The Over 40, Broke, But Still Eligible Bachelor

Doug Setter
4 min readApr 21, 2020
Photograph by Antoine Kerfant

I thought that I was doomed after losing a love back when I was 38. At that time it was one of those multi-attacks on the human brain, heart and bank account. My investments tanked, job fell through and sweetheart dropped me for a firefighter. (No offense to firefighters.)

Talk about wanting to just collapse, eat worms and die.

But, if the paratroopers, marathon running or kick-boxing taught me anything, it was dig in and keep going. Life was not over yet.

Despite shyness and awkwardness with the opposite sex, I found that I still had some assets to bring to the dating realm. Namely, health, fitness and mindset. This kept me in the eligible bachelor (and divorcee) mode for over two decades. I became the over 40, broke and still eligible bachelor.

Lots of mistakes and good times happened and there are no regrets. I even stay friends with some of the women I used to date. As painful as break ups and divorce might have been, I still appreciate dating attractive women.

It is hard to date when you do not own the big home, car and paycheck. Make no mistake, economic status is important. It is part of our natural survival instincts.

But, here is the advantage that many men do not know that they have over the competition. Namely, making the attempt to be physically fit, gainfully employed, well-dressed and following common courtesy.

Fitness is not that difficult and you do not have to be an extreme athlete or a self-centered jock. Just being active can make you more eligible. You can participate in social and outdoor sports, go hiking, be the “man of the hour,” when it comes to fixing a flat tire, hauling lumber, moving furniture or helping out with a heavy load. It is your chance to show a bit of chivalry.

You might not be handsome, but you are handy. Women will often brag what “their man” could do. It looks good on the women. And if you invest in dance lessons? Well, 10 hours of dance lessons can beat several nights of expensive meals and drinks in both cost and effort.

If you are bold enough to learn to dance, you gain more points. You make your date look good as she loves to be seen dancing. End of story.

Sorry to say, but your job is your title. Even if you can quote poetry, understand corporate law or pick winning stocks in your spare time, you will where the label of your job. I have had conversations with attractive women that go well until I admit that I was a supervisor with the military and a freelance personal trainer. Then the conversation sometimes drops off abruptly. Posing as a convicted murderer out on parole might have gotten me further than telling the truth. Oh well.

Still, a good regular job puts you way ahead of many partially employed men. It shows that you have responsibility, self-discipline and…income. So what if you are a sales manager with a gambling habit. (Just kidding.) You still come across as being competent.

Next, comes clothing. I found that a good set of clothes last longer and are often the same priced as name brand clothing. I once bought two tailor-made suits about seven years ago and they still fit and look great. Next to a good quality shirt, jacket and slacks are a good pair of shoes and a watch. See this as an investment for work, interviews and social life. It does pay big dividends later.

Then there is courtesy which goes a long way. It is not weakness or showy. It is chivalry to hold doors open, assist a lady with her chair or her coat. I really do not understand how some guys get blotto drunk, say dumb things, flash rude photographs and expect to get dates. Maybe it is a lack of self-confidence that makes guys do this. I don’t know.

What I do know, is that being physically fit, looking after your appearance and demonstrating some manners puts you ahead of the pack. The pack of single (or pretending to be single) older guys with poor health, bad appearances and lack of social skills. This is not to say some overweight or unhealthy men cannot look sharp, be charismatic and rule the dance floor.

But, staying healthy and fit demonstrates that you are going to most likely live a more active and longer life.

Learn about energy-boosting and health-improving methods in Flat Gut After 50.



Doug Setter

Doug Setter is a former soldier turned personal trainer and author (Flat Gut After 50, Reduce Your Alcohol Craving). Learn more: