Category Archives: People

How to be a Domestic Slut

Three cheers to the BBC for resurrecting Butterflies for a Christmas special. Those of us who wouldn’t recognise hollandaise if it came ready-made need the hapless Ria (played by Wendy Craig) as an icon to reassure ourselves that we don’t all have to be a Domestic Goddess, à la Nigella Lawson.

If it’s not bad enough that those of us who flunked out of Home Economics at the age of 13 with Grade E and a half burnt school kitchen have had to suffer male chefs (Ainsley, Jamie, Anthony et al) wittering on at us for the past few years, along comes the divine Nigella to make us all feel completely inadequate.
Ria, our star slut, on the other hand is a woman who not only can’t cook but couldn’t care less that she can’t cook and that the family are (or were when last seen on TV) all as thin as rakes due to the scarcity of non-burnt offerings.

Ria’s sluttishness doesn’t merely contain itself to gastronomic disasters. Oh no! True domestic devil-may-care that she is – she doesn’t give two hoots about hoovering, ironing or dusting either. In fact, despite being a housewife without a (noticeable) vocation, she manages to convince her long-suffering husband Ben of the necessity of employing a domestic helper, a “lady who does”! Way to go sister!

For those of you who aren’t convinced (and, deary me, where have you been for the past few years if you haven’t noticed the advantages of this lifestyle choice yet? – slaving away in the kitchen or something?) here are a few handy pointers on how to perfect your domestic slut skills and get away with it.

Cooking
Completely unnecessary. A microwave and a stash of pot noodles will be all you will ever need. If you want to pretend you’re not a slut, boil several pots and serve on plates and say you made the noodle supreme yourself.

Entertaining
Two choices: (1) expensive caterers; (2) the patron saint of all sluts, St Michael (aka Marks & Spencer ready meals).

Washing up
Dishwasher. Enough said. Teach the family how to load it themselves.

Washing (clothes)
Your launderette’s service wash prices will seem very reasonable when you no longer have to touch washing powder and you notice the benefit in your beautiful hands. Inform your family that laundry will be a weekly event in future and that it may be wise to buy extra pairs of socks, pants, ties, etc.

Ironing
At only 50p a shirt (or thereabouts) you may want to use your launderette’s services again for smaller items. Larger items: tumble dry slowly until creaseless or get your husband/boyfriend to put them in his trouser press (this is called equal division of chores).

Dusting & Hoovering
Out of bounds, unless you employ a “domestic”. Other tricks: use lots of table cloths and covers – send to the laundry when dusty. Have wooden floors with a selection of rugs – to be sent for professional cleaning when dirty. Never demean yourself by picking up a vacuum cleaner: you know your bad back won’t forgive you.

Jim Carrey’s Jet

When asked the question – When will you know you’ve made it? Would your answer reflect a cosy and sane perception of an idealistic world? For example, happily married with a couple of kids with your own home and financial security. Or in my case, plenty of women, several Jack Daniel’s and cokes before lunch, an unlimited Visa card and a boss who didn’t mind my playboy rogue personality as I jetted around the world on business trips. But realistically, how good can it get? Well, for comic impresario and multi-million pound earner Jim Carrey you’d think he would be able to answer the above question with consummate ease.

But, on being overlooked for an Oscar award for last years ‘Truman Show’ and for his latest feature, ‘Man on the Moon’, Jim’s obsessive lust for the film worlds’ most prestigious lump of brass has made him lose touch with the real world. Unhappy with a lack of recognition from Hollywood’s establishment, he pulled out of a European press meet in Paris this month. Like his ‘Mask’ alter ego – Carrey seems intent in annoying the world’s media – thriving off the attention. Again, a prime example of how symbiotic the relationship between celebrity and journalist is. A sick and twisted partnership in the real world – but then again the movie business is not exactly the real world.

However, these things are commonplace with the quirks and whims of someone who has the world at his feet and his head in the clouds for the past five years. What is extra-ordinary is that Carrey refused Danny De-Vito, his co-star in the film, a ride in his private Learjet to get to the press interviews in the first place! It’s a hard life isn’t it?

Born in New Market, Ontario, Canda on Jan 17th 1962 to a working class family, in his teens Carrey had to take the job as caretaker of his local school when his father lost his job. Juggling between work and education the latter lost out. It was at this point in his life that Carrey believed that comedy become his way of ‘shielding himself from the world’. At 15, he began stand-up in ‘Yuk Yuk’s’, a famous Toronto club, before moving to LA to try the club circuit there. After becoming notorious with one of his characters, “Fire Marshall Bill”, a sketch which apparently encouraged children to set fire to themselves, he was thrust into the movie-world. In one year, 1994, he sank into the American conscious with ‘Ace Ventura Pet Detective’, ‘Mask’ and ‘Dumb and Dumber’. It seemed Carrey had been on the big screen forever.

