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Finding a Way to Make Love when You’re Over 70

7 Minute Read

As long as I can remember, I believed I was neither attractive nor loveable enough.

That’s why, when I met Jim, I decided to see if I could make him fall in love with me.

I clearly succeeded because just 4 months later we got married.

This must count as one of the worst decisions of my life.

Marriage to Jim only worsened my self-doubts. He was a reserved man, totally unempathetic and not particularly interested in sex. I felt unloved and unimportant. And very lonely.

On top of all that, my self-perception as an attractive woman was destroyed, a belief that burdened me for years.

I was always the one doing the approaching – not because I wanted sex but because I yearned for the closeness and tenderness I always hoped would follow – despite the repeated evidence to the contrary.

In the last few years, Jim became impotent which I interpreted as a clear sign that he found me unattractive which did nothing for my self-confidence as a woman. I tried to talk to him about it but he just retreated within himself.

Even though the sex was so unfulfilling, I yearned for at least some expression of tenderness.

But I was afraid that, if I tried to show affection he would interpret it as me wanting sex which, would make him feel pressured and cause him to retreat even more.

Finally, when the pain of staying became worse than the fear of the unknown, I left. I was 60.

After some half-hearted attempts at online dating, I realised that men regarded women my age as too old.

I didn’t really mind not being in a relationship or not having sex given how ‘forgettable’ my experience had been. Every once in a while, I still hoped for love but it seemed like it was not to be. Not that I spent too much time dwelling on it.

I spent the next ten years living on my own and rebuilding my life. I learned to attract the most wonderful friendships and went on adventures including a paragliding holiday in Turkey to celebrate my 70th birthday!

Sue Plumtree Paragliding

I started running a group with my local u3a (University of the Third Age) for people over 50 called The Life-Enhancing Group which has now been running over six years.

I felt loved and fulfilled. I had everything I’d always yearned for!

About four years ago, I thought it would be fun to start a new u3a group based on one of my interests, cooking. I called this new group ‘Come Lunch with Me’.

One of the first people to call was a man called Paul. Like me, he was 70 and also like me, he enjoyed cooking.

It didn’t take long for me to learn to like him. He really listened (and remembered!), he had an interesting life, enjoyed contributing his skills for the severely disabled and was close to his family. The more I found out about him, the more I liked him.

Here was a man who appeared to check every one of the boxes I had hungered for all my life. The more I got to know him, the more I liked and trusted him and the more my wounds from my marriage began to heal.

It didn’t take long for me to start feeling attracted to him – I mean, REALLY attracted. For the first time in what felt like forever, I started experiencing sexual feelings.

That’s when I started worrying.

I worried about my body. I have scoliosis, a curvature of the spine as well as the changes that come from ageing all of which made me feel worried about being seen naked.

I worried about the fact that I hadn’t been in a sexual relationship in over 15 years.

I worried about vaginal dryness and much more!

As I learned later, Paul had his own share of worries.

We both struggled with our own demons, particularly the fear of allowing ourselves to be seen and being found wanting. I can’t tell you how scared I felt.

But things did change.

As we gradually grew closer we both began to feel safe enough to allow ourselves to be seen – physically and emotionally.

The novelty of feeling sexually aroused was as exhilarating as it was terrifying. I felt alive again but unsure if my feelings were reciprocated.

I also worried because it had been such a long time since I made love with a man. On reflection, I never really made love. Yes, I did have sex but I don’t think I ever made love.

But by then we’d started holding each other and kissing but nothing overtly sensual which frustrated me even more.

In the end, I thought “Sod It!”.

I remember that life-changing moment as if it were yesterday.

We were at my place, just holding each other and I was beginning to feel aroused. I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t he say or, better still, do something!”

I knew the subject would come up sooner or later but I wanted it to be sooner rather than later. In the end, even though I felt vulnerable, I decided to go for it. “Paul, I want you to come to bed with me,” I said.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to drag him with me to the bedroom but first, we both admitted feeling nervous. I even admitted to lacking confidence in my body and my lack of experience – a strange admission coming from a 70-year old woman.

Joking about being ‘newbies’ inserted some light-heartedness which helped.

Because neither one of us had had sex in many years, we both read articles about sex in later life.

These articles were helpful up to a point. But I noticed that some had a condescendingly reassuring tone trying to convince men who have difficulty getting and maintaining an erection not to worry too much as it would undermine their confidence.

Their advice to men was that there were other ways to find sexual fulfilment apart from penetrative sex but they made it sound second best – just foreplay; not the ‘real thing’.

As we became familiar with each other’s bodies, Paul and I discovered that far from non-penetrative sex being a second-best experience, the reality was vastly different.

We decided to read ‘The Joys of Sex’ together for inspiration. What an eye-opener!

The way Paul puts it is, “making love lovingly.” And that’s exactly what making love with him feels like.

