I’m veering off the topic of health in this post because my life isn’t all about being sick. I deal with all the normal stuff that healthy people do and a quick visit to the hairdresser yesterday to have my new wig trimmed made me think about my love life, or lack thereof.
Not to blow my own trumpet but I was really pretty as a youngster. I started literally fending men off when I was about 11 and, even though I’m rapidly losing my looks now I’m nearly 50, to an extent I’m still doing it. I’ve spent the past decade doing up my old cottage and I can honestly say that not a single tradesman has entered my home that hasn’t hit on me – young, old, married, single they’ve all tried their luck. And to be fair I had a bit of fun with an Aussie plumber who had the sexiest accent in the known universe, but other than that I’ve been single for nearly twenty years (I haven’t been celibate for that long, but that’s another story! 😉 ).
It would be an easy thing to assume that my solo status is down to my illness, but it’s not strictly true. My hairdresser, who is 2 years younger than me, has also been single for twenty years. She owns her own home, runs a successful business, has 2 lovely grown-up girls (she’s a divorce) but her love life is a wasteland.
We’re both strong, capable, outgoing women. Like me, Jo is very practical – she made her own solid oak kitchen units from scratch after doing a woodworking course and also makes many of her own clothes. I’ve renovated my house single-handedly, despite my health, and can spend hours crocheting. Jo is slim, fit, attractive and trendy and seriously looks 10 years younger than she is. I’m not bad looking for an old bird, although I no longer have my own hair and have lost a tooth 😉
It’s true we live in a remote, sparsely populated area but Jo travels quite a lot having friends in Edinburgh, Manchester and Spain whom she visits regularly so, unlike me, she has the chance to meet diverse people. We both have a lot going for us. So why are we alone?
The truth is neither of us can find a man who can offer us more than he takes. Women in the last 50 years in particular have evolved in a big way. We’re financially independent. We run homes and businesses. We raise children and care for aging parents. We have hobbies and passions. We do volunteer work. We can cook and do DIY. Let’s face it, there’s not much we can’t do. And men just haven’t evolved in the same way. They still want to marry their Mother. They still want someone to look after their home, provide them with food and clean clothes, raise their kids, put up with their hobbies and then shag them senseless every night. I can see what marriage holds for them, I just can’t see what marriage would hold for women like Jo and me (and my 10 other single friends).
Women also tend to keep themselves looking good whatever their age. Middle aged men, on the other hand, often let themselves go but still think they look like they did in their twenties! I hardly ever see a man over the age of 35 I’m physically attracted to. I know you’re all going to now say that relationships aren’t just about physical attraction but they absolutely are. If they weren’t I’d marry one of my female friends. You have to have sex with your partner at the end of the day and that’s not easy if you don’t fancy them, trust me I’ve tried it.
I often wonder if the men who hit on me realize that I have been hit on for 40 years. I have heard the same old pick up lines for decades. I have met the same man, in different skins, my whole life. I crave for something different. I have never once, in 40 years of dating, ever been asked what I need out of a relationship – men assume you want what they want, which isn’t the case.
Of course, my health issues add another dimension. I haven’t met a man who actively engages in my disabled life. They all just want me to fit in with their life and constantly push me into doing what they want to do, not what’s best for me.
There’s nothing I would like more than to find a lovely man to share my time with but, even if I were healthy, it’s not easy. You only have to go on Match.com to see there are a LOT of single women out there looking for Mr Right and not finding him. Single women are usually accused of being “too picky”. Bollocks to that. Men need to step up their game, women don’t need to lower their expectations!
I’m sure many of you have wonderful husbands and partners. I’m jealous. I have not found one, despite extensive trying over the years. I’ve found men I’ve loved as people but weren’t attracted to. I’ve found men I’m attracted to but don’t like as people. It’s getting the two together which remains elusive and on the very odd occasion I’ve found them they’re either not interested in me, or live in Abu Dharbi 😉
Not many women are openly honest about why they’re not finding partners. They feel it makes them sound full of themselves to say that men are all much of a muchness and don’t offer them anything they can’t already get for themselves. We no longer need someone to provide us with a home or to fiddle with the car engine. We need emotional intimacy, mental stimulation, wit, tenderness and other ‘girlie’ traits – because, and here’s the shocker, we’re girls! I don’t need someone to buy me jewellery, I need someone to drive my Dad to his CT scan or to walk Bertie when I feel crap. We don’t want sex every night because men are shit at it. That doesn’t make us frigid, it makes us women who have different needs to men. We like cuddling much more than smelly, sweaty, often unfulfilling rumpy pumpy which doesn’t make us abnormal, it makes us girls. I wish more people were honest about the fact that, on the whole, men and women’s sexual habits aren’t the same instead of blaming women for not wanting sex more.
100 years ago men and women complimented each other – men went out to work, women looked after the home and kids. But time has moved on. Women are now able to say what they want and it’s not what our mothers or grand-mothers wanted. 1 in 5 middle aged women are now childless. It turns out that, given a choice, many women aren’t that maternal myself included. So if I don’t need a financial provider and I don’t need a Father for my kids, what do I need from a husband? I need all the things I can’t give myself: hugs, emotional support, someone to talk things over with, someone to stimulate my mind, someone to make me laugh, someone who cares about my problems, practical help, someone to share my enthusiasm and passion for life with. And someone who asks me what I want in the bedroom, which has much more to do with a connecting of minds than bodies: “men fall in love with their eyes, women fall in love with their ears”.
I don’t give up hope of finding someone to share my life with, though I’m realistic on my chances of finding Mr Right. I’ve been in some very unfulfilling relationships over the years and one thing’s for sure……….I’d rather be single than part of an unhappy couple. I’ve never been as lonely single as I was during my marriage. Having said all that, if you know any handsome, single, middle aged men who aren’t emotionally frigid, don’t want me to go on skiing holidays, aren’t workaholics but are nevertheless financially secure, want to live in the Lake District and aren’t totally fazed by disability shove ’em in my direction 😉