Notoriously difficult to work with Hollywood’s ‘Joker of the Pack’ is about to release ‘Man on the Moon’ in the UK on the 5th May. The film is a portrayal of Andy Kaufman – one of Americas’ most eccentric and enigmatic stage performers. One of Kaufman’s alter ego’s – Tony Stilton is an obsessed actor who never received the Academy nod he believe he deserves. Was Carrey typecast? Did he seek the role? Does he identify with Kaufman – you get my drift on this, don’t you?

Whether you love or hate Carrey – he is a screen comedy genius who perhaps should win an Oscar some day. Although, lets not forget, how many screen legends have been overlooked over the years? One of this year’s nominees, Tom Cruise, is probably long overdue for the Oscar and deserved one much more than Carrey in my opinion. Perhaps if Carrey was more interested in some of the roles he plays rather then the spin he creates about himself then the awards would flow. But hey, who needs awards when you’ve got your own Learjet.

Take my advice, a few friends and a bit of respect wouldn’t go a miss either Jim.

The internet ruined my life

Every now and again I have to remind myself that not all my friends have a computer. When you spend your working day on your computer, and even socialise on chat groups on your computer, those rare trips down the pub to entertain those computerless friends can seem like a trip to a foreign country.

Despite attempts to steer the conversation to TV, or football, or whatever, as soon as I declare that I have a PC, the familiar barrage of questions starts flooding in. “Got any games?”. Yes, I reply. But I then – stupidly – add that I don’t spend much time playing them, and I’m more likely to spend my leisure time on the internet.

Suddenly, jaws open. A glass is dropped. The piano player stops midway through a song and the saloon doors swing eerily in the wind. OK, I’m being melodramatic, but I’ve hardly declared that I’m having a sex change operation and marrying General Pinochet. However, it appears that I’ve just performed character suicide. So – it’s OK on the internet to go shopping, look up the football results or download an infinite number of South Park screen savers, but spend my leisure time there? I may as well just stand up now and write PERVERT on my face in marker pen. All of a sudden and without anything being said, it’s become blatantly obvious that I’m a close personal friend of Gary Glitter.

The questions welling up in the faces of my friends look set to explode at any point. Porn, porn, porn. Do I get it, what’s it like, how much does it cost, can I come back and have a look, oh please, go on, go on, please please please. The only problem is, I don’t get it. Like everyone I’ve seen porn on the net, partly because of curiosity, and partly because you just can’t help it. I’ve typed “Paracetamol” in a search engine before and ended up with pictures of Courtney Cox giving hand relief to Homer Simpson. Now, whenever Friends follows the Simpsons on Sky One I get this terrible shiver down my back – it’s practically wrecked it for me. That said, I have no idea where I would start looking if I was actively trying to find it. So I refuse the offer of my friends coming round and spilling beer on my keyboard saying that I can’t help them. Of course, no one believes me and now they all think the porn I own is so hardcore I wouldn’t even share it with my friends. You can’t win.

City Slacker

I have tried and tried and tried to appreciate the countryside. I have walked through fields, looked at cows, trod in cowpats and caused a farmer to go into histrionics by (accidentally) leaving some gate open or something. It is just that it is so darn quiet…

I’ve done the country thing before…living in Scotland it is a bit hard not to, you see. I mean, it is ALL country with the exception of the odd random city here and there. You’ll be driving along this road and all of a sudden the city stops – it’s gone. You are in the middle of nowhere. Now, my father has always appreciated the countryside, and he has always tried to get me round to his way of thinking. “Now look at that,” he would say to me when I was a child, “isn’t that beautiful?” Invariably he’d be pointing at some hill or a stream full of algae and dead fish. I would reply, “I would build a Sainsbury’s on top of it” so often that not he wouldn’t pursue the issue.

My Dad used to live in a small village not far from London. My, how excellent, one would think… Just a stone’s throw from the capital but retaining that unique charm blah blah blah and other such estate agents bilge. When I first saw how remote the village was I began to panic and when I realised the nearest branded fast food outlet was about 7 miles away, I had an allergic reaction. I went into what I can only describe as mild hysteria when informed that the nearest pub was a ‘mere’ three-mile walk up a huge hill which, just for extra fun-factor, was a single track with no streetlights whatsoever. “That’s ‘cos it ain’t a street, mate”, was all some countryphile could say on that subject.