We can’t keep our hands off each other (present tense) – well, I certainly can’t (an ongoing joke between us).

Outside of bed, we do a lot of touching – a loving hug, an unexpected tickle that makes us burst out laughing, a cuddle, a look that tells me he sees me as a beautiful and sexy woman. All of this means that, come bedtime, we’re usually eager for more sensual touching.

But, best of all, I’ve discovered that lovemaking is so much more than sex.

One of the lovely things is that it doesn’t take place exclusively in the bedroom.

Paul and I like saying loving, even sexy things to each other. “You’re so beautiful!” (yes, even after more than four years), “I love your body” (I had trouble believing him at first) or he’ll say, “Let me look at you” gazing lovingly at my face and stroking it gently.

A favourite of mine is telling him – “I’m potty about your botty!” to which he replies, “You’re outrageous!” and we both crease up with laughter.

It tells us we’re seen and appreciated as well as regarded as sexy and attractive despite our age.

I can’t imagine looking at another man when my own looks at me with such love and desire.

What I discovered was that, when we like each other, when we value and appreciate each other, when we accept each other as we are, when we make each other feel heard and understood, when we play and laugh together – that’s when sex becomes love-making.

There’s truly nothing like it.

They say that meeting new people and making new friends gets more and more difficult the older you get but that’s not my experience.

Going to events – talks, workshops, seminars – that you’re interested in you’re more likely to meet like-minded people.

But that’s not the only way. Offering to do something for others as I did for my u3a could be fun and bring interesting people into your life.

Most of all, enjoying your life on your own is immensely attractive to others. Happiness attracts happiness!

What the Hell is Binaural Dating?

1 Minute Read

Binaural dating. #bethedate was the offer that came to my inbox. ‘Oh yes!’ I thought, ‘that sounds fun,…. an audio experience that looks at dating from the inside out. With a waiter that Waits and a Chef to guide you. What’s the worst that could happen?’

Well, the worst that could happen couldn’t possibly be worse than my own risible attempts. I tried a dating site once, wasn’t prepared to pay for a ‘proper’ dating site as I wasn’t terribly serious about finding a life partner. So I wasted a lot of people’s time chatting when all they wanted was sex. I thought I wanted sex too. I thought defining myself as ‘sapio-sexual’ would both narrow the field and ensure that I dated people (men actually) who were more interested in finding out what was in my head than in my pants. After a number of dates where exploratory snogging led directly to people (men actually) diving straight into my pants, I gave up on the dating game.

So, the promise of a date, based on a performance, which would not land up with me gratuitously sticking my tongue down someone’s throat (apparently I need little encouragement), or them prematurely diving into my pants (apparently they need little encouragement) sounded rather fun.

Who could resist an invitation that reads – ‘Part interactive performance, part dating agency, Binaural Dinner Date invites genuine applications from individuals looking for love, or existing couples who simply want a very different dating experience.’

Friday was date night! In the absence of actually having someone to date, I booked a ‘singles’ ticket. My friend Henni who plays violin with me at poetry performances booked too. Off I trotted to Gerry’s in Stratford, dressed almost for an actual date, but without the plunging neckline or the three layers of face paint, I navigated a packed overground, got lost in the Westville Centre and arrived hot, bothered and a little late just in time to be one of the last to be seated at a table. This was going well, almost as well as any actual date I had been on. I was joined by a very attractive and very female date. I think we both managed our disappointment rather well. To be honest, at least she wasn’t 5ft 7ins when she’d said she was 6ft 2ins or 52 when she’d said she was 45. This was already the most honest date I’d ever been on and we hadn’t even exchanged a word!

The Binaural Dating experience was a bit like those dating programmes where people who are hopeless at flirting are given instructions through headphones. Except we both had headphones on! We were both being given instructions! Even knowing this, I felt relieved to be divested of the responsibility of using my own tired dating script. The Chef was a lot funnier, more cruel and deliberate than I could ever be. Seven mins in, we had broken the ice. Seventeen mins in, we had asked each other some pretty deep and interesting questions. Thirty mins in, we were playing competitive games. Forty five mins in, we were co-operating. Each new item on the menu brought us closer together. I was asking and being asked questions, I would never have the courage, playfulness or imagination to ask on a first date. The waiter, as promised, was waiting. There was eye-contact, there was intimacy, and there was reassurance and connection. There has been a lot been written about intimate, participative and immersive theatres as antidote to the consumerist nature of capitalist cultural production. Modern dating apps tend to exacerbate problems of expendability and magnify the performative nature of romance, without critical awareness. At some point, I wondered vaguely if I could hire the Chef to accompany me on all dates to feed me some alternative narrative lines. This was a theatre which used dating as both metaphor and means. I had an esoteric teacher who used to claim that intimacy was about allowing people in: ‘In-too-me-see’. I’d rather go on a million dates like this; dates which are subversive enough to make me challenge my motives and the superficiality of my preferences and yet still provide me with a deeply intimate experience. After an hour of sitting across from and interacting with my date, I found that I had truly laughed, revealed, played and explored with a complete stranger.

