A good friend of mine has recently, after a long term relationship, found herself single again. She is an attractive woman and, despite having spent the best part of the year healing a broken heart and swearing blind she will never embark on a relationship again, feels that, with the dark nights drawing in, it might be nice to spend the odd Winter night out with someone who might be able to give her more than a kiss on the cheek at the end of the evening.
Make no mistake, nights out with friends are all well and good, however, there’s nothing quite like sharing a nice glass of Malbec next to an open fire with an attractive man at your side to get you through the dark months. There are few things which I, personally, look forward to in Winter, however this is, most definitely, one of them. Well, the Malbec at least.
So, she has decided to start dating again.
Dating in London is a minefield at any age. Despite the capital being filled with over 8 million people (and, for the sake of argument, let us presume half of them are men.) the chances of actually striking up a conversation with one of them, let alone enticing them into asking you out on a date, presents itself as somewhat of a challenge to a girl, least of all one on the wrong side of 35.
38, as my friend is, is a tricky age to get ‘back out there’. The majority of men are either married or gay, or both. The one’s that are left? Now they’re the one’s you really need to worry about.
There are, of course, the divorcees who are starting to make an appearance, (Yes girls, sorry to say it, we’re entering the 2nd time around pool.)
But, my friend, God love her, is still on the hunt for a man with no baggage. A man in his early/mid forties without a history that might one day rear it’s ugly head.
She is obviously totally delusional and needs to understand by adding this to her list of ‘necessities in a future partner’, that she is limiting her man pool to around 54 in the whole of the capital.
Impossible requirements aside there are other issues I have with the ‘no baggage’ man. Such as, what the hell have you been doing for the last 40 years?
You see, here’s the thing. When a man sells himself as having ‘no baggage’ and is in his mid 40’s, or, God forbid, early 50’s, I’m suspicious. What, in the name of Jesus, has he been up to, if not marrying childhood sweetheart’s and knocking out kid’s? Drinking home-brew in a squat in East London?? Injecting Crystal Meth into his eyeball in a bedsit in Ipswich for 25 years?? Or worse still, finding himself in a yoga retreat in Southern India??
What else, prey tell, would be explanation for such a distinct absence from a life that would otherwise accumulate ‘baggage’.
Baggage my friends, is not a bad thing!
Everyone should have skeletons. Christ, if I were to list everything I’ve done in my life that people didn’t know about I’d either be sectioned or arrested. The fact that I’ve survived my life so far with only one child and a clean marriage slate to show for it is a God given miracle.
I have baggage, history and skeletons, thankfully, and I would expect the man I was dating to have them too.
Dating a divorcee, or the father of a few kids (or, for that matter, had your new found beloved been the one in the bedsit in Ipswich) owner of a criminal record or stint in rehab … (So shoot me, I’m in an open minded kinda mood) doesn’t mean he’s a lunatic who’ll never change his ways nor does it mean you’ll always be second best to the ex/kids/shoplifting/drugs, it means he’s lived a life and made a few mistakes.
Girlfriends, here’s the reality, your pushing 40? Open your search. Writing people off for their past is like refusing to date a man who was caught shoplifting when he was 16 in case he pinches a fiver from your purse one night. It’s the past, people have them.
Saying that, there are certain things to be avoided. If he turns up with a crack pipe, a bottle of home-brew or, worse still, 3 kids who ‘never leave his side’ you might want to re-think the plan.
Baggage, though not a deal-breaker should never be bigger than a Louis Vuitton weekender … and 3 kids ain’t going to fit in that baby.