15 DATES . . . HOW COULD HE COPE WITH ME IN MID-MENOPAUSE?
AT THE age of 56, after 24 years of fidelity to one man, I was, frankly, terrified. Despite being in reasonable shape for my age, the thought of stripping off in front of anyone felt so almighty a challenge that I was considering celibacy. There was also the unfortunate timing of my menopause which was only just kicking in, resulting in bedsheets being kicked off, not to mention the occasional 3am shower and change of nightclothes in an attempt to cool things off. How would any new man deal with that? Then, during my first year of separation, and after a few desultory dates, I met Ron. He was funny and selfdeprecating, sensitive and smart. Like me, he loved to walk everywhere. So we walked and talked for hours. We went to the movies, out to eat, I cooked him supper. But after almost three months we’d done nothing more intimate than have an end-of-evening hug. I liked the scent of him, but always quickly pulled back. The most daring thing I did during that period was buy some gorgeous new underwear on a just-in-case basis. I was both waiting for him to make the first move and hoping he wouldn’t. By now it was July. I went off on a family holiday to Spain with my sister and her husband. I felt braver (at a distance) and wrote Ron faintly suggestive emails. I confided in my sister that the first thing I was going to do when I got home again was have sex with this lovely man. Or at least try to initiate it. That first weekend back in England we went for a long walk in the countryside. We held hands, kissed properly for the first time. That evening he came back to my place to eat and after a couple of glasses of wine I took his hand and led him to the bedroom. It was all so easy. It turns out Ron had sensed my fear and didn’t want to rush me. Wise move. Since that first evening 12 years have gone by, and we’ve hardly spent a night apart.