Our clothes were still on, my tongue had not transgressed. Her hands had not travelled (this would not have been different if it had been a man!). I felt warm and squishy and more fully human and alive. I bought into the idea that love can heal our brokenness. Both Henni and I left wishing we had bought someone whom we fancied on this date. I hope fervently that Binaural Dating will be set up as an agency for reluctant daters or those wanting a a playful challenge to their tired dating scripts. I’m keen to go again.

It’s still on until the 2nd Dec. Book now. Go!

Binaural Dinner Date is on from the 30th Nov to the 3rd December. Tickets are selling fast!

ZU-UK is run by creative directors Jaade Persis and Jorge Ramos. They run a collaborative theatre making MA in conjunction with the University of East London and also run frequent professional development courses for artists interested in performance, technology and collaboration.

Debra Watson is a participative theatre practitioner, media facilitator and poet. Visit her at:

The Advantages of Dating a Prosopagnosiac

1 Minute Read

One of the more interesting side effects of the stroke I had about 18 months ago – was that I lost the ability to recognise people’s faces.

It’s called Prosopagnosia and it’s caused by damage to the fusiform gyrus on the right hand side of the brain. It’s not that I can’t physically see people’s faces, it’s just that they don’t mean anything to me or ring any bells – even if I know that person really well. I lose family and friends in crowds and even supermarkets and pubs. I know of mothers who can’t spot their children in a playground and teachers who don’t recognise their pupils. I’ve heard of work colleagues introducing themselves to fellow workers at least three times in one day. Or not knowing who someone is once they change something about their appearance like the cut or colour of their hair.

If I hear a voice, however, then I immediately know who they are. It’s not like I’ve forgotten them, just that the bit that ties what someone looks like to whom and what they are to me – is missing. Think of it like this. Imagine there’s a smell that takes you back to a time or place, but one day, you smell that scent and it means nothing to you. It doesn’t bring back the memories and emotions. It’s just another smell. Sort of like that.

One of the odd things about this is that you don’t recognise celebrities or actors. I’ve watched whole films and when the titles come up realised that I’ve been watching an actor I know really well. Not just from other performances, but personally! But they’ve looked different, or acted differently or used a different voice and I’ve had no idea.

There are tests you can take to see if you have this issue – 2% of people have it from birth, so it’s more common than you might think. Mine is the rarer ‘acquired’ type. Oddly, since having this, I’ve discovered that a couple of people I know quite well also have a version of it and didn’t even know that they did.

There’s the other side of the coin – ‘Super Recognisers’. These are the sort of people who can pass you in the street and remember that they were at school with you 30 years ago. But for now, let’s stick with the Proso’s and the point of this article.

I’ve also discovered another major side effect of this condition – is that I don’t really know what counts as good looking or handsome or ugly or pretty or gorgeous or plain or attractive purely from someone’s face. I need to look past that into their character. Their words, their actions, their demeanour. Everything but the one thing that normally acts as the flag. Their face. Which is good news if your face isn’t what you’d like it to be, because it doesn’t matter a damn to a Prosopagnosiac. It’s an old cliché about looking past the face and into the soul, but that’s exactly what we have to do. We care much more about what’s on the inside because we have no idea what’s on the outside.

People, in general, could learn a lot from Prosopagnosiacs. We have to be very careful how we approach people because we might already have said hello, or they might be someone we’d rather not engage with, or they might be a friend or a family member – we don’t have a clue. We have to assume that anyone who smiles at us, knows us, and so we smile back (not a bad recipe for a nicer world). We hope we don’t accidentally snub people that we do know, by blanking them when we’re at social events because we haven’t recognised them, so we’re super- friendly to all and sundry. And we never, ever take people on face value, because to us, their face has no value at all. It’s what’s behind the eyes that counts. And when you’re in the dating pool, that’s what takes you out of the shallows and into the deep end.

10 Tips: If the Buddha gave Dating Advice.

5 Minute Read

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have the ancient wisdom of the Buddha to guide me through the dating process. I often refer to the book, If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path, by Charlotte Kasl, PhD, for my relationship-seeking needs.

Thing is, if the Buddha did give dating tips, they might be a little confusing to us modern-day folks. That’s why I’ve put together this CliffNotes version of Charlotte Kasl’s dating tips—each with helpful translations. Turns out, on the spiritual path, the dating tips or “rules” can be surprisingly simple.

Source: 10 Tips: If the Buddha gave Dating Advice.

Why I’ve Always Loved Younger Men

8 Minute Read

Why I’ve always loved younger men….

