So, there is this myth that single woman over fifty are out on the toot every night looking for excitement in the bedroom, between the sheets but mostly on almost every surface in their homes and – occasionally – suspended from the ceiling.

I can safely say that this is not the case. Not in my case or in the case of my unattached girlfriends.

Women want a laugh with a decent, kind and (importantly) honest man. Having raised children, secured a career – or both – they want to enjoy dates, travel, theatre, restaurants and cosy nights in. Men, it seems, want the same thing.

When I first ventured into online dating a few weeks ago I was trepidatious to say the least. But 1,500 views later I can say, with little fear of contradiction, that there are a lot of interesting and caring guys out there. Or so it seems.

The trick is to be very clear about what you want and scrutinize each profile very carefully to see whether that can be delivered. Always look for the tell-tale signs that might signal what I call messy situations that can soak up time and energy.

Firstly, don’t give your real name, address, mobile phone number or anything that might reveal your specific job. Mr Google is extremely helpful in this department and I have been able to identify two specific men by using very limited information.

Don’t allow any texting for too long and only do it if you are sure you want your phone number out there. As I often say to many of my friends texting is for teenagers and traffic alerts. It is a very limiting form of communication and I am always wary of men who chose it as a means of building a relationship. It has its uses – I like to know a man can punctuate – but it is no substitute for a chat.

There is a point to using the online message system. It filters out any abusive elements. At least a dozen men asked for my personal email but I do not hand that out, and in any event, it short changes the dating site because revenue is compromised when these men sign off.

Be very careful about people who can’t talk in the evenings and only during the day when they find it surprisingly easy to have a private phone call which seems to be too difficult later in the day.

I don’t particularly pay much attention to photos but many people seem to. It is worth investing in some good snaps. Get your hair and make-up done, buy a nice frock and smile. No-one likes Ms Grumpy.

It is always a good idea to post an interesting bio. If that means you have to do something more than dog-walking or visiting the pub, then go and do it. You will win on both levels by increasing your hobby list and by extending your conversation opportunities.

Be direct, truthful (especially about your age) and keep things focused. When the time is right, move to a phone call – without any troublesome texting in between. If you are concerned conceal the phone number when you ring. That is what 141 is for.

Having said all of this, I am very re-assured by the number of really great men who are out there. So far, I’ve been to two art galleries, my favourite bar, a pub in a lovely market town and had several very interesting and insightful conversations. As they say – what’s not to like. Just don’t forget your lipstick.