The city however has lights everywhere; garish streetlights shining constantly to remind us stupid city people where we are going, green and red lights to tell us when to walk across roads, lest we should have the inability to distinguish whether traffic is bearing down on us or not.

City slickers are also fortunate to have barriers everywhere to stop us accidentally falling under wagons, and of course the saviour of every city: shops. If you’re bored in the country what do you do? Ride a horse? Go for a walk and look at some ‘wildlife’? Talk to your family?!? Are you mad? In the city when boredom creeps in, just hit the shops, money or no money. Have fun irritating the all-American looking shop assistants in Gap by unfolding all the jumpers. Annoy school-leavers that work in McDonald’s by asking why they haven’t got any stars yet. Ah yes, the fun to be had of being in a city. I have tried, tried, tried to get excited about trees and cows and ‘air’ but it fails to impress.

I have nothing against those who LIVE in the countryside… I just don’t know HOW they can do it. I mean, I could never possibly purchase a property without first checking how far the nearest McDonald’s/ pub/ brothel is. Country folk have to be subjected to driving Range Rovers and avoiding sheep (or not as the case may be). City folk on the other hand can leap onto buses or take leisurely strolls down to the corner shop, and apart from at the City Farm, I have seen no sheep around here.

Countrysiders would argue, of course, that the city is dirty, smelly, cramped and dangerous. Mmm…yep, sure is and that is why I love it. I just can’t relax if I go outside and don’t get choked by pollution. And there’s no way I can sleep without double deckers going at 75mph on the bypass behind my flat.

I like the city because it features so many different types of people. Edinburgh has its own set of ‘characters’ which could be described as universal, but living in Edinburgh gives them a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to say the very least. I like the fact that Edinburgh people will bump into you in the street, slam shop doors in your face and still not apologise. That shows ‘character’ of course. I like it that you can NEVER get a cab after 8.30pm. After all, walking is good for you.

I feel much safer in the city. Granted, you could get stabbed by a strung-out junkie or kicked repeatedly in the face by a hard-core alcoholic, but there are always so many people hanging about I’m sure you’d be rescued before losing too much blood. The city has a certain vibe about it (albeit one of danger) and I’m not sure if I could swap that for chats over the farm gate with Mrs Miggins. I have tried the country life once and once only and it didn’t work for me.

Maybe when I’m older and have finally had enough of bus fumes and burglary, I will learn to appreciate the countryside, but until then…well, I’ll just jump on a bus and head for the bright lights if it’s all the same to you.

Geeks, Freaks and Flick-Knives… Part 1

My ‘love affair’ with the internet has not always been so rosy. Long before the internet was any fun, it was obligatory at university to do 50% of your French research on the internet, so naturally as the internet was linked with doing some work, I hated it.

This was in the days when the internet was sooooo slow, and we were constantly being told that we had to ‘be careful not to log on when Americans might be on it’. Me and my friend pouted and bitched and screamed at how UNFAIR it was and would trudge to the internet room which was full of spectacle-wearers (I didn’t wear them in those days, so it was so uncool…shallow? Yep, that’ll be me!). As we half-heartedly searched for information on the French electoral system (excellent sexual turn-on material for those who get their kicks from wading through the squillions of political parties that France seems to enjoy), we decided the internet was crap. This continued until one day we accidentally ended up talking to some people in LA about how we were actually very famous TV stars in the UK.

In the years since then, the internet has changed a lot. Having been spoiled by having free access at uni, I’m almost certain that a better class of degree would have been in the offing if I hadn’t spent my days putting people I knew on interactive dating pages (grossly exaggerating their vital statistics, careers and/or looks) and doing my shopping. Hotmail suddenly became indispensable as I frantically e-mailed people who I hadn’t seen for ages and if I met them on the street, I probably wouldn’t be able to string two sentences together.

After I graduated there was this gaping void in my life…No, not my brain – lack of internet access. During a particularly stressful couple of weeks on the dole in Dundee (there is no experience like it, it certainly made a man of me) I would go to the library and pay an extortionate price for 20 minutes of frantically trying to reply to the 150 e mails waiting for me before the time ran out and the schoolmarm librarian would come and kick me off. I remember one time this bloke was looking for hard-core porn on the net and the librarian told him he was a ‘disgrace’. Sheer brilliance.

