15 things that are pretty much a certainty when you are a middle-aged single mum

Being a single (sexually frustrated) middle-aged mum can be rather lonely and isolated, especially when you know no other single middle-aged mums and don’t actually have the time to seek any out. Maybe some of this will trigger some solidarity, maybe it will just reinforce any notions that I am in a different dimension to everyone else.

  1. You will never celebrate a diamond or ruby wedding anniversary (unless they discover the secret of immortality).
  2. It is 99 per cent certain that you will spend New Year’s Eves staying in alone, as your ex will always have something better to do/go to than looking after the kids.
  3. Your bed never fully warms up in winter, despite wearing several layers and using a hot water bottle.
  4. You could fill a beer barrel with the number of vibrator batteries you’ll get through in a year.
  5. To actually get out of the house alone takes military planning, and you can’t do it discreetly – you have to tell your ‘sitter’ where you’re going, when you’ll be back etc. and are constantly checking the time while you’re out to make sure you don’t breech your curfew. Forget spontaneity.
  6. Your friends will either try to match-make, or attempt to point out the most unlikely suitors, in an attempt to assimilate you into their world e.g. “how about Bob the handyman – he may have an eye patch and drag his left leg, but he’s a lovely chap.”
  7. On your weekends off you’ll frequently find that none of your friends are free to go out for a drink or stay in with a movie. So you’ll end up on your own watching a rom-com and eating crisp sandwiches.
  8. You will be the source of amusement and entertainment for coupled-up friends, who will quiz you on every dating disaster. They will make you feel like a freak with their thorough cross-examinations of everything from bedroom mishaps to wardrobe malfunctions.
  9. You can go stir-crazy on the days spent entirely with your kids – yes, it’s quality time, but you crave adult conversation and someone to make you a cup of tea at the very least.
  10. You spend more time wearing pyjamas than you ever did when there was a man living in your house.
  11. New underwear rarely gets bought – in fact all your white bras have turned grey and your knickers are starting to get holes in them.
  12. Apart from for the purpose of going swimming, you start to question the point of shaving your armpits, especially in the colder months. How long could that hair grow?
  13. You start getting overly fanatical about watching kids’ TV shows and could probably have Cbeebies as your specialist subject on Mastermind. In fact you actually develop a crush on one of the male presenters.
  14. You find yourself, at the age of 40 going on holiday with your parents. And the roles you occupied as a child return, even though you are a parent yourself. You will still be told off for leaving a door open or dropping crumbs, even though your own children are there now.
  15. At weddings and parties there is a distinct awkwardness about your lack of a ‘plus one’ and you find yourself not knowing what to do if a slow dance comes on  – more than likely you’ll be clutching your bag in the corner and trying not to gulp your drink down too fast.

Or is it just me?

Over and out?

Apparently there is no point going on the internet to find a potential partner, if you are a woman in her 40s – so says a newspaper article I found during a casual internet browse.

I won’t disclose the wording I typed in my search box, but it included the words “is there any point…” And the computer said “no”.

The writer had interviewed a range of women over 40, some divorced, some widowed, some who had never had long-term relationships, some who had. But all had tried online dating, as it was probably the best option when the number of fish in the sea are depleted or damaged and they have been saddled with full custody of the kids/ailing parents.

And what is the problem? Why aren’t these attractive, experienced and interesting women not getting anywhere? Because, we are led to believe, men of the same age are all looking for younger women. They don’t want the crow’s feet, mummy-tummy, comes-with-kids-and-elderly-parents package. They want nubile, bouncy young things with pert boobs and bums, who still have an optimistic, non-cynical approach to life and are not weighed down with personal baggage.

One woman said something like: “The only way forward is to go for someone older. But I don’t want to meet someone in their 60s, I want a man my own age.”

So, men, here’s your right to reply. Is this true? Do men in their 30s and 40s just want fresh meat?

At least one of the women interviewed said she was so disheartened by the whole thing that she had given up entirely on ever finding that special someone.

I am not saying this article was completely accurate, but a recent foray into online dating suggests that it wasn’t far from the mark. In my mind I divided the profiles offered to me as matches into three categories – the hotties (probably totally out of my league), the oks (not Brad Pitt, but had nice smiles/eyes/hair and something good in their testimonials, e.g. they could spell) and the no-ways.

