5. Dating sites have disadvantages. Some of the members are flakier than piecrust. They seem interested, but after a few e-mails, they disappear. Or their phones are disconnected. Or they stand you up. Why? Who knows? One theory is that many are not single. They're coupled but bored, and hope to reassure themselves that they're still attractive by hooking men like you.
What's more, profiles often lie. One study found that on average, people claimed to be an inch taller than the national average. Women said they weighed 20 pounds less than average. Most claimed to be "more attractive than average" — 72 percent of women, 68 percent of men. And 4 percent said they earned more than $200,000 a year, while less than 1 percent of Internet users actually do. Tip: Tell the truth. As soon as you meet, she'll see your height and weight and how attractive you are.
6. Dress for success. You may be wonderful, but if you look like a total schlump, women will flee. Trouble is, many men hate shopping for clothes. If that's you, get help. Ask a friend, preferably a woman, to accompany you. Consider getting a manicure and pedicure. Plan to spend a day — yes, guys, one entire day — and one to two weeks' income on your makeover.
7. Keep condoms handy. One pleasant surprise about dating after 50 is less groveling for sex. After a few dates, most older women feel fine about going horizontal, and don't care if your erections are iffy or gone. However, they don't want sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So use condoms until you're monogamous.
8. Dating isn't mating. Just as gold miners move tons of rock to find a few nuggets, you'll probably have to date dozens of women before you find Ms. Right. If you know that a budding relationship has no future, don't waste your time or hers. Say, "I'm sorry, but there's no chemistry for me." And be prepared to hear those words yourself — frequently. When you do, ask, "Do you have any single friends?"
Longtime sex educator and counselor Michael Castleman, M.A., publishes GreatSexAfter40.com.