After I moved to Edinburgh, I had a job where the internet was not available, so I used to go to an internet café that was attached to a very well known coffee shop chain. I’d never done this sort of thing before. I thought internet cafés were full of swish cyber-types and trendy babes. No, no, no. It was full of backpackers and old people who kept asking the ‘youth’ on the help desk what ‘log-on’ meant. It was also extremely expensive and cramped and people kept spilling tall skinny lattes everywhere. Well, a couple of months of this were enough for me and just as I was thinking it was back to pen and paper, I got a job (my current one) where there was internet access. At last…

Maybe I overdid it a bit at first. No, I definitely did. Also, the fact that I simply minimised the internet rather than switching it off, or walked off and forgot it was on probably contributed to the fact that I, along with the rest of the company (sorry everybody), no longer have access to a certain website. Hotmail is also off limits because of all the virus-encrusted porn that people used to download from it.

So I was back to square one…

To be continued

Off their trolleys

If I have to smile sweetly at another customer who tells me that it’s too nice a day to be working inside, I think I’ll flip. Thanks mate, really great observation – except that at least I’m getting paid to stand and swelter in a grotesquely ugly polyester supermarket uniform. You, on the other hand, have decided that today of all days – the one day of summer – you must have those two packs of lard and a bottle of cheap scotch. Bloody customers!

If they didn’t speak to me it’d be great but they just have to say something, anything. “If you go any faster I’ll break your fucking fingers,” one guy said – and these are the sorts of people that we’re meant to value. Plus, is it really my fault if the store has a policy of making you scan the customers shopping at ludicrous speed, and consequently injuring the odd customer with a pineapple (either fresh or tinned).

It has come to my attention in the year that I have worked in a supermarket that a large percentage of the general public are paranoid, and exceptionally thick. Instead of thanking me for not reporting them for credit fraud when they attempt to use their neighbour’s friend’s cheque, they get all indignant. Hey, is it my fault that you missed out on the common sense gene mate? I mean, if you’re going to use someone else’s credit card or cheque, at least make sure that you’re the same sex, and/or species.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who wrote League of Gentlemen worked in a supermarket much like the one I work in. I’ve served too many people with headscarves, piggy noses, and mad-ass voices to think any differently.

But at least these mad people are consistent, and they don’t look down their nose at those of us trying to earn a crust. The snobbery within the supermarket sector amazes me. Just the other week, a girl that I was at school with lorded over me the fact that she worked across the road at a better quality supermarket. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the share price of the supermarket that I work in is higher than the share price of the supermarket that she works in. As I scanned all her discounted items I contented myself with the fact that even though she thought she was better than me because she worked in a more up market supermarket, the fact was that she couldn’t afford to shop there herself.

And another thing, I’ve seen some underage people trying to buy alcohol, but this nine-year-old girl took the biscuit. “But it’s for my dad for Father’s Day,” she told me. I don’t bloody care if it’s to numb the pain of bloody doomsday. I didn’t tell her that though – I just thought it because it seemed a bit harsh. I’m not quite sure if it’s the air inside supermarkets or if these people are just defective when it comes to common sense, but they say and do the most ignorant things. One guy who appeared to be quite normal changed as soon as he’d had a glimpse inside my drawer – that’s the till drawer thank you, I’m a nice girl. His eyes glazed over, and he commented, “It’s almost worth coming in here with a balaclava on for what’s in there.” I deduced that he meant that he would consider threatening me in order to obtain the money, rather than wear the balaclava for a bet. What a dumb-ass thing to say. He’s probably one of those people who joke with Custom and Excise that he’s got a giant anaconda in his suitcase.

These are the sorts of people that I have to put up with, to be looked down upon by. Oh God, I don’t want to be here. I should have the job that I promised myself I would have after graduating. I want to moonwalk on my checkout conveyor belt. I want to wait until a queue has formed at my till at 7pm on Sunday (because we close then you feckwits) and sing “adieu adieu to you and you and you” and lock my till up. The day I leave, this is my plan.

Why every man should marry a secretary

Whilst prurient jokes about bosses and secretaries still abound, the reality is far from as depicted on seaside postcards. Most professional firms take a very dim view on relations between “professional/managerial” staff and “the workers” (secretaries and other support staff). Even when both parties are young, free and single it is deemed “not the done thing” for the professional staff to be “stepping out” with the plebs. So eager are bankers, lawyers and other young professionals to create the right image, that a tacit codicil exists, precluding social fraternising with anyone on a lower rung of the ladder than themselves. This means, in effect, that ambitious young professionals have created a climate in which they can only date within their own strata, only ever marry someone equally as ambitious, thrusting and go getting as themselves. Quality time conflicts and career burn out are natural consequences.

