Dishing the dirt …. what do women really talk about?

From time to time I’ve heard it said that women can be far worse than men when it comes to talking about the opposite sex. Clearly it depends on how you define “worse” but if the commenters were inferring that women talk more than men, then naturally I’d have to concur with this opinion.

Women of my generation talk about all manner of personal detail quite openly amongst each other. We talk about it seriously on occasion, in the manner that you might discuss a post-mortem report (maybe not the best analogy but you get my drift) and at other times we will venture into jocular territory.

A common misconception amongst men however has to be that we discuss “quality” issues …. like a panel of judges as men are paraded in front of us. That’s not the case. Well … to be perfectly honest it can happen, but only in my experience where the man in question is little more than a fantasy figure. Take Johnny Depp for instance. I will get as bawdy and raucous as a rum-soaked sailor if there’s a magazine piece featuring the gorgeous Mr D in the same vicinity as my girlfriends and I. This I have to say is totally unfair to a man with a face to melt most red-blooded women in an instant as he is obviously hugely talented to boot … but heck, I don’t suppose he lays awake at night worrying about it.

Now it comes as no surprise to anyone that women “like to talk” … John Gray has made a fortune from explaining in his “Men are from Mars …” books the opposing behaviour a man will display when faced with emotional pressure. Women now know that it’s perfectly normal for a man to “cave”, i.e. disappear into a puff of silence, when he feels that he may be getting out of his depth in a relationship or when he starts to experience the gear shift from “casual” to “serious”.

We girls of course will huddle around several bottles of wine, play some Amy Winehouse in the background and dissect and analyse the why’s and wherefore’s to explain the latest example of puzzling male behaviour. The fact is that we will come to our own conclusion if you fail to provide us with one. Talking is what women do. We share, we offload and we (occasionally) rationalise.

And the greatest discovery of my recent years is to find girlfriends that I can tell anything to. My darling Mum often thinks that seeing me on a daily basis will provide her with everything there is to know about me. Not so.

My girls Natalie and Sharon are in possession of the full Debsy facts . They know if and why I’ll do something, and they know the outcome often before the thought has even entered my head. We have consumed wine into the early hours and laughed until one of us needed to be placed into the recovery position. And what is the subject of our favorite topic? Well contrary to popular male opinion we very rarely discuss male “performance”. It’s a common misnomer that women mark men out of ten in that regard. We don’t.

What we do in practice is provide a support system for each other. We girls need that. And only another girl truly knows how bad it can get at times.

There have been a few episodes over the last few years when I’ve needed to be emotionally held up, when I’ve felt my legs couldn’t carry me anymore. A true girlfriend doesn’t need to hear the full detailed explanation; she gets it straight away.

What women will do when they get together is to help strengthen the weakest in the brood … whoever it happens to be at that time. We may talk of a man’s role in the whole process and if he’s at fault then yes, some sticking of needles in effigies may take place. It helps us feel better to cast the wrongdoer in the role of the villain, to put him on trial and consequentially to hang, draw and quarter his reputation by the third bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Men have told me that they discuss football, cars and women when they get together, but I suspect the discussion on women is based largely on bravado and speculation than much else.

And yet all cannot be lost …. I’m sat listening to an old track by the Doobie Brothers, written by Michael McDonald and Patrick Henderson and the lyrics are …

“Darlin, I know
I’m just another head on your pillow
If only just tonight, girl
Let me hear you lie just a little
Tell me I’m the only man
That you ever really loved
Honey take me back
Deep in my memory
A time when it was all very right
So very nice….”

So guys, if you can put it to music and sing it, what’s wrong with talking about it?

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In praise of the plastic surgeon’s knife …

It appears the season for perfection-bashing is upon us again, my friends. We are rising up against the need to be physically improved and are firing potshots at those who seek ways and means to achieve such. Oh good.

Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson has called for advertisers in magazines to come clean about images that have been digitally enhanced, namely those of female celebrities who aren’t in the first flush of youth having the tracks of their years airbrushed away. Jo wants to see it all; wrinkles, open pores, blood shot eyes … you name it. We don’t want to see blemish-free skin in our over-priced magazines …. we want acne-scarred reality! So all you Photoshop experts out there may find half your toolbox redundant shortly if Jo gets her way.

