Are you a woman over 50 who has given up on love? Let Silver Fox be your guide to personal power, spiritual growth, and the best sexual love of your life. The dating world can be tough. Yet, thanks to this ingenious dating journal, many older women are attracting lovely men as they unleash their Silver Fox selves. Silver Fox, written by a 66-year-old dating veteran, provides you with tips, exercises, and the author’s journal excerpts. Reclaim your strength and magnetism by journaling—it’s simply the best tool for learning the foxtrot of love. “I love this book! It’s edgy, funny, and full of really innovative and useful writing exercises and new ways of looking at the “big issues” of relating and loving at any age.” —Laura Hickey, artist “Elaine is a remarkable teacher and an incredible role model. She is the perfect guide and coach for later-life dating and personal growth through journaling.” — Arei Bierstock, M.S.W. “As one of the women lucky enough to be in Elaine’s writing class for the last twenty years, I have come to see life after fifty as a great adventure. Silver Fox is so much fun that it makes me wish I were single again!” —Lola Rasminsky, President, Beyond the Box™ “I am fortunate to belong to a group of women over 50 whom Elaine has inspired to explore the bright possibilities in the third trimester of life.” —Bonnie MacLachlan, Classics Professor, University of Western Ontario
Still dating (after all these years) Men are my kind of people. Mae West I have been dating for an astonishing – to me – nineteen years since my divorce. Most books about later-life dating are cautionary. All those tales of nasty demographics, of how there are so few men out there for so many wonderful women, of loneliness and regrets, of settling for companionship, and not always the finest. But I have also heard and read stories of unexpected happiness, of finding the best love, the love of a lifetime, after age fifty, or sixty, or even seventy. My mother found true love with a younger man when she was eighty-eight. It is important to remember that demographics can be read in many ways. If you have, say, a good twenty years ahead of you and are not impatient, which is more likely – a) that you couldn’t find someone to love, or b) that you could? Even if there are more women than men “in the dating trenches”, not all of us want to give up our freedom for a man, or have let go of desperation or anger, or have much trust in men. Not all of us are ready to receive love yet. Self-esteem came late and slow into my life. I was confident until puberty and then I lost myself. In high school I was a nerd who edited the yearbook and watched only depressing foreign films, protecting my weak inner self with intellectual pretensions. I didn’t know how to flirt. I wore a peace button and a tweed skirt made by my tailor father instead of the “in” felt skirt with poodle and rhinestone eyes. I believed I should be a virgin when I married (your ace in the hole, my mother instructed when I was thirteen). I danced with unlimited inhibition, yearned for unattainable crushes, read Sartre in French in cafes, hoping to attract cute guys, and marched in unflattering clothes at demos with that same goal. I was terrified that a boy would like me for my body rather than my mind. I was still insecure in my twenties and thirties, forty before I truly believed I was attractive, in my late forties before I had sexual confidence, fifty-eight before I splurged on lacey Parisian lingerie, and sixty-three before I began my first really sane relationship with a man. When I left my marriage, I did it without a therapist and without a lover. I left when I could have stayed, and been “safe” and comfortable both emotionally (in a certain cramped way) and financially. But the marriage wasn’t good, and I wanted a different life. I wanted to be my best self. I was forty-six, thinking that I might be alone forever, but that would be better than twisting myself into a lesser person than I could be. The messages I got from the world and the media told me I would probably remain on my own for the rest of my life. Well-meaning self-help books kindly warned that the chances of finding true love were slim. Friends who were divorced were not encouraging, and an analyst pal told me categorically that I would have a lot of trouble finding dates at my age. I believed all these harbingers of my fate, but decided to take my chances. I was brave, I think. And I found it exciting to go out into the world with little money, and only myself to bet on. My experience has been the opposite of the over-the-hill, overlooked mythology. Although I am not magazine beautiful, I have simply not had a problem meeting men and attracting men. Many of my friends and acquaintances have had the same experience. I have discovered that finding love is deeply connected to understanding how much we older women have to offer. We tend to be more spontaneous, sure of ourselves, successful, generous, fun, and evolved than our younger selves. We take things less personally. We have the perspective to take life by the horns. It also helps to realize that older men often make better partners than younger men. Perhaps because they have experienced pain and loss, many older single men crave connection and intimacy and are willing to engage in the give and take of an equal relationship rather than expecting a woman to fit into their lives. This can be a breath of fresh air for those of us who have left unhappy unions and fear that relationships with men are doomed or that men never change. I’ve met many women who would like a man in their lives but have given up. They don’t want a man to see them naked (as if a man who really likes a woman and finds her naked in his bed is going to be critical). They feel it’s beneath them to go online or place an ad for what they want. They’re too embarrassed to go to singles events. They second guess themselves out of the game before they play (too old, too fat, too needy, men are bastards, men want younger women). All these things may have a grain of truth until a good guy (one definition a man who wants more than arm candy and phallic reassurance) meets a woman who interests him or excites him. He may have biases, but he wants to experience chemistry with someone as much as you do. I have been dating ever since I left my marriage. Even though there has been some sadness and heartbreak, I’ve never been used, abused, or put-down as “too old”. I have had many first dates, three long and a few shorter (around a year) relationships. I have also taken chosen breaks, a kind of serial celibacy, to recuperate and try to figure out what I was doing. Journaling helped me through those difficult times. Writing in a high-flying, free-flowing or self-reflective way helped me figure out what I wanted, and what I didn’t want. It helped me be a better teacher. It helped me become a Silver Fox. It can help you too. I’m hoping that my thoughts and samples from my journals will be helpful at this point in your life. If I can be belatedly popular, you can too. A spiral notebook with heavy white pages and a pen that fits your hand can be the beginning of a new relationship with yourself. Writing to revise your life can be the start of something big, a whole new affair with love, sexuality and yourself.
Elaine Ruth Mitchell is a prize-winning fiction writer, longtime teacher of journaling as a way to self-knowledge and reinvention, and a resilient and successful over-50 dater. Elaine lives in Toronto, and is working on a detective novel featuring a divorced sixty-something Silver Fox. Contact Elaine at www.silverfoxthebook.com.