In my second ever blog for Marie Claire, just short of a year ago (oh, BLESS me. So young! So hopeful! And the right side of thirty!) I was lamenting the lack of decent men available on the internet. I’d just started internet dating (not for the first time, admittedly) and was feeling a little short-changed when the anticipated heard of highly eligible young men had failed to charge into my inbox. Instead, as you may have seen in the doc that C4 made about me; I awoke to an inbox full of pondlife and madness. Signing up for internet dating aged nearly 30 brought significantly less options than when I’d signed up aged 26. Then, I was bombarded. This time, not so much. It was just mad people and aesthetic accidents sending poorly-spelt emails demanding sex with me. Frustrated, I turned to my bible and quoted some very wise words at my small gaggle of readers:
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the Gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Ah, Bonnie Tyler, you mighty woman, how I identified with your sentiment. Where were they?
Married. Or in relationships. That’s where they were. That’s where they always are. Some other girl (more wise and beautiful than I) will always have got there first. I met an amazing man this morning and got on with him like a house on fire: only to realise, as we parted company with warm smiles and a promise to meet up soon, that he had a wedding ring on. I couldn’t believe it. Am I ever going to like ANYONE who is actually available? Ok, granted, the situation wasn’t totally perfect – he was my student, after all, and I am still completely flat out with flu so my judgement may not be at its very best but still. God have mercy! When will my time come?!
A good friend and ex-housemate of mine once went for dinner with a male friend of hers and came back very depressed because the male friend had told her something terrible. He had said “Look, as a man, I can tell you that decent blokes are never single. If they’re good news, they’ll already be in a relationship. You need to be prepared either to have an affair with them (not recommended) or you need to make sure you are there, ready and waiting, in that tiny gap between their previous relationship and their next one. If that next one is going to be you, you’ve got to be primed and ready. You don’t have a moment to waste.”
My housemate was slumped across our sofa when she told me this, looking slightly suicidal. Being young and stupid I chose not to accept it at all. What cynical nonsense! What balls! Of course they were out there, of course their window of availability was longer than ten seconds! Otherwise how would anyone meet anyone? What a preposterous notion!
Now, at 30, I put my hands up and admit defeat. It’s true. You can sing all you like, Bonnie, the good men AND the Gods AND the Hercules are all out there, they’re just boffing someone else. You can have an affair with them (although please don’t) or you can hang around waiting for that split-second window of opportunity when their current relationship ends, presuming it does. (And the older you get, the less likely it is that the relationship WILL end) But aside from that, your options are limited.
Look, my plans for romance out here were of course tongue in cheek. Falling in love is by no means my priority on this belated gap year – I am out here to do a work project, to do some teaching, some volunteering, a lot of travelling and generally to enjoy myself. If I meet someone while travelling (as everyone tells me I will) then great, but if I’m honest, it’s not wildly important. But that’s not to say that it isn’t really hard to have all of these wonderful carrots dangled in front of my nose. Every time it happens, I realise how much I would love to be in a relationship with someone wonderful, and it makes the fact that I’m not all the more astringent.
Hmmm. I’m sure even the most shonky of shrinks would have something to say about my persistent habit of falling for attached men but to be honest, I think it’s quite simple. I like really brilliant men. And really brilliant men are single for ten seconds. And I never seem to be there in that ten-second gap.
I think it’s time I just admitted defeat. I will never find him. NEVER!
And with a flourish, Lucy Robinson uploaded her blog, threw her laptop dramatically across the ten centimetre gap to the other side of her bed, and passed out under the influence of the latest batch of drugs given her by the doctor. (Who, while we’re on that subject, was also lovely, good-looking and married.)