This suggestion has opened up the floodgate that spews forth periodically in this country on the subject of cosmetic surgery and the various procedures offered.

It’s barbaric. You should live with what nature granted you. Even if they do swing around your knees after breast-feeding. That crooked nose that was the cause of much playground teasing? Get over it.

The theory that supports this notion in a rather wobbly manner is that “enhancements” (be they invasive or not) perpetuate the need to be physically perfect, which in turn fuels the growth of conditions such as anorexia and the like.

So potentially if I were eighteen years old I might look at Andie MacDowell telling me “I’m worth it” in a magazine and think “oh my God she looks so great at forty-something and I look nothing like that” … and I’d rush off to part company with my lunch. Or it would affect me mentally to the point that my physical image became the only thing that mattered to me in life.

This is one subject that has wound me up like a watch spring for years, and here’s why.

When I was a child I ate every scrap of food my mother put in front of me. I was praised for it. I consequently became a plump little girl.

At the age of nine my mum announced I should be put on a diet.

In my late teens I had two bouts of anorexia that were not serious, but they involved restricting calories to four hundred and fifty per day. After a number of consultations with a psychologist it transpired that a rebellious phase I was going through with my Dad was to blame; the only control I felt I had over my life was to restrict my food intake. Couple this with the notion kicking around in the back of my head that I was a bit on the pudgy side, and you can see why I ended up where I did.

I had also been blessed with a less than perfect nose; it looked like it needed chiselling to smooth off a couple of bumps. Only twice did anyone comment on it, but I can tell you their names, what was said and the date they said it.

Whilst none of the above caused a total destruction of my self-esteem, they didn’t exactly nurture and cultivate it.

In my mid twenties I got into a conversation one day with a client (I had embarked upon a well-paid sales career by then) about her nose job. I thought “wow … I could do that …. I now have the money to change this damn-awful hooter ..” And so I did. I went to see my GP, he recommended a plastic surgeon of note who was local and I paid said surgeon to fix it.

Then around three years ago I paid another surgeon to fix my breasts. No implants, just an uplift.

This time I’d had just one comment about the offending body parts by an ex partner, after I had told him how much I had hated them since around the age of nineteen. He made a crass joke about them which in turn shattered what little sexual confidence I had at that time.

Now of course I know that I could have sought counselling for my obvious deficient self-image, but I chose not to. I instead opted for the permanent and non-equivocal solution of the surgeon’s knife.

Am I pleased with the results? You bet your life I’m pleased.

Am I now  “hooked on surgery” and selecting my next op from the extensive menu available? No!

My view is this … there were a couple of things I wasn’t happy with so I got them corrected. If I pranged my car I would take it to a reputable garage and get it put right; I don’t see the difference. My body is the vehicle I drive around in every day.

Yes it possibly does make me a little more self-obsessed than the next woman, but so what? Why do other women (predominantly it is women I find …) feel the need to lambast me and others like me? The only person I am hurting (temporarily) is me. Do I parade around after the event and tell women they are sub-standard because they can’t go bra-less? No!! I haven’t even talked about it publicly until today.

I feel no urge to tell them to rush to the hairdressers and get their roots done. I might think it, but I don’t say it because my philosophy is …..live and let live.

There is little I don’t know about the subject of poor self-esteem …I’ve had first-hand knowledge. I do think the time is right however to stop wailing on about the cosmetic surgery industry and to start instilling our young people with self-worth so that their image becomes secondary.

So if you’re looking to be perfect, that’s fine by me. If you’re looking to stay the way you are, that’s fine too. Now ….. please …. enough!

Let me end by making one last observation … the pre-op me would not have had the bottle to write anything like this.

And you can’t alter that, with a surgeon’s knife or otherwise.

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Filed under cosmetic surgery, middle age, photoshop, plastic surgery, relationships, sex, Women

Physical attraction …. does it have a lot to answer for?

In this heady and dynamic world of social networking, online dating and cyber chat, this question looms large in front of me  …….why and how do we determine the connections we make?

How we make potentially romantic contacts is of course different to those we make for business or other social reasons ….. or is it?

