Since hitting the menopause, my libido may have done a runner but my desire for love and companionship most certainly had not. Finally an empty nester, I decided it was time I looked for someone with whom I could share life's experiences, knowing that finding such a person could take some time.
A good friend of mine runs a small fashion label selling unusual embroidered skirts that she operates from a market stall in Camden Town. It’s the tatty end of the High Street, just down the road from Camden Town tube where stalls selling knock-off t-shirts with slogans like ‘My Girlfriend Went to London and all I Got was this Shitty T-shirt’ sit side by side next to fake Doc Martens and Goth dresses. My friend’s designer skirts stand out by a mile. It's no surprise she makes a comfortable living from them. With their distinctive, yet subtle patterns of birds on a telegraph wire or colourful polo mints against a pitch-black background, they're like orchids in amongst a sea of brambles.
It was with this sentiment in mind that I decided that my search for love should start in the place in which one would least expect to find me, Craigslist. For those unfamiliar with Craigslist, it’s the place to go if you’re hoping to find someone up for a lunchtime, zipless fuck or a ‘sensual’ massage. Not wishing for either, I figured I stood half a chance of bagging Mr. Right or Mr. Just-Right-for-Now if they happened to be browsing, for fun, as I sometimes did. I'd tried Tinder and been disappointed. Sure, I'd had more than a few matches but mostly I could never seem to get past Tinder chat to Whats App and then to Real Life. Guardian Soulmates seemed so, well, expensive and a bit desperate. Friends I knew who had tried it all complained of there being far too many opinionated vegans. I'm a girl who appreciates a good steak. Craigslist had always appealed to me for its randomness. I'd used the site successfully in the past to find web designers, interior designers, white van men and, yes, once upon a time, a few free lunches too (with and without the sex). My philosophy on life being, 'You don't know until you've tried,' I submitted my free ad:
"Dynamic, Attractive, 55-year-old seeking Male Romantic Companion"
"Swiping right and left has turned out to be a massive waste of time and, as a woman with not much time to spare, I am hoping this place might prove to be more efficient when it comes to finding a match."
"I am a busy, happy, healthy woman who has lived a very full life and now finally an empty nester. Hurrah! I have a good sense of humour (even briefly, at one point, attempting to be a stand-up comedian), a positive outlook on life and am seeking a man, my own age, which also enjoys life and would like someone with whom to share it."
"I enjoy the usual pursuits, eating out, cinema, theatre, museums and galleries and I am particularly fond of jazz."
"When it comes to my taste in men, all the men with whom I have been close have been slim and dark haired, ranging in height from 5’9” – 6’4”. So I guess you could say this is my ‘type.’ In my ideal world, I imagine being with someone older, wiser and maybe even retired who views my hectic life and entrepreneurial spirit as charming, rather than threatening."
"Please do not send me pictures of your penis or about how you fantasize about being with an older woman. I have had my share of both and as I’m sure you are writing to me in the hope of a response, you would end up very disappointed."
"Your photo will receive mine in return. Go on, make my day."
My mid-life, Craigslist dating adventure has begun. Watch this space for the next episode.