Before you buy a Motorcycle...
... buy a Scooter.
Read up on riding tips. "Watch for loose gravel" "Road is slick in the middle" Watch videos of training courses and riding tips.
Buy a helmet and gloves and then buy a cheap, highway-legal scooter - 150 cc is plenty big. Ride it a Lot. Ride in traffic. Ride in curves. Lean, countersteer, go on a 50+ mile round trip on it. Watch videos of training courses and riding tips and use them.
When you are ready, shop around. Take a day and go to as many motorcycle sales places as you can. Sit on them, balance them, ask questions. Have someone take photos of you sitting on the motorcycle, one leg up in riding position, from different angles.
Then, take a MSF Riding course. Ask your riding coach about the top three motorcycles in your list. Ask about what cc's you need to start out with. Ask both during and after the course.
When you are ready to buy, find a deal and pounce on it.
... at least that is what I did.