That’s what they used to call us although i am not so sure of the terminology now. More often applied to those 30 something career women not ready to surrender their freedom and trade in their solo lives for one of domestic bliss. Eventually just coming to symbolise anyone not in a relationship.
Yup, cue my 40s and my butt is very firmly back upon the shelf , legs swinging as i survey the world from my lofty perch. I find it very strange being up here, never really having been in the dating game i find my very few relationships have all been long term ones all resulting from existing friendships. Yes what can i say, i’ve dated my friends!!
So reaching early 40s and finding with glee that life actually does begin there i waved hello to singledom and hauled my way up onto this shelf of mine and pondered what to do. It was definitely clear that in my somewhat rural location i was unlikely to meet the man of my dreams unless i underwent a radical personality change and swapped my pretty clothes for either wellies or a football shirt. Okay cue big shudder here..definitely not for me!!
Well it seemed there was nothing for it and i was going to have to take a paddle in the online world of dating which worried me for i had always imagined them to be the last resort of the desperate but feeling pretty gung ho i shrugged and figured what the heck what can i lose?? So after much nail tapping i came up with a profile blurb and then harassed Dear Daughter number 1 over the question of photos for i did not wish to be one of those women guilty of arriving for a date only to look 15 years older than my photo. I am SERIOUSLY lucky here for through a combination of good genes (thankyou parents for something at least) and great skincare routine i can easily pass for early 30s.
Me: (brandishing photo) does this look like me??
DD1: yes mom
Me: (waving photo under DD1’s nose) are you sure it looks like me??
DD1: YES mother it looks like you same as it did 5 minutes ago
Me: Are you REALLY SURE it looks like me i mean i dont want to be posting out of date photos??
DD1: MOTHER!!!! YES!!! it looks like you just put it on there….OKAY!!!
Okay so photo went onto the profile and i nervously sat and waited for Kiefer Sutherland to spot my youthfully witty self and declare me the woman of his dreams. Now i had very clearly stated in my profile i did not wish to date anyone more than 5 years older than myself, i’ve always been able to get away with dating men four or five years younger than myself. Generally i find men in their late thirties still have a tendency to take care of themselves yet still have that maturity that makes them very dateable. So profile posted i wandered off returning later to an email saying you have 7566 messages. Okay so i’m stretching the truth here but there were a pleasing amount of replies which was rather flatterering.
Two hours later peering at a photo of a gentleman i had presumed to be in his 50s i gaped in surprise..really?? You’re 40??
Trawling further i began to notice a trend, for these men and their profiles seemed pretty much of a muchness to me, all looked considerably older, all balding and all definitely hadnt taken care of themselves!! I pondered over what it was that made these men think that sullen faced passport photos or blurry out of date photos of them sprawled on a sofa clutching a beer were designed to snare them the woman of their dreams. Personally i am very attracted to intelligent men and stated so on my profile yet all too often some badly spelt almost illiterate missive would land itself into my inbox leaving me howling in frustration.
Of course i was flattered, you cannot help but be so when people are interested and i politely thanked each one. BIG MISTAKE!! Men i was definitely not interested in took my politeness for interest and i had to extricate myself from a sticky situation on several occasions.Three months later and one particular guy still winks at me daily despite my lack of reply. A most unfortunately unattractive man he, to my eyes, much resembles those gurners of old. I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that men in their 40s just dont take care of themselves these days unless they happen to be famous!!
Actually that isnt quite true for my best friend is of this age group and blessed with the same youthful genes as i. Adorably handsome with an impish charm and melting chocolate eyes he is most defintely not of the 40 something mould i was coming to experience. Although knowing him as i do he is no doubt at this point blushing furiously, protesting loudly and hiding under the bed with embarrassment. Having both doomed ourself to singledom we made a pact, he and i, that should we both be single come age 60 we shall run off and marry each other thus saving ourselves from being sad old people. Actually he thinks i was joking there but i did not like to confess that i already have a booking at the local county court for 2029!! Dum dum de dum……..
So joking aside and back to the world of dating, having weeded out a few possibilities i set about doing the meet and greet roundabout and oh boy was i in for an enlightening experience. They say women are guilty of artistic license?? well having clocked up 10 ‘meets’ so far only two actually looked anything like their photos, the others being of the ’15 years older than my photo’ ilk that i had tried so hard to avoid myself. My heart sank as each much older balding man shuffled towards me hands outstretched most clearly interested and more than happy to show it.
With each meet the list of ‘oh no’s’ grew as i added to it ones that reminded me of my father and the one who tried to dictate to me on a first date. Cue hackles firmly raised for i do not if anything take well to being bossed around. Two that i walked past finding them totally unrecognisable joined the heap along with sexual innuendo guy and bad oral hygiene guy. So now as my inbox rocks to the tunes of the over 50s and i find myself the darling of the over 60s i despair of meeting Mr right and ponder if this dating game is for me.
Sitting firmly on my shelf surveying the world from my lofty perch i sigh wistfully and wait for a handsome prince with intellect enough to get me down from here to come along and join me. And in the meantime i ping back another email to the meltingly handsome Miguel in Spain and consider moving to warmer climes where those romantic romeos really do look their age.