Not one hotty approached me, but I wasn’t surprised by this, as I am fully aware that I am probably a six out of ten. But what was more disheartening was that very few oks bothered either. I seemed, instead, to be inundated with ‘likes’ and messages from the no-ways, the majority of which appeared to have knocked at least ten years off the age they actually were. Just about all of them claimed to be at the top end of my specified age range, but I would wager, from the white beards and turtle neck jumpers, that at least a quarter of them were a few years older.

I am not one to discriminate on age (although I can see why one would think so from the tone of this post) but I do value having some common ground with a guy – whether its enjoying the same music, having watched the same children’s TV programmes, being able to go on a bike ride together etc. There may be men of 60 who have boundless energy, but how much would we really have to talk about? And what would the sex be like? I have supported senior sex in earlier posts so maybe I should keep an open mind, but I’m sorry older guys – I want a chance at hooking up with someone closer to my own age.

But here’s the hypocrisy – and I am certain other ladies are guilty of the same thought: If I was offered the chance of a short-term fling with a 25-year-old fella, I would struggle to turn it down. But I do say fling – I cannot envisage a long-term relationship with someone so young. I would expect him to get bored and make off with a bouncy young thing at the earliest opportunity. Yes, there are relationship s like this that work, but they are in a minority.

So, should we all just give up if we end up single in middle age and throw our energies into career, kids, craft and cats – and try to find alternative fulfilment? Do men always have the lion’s share of the dating world? I want someone to come up with a counter-argument that dispels this theory.

Alas, the phallus (again)

“Stop waving your dick around – we’ve all seen it now so you can put it away!” I had got particularly annoyed by an arrogant and patronising email sent by a male contact and a female work colleague was suggesting how I could respond – in an ideal world.

It did get me thinking that we would never say to a woman “stop waving your vagina around” if she had caused a similar reaction. In fact, we rarely use female body parts metaphorically – apart from the occasional ‘twat’ or ‘fanny’.

Yet, male bits crop up all the time. We frequently express anger or annoyance with: dick, dickhead, knob, knob head, bell end…etc. If we see a man driving like he owns the road in a flashy sports car, we may refer to his vehicle as a ‘penis enlargement’ or at the opposite end of the spectrum we may say of someone with an over-inflated ego that he ‘probably has a small penis’.

Freud also introduced the world of psychology to ‘penis envy’ and talked about phallic symbols in our dreams. In fact, phalluses are all over the place of you look at classic and modern architecture – The Gherkin in London,  the Torre Agbar in Barcelona, the Empire State Building, the Ypsilanti Water Tower in Michigan (nicknamed ‘brick dick’) and The International Finance Centre in Hong Kong to name a few.

Phalluses seem to have a place in ancient culture with the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset – a large man with a sizeable erect penis cut into a hillside – no one knows how long he’s been there, whether he dates back to the Iron Age or 17th Century. Ancient Greeks and Romans used penises everywhere in festivals celebrating fertility. Priapus was the Greek and Roman fertility God. He is portrayed in statues as extremely (maybe too) well-endowed.

This may be why I have vivid memories of novelty penis ‘gifts’ on sale in souvenir shops in Corfu, when I was taken there as a child. There was anything from penis key rings to rubber apples and oranges out of which popped a rubber penis when they were squeezed. My parents were horrified as my brother and I giggled and squished numerous pieces of ‘fruit’, before they dragged us out of the shop.

Of course the whole novelty penis gift thing has really taken off everywhere over the years and penis lollipops, chocolate penises and clockwork penises are a mainstay of many lingerie/sex store chains.

But what about lady bits? Boobs pop up in buildings (take the Millennium Dome), cakes and confectionary, but there are no vaginas. Maybe this is because the phallus is a better shape to play with (in all senses of the word). And it is hard to construct a vagina-shaped recess, unless you attach meaning to tunnels and caves.

I am not complaining about this apparent under- representation of female genitalia, as I for one am quite happy to look at dicks, penises, willies and knobs. But it does seem that when my work mate suggested the irritating email author stopped “waving his dick around”, we had already lost the war. Dicks have been waved around for thousands of years. And they will continue to be waved around until the end of time.

Sprechen sie Deutsch?

Everybody looks the same, or so the song says. But European travel – which I hadn’t done for a few years – proves it.

