’s worth asking yourself this: In any other situation, eg: business, would you bet the house on someone you’ve had fragmented conversations with? Would you go in heavily invested? No, of course not. The same principle applies to personal interactions.

The 30-minute coffee screening

This being 2024 you have the tools to meet a range of people and see where the road takes you. The first thing you need is a structure, a kind of process if you like. It goes like this. You have a conversation or two online and then you need to find out if the other person wants to meet or is just playing at it. Daytime with a hot beverage is a far smarter way of meeting than nighttime with a cocktail. Call it The Moment in Time Date but this methodology is one that I find is proven to result in:

  • A conversation in the safety of a coffee shop
  • A chance to decide if it’s worth meeting again
  • A hot beverage

The key factor here is to avoid The Night. The hot beverage meeting before 4 pm is better than meeting in The Night. It keeps things informal and doesn’t take you too far out of your way. Even with the strongest will, The Night can do strange things to people.

The person that seemed quite ordinary 2 hours ago, looks attractive after a couple of glasses of wine. A song, probably Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds, is playing in the background. You begin leaning into the other person and before you know it, Big Mistake followed by Huge Regret. In your twenties, maybe your thirties, these things are easy to shake off. But as you traverse from your late forties into your fifties, this is not where or who you want to be.

The Follow-Up: The Active Date

If the coffee date has shown promise, do not under any circumstances consider dinner or even lunch. Instead, propose an activity where you are talking while doing something rather than focusing on each other across the table. In addition, you will burn calories walking around a gallery, going bowling or simply taking a meandering stroll rather than eating dinner while staring at your phones. I have always found participation in an Activity to be preferable to lunch or dinner.

If nothing else you have done something, perhaps something new. You’re out of the house and you’re on your way. By this point, you’re probably thinking, “I haven’t had sex in ages and I want to do it.” I do understand these needs Grasshopper, however, if you are not well-versed in the ways of modern dating and mating, this is also an opportunity to take things slowly and perhaps gain some perspective. I’m not telling you not to have sex; it’s an animalistic need however if you haven’t been out of a relationship for a while, it can throw you sideways (and not in a good way)

Ideally, you would follow this date screening process for as long as it takes to develop a degree of self-awareness about who you are and what or who you want.

Learn to let go

A date that flops, a person that doesn’t fancy you, and people who click you into oblivion on a dating site – these things will happen from both sides and they’re part of the online dating production line. There is no need for you to spend hours or days (or god forbid, weeks) agonising this stuff. There is no easy way of doing this, especially if you are feeling needy and alone, but the sooner you learn to treat these moments for what they are – passing moments in time – the easier things will be.

Delete, delete, delete

Get rid of their phone number and delete their emails. No ifs or buts. Your online survival depends on this. Once you’ve practiced this a couple of times you will feel exceedingly good about yourself because you’ll be in control. Your self-respect starts to kick in and things often start to work in your favour. Try not to waste time figuring out what you could have done better or shouldn’t have done. As the Indigo Girls sing (ever so beautifully) “It’s only life after all.”

I’ve heard so many date post-mortems that go on for weeks, while the date barely lasted 2 hours. If you do that, nobody wins except makers of chardonnay, tissues and headache tablets.


I’ve heard so many date post-mortems that go on for weeks, while the date barely lasted 2 hours. If you do that nobody wins except makers of chardonnay, tissues and headache tablets. You had your place in the world before you met him or her. You still have it. All you have done is add to the total of your experiences and this is how you need to view it. Think of it as an experiment or series of experiments and remember most experiments don’t succeed.

We’ve all heard those famous parting words, “I’ll call you.” Did he mean straight away? Next week. Next year? Did he neglect to say he was leaving town on vacation? Or forever. Yes, maybe that just slipped his mind. Or did he just say it because like a lot of us, he’s gutless and he didn’t know what else to do? The real question is, “Why are you trying to figure out something that is clearly out of your control?

Human behaviour is dominated by emotions, not logic

Today I chopped up the ingredients to make soup and got very excited about it. At some point, I looked at all the ingredients and felt bored and depressed. So I ate a handful of almonds, some cheese and celery and put the ingredients in the fridge. The logical thing to do would have been to make soup after all that chopping but my emotions were not in it.

A date or even two or three is nothing to get excited about. As my Estonian leg waxing lady once said, “I want to know he wants me so I’m not waiting for him to call. If he does, fine.” Unfortunately, we are not all blessed with the ruthless ways of Eastern Europeans. Moreover, as a woman whose hormones were last ignited 5, 10 or 20 years ago you’re also getting screwed over by your hormones.

Men, on the other hand, take a while to catch up to themselves. That’s not being derogatory to men, it’s simply a feature of the male-female divide. Men need space to work things out so leave him be. Take the moment for what it is and move on with the understanding that you will have many dates that seem promising but for reasons out of your control, will fizzle out. You have no control over another person’s thought processes.

Sure, you can try voodoo, but it’s never worked for me.

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Woman of Experience Helping midlife women make sense of modern relationships.