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Their dating pool is a virtual ocean, still teeming with cute, smart, upwardly mobile types.And they often have the opportunity to dive right in: There are bars, work outings, social groups and even strange, retro sports leagues that can all serve as venues to meet that special someone.First I turned to Celia (all names have been changed), a producer in her mid-50s with four kids."I would like to be in a real relationship, but I can't quite envision how it would work in my life," she said. I need to know that he somehow has an intellectual interest and likes discussing things — essentially, a smart Jew. All JDate has is a bunch of Israeli contractors who live in Encino; that would be interesting and fun, but not someone who would fit in my life. Nobody has anyone who matches me." I asked Celia if she thought those men who do meet her criteria were being taken by younger women. She also said she sees some "second-chapter gay men who had wives and families — they take away not one guy but two guys from the database.If life were fair, the right man would be available to them now that they've worked out their issues, done most of their child-raising and have successful careers. Or maybe my perception is skewed by a relatively small sample size.So I decided to step outside my usual circle and interview some successful, attractive women I know less well.As we sipped wine and gazed out at the hotel's infinity pool and the lights of the city, we talked about how nice it would be have to have a date with us.

Although my ex-husband and I co-parent our now 12-year old son, my son spends 75% of his time at my home. My friend and I were sharing a hotel room at a weeklong business conference.After a day of dry lectures and an evening of happy hours and conference socializing, we were tired, a bit tipsy, and slightly giddy.We've compiled great ways to meet others and fabulous ideas for first dates. It may prompt you to send us angry missives about ageism.And we've got only one rule: Stop looking at dating as a game or chore, and approach it with optimism and confidence. But here goes: The rest of us could learn a thing or two from the dating habits of 20-somethings.

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