Sunday, February 14, 2016

50plus LIFE - On Life and Love after 50 - 10 tips for finding a mate

50plus  LIFE – Feb 14, 2016

On Life and Love after 50

By Tom P. Blake

Greetings, Introductions, and Tom’s 10 tips for finding a mate

I am honored, especially on Valentine’s Day, to be introduced to your newspaper. I have a warm spot in my heart for Pennsylvania. My mother was born in Erie.

My column started when two female editors in Dana Point, Calif., gave me my first writing assignment. I had just gone through a divorce and thought dating would be easy. It turned out to be difficult, and I wrote about the frustrations of a single guy in his early 50s trying to date again.

I complained and whined that younger women wouldn’t go out with me and women my age expected me to pay for dates.

The editors felt that the single women in Southern California would have a field day taking potshots at my woe-is-me message.

They were right. When my first column ran, a woman said: “Who is this sniveling puke?” Another said, “Get the boy a crying towel.”

Women told me my writing became less controversial and more palatable when I started dating my life partner, Greta.

I’ve written approximately 3,500 articles and newsletters on finding love, in the later years, and writing on this topic has been good to me. I’ve published four books and have been interview by Matt Lauer on the Today show and Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America—humbling.

My writing scope has broadened from finding love after 50 to “On life and love after 50,” as older singles deal with life issues often beyond the scope of just dating and seeking love.

My advice is applicable to anyone age 50 to 90. Yes, I know people in their 90s who have found love who can show affection towards each other similar to a couple of teenagers.

While my articles target singles, approximately 35 percent of my readers are married. Many tell me that reading about the hardships singles endure encourages them to appreciate their spouses more and they work harder at making their marriages last.

My advice to married couples is usually pretty simple: Stay together and work out the issues.

Let’s have fun together. Maybe we can help some older singles find love. But to continue writing about senior dating, I need input from readers—your questions, comments, and stories about life and love after 50.

Email me at and I will respond within a day or two, unless I am traveling overseas, which Greta and I try to do while we are healthy enough to go. Who knows? We might include you in a column.

One thing is certain: As more and more people become single later in life—due to divorce or the loss of a spouse—there are always new and challenging issues.

People often tell me, I never thought I’d be single at this stage in my life.” My hope is to help as many of them as possible.

My life partner Greta and I had dinner with a 78-year-old widower friend of ours after Christmas. As we were leaving the restaurant, he said, “I don’t want to be alone anymore. But I don’t know how to meet a potential mate. What do you advise?”

I put together a list that would help him get started. I call it Tom’s 10 tips for finding a mate. The tips apply to both men and women.

1. Let friends, family and acquaintances know that you’d like to meet other singles. That’s what Ken did with me. He let me know that he was rejoining the human race and wanted to meet new people. The more people he gets the word out to, the better his chances of finding someone. It’s called networking. And it works.

A week after Ken asked for advice, I received an email from a single woman in his city. I asked each one of them separately if they’d like to correspond. They said yes. Had Ken not mentioned his situation to me, I wouldn’t have thought about introducing them.

2.  Get off the couch and out of the house. You won’t meet anybody sitting at home. You need to be where you will meet new people. Sure, it takes energy and time, but it will give you a purpose. Attend weddings, reunions, church activities, dances and accept all invitations to events. Volunteer. Another widower I know volunteers at a nearby hospital twice a week and helps feed the homeless at his brother’s church twice a month. He’s met single women at both places.

3.  Go out to enrich your life and meet new people. Do not go out solely to find a mate. People looking too hard come off as desperate, and end up turning off the opposite sex. Often, it’s when we aren’t looking that we meet someone special.

4.  Pursue activities you enjoy where both sexes are involved. For guys repairing old cars, you likely won’t meet a potential mate. Ditto for women who are quilting.

5.  Get the body moving. Walk and exercise. Be friendly to folks you see along the way. Offer to walk with them if appropriate.