Most online dating sites offer you the choice of either posting a profile photograph or not, but when I tested both options for myself I got around eighty per cent less interest without a snap as opposed to with. It was actually a man who advised me to try removing my photo but the sad truth soon emerged that when a woman is post-forty, men expect the worst. I’m sorry guys, but you do …. So the moral here is …. middle-aged daters need to validate their applications with some sort of evidence that they won’t frighten small children and horses, especially if they are female.

I’ve already talked about how when browsing men’s profiles that don’t have pictures, I’ve been automatically suspicious. No matter how “nice” someone is online, if on meeting them they turn out to look like something that could be towing the British army’s tank division single handedly, I will lose interest pretty quickly. Call me shallow, but there it is…

I’m Debsylee, and I’m an attracto-holic.

When we get a way down the dating line the cracks often begin to appear, of that there is no doubt. Take Mr Bunched Up as my most recent example of this; perfectly presentable (thanks to his relentless gym regime as he was keen to point out … ) but the personality of a giraffe on acid soon negated any good work he had done in the body shop. So whilst attractiveness might get you a second interview, it’s not necessarily going to secure the position of significant other …

In socio-business situations it’s slightly less obvious, but the basic model is the same. As a single girl I’d have to admit to having two types of contacts, those (male and female) who are married/attached and therefore kept well away from any flirtatious activities, and those attractive males who aren’t married or attached …. they go into a mental file labelled “Let’s not rule it out”. That’s not to say I would necessarily start plotting a takeover manoeuvre, but on a good day with a fair wind … Who knows?

Physical attraction, therefore, seems to be the number one motivating factor that determines whether communication is pursued with significant interest initially … or not. If the interest grows with the onset of emotional, spiritual and mental attraction too, then you’re on very fertile ground and you’d better prepare for all possible outcomes. Just in case.

I’ve pursued contact with a couple of men that really should have been parked when an alarm sounded but because I was visually hooked and the mental pairing was progressing well too, I chose to ignore the siren and battle on regardless.

Cat in the Hat is a perfect example. He was a substantial number of years older than me, but very learned, great with words and had a fabulous American accent. I was without doubt in the latter stages of “liking too much”. So when he chose to impart the information that he was going to have a “surgical procedure” that would involve some pumpage in – ahem – intimate moments, I chose to brush it off as unimportant.

Now, sane, rational and clear-thinking Debsy would scream “you what???” at that prospect but no, not the case for the newly mesmerised and smitten Debsy. My one remaining slightly concerned and clear-thinking brain cell chose to discuss it with Mr Distant Cynic, who after composing himself mentioned that a fit and healthy woman in her forties would soon tire of mechanics in the bedroom … I maintained that true love would see us through. How deluded was I? More on Cat in the Hat on another day. Needless to say the relationship was soon a deflated  version of it’s former self (not as the result of any test-drives, I should add …)

One lady commented to me some time ago that being very beautiful can be a curse; it can attract the wrong sort of attention. I can see why that would be … beauty can act like a magnet, attracting people from every direction. If the attractor has a well-honed selection process to eliminate all the ne’er-do-wells and retain the gems, then all well and good. But you can only imagine the number of times you might have to fall flat on your face to get that system operating well, without sentiment or emotion.

When all is said and done we remain a species that acts first on the visual; we might like to think we’ve evolved but the truth is that the progress has been negligible.

We may be phasing out beauty contests, but that just puts the judges back out on the streets ….

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Filed under attraction, dating, Facebook, flirting, Friends Reunited, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, sex, Twitter, Women

Don’t tell me to grow up … this is as far as I go

A little while ago I saw a discussion on TV about people’s mental age and after giving it the once over to ensure it wasn’t simply more garbage plumping out daytime TV, the thought crossed my mind that I could well have an explanation here for ongoing sillyness that those around me have to endure.

When I mentioned this to my father he too indicated in familial fashion that he thought it was rubbish, until I pointed out to him that my brother (who is three years my junior) in practice acts fifteen years older than me. At least.

My dear old dad had to concur that it was true; I am still a little girl (my words and not his, but I’m sure the thought ran through his head as he sighed in accepted resignation)

Only yesterday I visited my “older” brother and we took our offspring to the park. During the visit said bro shot me a glance that said he was mildly embarrassed when I got my swing to at least eight feet off the ground at it’s peak. The only thing my biological age has done is instilled a fear in me that now stops me trying to do the 360º.

