Figure out how to date a grownup (if you must)

You get to a certain point in your life when you're no longer willing to waste an entire evening on a bad date.

If you've been married for a while, you may have fond memories of your own dating days. For many of us, time erases all the times we were stood up, groped, bored to tears or dumped, and we're left with hazy recollections of how much fun it was to be excited about someone new.

But ask anyone who's still out there, and you'll discover that dating has changed a lot since we disco-ed the night away wearing purple lycra and Bonnie Bell lip smacker.

Gone are the days when you had endless time and were willing to go on six (or 60) bad dates in the hopes of trying to find a good one.

Now you've got a job, possibly kids, a metabolism that no longer tolerates French fries and you fall asleep at 9 p.m. if the conversation gets boring.

Let's face it, you're a grown-up.

And dating is totally different.

Lisa Daily, author of "How To Date Like a Grown-up," says, "When you're 20 or 30, you're looking outside yourself - you're trying to accomplish things, kick-start your career, define yourself. By the time you hit 40, you finally have a pretty good idea of who you are, and that changes everything."

The biggest challenge for women over-40 daters, Daily says, is "they feel like they can't compete with their 20-something counterparts, and they want to know where to meet nice available men that doesn't involve frat parties or bar stools."

It's a big, bad world out there now, filled with diseases that it takes more than penicillin to cure, and crazy stalkers with Internet access.

Daily says she was motivated to write "How to Date Like a Grownup" - subtitled "Everything You Need to Know to Get Out There, Get Lucky, or Even Get Married in Your 40's, 50's and Beyond" - after touring the country doing Dreamgirl Academies in conjunction with her first book "Stop Getting Dumped."

"I expected the women who attended to be in their 20s and 30s, and many were, but more than half were in their 40s, 50s and 60s."

Women who often suffered from what Daily refers to as "The Invisible Woman Syndrome." The moment in time when you realize that you're off the radar for men. When they start to look through you instead of at you. It's disappointing when you're married, and downright depressing if you're trying to date.

But the good news, Daily says (www.DatingExpert.tv), is that women over 40 aren't off every man's radar, just the ones you probably don't want to date anyway. There's nothing wrong with being a skinny head-turning blonde (I used to be one myself), but many smart men over 40 want something more.

So how does one find one of these smart, available, non-shallow, non-stalker men? "How to Date Like a Grownup" includes a chapter "Mortuaries and Other Pick Up Joints" with a list of 21 places where Daily describes the Six Degrees of Barbecue technique and why a jackhammer makes the best ice-breaker.

Daily says her main message for women over 40 is that they don't need to compete with 20-somethings, they're in a whole different league.

So don't just act like a grown-up, refuse to date anyone who's not one.

Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect." Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.