herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Dating through the decades

Katie Byrne gets advice on how to find a date, for single men and women of all ages

T W E N T I E S

Phoebe Toal (28) is an actress who also works part-time for dating. agency, It’s Just Lunch

“The dating scene is quite hard for people in their 20s. With the recession, many people aren't going out as much as they used to.

“Also, while there isn't any lack of funny, good-looking, charming guys out there, Irish guys can be a bit shy.

You could be catching somebody's eye all night but he won't approach you.

“Irish guys always give the impression that they don't care about dating or relationships, but the truth is they care a lot about meeting someone.

“It's important to date as many people as possible in order to find out what kind of person suits you. If you really want to meet somebody then you have to be open to meeting anybody.

“I hear so many women say they couldn't go out with someone shorter, but when the average Irish guy is only 5'7''/5'8'', you can't help but think how many hundreds of great guys they're missing out on.

“Friends of mine have met people through work or [fitness] bootcamps which seems like a good idea, but if it doesn't work out, you're still going to bump into them at the office or while you're doing push-ups!”

Advice from the expert:

Stephen Nolan is a dating coach with Kama Lifestyles (www.kama-lifestyles.com). He met his current girlfriend by approaching her at a bus stop

“The biggest mistake men make is telegraphing too much interest straight away. “You can do it physically, by leaning in and looking like you're all over her; or verbally, by bombarding herwith interrogation-style questions.

“The biggest mistake women make is that they don't make themselves approachable.

“Women don't understand how difficult it is for a guy to walk up and approach someone he has no connection with. If there are guys in the girl's group they are not going to get approached because the guy doesn't know the dynamics of the group. If there's no empty bar stool, they probably won't approach either.”

Great Dates

Where to meet people?

Shebeen Chic is a great spot.

Ideal place for first date?

Ocho’s in Ranelagh serves tasty tapas and has a lovely chilled vibe.

What to wear?

Wear something comfortable that flatters your figure.

What not to do?

Don’t take any non-urgent calls during the date — it gives the impression that you would much rather be somewhere else.

What not to say?

Dates are a recession-free zone. Keep it positive!

T H I R T I E S

Elaine Walsh (36) is a media consultancy entrepreneur and founder of social club, Have the Craic.com. She has chronicled her pursuit to meet Mr Right through her hilarious blog, How's It Going?

“In my 20s I had more single friends. Now, most of my friends from my 20s are married. I had to make a conscious decision to find single friends to go out with. I didn't need to consider that before.

“I set up How's It Going? when my brother set a date for his wedding. He told me that I had nine months to find a ‘plus one'. I decided then to set myself different challenges and to do a bit of navel-gazing and figure out “why am I still single?” It was a question that I'd been asked by others. It was time to figure it out for myself. As Oprah would say, there have been a lot of “aha!” moments.

Changed

“I've read more books on dating than you could shake a rather large stick at! The most interesting thing is that I've changed my mind about who I want to meet. The cynic in me cringes when I admit, chat showstyle, that I have changed my ideas about who I want to date and how I consider guys.

“There's no magic formula for dating. When you've been single for a while, you need to consider why. Decide what you want and who you want.

“You need to concentrate on building up your entire network of friends, not just the opposite sex. My pearl of wisdom for anyone single is find a good wingman/ wingwoman and work that room!”

Advice from the expert:

David Kavanagh is a psychotherapist and dating coach

“A lot of people in their 30s are afraid to acknowledge the fact that they are the ones who have to be making the effort. You can convince yourself that it is a man's job to come up and ask you out on a date, but 75pc of relationships are instigated by women. All men are doing is responding to a green-light signal.

“Irish women have a peculiar way of interacting with men, which involves slagging them off, cutting them down and making them feel stupid. That is why Irish men don't ask Irish women out. My suspicion is that it's a reverse low selfesteem problem. If you are confident and comfortable in yourself, you're much more accepting of other people.”

Walk your way to happiness

Where to meet people?

Try something different. If there’s something you love to do then think how you could meet others and do it? If it's going for a walk, join a walking club. If it's painting, take a class. Ideal place for first date?

Somewhere that you can talk . . . and escape from easily, if you need to. The Stag’s Head (Dame Lane) is good. If you run out of things to say to each other, you can always go downstairs and listen to the traditional music.

What to wear?

Dress up but be comfortable. Wear something that you’ve been complimented on before.

What not to do?

Do not talk incessantly about yourself — ask questions and listen to the answers.

What not to say?

Hide the crazy. If you want to get to the second date, then leave them wanting more. Do not talk about past relationships. Give them a reason to meet you again.

F O R T Y- P L U S

Michael O’Doherty (45) is the publisher of the VIP magazine group and a Herald columnist

“Dating in your 40s is exactly like dating in your 20s, except you'll go to a nice restaurant rather than a grungy bar. You probably go to a nice club for a cocktail afterwards, rather than a rave. You take a taxi home, rather than a bus. It's the same old game.

“In your 40s, you start to meet separated women for the first time, though. In your 50s, your chances of meeting somebody who has never been married is zero. In your 40s, it's 8/2 in favour of people who have been married. Quite often it's easier — to be honest, they have lower expectations of dating. Their standards are higher and their expectations are a bit lower the second time around.

“The women I date now are not that different in age from the women I dated in my 20s. Every man on the planet would date a woman half his age if he could get away with it. Of course, you apply the same parameters of someone who is smart and interesting that you get on with. But it's better to meet someone who is smart and interesting that you get on with who is half your age.

“A lot of men I know who are single in their 40s are separated and I think there is an attraction to younger women when you were previously married to somebody who was probably your own age. Maybe you're not looking for a wife, let's be honest. At the very least it's different and most men feel that it makes them feel younger.”

Advice from the expert:

Jennifer Haskins runs confidential introduction agency, Two’s Company, which she set up with her partner, Bill Phelan

“My partner is 11 years older than me. I had this idea that anyone 11 years older was out to grass. I was wrong. You can't pigeonhole people by chronological age. You can get two people who are the same age but vastly different in attitude.

“I think people need to be proactive. A lot of people — men in particular — tend to have this attitude that if they sit back it will all happen. Women are much more proactive when it comes to finding a partner.

“It's like anything in life: unless you put yourself out there, nobody is going to come and knock on your door.”

Romance in your forties

Andrea Smith (41) is a freelance journalist

Where to meet people?

I attend a lot of events as part of my work. That’s a good avenue.

Ideal place for first date?

L’Ecrivain restaurant.

What to wear?

Something glamorous. Of course, I’m the type to wear a cocktail dress to walk my dog.

What not to do?

Not let them get a word in edgeways.

What not to say?

My eggs have just been frozen!

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