Friday, August 19, 2022

Starting Over is Fearless by Shirley Goldberg


I never did the online dating thing, but I can see where that would be a fearless adventure...especially later in life. Enjoy my guest, Shirley Goldberg's fearless endeavors.

Thanks so much, Brenda, for inviting me to participate in Fearless Fridays. I can assure everyone reading that I never felt fearless when I embarked on starting over.

My decision to start over after my divorce meant moving 8,000 miles to go back to school later in life. Since my marriage hadn’t been a happy one in many years, I also wanted to move on in the man department and decided to try a dating site.

Online dating was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. While dating, I kept a diary, scribbling notes in the ladies’ room sometimes during dates, sometimes in the car after a date. Eventually, this became my novel Middle Ageish.

My heroine, Sunny Chanel, moves from Paris, France to New Haven, CT, goes back to school, and online dates. She scribbles notes in the ladies’ room too, after her dates.

Turning my online dating experience into fiction, well, that caused my chest to squeeze in not a good way.

Part of the need to write a fictionalized account of my experience came from reading
other books where online dating was misrepresented. Women met the love of their lives on the first date. Or the men were caricatures, asking dumb questions or appearing in weird outfits or running out without paying for their coffee. 

I have to give my friends credit for their patience while I was writing the book. I tended to talk about my characters as if we met for Friday night happy hour and had dinner together. My real friends started looking at me funny.

“When will this book be finished?” one friend asked around the one-year mark.  By this time, they were familiar with the main character, Sunny, who was deep into online dating. Over happy hour appetizers and wine, they’d pepper me for answers. “How much is autobiographical?” “Was that a true story about the 300-pound man Sunny dated?” “Did you really go on six meets in one week?”

Sure, there’s a bit of me in Middle Ageish, because turning experience into a belly laugh is much more fun––and work––than humans should have. And I was having the time of my life, pumping my checkered past for “copy” as Nora Ephron (or was it her mother?) called everything that was story material.

Starting over is a real thing. It resonates with happily married women because they have no idea about how tough online dating can be. And they’re fascinated and glad they aren’t dating. Divorced women, on the other hand, are often intimated by the pitfalls and stories they’ve heard.

Got questions? I’ve got a website chock full of tips and suggestions for anyone starting over. There are articles for men, too, such as how to entice a woman to email him back, written with Peter, a friend of mine who’s been around the dating block a few times.

Thinking about venturing out there? When it comes to online dating, remember that nothing counts until you meet. Emailing and zooming aren’t dating, but they’re a good start.

You’re never too old to start new. 

Check out my website, read an excerpt of Middle Ageish, and get a free romantic short story: 

Grab Middle Ageish at your favorite book vendor:


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post! I absolutely loved Middle Ageish and had no idea it was based on personal experience. Wow! In my head, I'm giving you a standing ovation. Such a great story! Wishing you all the best.