Q. I am in my 50’s, married for most of my adult years, divorced three years ago and recently started dating. I feel like I am in the dark ages about how this dating thing works. I rehearse my “lines” before going out and hope I do not sound like a complete idiot. Any advice?

A. Life is like a box of chocolates, most are terrible, but on occasion you find a good one. You prepare yourself for a few not tasting that good and hold out for the one that makes your taste buds smile.
Dating does feel weird, uncomfortable, uncertain, and maybe even a little confusing when you have not done it in years. You wonder how you look, “should I have gotten botox?” What should I talk about…..probably not how my ex-wife made the best strawberry shortcake? What should I wear……..the shirt/pants from 1996 probably not a good choice. Should I bring condoms……leave them at home for now!!
You perfect your “skills” as you go. There is nothing like field training to see how you have grown and how much work you need to do. One thing is for certain…….you will not get better at dating if you are sitting in your living room, eating potato chips and watching reruns of Star Trek.
Here are some dating tips for those who are a little rusty:
1. If something doesn’t feel right – it’s not. Walk away.
2. If someone goes on and on about light bulbs or an ingrown toenail it does not mean they reenact Silence of the Lambs in their free time. Stay with it for awhile.
3. If you like to attend concerts and the other person does not – that’s okay. It’s okay to have different interests – in fact, its better.
4. Talk to your friends about the guy or girl – good and bad things. If you are afraid to share something with them, there is a reason for that – a bad one.
5. Know where you stand with the other person before introducing them to everyone. If you need your friend’s opinion to find out if you like the person – you don’t.
6. Be okay with criticism, EVERYONE will tell you their opinion, understand it comes from their own experiences.
7. Act towards the person as a friend. If they say/do something you don’t like, call them on it.
8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS. They were there before, they’ll be there after.
9. If the other person doesn’t have friends, there is a reason for it. Don’t walk, run away.
10. Last but not least, HAVE FUN. Dating is hard. Date different people, go different places. Don’t marry the first person you date. Ready… Set… Go!!!