In my 20s, I thought dating was hard: One had to find a mate who was attractive, single and not just recently single but single long enough to not still be in love with their ex-lover.

Forty-somethings have to find someone who not only meets all the 20-something requirements but is not all the things that decades of ex-lovers were.

My list started with: They must not have a fear of intimacy, be a liar, be a cheater, be a drunk, be boring, be broke, be un-therapized, be selfish in bed, have bad breath, hate their job, wear dirty socks to bed -- my list went on for another two pages.

At the bars, I had the pleasure of watching as a slew of women I was old enough to have birthed paraded before me.

(Gay bars are just as bad as the straight ones.) I felt like a guidance counselor on prom night.

Packing a protein bar and some dried apricots helped soak up the alcohol but certainly didn't enhance my hip factor.

After 16 dates with 11 women, here are the highlights: a woman who drooled when she ate (I'm talking St.Bernard here), a woman who would rather have eaten glass than make eye contact, a woman who said she was 47 but was well past collecting her first Social Security check, and a woman who made Clint Eastwood (pre-chair) seem a little femme. Ultimately, I did go on a date with a ginger-haired lady who did not turn out to be the love of my life but did turn out to be a safe, kindhearted person to spend time with.After our split, I went to Provincetown, Mass., for a vacation in the summer sun.There I ran into a therapist with whom I'd gone on a few failed Internet dates, and she introduced me to her good friend L.That was more than three years ago, and L and I are still going strong.As it turns out, we have lived five blocks from each other since the '90s and probably walked past each other dozens of times over the years.