How odd then that professionals who deem those who work as “just a secretary” beneath them, have overlooked the obvious advantages of dating and marrying the support staff!

1. Most secretaries are not as ambitious as the lawyers and bankers charging or earning £100 an hour. If they were, they would choose equally stressful jobs. A simple, hassle-free 9 to 5 with a reasonable monthly pay cheque is all that most secretaries desire. A less ambitious wife will never be the cause of a major career conflict.

2. A less ambitious partner is also, by definition, and almost completely symbiotically more supportive of her partner’s ambitions. Many secretaries are the “power behind the throne” in the office, and a few in the home as well. The secretary-wife will always ensure her husband is reflected in the best light.

3. A few secretaries are only working as a secretary as a stepping-stone or stopgap before going on to something better. These “secretaries in disguise” are almost always worth getting to know better and cultivating, although very few management or professional staff do, blindly assuming all secretaries come from “Planet Adler” where the only thing they know is how to type.

4. All secretaries have nurturing and caring tendencies as well – haven’t you noticed the collection of teddies, beanies and other furry gonks on your secretary’s desk? Kidnap one for a day and see the distress you would cause. (This could, of course, lead to a date if you were to start leaving ransom notes for your secretary inamorata.)

5. Diplomacy is a skill perfected by all secretaries worldwide. Having learnt early on not to correct their boss’ English (for it will only come back with a request to put the incorrect word back in) your secretary-wife will never correct your anecdotes, diction or otherwise show you up in public.

6. Organisation is also the secretary’s trademark and should you want a wife who can run a house like clockwork, organise the school run, her job, your job and every social occasion from an informal coffee morning to a state banquet, the secretary-wife is the one you’ve been looking for.

Those flat hunting blues

When you first meet the landlord he seems avuncular and tries to convince you that he cares about his tenants and picks them with care and discernment (after all, he picked you, right?). Wrong. This man has a problem: an empty room with no rent coming in and he doesn’t much care about your personal habits or mental history as long as you’ve got the rent and deposit available in ready cash.

He may not be a Rachman, but he probably is a Rigsby (aka Leonard Rossiter in Rising Damp), so oleaginous that your palm drips after you’ve shaken hands on the lease agreement.

The first tenant you meet will be the Landlord’s Mole – easy to spot, difficult to avoid. She lives on the ground floor, at the front so she can pounce on you the second she hears your key in the latch. She will then proceed to tell you her life story, the tittle tattle on the other tenants and all about her cat (or hamster or budgie). The Landlord’s Mole has lived in the same house for ten years and thinks the landlord is a saint, which is why she’ll never move (“well, who else would take pets?”).

The next tenant is the Music Freak. It doesn’t matter whether their preference is soul, rap or funk, they live under the misguided notion that everyone else should share their exquisite taste. They normally occupy the front of the house, either first or top floor so that even when you’re in the street you won’t escape their non-stop music festival. Everything they do is noisy and you have to know about it – they bang the doors, thump the walls and have clamorous orgasms. And, believe me, you’ll definitely know when they have a party!

The Impoverished Artist, on the other hand, often loves music but can’t afford a collection as big as the Music Freak. Impoverished Artists imagine themselves as the next Jean Michel Jarre or Michelangelo. In reality they are on the dole, moonlighting in restaurants and living a fantasy. They listen to jazz, talk incessantly about Paris (which they once visited five years ago) and think that their bedsit in Bromley is actually a garret. These people appear attractive at first – warm, open, dynamic – but beware: everything (including that trip to Paris) is paid for by other people.

The Eternal Student is easy to identify. Having failed their “A” Levels they began a long, laborious “building block” process to get an HNC or HND and eventually a third class degree. Now they don’t know what to do – conditioned to life as a student and used to the DSS paying their rent, they think they might stick around and try American Studies, Women’s Studies or Politics and Economics. They have no direction in life but are always talking about where they’re going.

But you’re not one of the above, are you? You’re just another underpaid worker who can’t afford a flat of your own yet, right?

So we’re all geniuses now?

Amid all the hyperbole about YET ANOTHER year of improved “A” Level results how did Coronation Street get it so wrong?

I’m referring to Toyah Battersby of course and her fictional three E grade “A” Levels. Now come on, scriptwriters! Surely we’re not expected to believe that! OK, she’s a Battersby but as the brightest one out of an admittedly low-wattage family, even Toyah should have been able to scrape a couple of C’s and a D.

