The Midult’s guide to… be­ing sin­gle (when you’re a grown-up)

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - WILDLIFE - Annabel Rivkin & Em­i­lie Mcmeekan

UN­LESS A MAN IS…

…g ay, mar r ied or dead you have to fancy him or you will en­dure a cho­rus of, ‘See? You are im­pos­si­bly picky. You have to learn to com­pro­mise.’ No mat­ter that he clearly has a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der/a drug habit/is in prison. The prob­lem, my friends, is yours. You: ‘He beat up his ex-wife.’ Friend: ‘Peo­ple change.’

MAR­RIED WOMEN CAN’T DE­CIDE…

…if you are pa­thetic or dan­ger­ous. Nor can mar­ried men. They think they are be­ing in­clu­sive when they ask you to join them for cof­fee af­ter a din­ner party (sin­gles bug­ger up the num­bers) and of­ten sit you next to an­other woman as ‘pun­ish­ment’. On par­tic­u­larly un­for­tu­nate evenings some­one will ask you why you ‘never mar­ried’? Not dead yet guys… Not quite yet.

IF YOU ARE CHAS­ING…

…it means he is run­ning away. This is an ex­ceed­ingly sober­ing thought but, now t hat we a re less young and less able to con­vince our­selves t hat he is t rapped un­der somet hing heav y or just likes us too much to text, it is best kept front of mind.

THERE IS NOTH­ING CA­SUAL…

…about ca­sual sex. Most times you do it sor t of by mis­take; fu­elled by booze or ac t i ng out be c au s e you’r e hu r t a nd lonely. And most t imes it hur t s. Care­ful.

WHEN PEO­PLE CALL YOU BRAVE…

…it is not a com­pli­ment. It is be­cause t hey a re hor ri f ied by your pred ic ament. You may well not be hor­ri­fied by it your­self. You may well be bask­ing in the peace/free­dom. But they are gen­uinely trau­ma­tised.

YOU ARE AMAZED BY HOW MANY RE­LA­TION­SHIPS…

…you don’t envy. Sure, there are a few (usua lly counted on one ha nd) t hat do look like f un and so­lace rolled up into one lovely part­ner­ship. But most look like ha rd bloody work wit hout much re­ward.

MEN DON’T CARE…

…if you have cel­lulite. Or wrin­kles. Be­lieve it. They don’t. If they do then you are aim­ing low and miss­ing. You a re no longer a t ro­phy – t hese days you are a prize. You haven’t waited this long to just… set­tle.

DAT­ING…

…is sca r y. Dat­ing for g rown-ups is a n ight ma re bec au s e we have never re­ally done it. We’ve had sex, prob­a­bly wit h quite a lot of peo­ple. Dif fer­ent kinds of sex. Dif­fer­ent kinds of peo­ple. But dat­ing? If you were dat­ing in the 1990s, you prob­a­bly weren’t re­ally dat­ing in the 1990s. You were just get­ting in­sen­si­bly drunk and fall­ing on top of each ot her. The dates came af ter t he first snog (and of­ten af­ter the first shag). Flu­ids then first dates. Was it as icky as it sounds? Some­times.

TIN­DER…

…feels like fa st food. You a re a ston­ished by how dis­pos­able peo­ple seem. And then you re­alise that makes you dis­pos­able, too. And t hat feels a litt le un­com­fort­able. Even though mar­ried peo­ple nag you and nag you and nag you, chant­ing, ‘I would if I were sin­gle’ and de­mand­ing to have a look.

THERE ARE END­LESS QUES­TIONS AND CAL­CU­LA­TIONS…

…such as, if I am 42 and I meet him at 43 and he is 48, then how much sex ca n we cr a m i n be­fore ever yt h i ng ei­ther dries up or flops? Do I even have t he en­erg y? Where will I put hi m? Every­thing will be OK, but what does OK ac­tu­ally look like? Am I free or am I tragic? Am I des­per­ate or am I pow­er­ful? Does ever yone se­cretly think I’m a les­bian? What if he never ap­pears? What t hen? What does t hat mean? B a bie s ! B a bie s ? Ba bie s … Oh God, stepchil­dren.

If you are chas­ing, it means he is run­ning away. This is a sober­ing thought

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