Whatever your passion, or whatever your requirements, there is a site that caters to your preferences.

I hear this all the time: "There are no good men out there"; or this: "There are no good women." Usually the speaker illustrates one of the assertions with a sad or funny dating story that ends either with resignation to single status or with anger at the depressing situation he or she "has to" endure.

I listen sympathetically but don't share the conclusions. Mature singles have plenty of great people to choose from; but of course, you have to know where to look.

Be honest about who you are, about how you will be perceived, and about the kind of person who would appreciate you. Don't use a long, involved list of requirements that will narrow your choices down to four people on the entire planet. You can go to boutique online dating sites that select for people who want relationships and are so motivated that they will pay premium prices to find them.

You probably know some of the more popular ones, but there are smaller, targeted sites you might not have known to try.

Of course, one does have to read the ads with a skeptical eye -- the veteran online dater understands that words like "tall" and "fit" are pretty subjective. Throwing parties is one of the best ways to get yourself into the dating scene.

But as a woman, the odds are in your favor when you use Internet dating -- Match.com, one of the nation's largest online dating services, reports that 62 percent of its members are men. Even if you don't meet an eligible bachelor at your own shindig, becoming the hostess with the mostest will naturally get you reciprocally invited to barbecues, wine-tastings, poetry readings, etc.

The big drawback of music clubs, of course, is that the noise level can make it hard to hold a conversation. Just be sure to check his left hand for a ring or tell-tale tan line. While the Red Cross does not release statistical data on the male/female ratio of blood donors, any guy who would give up his own body fluids to help out a stranger has got to be a quality date.

"Business events often include a certain number of men who are looking for an extra-marital fling," says Atwood. And even if you don't meet an altruistic hottie, you've helped save a life. After you've made your deposit, hang out by the snack table and ask a light-headed cutie whether he recommends Oreos or Cheese-Its as his strength-builder of choice. You'll find a slightly geeky crowd here, but that's OK.

You already know that bars are a bad place if you want to find someone who is serious about finding a life partner (anyway, they're usually full of twenty-somethings who'd consider you an antique).