I love trains. There’s something about zipping through the country side that makes me feel like I’m in an adventure novel. Perhaps it’s the hustle and bustle that I find appealing. Or, maybe it’s just the idea of “going on an adventure” that takes me back to being a little girl, my head full of dreams.
Living in Switzerland, I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to take the train to Paris from time to time. No matter how many times I go, I always learn something new. This trip was no exception!
I dedicated most of the outward journey to writing articles for Sixty and Me. I had recently interviewed dating coach, Lisa Copeland, and I wanted to put pen to paper while her words were still fresh in my mind.
As always, I had a great time interviewing Lisa and I agreed with 90% of her comments. But, there was one piece of advice that stuck in my mind. During our interview, Lisa mentioned that one of the reasons that older women have so much trouble building relationships with men is that they have built up confrontational habits over the years. Rather than allowing a man to be our “hero,” we have learned to see men as competition.
The problem, as Lisa explains, is that men want to be seen as providers. They are genetically coded to solve problems and they are attracted to nurturing women who make them feel strong and in control. When we try to do everything ourselves, or worse, act confrontationally, we push them away. Here’s the interview, for those of you that haven’t seen it yet.
When I mentioned this advice to the Sixty and Me community, the response was swift and, for the most part skeptical (ok, that’s putting it nicely!) Here are a few paraphrased responses:
“Why would I want to make a man feel masculine? Most old men don’t know what to do in the bedroom anyway.”
“I’m not going to change my behavior for a man. Good men find women interesting for their intelligence, not because of how they make them feel.”
“Rubbish! Older men don’t want women who make them feel good. They want young women. Period.”
“All old men want is a nurse with a purse.”
“Any man worth having will accept me just as I am.”
Wow! I was expecting a strong response on this issue, but, I wasn’t prepared for how many people in the community felt that men should accept them just the way they are. When we were younger, we loved to flirt. It was a game that we mastered early in our lives. Have we really changed so much?
So, it was with these conflicting opinions in my mind that I continued my journey down to Paris.
About 10 minutes before arriving in Paris, I packed up my laptop and started to get ready to leave the train. I know Paris pretty well by this point, but, since I was going to a new part of the city, I pulled out my phone to look for directions.
Just as I looked up from my phone, I met eyes with a nice looking gentleman in his late 50s, sitting in a seat across from me. We smiled at each other and, without really thinking, I blurted out a question.
“Can I get your opinion on something?” I asked.
“Sure, why not.” He replied, more curious than anything.
“Do you think that men your age are attracted to women that make them feel like heroes?”
He thought for a few seconds and then responded.
“Yep, that sounds about right.” He beamed.
Over the next few minutes, we went on to chat about small things and he told me that he was meeting his friend in the same area that I was going to. He even offered to travel with me on the metro since we were heading in the same direction.
We got off the train and walked towards the entrance to the metro. When I reached the top of the stairs, he offered to carry my bag as it looked heavy. I reacted instinctively, pulling my bag back and explaining that I was ok carrying it myself.
“See!” he laughed, “You just did it!”
“Did what?” I asked, puzzled.
“I just gave you a chance to let me be your hero and you turned me down.”
I don’t blush very often, but, I have a feeling that my cheeks probably turned a little pink at that moment. I sheepishly handed over my bag and we had a good laugh together.
The rest of the trip was wonderful. After my new friend said goodbye and continued on, I met with my friends and explored the new Fondation Louis Vuitton museum.
Before my trip to Paris, I wasn’t sure if I agreed with Lisa that meeting a man requires us to reconnect with the art of flirting. Like many women in the community, I believed that I was too old to “play games.” Now, I’m not so sure. Perhaps strength comes not from taking a rigid position against something, but, by being ready to be flexible to meet our goals. And, if one of your goals is to meet the man of your dreams, maybe it’s time to let him be your hero.
What do you think of Lisa’s advice? Do you think that women over 60 should “just be themselves”? Or, do you think that there are times when a little flirtation, and even flattery, are in order? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to like and share this article if you enjoyed it.
Looking for move over 60 dating tips? Please watch my interview with dating coach, Lisa Copeland and learn how to find the perfect dating site for your needs.
Tags Senior Dating Advice
We live in a society that has an “all or nothing” mentality. In many aspects of living, people are migrating toward polar opposites of thinking and reacting according to that far point of view. Are modern men and women so incapable of compromise? Of seeing another’s point of view? Of reaching out to help another see their value and worth? I can’t see this as a strength that our society has created but as a weakness.
I learned the art of flirting as a teenager. As someone once pointed out to me back then, I flirted “all the time”. For me, however, it wasn’t about attracting a mate. I enjoy looking for something in others that I liked or could admire. By pointing it out to them, I was, hopefully, making them feel good about themselves – both men and women, young or old.
I’ve found that I can flirt with a man, or woman, without compromising
who I am, my independence or my core strength/my sense of significance. As a
mental health professional, I see so many people who are insecure about who
they are. When I hear, “I’m not going to change who I am for someone else!”, I recognize that there is a fear that if this person lets their guard down, they may be hurt or swallowed up by the other’s strength or personality. It’s a reaction to someone having treated this person in their past as having little or no importance. Diminishing another person, or bullying them, makes some insecure people feel more important, but it cuts deeply into
the person being devalued, while genuinely not building up the bully’s true core in any way, shape, or form.
It’s not necessary to change who you are to help others feel valued. Simply telling them you notice something about them that is pleasing to you (like their haircut, color of shirt, etc. – be specific) or giving them an opportunity to exercise their strengths (like helping us out once in a while or allowing us to go ahead of them through a door) creates within that other person a sense of worth. (This is especially true when dealing with kids.) Besides, who wouldn’t appreciate someone who makes them feel like a hero?
Society needs to stop hiding behind their fears and look for ways to build others up. This is actually the strongest way to build up our own core strength, in a way that putting others down never could. Stronger people make for a stronger society, and a stronger world. If your intent in building others is simply for your own gain, or building up, then you will be sadly disappointed with the results. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling to seeing another thrive and knowing you had a hand in developing their core strength.
I’ve said all that to say, “Be yourself,” just a better version. Don’t change who you are at your core, just evaluate what you do and how you do things, and see if there’s a way to improve so that you, and others, are lifted up, not brought down.