Posted in Dating & Relationships, humour, women

Sex & The Hormone Gremlins – Would You Really Rather Have A Cup Of Tea?

I remember as  a kid telling my mum I’d never stop reading The Beano.

“I always said that when I was your age”, she replied, “but you will”.

Of course she was right. Soon Jackie had replaced Bunty and your reading matter becomes a journey into middle age. You have a  dalliance with Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, where you learn that ‘little black dress’ will be a permanent feature in your wardrobe until the day you die; and then on to the slippery slope of Take A Break & Woman’s Own. I’m not sure at what age you settle on People’s Friend and Reader’s Digest as I’m not quite there yet.

It’s the same with sex. You hear and read about women of a certain age expressing, “I’d rather have a cup of tea”. And you laugh. Looking coquettishly up at your partner you say, “That will never happen to me”. But it does. Those evil little hormones don’t only take over your body, they also take over your mind and libido.

Intimate relations follow a similar path to changing your comics. Your sexual Beano phase, the one you think you will never give up, is when you are young and horny. Ripping each others clothes off at every opportunity, spending so much time in bed (or anywhere no-one is watching) you consider giving up work, living in a campervan, freeing yourself from all adult responsibility, just so you can satisfy this massive surge of sex hormones that are screaming, “Do it! Do it!”, at you.

Your Jackie phase, the one where you have started to reluctantly give up on your Beano, becomes the reality check. OK, you do have to get up for work in the morning. You will lose your job if you pull another sickie. It is ok to have an early night and just cuddle. You have to convince yourself of this as there is always that niggling feeling at the back of your mind where you wonder if you’re having enough sex, and the same amount of sex as other people. So you graduate to the  Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan phase. This is when you ask yourself:

Does he love me enough?

Can I still turn my man on?

Am I an oddity just because sometimes I do really need to eat?

There is an interim phase of Practical Parenting & Bringing Up Baby. This is the ‘Sex, what sex?’ phase of your life. Feel free to leave a comment if you have experience of this phase, as a single parent I wouldn’t even dare to make something up to fill this paragraph.

The Take A Break & Woman’s Own phase seem to span the biggest portion of a woman’s life. Let’s fast forward to being 50+. By this time there are no rules. It’s every woman and man for themselves. The rule book, along with the matching undies and razor, has long since been discarded. I am Wo Man, hear me roar! And roar I will. You have finally reached a point in your life when you know what you want, but you don’t want it anymore. The hormone gremlins are casting their final spell on you (see A Day In The Life Of Mr And Mrs Flush – Surviving The Men-O-Pause) According to The Office Of National Statistics, in 2013 the number of divorces was highest amongst women and men aged between 40-44. Just Saying.

Somewhere along the line we left the roll over and fart joy of sex behind us and opted out altogether. Maybe it’s not the hormones after all, maybe it’s the men. We’re not the only ones that start sporting Amazonian style armpits and pubes. Things creep in slowly. One day you ask yourself, “when did he stop cleaning his teeth before bed?”

We laugh at the sitcoms when, during intercourse, couples start discussing the shopping list, or on staring vacantly up at the ceiling remember it really does need painting. We laugh because we recognise this scenario. Momentarily we consider spicing up our love lives, planning romantic evenings that’ll get the old juices flowing again. But then that hormone gremlin says, “Nah! Can’t be bothered. I really would rather have a cup of tea”.

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Posted in Dating & Relationships, humour, women

The Cat Man & The Mummy’s Boy – Some Men To Avoid

On Saturday I was thrilled to be invited onto a radio station to answer some questions about blind dates; this was as the result of a piece I had published in The Huffington Post. At the age of 50 I feel plenty qualified to talk about dating & relationships. I don’t have any qualifications, just experience. Mostly because I am 50 and live alone. I have come close a few times to getting a cat, but I wouldn’t be able to live with the stereotype. I don’t ever want to be the cat lady spinster who smells of piss, to be honest I never really want to smell of piss.

There are some men to avoid, actually probably a lot of men to avoid. Let’s start with the ones that ‘still’ live at home. Clearly I’m emphasising the word, ‘still’, as there are men who have to move back home after a relationship break up, or may be carers, or have basically had some life event that has forced them into that position. I’m talking about men over 25 who have never left home. Dates with these guys start off OK until you go for dinner with his folks. It goes something like this:

Mum answers the door in her pinny, flour in her hair and smells of roses. Where is that lovely man of yours that you are getting so serious about you agreed to this dinner? Turns out he’s lying on the sofa watching telly. “Another beer dear?” His mum asks as you follow her into the front room. If this happens to you it is the precise moment that you suddenly remember your dog is dying and you only popped in to let them know you will have to take a rain check. If you don’t you will spend the rest of the evening being asked if you cook, sew, iron, bake….while mummy waits on him hand and foot.

The next one to avoid is the man who lives on his own with a cat or cats. The father of my child was this one. I had just been diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of skin cancer (it still hasn’t finished me off yet) and he was kind and attentive. If I hadn’t been so vulnerable I wouldn’t have overlooked the cat, his red velour sweater (which I kept hiding at the bottom of his ironing basket) and his single minded determination to let his body odour flow freely rather than use deodorant. And yet he used to leave the room to fart? I haven’t even got round to the cat yet.

