The subject of if, how, and when I will ever end up dating, or even finding another partner, has become something of a running joke here at Team He Total HQ.
Whilst the kids refuse to accept P as anything other than ‘Dad’s girlfriend’ (her legal designation as his wife and their stepmother is too bizarre a possibility for them to contemplate – especially given that they haven’t even met her yet), they seem quite happy to consider (joke about) the chances of me meeting someone new – although, if I mention the possibility of meeting someone for ‘texting and snogging’ Youngest Son goes gratifyingly pale.
Whilst I’m not really that bothered about finding someone else at the moment, this hasn’t stopped Youngest Son suggesting a few celebrity names. Last night, after noting that David Tennant was married, he suggested Matt Smith – because we share a birthday. Whilst admiring the fact that he’d picked someone who’ll make his life easier (only one birthday to remember for two people). I pointed out that I was 13 on the day that Matt Smith was born, which might make him a tad too young for me. Youngest Son noted that P was probably a lot more than 13 years younger than E and suggested hopefully that this might also work for me and Matt. This struck me as the perfect time to educate him about the inequality and hypocrisy inherent in the fact that it’s seen as perfectly acceptable, even admired, for men to have younger girlfriends, whereas it tends to be frowned upon for women to do the same. I was soon disabused of the notion that this little chat might further his understanding of sexual inequality as he grinned and (preparing to run) said “Yeah. That’s ‘cos men are better than woman!” The speed with which he left the room, is all you need to know about his understanding of my reaction to that little piece of ‘wisdom’
Watching his brother’s hasty retreat with a suspiciously conspiratorial grin, Oldest Son suggested that I should try Tinder. Now, putting aside for a moment the fact that Me + Phone App = endless potential for disaster (I refer you to my recent Facebook fail), I just can’t imagine putting myself ‘out there’ on a platform that says ‘I’m looking for a new bloke’. I know it really works for lots of people for both long and short-term relationships, but I just can‘t imagine ever signing up to it. I find the whole premise of meeting someone just because I’m single (as opposed to because I have friends, interests, or even just a local pub, in common with someone) slightly scary.
Another reason I’m cautious about dating apps is that they might be full of people like E. His first affair was before Tinder existed, but (ever the trooper), despite the fact he was having an affair with K and attempting to flirt with a second student, he still registered with loads of internet dating sites. In fact – beware ladies under 30 – there’s a horrifying possibility that he might be registered with Tinder now: we all know that marriage would be no barrier to this possibility for him. Let’s face it, he’s been with P since early 2015, it’s about time for boredom to start setting in…
Now, obviously, I’m a little rusty at the whole dating thing (in fact the last time I was single, ‘dating’ consisted of getting a bit pissed at University parties, copping-off with someone and then avoiding them for the rest of term), but one thing that really bothers me is what on earth do you say actually say on an evening out with a complete stranger? I get that you’ve already seen each other’s photographs, that you’ve ascertained that you have a few things in common and have exchanged messages, but, in the end, this is still a date with someone you have never met before. The idea of deliberately putting myself in that situation brings me out in a cold sweat. I honestly can’t imagine anything worse than going out, alone, to spend an, evening, an afternoon or even an hour with someone I’ve never met before.
For me though, the thing that really puts me off is that dating apps inevitably take as their first point of call someone’s looks. OK, once you’ve met that person you can discover if there’s chemistry or if you ‘click’, but the fact is that you only discover those things if you like the look of them in the first place. I know that appearance is always going to be a factor in the reason we’re initially attracted to someone, but when you meet someone in ‘normal’ circumstances, how they look is just one of many variables and you might really fancy someone who isn’t your type physically, because, for example, they can really make you laugh, or you share a passionate interest in the same thing. Mind you, having said that, one thing that should probably send us all screaming in the direction of Tinder is the fact that if I’d seen E on a dating app all those years ago he wouldn’t have warranted so much as a right-swipe – he definitely wasn’t my type looks wise even then.
The thing is I’m quite happy in my own company, and I am blessed with the most brilliant friends, both of which mean that I don’t ever feel lonely. In fact the only time I’ve missed having a partner were those quiet evenings on holiday, and frankly that’s a rubbish reason to be with someone. To be honest, all I miss is a bit of companionship and someone who’s pleased to see me when I get home, and for that all I need is a dog (at least the crap they leave behind is easily cleared up).
Realising that I wasn’t keen on the Tinder suggestion, Youngest Daughter did have one more idea for me, and said, nodding solemnly: “apparently, people who eat cheese toasties get more sex.” I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with that information, but it’s definitely something to ponder on.
Later that evening, as I sprawled in the peace of my living room, taking up the entire sofa with my books, my tea and a couple of cats, wearing my most comfortable pyjamas and watching exactly what I wanted on Netflix, I realised that actually, I really, really, really like being single. If that ever changes, I guess I might eventually consider joining Tinder – or maybe just investing in a really good quality toastie maker.