The turn-off tips below have been gathered from personal experience and the input of mature female friends - and one or two male friends as well. I think there should be more advice out there for men, just as there is for women.
For many older singles, traditions die hard, and some older men tend to do what they have always done. Maybe it feels safe or maybe they have never thought of doing it differently. Never mind about leaving the toilet seat up or constantly watching football – if you really want to know what turns a woman off, read on…
Make an effort with your appearance
Women can be fairly tolerant about looks, more so than men. All the same, scruffiness is inexcusable, especially if she’s gone to the trouble of dressing up for you. It simply tells her she doesn’t matter that much. If you really don’t know what suits you, ask a smart friend’s advice. One woman complained about her man – not because he was small – but because he always wore striped jumpers believing they made him look taller. Unfortunately, on their first date he was wearing a dreadful sweater with red and orange horizontal stripes.
Ditch the handkerchief and the nose-hair
Unlike most women, who have abandoned old-fashioned cotton handkerchiefs for hygienic tissues, some older guys just haven’t moved on. While freshly-ironed white linen handkerchiefs look fine, once used they are a total turn-off.
Nothing is more depressing for a woman when, over a pleasant cream tea in the countryside or a romantic meal in an intimate restaurant, her date whips out a hanky in less-than-mint condition. Nose blowing, while unavoidable, is not romantic. Reduce the discomfort by buying a big box of tissues and popping one or two in your pocket – they are entirely adequate for a man-sized blow. Also, hair sprouting from ears and/or nose are an inevitable consequence of getting older but can be easily removed at your barber's or by buying clippers from your pharmacy.
Don't go on about your exes or the barmaid's cleavage
No, it doesn’t mean your date is jealous of all your ex-girlfriends. If she is an older woman and is single, then she has a past herself, and expects that you do too. By all means, reveal a few pertinent details when you get to know her better – it’s a matter of the right time and the right place. Going on and on about your exes over a first date isn’t just boring, it’s bad manners. You wouldn’t like it.
Ditto the barmaid – again this is boring and bad manners. She knows she’s not eighteen any more, but neither are you!
Don't take her to your favourite Italian restaurant
Taking a new date to the restaurant where you took your previous nine dates – the ones that didn't work out – is not clever. Men do this to show off their prowess with women, but she'll sense this. Women always intuit these things. Maybe she'll be gracious about it, but if you want to make her feel special, you'll fail. Find somewhere different.
Don't be too keen too soon
This is a negative trait women are often accused of, but men can be obsessive too. If she wants to take things slowly, having flowers left on her doorstep every day can be stifling, or – as one woman reports – a long-stemmed red rose on her car windscreen. Phone if you want to chat, but several times a day is too much. It's off-putting to feel you're getting into something that will be hard to finish if it's not right for you. Everyone needs time to see if dating is destined to develop into a relationship.
Don't expect her to meet your family on your third date
Family get-togethers are meant to be just that – for family. One woman tells how she was persuaded to spend eight hours over Sunday, having lunch and tea, and generally just sitting about watching television programmes she disliked with people she hardly knew. It's better to keep it light at first and concentrate on enjoying each other's company. Later, if she expresses a wish to meet your folks and you're fine with it, make it brief the first few times.
Also don't expect her to like your friends as much as you do. They're your friends, not hers. If you like each other's friends, that's a bonus. It's not compulsory.
Don't play games
Games are fine when you both know it's a game (like flirting) and you are both enjoying it. That's not the same as using her emotions against her by playing on her sympathies, or worse, honing in on her insecurities. If she's not enough for you, don't string her along as an ego-booster – finish it. If she's exactly what you want, she may finish with you if she thinks you're not genuine.
Don't assume if you fancy her, it's mutual
It doesn't mean she won't fancy you eventually, once she gets to know what a genuine, intelligent, funny guy you are. Some people need more time and more talking and sharing before the spark of physical attraction kicks in. Respect her parameters.