Under the new system much counts on “continual assessment” and students who get a low grade in a module the first time can retake it until they get a grade they like. Now, surely Toyah would have had some idea already if she had been getting E grades for the past two years?

The other reason this story doesn’t wash is the fact that prior to this sudden shock result the writers had gone out of their way to show how much work Toyah was putting into her studies: extra tuition with Ken Barlow; refusing to go out on the razz with Spider when she needed to revise; turning down his offer to travel round India. How can this woman who we have been led to believe is a reasonably able and very striving student completely unexpectedly find herself landed with three E’s?

Old fogeys (like me) may have received horrible brown envelopes containing shock results because back in those days (yeah, get out the violin, why don’t you?) the exams were based entirely on your performance on one day and you did wait for months with baited breath and chewed fingernails, with very little idea whether you would be jumping for joy or sobbing with sorrow.

After nearly 20 years of continually improving “A” Level results, we must all know by now that anyone capable of completing “The Sun” crossword can get 12 GCSEs and 5 “A” Levels (especially if including the incredibly helpful quantity-boosting Media Studies and General Studies) and land a place at any common-or-garden redbrick uni or ex-polytechnic. (And good luck to them, for what it’s worth.)

If we have to swallow the myth that “standards are as high as ever” then we must by now be a generation with an average IQ of 130 – but that ain’t so. (And the number of graduates I meet who don’t know how to spell “separate” and “desperate” or the meaning of words such as “serendipity” and “tacit” is mind-bogglingly shocking.)

Indeed, an education spokesman even admitted that “A” Levels may become an exam nobody can fail and that “we aim to test what they know, not what they don’t know”. Oh hallelujah! Now if only this was applied to real life as well, we’d all be up the swannie: the “A-Level-certified” electrician who you book might well know that Green is neutral, but failed part of the exam about the purpose and function of the Brown wire!!!

Why we love older men

Whilst, as you (my regular readers) will know, I normally don’t miss an opportunity to denigrate pointless and unworthy pseudo-scientific research surveys, I’m afraid the news that Italian researchers – and of course it would take amorous Italians to chose such a delectable subject – have found an excuse (sorry, reason) why “Men Fall in Love at 50” gladdens my heart.

Why? Because I have a BIG THING for older men…

I’m not talking just slightly older here, but seriously geriatric. When “The Professionals” was the top TV show and every teenage girl had a crush on either Bodie or Doyle, I wasn’t mooning over Martin Shaw or Lewis Collins. Oh no. Gordon Jackson, the boss-master, was the man for me.

I’m not really quite sure when my preference for older men started or why (who can rationalise love?) or whether it’s because my dad was 13 years older than my mum?

When I was 19 I fell in love with a man who was 43, and when I was 26 I found myself smitten with another 43 year old chap (43 is such a nice age, don’t you think?). Then last year at the grand old age of 30 (something) I finally fell for a 50 (something) man – the only trouble being that this time he was married (natch). The first two at least had the decency to be separated or on their way to getting divorced before I met them.

Although, admittedly, the first chap broke my 19-year-old heart (not to mention the theories of the research scientists) by running off with an older woman – not just older than me – older than him! (How dare he?) Didn’t he know he was “genetically programmed” to look for a younger bit of stuff?

The good news for the Zimmer-frame-chasers amongst us is that older men have many advantages. Whilst they may well be attracted to you – a (somewhat) younger woman – unlike their younger counterparts most mature men don’t expect a stick insect, beauty queen or physical perfection. (Except Michael Douglas.) Also, having been married before (and most of them will have been) they already appreciate the comfort and security of marriage and like and respect women. You won’t find them at the bar with a crowd of unctuous mates bad-mouthing you (or women in general) behind your back: indeed, you’ll have a job to prevent them from singing your praises from the rooftops all day, every day (adoration is a wonderful thing).

On a practical level, they are nearly always more domesticated than skinny young men (who you can just tell haven’t had a decent meal in months because they don’t know how to cook one), don’t live in cloud cuckoo land believing dusting does itself and that toilet rolls and other consumables are automatically self re-regenerating. Best of all, they don’t think that PMT is a curse from Planet Zog and will do their best to humour you and
sympathise with you at that time of the month. (After all, this is probably the second time they’ve been through it all and if their ex is menopausal, they will of course be flattered and delighted that you’re still fertile, no matter what it entails.)

And, finally, though you may occasionally be asked if you are with your father, your wonderful older man will never be mistaken for your brother.