The Cat. The cat called Sarah. I thought it was an odd name for a cat, guessed it might be an ex girlfriend’s name or something, never asked. This cat didn’t seem to like my company very much, I was an interloper. She  was a very sneaky cat, she only scratched me when he wasn’t looking. And she gave me a look, you know, the ‘I’ll get rid of you in the end’ kind of look. Trust me, that was a joint effort and not solely down to the cat. He let her lick the dinner plates clean. When he came in from work he walked past me, straight out to the back door, and sat on the step stroking her. One morning I packed up my things, left him a note and headed off into the sunset. Actually, I phoned him at work, told him I’d left him a note, but didn’t want him to get home and think he’d been burgled.

A week later I discovered I was pregnant. The best thing he gave me in life was my son. I’m glad I left when I did, if I hadn’t I would never have had the courage to leave and do it on my own; and he was not the man to bring up my child with. A story never to be shared out of respect for my son and his father. He won’t mind the other stuff I’ve written. I almost forgot to include the bit about what happened on our first date.

On our first date cat man called for me at home. He walked past me, straight through my flat, and out into the garden. Maybe he thought I had a cat out there. I got into his car which was so old it didn’t have seatbelts, but was by no means classic or vintage (I insisted he upgraded when the time came for him to be transporting my most precious cargo around). We went for a drink in a lovely bar that had plastic garden type furniture. I wasn’t even halfway through my first drink when those lovely plastic chair legs gave way and I ended up on my back with my legs in the air struggling like an upside down tortoise. I was wearing a fairly short skirt as well at the time. And cat man? Cat man looked away, he was embarrassed! So he just remained catatonic while others looked on clearly thinking I was drunk as I managed to roll onto my side, get myself out of the chair and up on my feet.

All these things ladies are warning lights. I’m not sure why we insist on forging ahead through those red lights when we are young. It was something I stopped doing later in life, because when I learned love and respect for myself, nothing but the same in return would do.

Posted in comedy, Dating & Relationships, humour, women

How I Met My Husband – Whilst I Was On A Blind Date With Another Man

How I met my, now, ex-husband.

Having been on my own with my son for about 9 years I decided I’d give online dating a go. In those days, 2006, it wasn’t like Tinder, find a match and head out the door. Some men were happy to exchange multiple emails, followed up by lengthy phone calls until I decided I had sorted the wheat from the chaff. Some men weren’t, thought I was wasting their valuable dating time, but that helped me pop them onto the ‘wouldn’t touch with a barge pole’ pile.

I met my first date in a public place, in an area I felt happy there were enough people and escape routes should that become necessary. He turned up just putting out a fag, looking scruffier than his profile pic with earrings that there had been no mention of in our lengthy communications. Surprise surprise we dated for about 3 months. Never judge a book by its cover. I overlooked the fact he was in tens of thousands of pounds of debt (although that did strike him from the potential husband list) and that he had a tattoo of his daughter on his left breast. Most disconcerting. It was only when he stayed one weekend and couldn’t leave as he had been struck down with a serious case of man flu that I finally gave him the elbow. This was the result of finding out that he couldn’t go a few (extra) days without his weed!

The second fellow I had a few reservations about, but as I seemed to be hilariously funny in his eyes I couldn’t resist an evening of being that person. I met him in the same place as the last chap ( I wonder if the bouncers of the pub thought I was a lady of the night). I couldn’t have picked a busier environment to meet him as I’d forgotten it was a match day and Highbury was buzzing. I had an ace up my sleeve though, there was a pub that had a small garden/patio to the rear that no-one else seemed to know about.

We had just settled ourselves in the deserted garden when three chaps in football shirts piled in.  To be honest they looked a little old to be wearing football shirts, but as I said don’t judge a book by its cover (well, only in your head, never out loud). One of them was very drunk and they couldn’t have sat any nearer if they tried. Needless to say they joined in the conversation with us and somehow discovered we were on a blind, internet, date ( I say ‘somehow’, that’ll be me and my big mouth). So a jolly evening was had by all, some more than others.

I’m not sure, but I think when I stood up to leave is when it all went horribly wrong (ok, I am very sure).

  1. It is only when you stand up you realise you have been drinking like a football fan on a Saturday night
  2. It isn’t terribly ladylike to down your date’s leftover pint, even if you do try and suggest it’s wasteful and you’re helping the environment (How? I have no idea)
  3. If a man gives you his business card and says, “call me if it doesn’t work out”, when you’re on a date with someone else; DO NOT take it, put it in your bag and laugh all the way to the next pub.

You guessed it, I am guilty of all of the above. When we got outside the pub I could tell my date was none too pleased about what had just happened. The clue was when he said, “do you want me to go back in and have a word?”. I declined and hurried him along to the pub next to the tube station for one last drink (this is the point that if I went out more often I would know it was time to stop). We sat down before ordering drinks and I vaguely remember him almost right up in my face, I also vaguely remember that I may have been letting out a little spit when I was talking back to him. He went to the bar to get the drinks and that was the last I saw of him. I tried calling his mobile and it went straight to voicemail. The time eventually came when I realised he’d done a bunk. I went outside the pub and called the guy who’d given me his card to see if they were still about, he seemed nice, gentle and kind. He was on the train on his way home but we made a date for another time.

And that is how I met my (ex) husband.