The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference.
If you're over forty and have decided to enter (or re-enter) the dating scene, you may, like most of those in your age group, be dreading the confusing, scary, awful first date. If so, relax. It doesn't mean you're antisocial or out of step with the times. Rather, you're a human being in the twenty-first century, when people seldom meet significant others because their siblings fix them up with a friend of a friend. Today, you're probably looking at the online dating scene.
Let's assume you've engaged in a month of mandatory email correspondence with a strong candidate and then moved on to a few weeks of telephone conversation. You've swapped pictures, but whether the face you're seeing is the person you're communicating with is not yet a certainty. It may be an old picture or the photo of a different person altogether. Sooner or later, however, you will have to meet. The first date, with all its uncertainties, is not something you can bypass unless you're seeking a pen pal.
The mistake made on a first date is usually a whopper: The man or woman tries to decide if the person is a good match within the first five minutes. Simply meet for coffee the first time out, and if you have any kind of a good vibe about the person, make a dinner date. But when it's time to sit down and break bread with your potential partner, don't write him or her off because awkwardness hangs over the table like an unwanted uncle at Christmas. Things may go swimmingly, but the norm is for people to be a little tense at this stage.
In general, the advice I give to all clients is go on at least three dates with a prospective mate and then make an assessment based on basic chemistry and shared interests. But the biggest qualities, often overlooked, are honesty and sincerity. No one is perfect, even though we expect our dating partners to be so, but these latter qualities cover a multitude of sins when it comes to long-term relationships.