And then this very morning my five year old boy caught me with my hand in the Maltesers bag at breakfast time. I smiled nervously at him explaining that it was OK for Mummies to have chocolate instead of weetabix, at which point he muttered … “Oh Mummy …. sort yourself out”

I have to say I found his middle-aged approach to my perceived weakness a tad worrying, until I realised that it could actually work well for the both of us. I’ve long since known that I need the voice of reason whispering in my ear on occasion, I just didn’t think it would be coming from a person quite so tiny.

Our teatime dancing sessions that more often than not involve gyrating to Girls Aloud have become legendary. I rarely can wait for the ice cream to have been devoured before I’m up shimmying to Can’t Speak French; we can now perform the cheeky wiggle with such panache that you’d think we’d choreographed it personally for Cheryl and co.

This is all standard parental practice you might think, until I admit to the fact that these dance frenzies take place all the time … even when I’m alone. I’m guessing I’m possibly around the nine year old mark, so perhaps I still have some jurisdiction over a five year old.

I think little Debsy only came out to play about two years after said son was born. I really was a proper grown up until then; you need to be in order to select the drugs you want in the labour ward.

So what drawbacks does this have in practice?

It can make me an incorrigible tease; I’ll push and push until I’m staring over the precipice mouthing “oooops ….”

And coming from a family of “adults” (save for my auntie who is around the same “age” as me), I frequently get cast as the “lost cause”. I do tend to find that dipping my head and flashing my eyes gets me out of most bothersome situations though, along with extra helpings of cake.

Of course, the grown up version of acceptable cheekiness is flirting. Oh, don’t we love that? Once you have the grown-up attributes to drive as fast as you want down the suggestive highway, it’s the most fun you can have that’s legal, calorie-free and non-taxable. And when you add a childish predisposition for high jinks it can add a propulsion that leaves standard interaction stalling on the start line.

Whatever the true reason is for my apparent refusal to grow up, you can be sure of one thing…

Tea will be late tonight due to last minute dress-rehearsals of “Love Machine” taking place in a dining room near you NOW …

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A woman’s assets …. her fortune or her downfall?

A short while ago I touched on this subject in “Why women should wear lipstick ..”, but having had a tongue-in-cheek conversation earlier via Twitter with a friend concerning his visits to certain “establishments” in Prague, I felt it was time to give the hornet’s nest a shake once more.

For the benefit of my inter-continental cousins, some European cities have a reputation for clubs that feature attractive women, specialising in the artistic removal of of their clothes. Some clubs, I’m told, don’t even bother with the actual disrobing at all, they just go straight to the main course skipping the starter entirely. In any event, there is much female flesh on display and proportionate male cash is flashed in appreciation. Men flock from all corners of Europe to these cities and maintain that it is continental beer that is the lure of such destinations, but detailed documentaries on Sky have informed us that beer is but an additional benefit …

Over the years I have met women who have turned quite an impressive shade of purple when the subjects of strip clubs, lap dancing or porn have been discussed; they saw the subject as an affront to women and the source of discrimination against the fairer sex. I have to confess that during my earlier years I was one of those women. Why should I battle in my chosen profession to be regarded only for how good I looked in a pencil skirt by my male superiors?

Gradually I realised that raging against the subject didn’t make it go away …. the truth, girls, is this …. men like to look at women. Some even confess they can’t help it. It’s how they are wired. It matters not that the four-minute warning may have sounded, if there’s a bouncy cleavage on show, that’s where a man’s attention will be focused. It’s a biological fact and the sooner we girls accept it, the more relaxed we’ll be.

Now I’d imagine that some men may be applauding that sentiment, but not so fast …. I’m not done yet, gentlemen.

If men have an acknowledged weakness for the female form, then there is going to be a whole lot of exploitation going on. Take the artistic and tasteful flesh pots of Prague and the like … a woman moves her unclothed curves in front of a man in such a way that he reaches straight for his wallet and offers her the contents. Who’s being exploited? Market forces … where there’s a demand, Peter Stringfellow et al are seizing the opportunity.

So let’s move this on a stage …. some time ago a male friend told me that men like to communicate in a no-nonsense, black and white fashion. This is, by all acounts, why they get annoyed when women answer “nothing’ to the perennial favourite question “what’s the matter?”. You can see their point here, girls, can’t you?

