Being a single PGCE student has its stressful moments and I've decide I need a pampering partner to pour wine and run deep baths. Being a woman of action with a preference for blokes who are right-on and able to write I sent chatty notes to authors Nick Hornby and Mark Haddon. Neither has replied (yet). I then checked out my MP Andy Reed but it turns out he's married. So, setting my sights a little lower, I nervously responded to a few personal ads in The TES.
Geography teacher Alan was my first date. It was the first Sunday of half term when we met. He'd brought me a box of Heroes, which was great, but he'd fibbed about his age and height, not so good. But the walk we took together was good and we said "oooh, look at the squirrelsrabbitsfungi" when the conversation about love, life and granite rock structure ran dry.
He wasn't Mr Wine-in-the-bath but I could see seeds of possibility so I contacted a few more potential real-life heroes.
Private-school deputy head Rob was suited, booted and rather corporate and I felt as if I were on a job interview. He said I was - but had definitely got the job. I declined it, as he was more right-wing than right-on.
Last week I had two dates. First was history teacher James from Derby and my judgment of him was already tainted by the Burtons pre-1980 short-sleeved shirt he wore in the photo he'd emailed. The reality was worse: his trousers were 1970 Camp;A; his shoes were StartRite and the only fiction he'd read featured Bilbo Baggins.
The second date was with art teacher Guy from Leicester. The restaurant was packed but seven glasses of dry white later it was empty and the staff had their arms folded with tedium in their eyes. I grabbed his hand, took him to a late-night romantic little bar and kissed him. The following morning I collected my daughter from my ex-husband and was sick in his loo. When I asked for sympathy and explained the source of my nausea he removed his arm from my shoulders and told me it served me right. He had a point.
Unfortunately I can't remember much about Guy although the lingering snogging rash implies I rather liked him, it's just a shame he's gone AWOL.
I'm now confused and exhausted in my social as well as my work life - could my local education authority provide funding for a supply boyfriend?
Dating personal ads can be found on the back page of this week's Jobs section. They will return to their usual position in Friday magazine on January 9