dating

'I tried Tinder and wanted to set fire to my phone, stab it with knives and throw it off a cliff'.

Oh, you thought plucking up the courage to talk to a crush was hard when you were an acne-ridden teen with intrusive parents and merciless siblings, huh?

Try doing it when you’re a middle-aged woman, with a failed marriage behind you, more debt than you’ve ever carried in your life, a demanding job, ageing parents, children who can sting you with a withering put down one minute, and crumble at the idea of sharing you with anyone the next, and a big territorial dog who’s taken up residence in your bed and goes stone deaf when asked to move.

Form an orderly queue on the dance floor all those interested in taking on all of this sexy sunshine!

Yes, that’s sarcasm.

In fact, I am lacking a little bit of confidence right now. Even if I thought I had anything remotely interesting or attractive to offer, I wouldn’t know how or where to start.

I remember a time when all I needed to know was is he straight and is there anyone else circling. These days I’m swimming in a far murkier pool.

Is he still married? Does his wife know they’re “separated”?

Is she crazy? Is he the kind of guy who accuses his ex of being crazy?

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He’s never married? What’s wrong with him?

Does he dress up as his mum on Saturday nights and, if so, does he at least buy his own make-up? Because mine’s good gear and it’s not cheap.

I’ve got no delusions about luring a toy boy, and to be honest, no interest. I can’t be in a relationship with anyone who doesn’t get my frequent MASH, Happy Days and Grease references. Call it a deal-breaker. If you didn’t at one time want to either marry or be the Fonze, then I’m so sorry to say this isn’t going to work. We don’t go together like like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

I don’t want a partner who understands my kids’ X-Box games, or thinks of Vin Diesel as an actor.

I’m unapologetically stuck up that way, but I’ve come to realise that people my own age are very complicated.

We’ve had half a lifetime to accumulate baggage and bad habits. Of course, we’re all putting our best feet forward when venturing back into the dating world, so we’re also going into it with our antennae up.

I guess we figure that if everyone else is fudging the form guide as much as we are, there’s a lot to be suspicious about.

We decided to go with the Bunnings Marquee this year. No regrets. #derbyday #blessed #fashion

A photo posted by @meshel_laurie on

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It’s all very daunting.

You need the telepathy of John Edwards, the instincts of Dog the Bounty Hunter, and the scorpion-like romantic reflexes of every Kardashian/Jenner in captivity to navigate this maze, but where to even start?

The advice I give other people is “go online! Everybody’s doing it!!”

I’m not doing that. I tried it for four days and it completely freaked me out, no more so than whenever I scored a match.

That’s when someone I’d liked, liked me too. My disappointment in those moments told me how low my confidence was.

I realised that, just as Groucho Marx had famously said he’d never want to join a country club that would have him as a member, I wasn’t interested in anyone who thought I was interesting.

I mean, how low must their hopes be? How broad their filter settings? “Have a bit of bloody pride in yourself, man,” I wanted to DM them, but I didn’t, I deleted the app. I wanted to set fire to my phone, stab it with knives and throw it off a cliff because I was so embarrassed by what it knew about me. That’s normal, yeah?

On a recent episode of Meshel Laurie’s Nitty Gritty Committee, Luke Williams spoke about his experience of working as a male sex worker.

A similarly placed friend of mine swears by Tinder. She’s developed some very firm rules around it though. She only ever meets people for coffee, and allows each man 45 minutes of her valuable time.

On every first date she asks guys what went wrong in their last relationship. I know it sounds intrusive and we’ve been told over the years never to discuss previous partners but there is a method to her madness. She asks the question to ascertain how much responsibility the man opposite her takes for the failure of the partnership. If he launches into a tirade in which he blames everything on his ex, my mate gulps the rest of her coffee and politely leaves.

That scares the hell out of me! It’s ingenious but I don’t know how I’d answer that question, or any other for that matter.

I’m not just relationship phobic, I’m Tinder-match terrified, which suggests to me I’m just not ready yet.

Maybe I will be one day, and maybe I won’t, but I’m not going to jump in when I’m not feeling it.

Singledom isn’t so bad anyway, once you remember to put the bins out and get used to the doggy farts.

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