So … let’s take the need for black and white communication and match it up to a man’s desires for all things fleshy and female.

Picture the scene, ladies …. your man is at work and you call him on his mobile.

“Hello?”

“Hello darling …. I just wanted to fill you in on this evening’s programme. You’ll be home around seven, yes? …

… Well, when you get home I’ll be wearing that dress you like … the one that is a little too low cut at the front? We’re going to then eat your favourite slow-roasted lamb for dinner and I’m going to rub my foot up and down your leg, I’m going to giggle like a school girl at your jokes and play with my hair suggestively..

…then for dessert, I’m going to sit on your lap and spoon-feed you with home-made chocolate mousse, licking my fingers in between … after which, we will disappear upstairs and do what nature intended us to do ….

When we’re finished darling, I’m going to explain why we need to book a holiday and I’d really, really like you to agree with me”

At what point do you think he’ll stop listening? It’s black and white. No tricks, no guessing games.

Of course there will be a few hard-bitten men out there spitting in anger at this rather obvious attempt to manipulate a man’s ‘weakness’, so in answer to those gents I would say this …..

You should have said no to the poison apple.

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Who’s wearing the trousers now?

My last post concerning men and their ensuing aging process seems to have stirred up a veritable hornet’s nest of opinion … the like of which has left me scratching my head somewhat.

I still fail to see why advancing years are such an issue for anyone these days, irrespective of gender. Of course if my dear Mum was reading this over my shoulder right now she’d be pointing out that in her forties she felt great too, but that reaching seventy isn’t quite the same story.

The boys seem to be missing one vital fact here …. the girls like nothing more than men who have matured into learned, confident chaps, relaxed about their lot in life. Shall I tell you why that is? Because it means we don’t have to worry about propping them up and reassuring them at every twist and turn.

I had a very recent date with one man who on the face of it seemed to ooze confidence and gravitas; we’d had several conversations about life, children, values …. all deep searching stuff. He and I were very similar in many regards; we held a very similar political view (if you saw me raging over the Sunday papers, my glasses slipping down my nose and unkempt hair akimbo, you’d appreciate what a big deal that is… you wouldn’t want to cross that woman) and he had a knack of engaging me within a minute or two of a phone conversation. All was good.

As it turned out, Mr Bunched Up (stay with me, all will be made clear) had more issues swimming around in his head than the local therapy group. We were going out to eat …. he couldn’t eat garlic because he had an intolerance ….. We were going to a bar …. he doesn’t ever, ever drink as this doesn’t sit comfortably with his ultra-healthy lifestyle (daily visits to the gym) We discussed relationships and he declared it isn’t possible to have a relationship if you have children and are divorced ….. I wondered exactly what he thought he was going to get out of his dating site subscription.

So there we sat, him with his lime and soda and ham sandwich, me with my wine and deep fried something or other (OK, it was childish) and I realised I’d managed to net another forty something derelict shell of a post-divorce man (borne out of his barbed comment “I HAVE AN EX WIFE, YOU KNOW … HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK THEY COST?” when I had enquired if he had a sat-nav system)

Now Mr Bunched Up had let it slip very deliberately that I “wouldn’t be disappointed” if we progressed things to a more intimate level, given his frequent gym visits.

“When you remove my shirt you’ll see there isn’t an ounce of fat on me …”

OK. Fair enough. I can’t say I was totally disinterested in that comment, but let me tell you, after the whinging, whining “can’t do this”, “can’t do that” performance in the bar that night, I would thankfully have signed a celibacy pledge there and then if that was the best offering the opposite sex had to offer.

I have to admit I did find myself falling into that familiar role … “so tell me, why do you think can’t have a relationship with kids …??” …. “what exactly does garlic do to you …?” ….. “oh I agree, I think I should definitely give up alcohol..”

Why? I didn’t mean any of it. I was pandering to Mr Bunched Up’s little neuroses. The next morning I woke having squared the fact Debsyliciously that Mr Bunched Up and I were not going to sail off into any sunset anytime soon. I pandered now and I would never have stopped pandering. And of course, the lingering fact was there in the background that was the most damning of evidence …. he never showed any interest in wanting to know anything about me at any point in the evening.