6.  Keep expectations in check. Meeting a potential mate won’t be easy but don’t give up. It takes time.

7.  Internet dating is one method of meeting potential mates. For people living in remote areas, online dating may be a necessity to meet new people. For people 50-plus, online dating is risky. There are scammers and evil people looking for vulnerable and lonely singles. However, it has worked for lots of couples. If a guy online sounds too good to be true, he is. Trust your instincts. Don’t be na├»ve.

8. Smile and be friendly, positive and upbeat. If you are in a post-office line, or a grocery-store line, be assertive by striking up a conversation--but don’t be overly-pushy about it.

9. Check out the website, There is no cost and they have clubs and groups across the USA that cover all kinds of special interests. Pick some different ones and attend them. You will be enriching your life and making new friends.

10. Subscribe to my weekly On life and Love after 50 E-newsletter at There is no cost. More than 1,000 singles ages 50-90 from across the USA share their experiences, frustrations and successes.

Above all, recharge your batteries and get out and meet new people. I’m betting our friend Ken will be up and running in no time.

For dating information, previous articles, or to sign up for Tom’s complimentary weekly e-newsletter, go to

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Senior cyclist leaves no carbon footprint

On Life and Love After 50 newsletter

February 12, 2016

by Tom P. Blake

Senior cyclist leaves no carbon footprint

I met John Bates in Dana Point, California, in 1990 in the parking lot of the Dana Niguel Bank, which is now the Pacific Western Bank. My deli, Tutor and Spunky’s, and other local restaurants, were serving food at an outdoor Chamber of Commerce mixer.

John has always been interested in local transportation. In 1990, he was a commissioner on the Dana Point Traffic Improvement Commission. I recall him telling me that day, “Our first recommendation was to get rid of Caltrans and return to two-way traffic on PCH and Del Prado.”

Over the years, John and I have stayed in touched. Recently we met for coffee in the harbor at Coffee Importers. He is still interested in local transportation, but on more personal level. To get to the harbor from his San Juan Capistrano home, he rode his bicycle.

I asked him how often he rode. John said, “All of the time. Before I retired 12 years ago, I sold my car and used my bike to commute to my Dana Point office my home.”

“Have you always been a bike rider?” I asked.

He said, “I got my first bike at age 8 when my family moved from Los Angeles to Pasadena. That bike was several sizes too large for me. I couldn’t sit on the seat because my feet didn’t reach the pedals, so I rode around all day in a standing position.

“But, I loved the freedom and the extended range that that bike afforded me. I soon learned the streets of Pasadena, the Rose Bowl, Devils Gate Dam, Colorado Blvd and the Rose Parade. I knew it all and thought it was cool.

“I had several bikes during my youth, and graduated from fat balloon-tire cruisers to thin-tire hot racing bikes, and used them all for delivering newspapers and for my basic transportation for years. However, when I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I put my bike away for several years.

John said when he and his wife Judy had children, they got their son and daughter bicycles as soon as the children were able to ride. The family went on riding trips together, including a three-day trip from their Mission Viejo home to San Diego.

John added, “Years later, when my daughter graduated from the University of San Francisco, she and I rode our bikes from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, a 360-mile trip down Hwy 1 that took six days. She and I still have occasional half-day rides, and always talk about the highlights of our six-day trip together.

“Now that I’m retired, I bought a battery-assisted bicycle, and use my bike to get to and from the Mission San Juan Capistrano, where I’m a volunteer docent, and zip around from Mission Viejo to San Clemente and Dana Point for lunch, coffee meetings, shopping, and various errands.

“At age 78, I consider myself very fortunate to still enjoy cycling. My bike is again my basic transportation, and, even after all these years, I still get a thrill from the freedom that riding a bicycle gives me. I fall off once-in-a- while, but after 70 years of cycling, I’m still in one piece and enjoy every minute on the road.

