21 - Dating

In its purest form, dating is auditioning for mating and auditioning means we may or may not get the part.
— Joy Browne (psychologist)

<Early paragraphs not published as they contain spoiler material>

What eventually re-kindled my interest in dating was being approached by a work colleague. I’d had a meeting with, let’s call her Jennifer, on Friday morning and she sent a text through later that night to see ‘how I was’. I thought – hello. We swapped a few texts and the result was we agreed to meet up for a date. It was a bit of a shock, albeit an exciting one, and it forced me to take stock of myself as a date and all that might entail.

On the positive side, while I’d turned forty-seven, which sounds old, I’ve always looked young for my age. When I was twenty I struggled to look fifteen which, unhelpful at the time, was something I was thankful for now. Also, given I’d been asked out, I must still have a measure of the ‘Cor, I’d do him’ look thanks to karate and the regular gym sessions.

Through the accident that’s genetics, I still had my hair, which was another plus. I may have been the last to shave amongst my school friends, but some of their hairlines had been receding before they’d left school. Nature can be very cruel like that. I was also fortunate that the colour of my hair, mousey blonde, masked the grey well. Even then, current fashion dictates that grey hair on men is distinguished thanks to celebrities such as George Clooney, so I wasn’t under societal pressure to dye my hair. Finally – and I know it’s hard to judge your own personality – I don’t have trouble making conversation and friends though I’m closer to shy than outgoing. All in all, as a package, I figured I had a few things in my favour.

I was, of course, a single dad and this meant that I was a package deal for anyone interested in anything longer than a few dates. I didn’t see this as a negative as most men my age would have children. Besides, I was a much nicer person for being a dad, single dad, father and parent. I subsequently discovered that single dads are held in relatively high regard by single mums, who are acutely aware of the effort that goes into being a successful and happy single parent.

The only issue I saw with my children was the need for secrecy. I intended my dating to be something they knew nothing about. They’d met Cathy but, her visits apart, we were the three musketeers and that was how it was going to stay. Unless of course Miss, Ms, but hopefully not Mrs, Absolutely Right turned up. One can, and should, live in hope.

Chapter continues . . .