Now, being a girl of the gender that coined the classic line “does my bum look big in this?” steeped in it’s nervous uncertainty, it made me wonder why all of a sudden I seemed to be surrounded by men who are unsure of themselves, restricted in their habits and obsessed with their self-image. Of course I applaud anyone who has a natural respect for their bodies, but for me “natural” does not involve fastening yourself into a straight-jacket lifestyle.

I’ve got to the point in life where I want to pat myself on the back for getting this far relatively unscathed. I’m not out of the woods of challenge yet by any stretch of the imagination, but I welcome each day, each glass of wine and I think it’s quite appalling that I find my total and utter lack of exercise regime so hilarious.

Seriously … I’m sniggering as I type. Laughing at my of lack of self-discipline and control ….That’s not good, is it?

Maybe I do enough worrying in other quarters. Gosh, I think I may have finally grown up …

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When it comes to men …. does age matter?

There’s a line uttered by Carrie Bradshaw in the now-immortal Sex and the City (immortal, that is, to most women between thirty and fifty) that goes …

“Men in their forties are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle: tricky, complicated, and you’re never really sure you got the right answer.”

People who haven’t been “re-singled” in mid-life possibly won’t relate to this, but it has come to my attention on several occasions that forty is the age at which men dive into the deep, dark cavern of despair when their relationships go belly-up. That’s not to say that they don’t venture out again and sample “what the world has to offer” (if you get my drift …) but, ultimately, they remain long-term patients in emotional intensive care.

Take my initial foray into the dating arena after I found myself single again, for example.

Mr Shifter, 49, was the owner of an international logistics company whose marriage had broken down when his wife of seventeen years told him she had reignited a relationship with her first love whom she had found again through Friends Reunited. It became apparent after a handful of dates that although his ex was not physically present, her memory was not only there … it was ordering seconds. When he started to eye me up and down at our last meeting to support his verbal commentary on how alike she and I were physically, I realised our time together was not going to ultimately be translated into a Hollywood block-buster of a love story.

Friends Reunited. What a hot bed of illicit wrong-doing that turned out to be. I noticed yesterday that the site may be sold by it’s owners ITV for £15 million, this after they bought it for £175 million some three and a half years ago. It did make me wonder if ITV were offloading after having paid out damages (without prejudice) to all the victims of the relationships it had allegedly wrecked unintentionally …. There is something about a first love akin to the metaphorical sleeping dog. It’s best left uninterrupted. There’s a lot to be said for the adage “it didn’t work out for a reason …” but we do still feel the need to go back and poke it, don’t we? And Facebook, there’s another one …

So Mr Shifter and I parted company amicably; he said he needed to see if there was anything he could salvage from his marriage. The last time I spoke to him he told me they had sold the ex-marital home, divided it all up and he was now living in a “sh*t-tip of a shoebox semi-detached”. No bitterness there then.

On the flip-side I did enjoy quite a few dates with my then financial advisor  who was almost ten years younger than me …. I know, I know … business and pleasure should never be bed fellows.

The Mortgage Man had a boyish charm that allowed him to capitalise on my lack of financial awareness. He invested in a couple of nights away for us that sadly happened to fall on the weekend of the most momentous rainfall known to man in July 2007. We ended up staying in a hotel seven miles away from my house as that was as far as my car could swim, and on the last day, marooned by vast expanses of water, I realised that he had to constantly have the TV switched on in our room. He hopped from channel to channel and eventually settled on a thirty year old episode of Top Cat.

Before I allowed myself time to think, the words “you’re just a boy trapped in a man’s body, aren’t you?” had left my lips. There was no way to bundle them back up and swallow them whole.

He stared at me in disbelief. I went to pack my toiletries sensing that my stock price had dropped.

Now I’m plucking these two tales from a bag of similar story-lines, and as I see it there are two recurring themes … “re-single” men over forty struggle to truly move on emotionally but they do make better father figures …. and men under forty don’t allow themselves to become trapped in a relationship’s shipwreck.

I’m generalising. Of course I am. But it does make me wonder if the men I’ve dated really think they are over the wall of their emotional past and running towards freedom …

As for me, well, my jury is still out when it comes to a man’s age. Let’s not let a little number spoil the cornucopia that is life’s rich tapestry ….

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Filed under Carrie Bradshaw, dating, divorce, Facebook, Friends Reunited, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, Sex and the City, Women