“By riding my bike instead of driving a car, I get valuable exercise and am pleased that I don’t leave a carbon footprint on the environment. However, I will admit that my wife still has her car and sometimes I ride with her.

“And regarding the 1990 Traffic Improvement Commission recommendation about the two-way traffic in Dana Point, it only took 25 years to make it happen, but we were right…it’s much better for all concerned.”

If more people would follow John’s bike-riding example, our cities might start to resemble European cities such as Amsterdam where bicycles outnumber automobiles. Wouldn’t that be nice!

                                    John Bates and his beloved bicycle      (photo by Tom Blake)

                                      Link to John Bates article in San Clemente Times

                           John Bates article in Dana Point Times

                 John Bates article in San Juan Capistrano Dispatch

Friday, February 5, 2016

Newsletter 2016 #6 Madam Secretary and Chemistry update

Madam Secretary and Chemistry update

On life and love after 50 newsletter

February 5, 2016

Tom P. Blake

Madam Secretary

Champ Mark emailed, “Do you watch “Madam Secretary” on CBS Sunday nights? A main story line in the latest episode (January 31) involved the swindling of an older man via an online dating site, and how that played a major part in his suicide. The writing in those scenes was taken from your columns, or so it seems.”

I told Mark that I did not watch that episode, but Greta did and told me about it. I answered, “Doubt if it was taken from my columns, but preventing romance scams from happening is one of our goals.”

After Mark’s question, I went online and watched it. In the episode, Madam Secretary’s husband’s father was the older man. He was lonely and went on a dating site. A scammer trolled the site and made contact with the man.

The scammer sent a picture ostensibly of herself, but it was taken from the Internet of an actress in Hollywood; the old man framed it and put the picture on his mantle. The scammer told the old man that she was too busy to meet him in person for the time being, but needed a loan. He gave it to the scammer, thinking he was helping the pretty woman who loved him.

When he discovered he’d been scammed, he committed suicide by taking an entire bottle of hydrocodone, a dangerous pain medication.

An investigation revealed that the scammer was the old man’s friend, a man who lived nearby. In the episode, that man scammer came to the house to give his condolences to the family. Later, the scammer was arrested.

The episode did not get into a lot of details about the scam. But, the messages were clear:

-Anybody can be anybody online. Do not trust anyone until you meet in person and get to know that person well

             - Do not send money to someone you’ve never met unless you don’t expect to get it back

·        - Don’t fall in love with an image

·        -Meet the person face-to-face as soon as possible

Thanks to Champ Mark for reminding me of that episode.

Chemistry update

You may recall that last October we ran two consecutive newsletters on the subject of chemistry. A male Champ shared with us that his girlfriend of four months told him she didn’t feel chemistry toward him.

The following week, we included 20 responses to his situation. Most Champs, but not all, felt he should move on. The feeling was, at his age, why waste a lot of time?

This week--3 ½ months later--he emailed an update: “Last night was our last date. I still don’t ‘light her fire’ and she doesn’t want me to waste my time on her and wants me to find someone who will fill my needs.”

He hopes she will change her mind. He added, “I just can’t erase my feelings for her and move on. I loved my girlfriend of three years in high school…I loved my wife for 50+ years and still do and always will…I also ‘loved’ this lady knowing full well where it could end.

“So, it will be awhile, if ever, before I try the dating scene again.” He is now 73.
But, is he really done with her? He added, “We have three more event tickets to the venue where we saw Travis Tritt last night and it’s likely we will go as friends.” So, he still keeps hanging on, although it was their last date (as boyfriend/girlfriend).

This is a nice man. I checked him out online and he has a successful business. I just hate to see him go through more pain by taking her to three more concerts. I wish he could take someone else to those events. His situation reminds me of words from Garth Brooks’ song, The Dance: I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance.

Not only is finding a compatible mate difficult after 70, but once you do, dating that person isn’t exactly a snap either.