It was midway through Sunday lunch when my mother mentioned that as it had been six months since my divorce, why didn't I think about dating again. I told her that I was very happy on my own thank you very much and, at 32, I was still young enough to get away with pretending I'd never being married in the first place. She abandoned the lunch table only to return a few minutes later brandishing her copy of last week's Friday magazine.
Over the next hour, highlighter in hand, I trawled through the lonely hearts ads on the back page, feeling like an NQT trying to find my first job. Did I fill all the criteria? Would they regard me as under-qualified? Would they get a better offer from someone else? At least if the drunk in the corner at the pub were to make a move, I'd know that I was the object of his desire. Not my ideal date, but hey, it's all good practice, as my mother would say.
The first one to catch my eye was "Handsome male, 39, 6ft". He sounded promising until I read that he wanted "a tall, slim, attractive female to sweep off her feet". Alas, I make Thumberlina look leggy. Then came "Slim male, 31, 5ft 9in, short blond hair, likes golf, cycling, outdoors"I so far so goodI "and ballroom dancing". Yikes! My blonde Adonis in cycling shorts has been replaced by Barbie's Ken doing the rumba. Nope, not for me.
"Sporty, professional male, 32, loves sailing, seeks similar." Sounds like a possibility, but somehow I don't think the odd booze cruise to Calais constitutes a love of sailing.
My mother suggests that I'd be better off placing my own ad in the "women seeking men" section. Slightly disappointed, I sneak a look at the competition to see what sort of thing I should write and am flummoxed.
"Julie Walters-type calendar girl", says one sassy man-seeker. Does that mean she's into being photographed butt-naked or is it because she looks like her? And when you describe yourself as "vivacious", does that mean you're the life and soul of the partyup for anything kind of gal, or does it mean you're just plain old cheerful?
I read every "women seeking men" entry and feel that we girls are letting ourselves down. Articulate, caring, romantic seems to be the order of the day, yet when you read the men's entries they make no bones of the fact that what they want is a slim, fit and attractive playmate. Why aren't the women writing the same: Attractive woman seeks caring, professional male, GBONA (Gorgeous Blokes Only Need Apply)?
I've put in my entry. Petite, brunette, teacher, 32, GAGDWYD (Good At Giving Directions When You Drive), WLTM (Would Like To Meet) extremely handsome man, NHBOCP (No Hairy Backs or Chests Please) for a bit of old-fashioned dating.
Wonder if I'll get any replies.
The writer wants to remain anonymous