When you’re 30-something, it’s tough to meet people. I know a couple who met on an allotment, but, when I tried growing vegetables, all I pulled was a bunch of deformed carrots.
Laura has a similar problem. At uni, men were young, plentiful and persistent. Now it’s a different story.
She dreams she’ll randomly meet a hot guy while out shopping. He’ll have eyes like molten chocolate and a French name like Yves. They’ll swap phone numbers and then – well, the rest will be in soft-focus. In point of fact, the only time she spotted anyone attractive in a shop, she up-ended her handbag in the aisle. Instead of helping her collect coins and tampons off the floor while begging for her number, the guy turned away and carried on studying tea-bag prices.
Back to dating websites then. Where she’s 34, called Emma, pretends she’s not a lawyer, and gives a fake phone number. It’s a pay-as-you-go mobile she can easily discard. All those phoney layers will have to come off if (or when?) when she meets someone nice. She’ll cross that bridge when she gets to it.
Geoff is another character out of my forthcoming novel. He’s a newly divorced doctor, and the nice pay packet no longer makes up for sky-rocketing patient demand and new government diktats every other day. During his years working in hospitals, women threw themselves at him, and academic awards came equally fast and thick. But he’s been a GP for over 10 years now, and the sea is remarkably empty of fish. GMC guidelines forbid relationships with patients, and he doesn’t fancy the new receptionist, even if the patients adore her. Plus there’s a new problem now. He can’t perform as he once did.
Geoff returns the call to the nursing home. Bad news: 94-year old Mrs Montgomery fell out of bed again so he’ll have to visit. She seems fine, they say, but as always the staff want to ‘cover’ themselves.
Get yourselves a duvet, thinks Geoff as he gets into his car.
Karen, now. Men haven’t exactly been beating a path to her dilapidated front door. No, her best friend tells her, the meter reader doesn’t count.
Newly single, Karen has 4 children and no job. She’s still confident she’ll meet someone eventually, even if all the evidence so far is against it.
After a clear-out, today she’s headed for the recycling centre. It’s on her way to the hairdresser’s for a much overdue appointment, via the shoe repairers and the bank. Why spend more on petrol than you have to? Karen doesn’t obsess about her appearance, especially when she’s busy cramming her clapped-out Toyota with bags of garden refuse, broken toys, mouldy trainers, 994-piece puzzles, and clothes that her kids have worn to death.Parking her car in front of the containers, she notices a man in a green T-shirt unloading a wardrobe from the back of his estate car. Nice buns.
He turns to face her. It’s a Nike T-shirt, and more to the point he has a great smile. She makes eye contact and returns the smile with a Hi, ready to talk about the wardrobe, or anything really.
He clocks her, but his smile promptly fades. In fact he hot-foots it back to his car, driving off a lot faster than the 5 mph limit.
When she gets to the hairdresser’s, Karen is ashamed to see in the mirror just how bad her roots have got, how much garden rubbish she has on her sweatshirt and, in short, how bad she looks.
Michael knows exactly where to meet women. After all, he’s an accountant, so he’s got it planned down to the last detail. That’s how he does everything, even watching porn.
More to come in my novel on dating. Meanwhile why not take a moment to share your experience of meeting people? I’d love to hear your tips too.