Sunday, January 18, 2004

All my friends from school introduce me to their spouses. While I'm left standing here with my hands down the front of my trousers.

I woke up very hungover this morning. I got in at five am.

On the face of it - it was a good night. I stayed the duration (and more), I had fun. I drunk too much. My social life is way too sporadic these days to find any real complaints with any opportunity for getting together with friends.

Except....

I knew beforehand that the group that were going out would include a couple of friends. But, quite excitingly, there were lots of people who I had never met. That meant there may even be women I hadn't met. Hell, there may even be single women I hadn't met. You can see where I am going with this.

Now, about a year ago I reassessed my policy towards women and the pulling of them. I decided that post-thirty it was no longer acceptable to try and snog people in night clubs or bars. I was young once. I can remember how the 30+ guy looked trying to do that. When you're young it doesn't matter. You can try for it all - multiple snogs, middle of dancefloor snogs, embarrassing snogs with unsuitable ladies, snogs that will forever wreck relations with a female friend etc etc.

But it's just not cool when you get old. And besides who cares about snogging anyway? Short term it would be nice to take it a little further, sexually speaking. Let's face it "getting a snog" is hardly as impressive as it once was. Secondly, I guess, at the back of our minds, all us thirtysomethings are looking for "the one".

So having decided to hang up my letching boots - so to speak. I went with the mantra of: "If it happens it happens". Except of course, it doesn't happen. And it won't happen if you don't make it.

So I decided to force the issue last night. To actually put myself out on a limb and go for it.

Now there is one problem with that. In the world of the thirtysomething the single woman is a fairly rare. I reckon in total there was a group of about thirty people out last night. Single women count: two.

Actually it turned out to be one - as I will explain.

I managed to locate - single woman #1 fairly early on. We chatted, got on well. She laughed at my jokes and she even managed to slip into the conversation a couple of times that she was single. I always take this to be a good sign. However, I did those things you do to check how "in" you are. I moved seats to see if she would follow, I went to the toilet wondering whether she would keep my seat or even wait for me. The results, let's say, were inconclusive. Who is to say that she wouldn't have given me her phone number if I had asked? But I didn't. I never really felt comfortable.

And besides there was always single woman #2. In all honesty single woman #2 looked more my type anyway. So I excused myself from #1 and went over. She was talking to someone I knew and I joined in the conversation. After a while the other person left our little group and she asked me to sit down. To explain my type is (hopefully) intelligent, non dressy, non loud, has own opinion etc etc. She appeared to be all of this. In all a very sweet looking (tick), natural (tick) brunette (tick), local girl (tick) worked in a similar field to me (tick) and she seemed to like me.

We got on well and the people I was with caught my eye occasionally and raised their eyebrows as if to say "looking good". When I went to the toilet I came back and some other guy was in my place. I hovered for a while but she seemed to shake him off and a female acquaintance talked me into going back over to chat to her. Of course you then have to go through the process of actually finding out she is really single. This can be quite tricky. You can't just say "so, you single or what?". It's a little blunt and you sound like you are only talking to her on the basis that she might cop off with you. This of course is true.

I have two methods for finding this information. One is to come up with some kind of amusing story about being single myself and hope she volunteers the fact that she too is single (single girl #1 did this). The second is to ask who she came with. I went for this option. She pointed over to a group of three lads and I, of course, asked if they were just friends. She told me they were her flat mates. It was looking good.

From then we talked for another hour. At one point she asked me what I did for a living and I told her and we talked about being self employed. I mentioned the hassle of setting up and how happy I had been when I finally got my business cards complete with my new logo. She asked could she see it. I showed her one and when she made to hand it back I said "no keep it - you never know when you might want some PR doing, or (smiling) someone to go out for a drink with". So I guess I had sort of made my intentions plain without really coming out with it or making a move.

By this time there was a little more body contact and buying of drinks for each other. In the meantime my friends in the corner were raising their eyebrows and making even more positive signs.

Then she went to the toilet and a mutual friend came over and I casually enquired about #2's relationship status. She checked. One of the flatmates was her boyfriend. Damn.

Okay, so maybe she was entirely innocent and in my semi-lubricated state I read it all wrong. Maybe she knew the score but enjoyed the company. Maybe she just liked dusting off her own pulling skills to check she "still had it". Either way I was gutted. Game over.

In the modern age there are too many levels of commitment to be covered simply by either wearing a ring or not wearing a ring. We need new signs.

They need to cover:

Single.
In a relationship, but have my own place and nothing is set in stone.
In a relationship, live together, as good as married.
Not married, but in a relationship, but not happy and I'm looking around.
Engaged.
Married.
Married but it's over and I'm soon to be a free woman again.

That's before you even start to worry about homosexuals, bisexuals and the religious.

It's all too hard. I thought it was difficult when I was 21 but it's doubly hard now. To put it straight about what I am looking for - I don't really do one night stands but have weakened occasionally. I don't want to get married either. But I would like to meet someone for a long-term relationship. Hopefully someone who together we'll have more fun than either of us had as singles.

But post 30, the selections are limited. I mentioned my "type" before. In reality, however, you can't have a type at my age. Your type is whose available. Like it or do without.

I'm not the only one, of course, but it feels like it sometimes. Then you ask yourself why. Am I too choosy? Or is that just what I tell myself to explain my lack of success? Admittedly, with setting up the business, money has been tight so I haven't been out that much so that doesn't help. But do many people really meet their partners in night clubs? What a lottery. How can you choose a partner when you can't even speak to each other? Surely you are most likely to meet someone in a situation where you can actually talk.

I met my last girlfriend in Guatemala. She was a Londoner who had been doing immersion Spanish in El Salvador. I think she was just glad to talk to a fellow Brit. We talked a lot. We got it together the second night after we met and shared hotel rooms on our travels for three months after that. Such was its whirlwind nature we even talked about moving in together on our return to the UK. We didn't, I bottled it. She was prepared to sell her house in London and move up to Newcastle but in the end I wasn't sure enough about the relationship to ask her to do that.

So we split it up. But my point was - we met and got together and the result of talking, and talking a lot. I can do the talk. But, I'm no Brad Pitt. If I am going to pull I'm less likely to pull in an environment where it's only my looks which can be taken into account by the other party.

Or maybe it's just too hard these days to find "the one". We work too long hours, we have become a nation obsessed with agony aunts and talk shows. As a result we over analyse everything. Back in the good old days you got spliced to the first woman that came your way just so you could move out your mam's and you made the best of it. Not a lot of fun admittedly but certainly a far easier system.

I also wonder if my general points-in-favour fall between two stools. If I had a skin complaint, and I dribbled, I would cut my losses and go with a female version of me. Hopefully I can shoot a little higher. I'm intelligent - I think. I have a point of view. I don't have film star looks but I have no physical abnormalities either and I have good personal hygiene. In the relationship stakes I'm neither the cream or the dregs.

So again, no answers only questions. Most of the time I'm an independent soul who is happy to be on his own. But like all singles the blues, the peer pressure and the general weight of tradition conspires to make you feel a little inadequate if you're not one half of a couple. And it would be nice to share my evenings, nights and weekends with someone.

It'll happen I guess.

Love, light and peace,

BykerSink

I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

colonelkurtz02@hotmail.com