A few years ago one could go to a typical Spanish, Greek, Italian or French hotel/complex and be able to pinpoint, from hairstyles and clothes alone, a person’s nationality. Now we all merge into one – men with shaved heads and a collection of tattoos, women in bikinis with pierced belly buttons and their own bits of body art. Even people’s t-shirts don’t give a clue – many, whether they are British, Danish, German or Swedish seem to have English language slogans on their tops. Apart from actually attempting a conversation, the only way to recognise a person’s lingo is to zoom in close to see what books or magazines they are reading.

The other question addling my brain since I returned from such a trip is when did all the men go bald? A quick head count in the immediate vicinity of the baby pool puts the percentage of baldies at around 60. Or at least from where I was sitting. Maybe the stress of fatherhood these days is far greater than it was.

Being a single mum forced to holiday with her 70-odd mother and two children, there is very little mischief I can get up to in such a setting. Even my drinks were limited to one substandard glass of red per evening, from a push-button dispenser, with my all-inclusive buffet meal. It was then bed at about 9pm with the kids sprawled out on sofa beds in the next room.

So, all I could do was distract myself with a holiday crush for the week and use him to fantasise as I lay staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep for the whirr of the air conditioning, the Spanish guitarist playing by the pool and my brain’s refusal to cease activities.

This is what got me started on the uniformity of nationalities. I thought he was English. He had shaved head, a few slightly more tasteful tattoos than some of the others, a slim but muscular physique and pale blue eyes. He also had an attractive girlfriend with short dark hair and a two-year-old daughter. But this was just a private crush, so no harm done, readers.

So, I was standing on the edge of the baby pool making sure my toddler didn’t make off with other children’s toys (again) and he was nearby, watching his daughter. There was a bit of grey, slimy-looking grating all around the pool. He lifted it up and looked underneath, slightly disgusted.

“What is that?” I thought he asked. I replied: “It’s just slimy.” Not one of my sparkling retorts, I admit. He then just walked off without responding.

I thought he was rather rude and was a little hurt. But later on I overheard a conversation and realised he was actually German. “Was ist das” does sound a lot like “what is that”.

So, I started noticing him a little more, as he was always around when we were around i.e. stuck around the baby pool with a toddler who likes to make a run for it now and then. He smiled at my little boy when he waved to him, he crawled around the pool with his little girl on his back, he chopped up her food at tea time. His girlfriend seemed to be on a break from childcare.

I am not sure whether I was just attracted to his fatherly enthusiasm – many other men were doing similar stuff around me – or that he had a really handsome face, despite his bald head turning a deeper crimson each day in the sun. Maybe it was teen nostalgia – he looked a bit like Matt Goss (remember the band Bros from the late 1980s?), pre hair transplant. There was just something about German Guy that had a little extra sparkle.

So, dozing off to the air conditioning whirr, as the Spanish guitar finally stopped, I would imagine sneaking out of the buffet restaurant (once the kids were settled with their chips and my mum was sitting with them). I would wait in some shadowy area, a safe distance from the hotel kitchen, possibly near a lemon tree.

German Guy would appear a couple of minutes later. We would not utter a word between us as he kissed me slowly, stroked my cheek and neck, his hands moving down to my breasts as he fondled and stroked them. He pressed me against the wall and kissed more deeply and I felt his breathing getting heavier and the hard bulge in his trousers pressing against me.

I stroked it from the outside of his trousers and hesitated over the zip. He was surer and took a hand straight up my dress and into my knickers – going right for the target. I gasped with excitement at the sudden, but welcome intrusion. If he was going straight in there, so would I. I fumbled down his zip, grabbing the warm, solid, ample member inside.  I wanted to taste every ounce of him, but we were short on time and people would start looking for us soon.

I crouched down and sucked and flicked my tongue along his beautiful penis. He moaned and swayed, and pulled me up before he lost control. He pressed me deeper into the wall and I took one foot out of my knickers as I realised this had to happen now or never.

German Guy held me still and thrust deep into me. I gasped again. We urgently, hungrily, passionately fucked. I stroked his firm buttocks, tasted his sweat and smelt the faint scent of Jasmine in the air.

I could have done this for hours, but we were disturbed by the sound of someone coming out of the kitchen around the corner and clicking a cigarette lighter. Quickly, we pulled up our underclothes, shared a lingering kiss and crept back to the dining room, me a few seconds ahead of him, sitting back down with our families.

Really, I was still lying in the dark, listening to the whirr of the air con. He was probably humping his girlfriend somewhere down the corridor.