Younger men… now there’s a damning phrase if you are an older woman. Branded as cougar, cradle-snatcher, why is it that all those rather unpleasant epithets never get showered on men who prefer ‘a younger model’?

I’ve always been open about my preference, recognising it’s fundamentally part of who I am, rather then just a midlife need for a good fuck… (Although of course that never goes amiss.)

So grab a coffee, and enjoy…

Clear as day I remember standing in the Sussex kitchen of my mother’s best friend. The three of us. Exasperation at me was written all over my mother’s face. I was 16, so most would find this unsurprising. But this emotion had been on her face whenever she looked at me for most of my life. Nothing new there.

The discussion turned to boyfriends – a delicious wayward boxing half-blue, history student at Cambridge was my current choice. Older – yes, a little, more experienced – quite definitely. My mother and friend both knew how much I was enjoying it, him.

But the comments that followed changed my perspective forever. The world went quiet. My heart stopped. The seismic plates shifted. No-one else noticed – but me.

‘Hmm the thing about Erica is she needs a strong person. To control her. To ensure she doesn’t do anything stupid. Someone much older. A real man who can tell her what to do. How life is.’

Throw-away comments maybe. As if I wasn’t in the room. But those few words resonated into my future. I absolutely knew I never wanted an older man, a father figure, someone who knew best. Those words still make my heart go cold.

What I wanted, had probably always wanted, was a playmate, a partner in crime, a lover who was up for exploration, someone as wild-minded, intense like me. Who loved passionately. I wanted someone to ‘see’ me. And this man was always going to be my age or younger. From the get-go. A sort of sexy Peter Pan, combined with Jack Sparrow. Insouciant. Fresh-faced. Smiling. Light of body, mind, heart.

Life went on. I married a man my own age. I loved him passionately. We had happy times and lots of children, but his childhood damage claimed him. So there I was back in the world of dating again. Time to imagine next steps. And it was never ever about someone older.

After licking my wounds, eight years ago I threw myself back into the maelstrom that is internet dating. Curious and worried.

I was facing 50 – with all the uncertainties of the menopause ahead, of being ‘past it’, of thinking life was on a downward spiral from here on. To my surprise – I was thrown a lifeline from a really unexpected quarter. Those younger men who had always featured in my mind’s eye came up trumps. To them I was catnip. I was a person to be courted, fantasised about, enjoyed and spoiled. They wanted to engage with me, just as I had always wanted to engage with them.

The reasons to enjoy them are many and varied…So here’s my list – once sampled you can add your own…

• Younger men understand personal grooming really well.
And if you don’t believe me – compare younger men’s profiles to those in their 60s and 70s on any dating site. If you did the same comparison for older/younger women, the difference is much less stark.

• Yoga is something they’ve tried and probably do.
Supple bendy men are wonderful lovers. Health/wellbeing is part of who they are. Most of the younger men I have dated have done yoga… Older men? Nada.

• Your/their gene pool really is irrelevant.
You may have children already, or be past those years… Yeay, they are happy not to have to factor that into any dating equation. Not so with women closer to them in age.

• If you are lucky, you have your own space, so are not looking to them to provide a roof over your head. What they earn and whether it can support a mortgage/rent is therefore not important. Nor is a pension for that matter – you’re more sorted anyway.

• You know what you’re doing in bed and boy, is it fun exploring all sorts of new stuff… Toys, apps, you name it.

• They love the fact that you are older…

Be prepared to have the whole world feel they can make personal comments about you/your relationship/their prejudices about the inappropriateness of older woman/younger man together with impunity…

I dated a very beautiful 6’3” triathlete – eye-candy of the highest order. If I went to the loo in a bar, girls young enough to be my daughters would feel they could express jealousy/horror and everything in between. Until you explained that they, when older, could be doing just the same. Hah! That put it in perspective in a way they’d never anticipated.

He too was asked what it was like ‘shagging his mother’… Not expecting the ‘best sex ever’ reply his laddish inquisitors got. But what amazed him was how many men wanted to talk about it more, and more, and more. And then would ask us about it together.

It would seem that there is a need for ‘fact site for dating older women’ somewhere.

• Those younger men are up for adventure – big time.
Whereas an older guy doesn’t get why you want to have sex in as many car-parks as you can round London to see where the CCTV cameras can’t reach, my playmate at the time thought it was a crazy, fun-filled way to spend odd weekday evenings. We saw parts of London I never knew existed, in ways I hadn’t anticipated!

Windsurfing and sex – tick, kayaking and sex – tick, sleeping outside in all weathers and sex – tick.

• Yes I did have my fair share of sexual problems to deal with… premature ejaculation, lack of erection, etc. Sometimes I wondered if I’d become the sexual therapist some of these men needed, but being able to talk about it to me was an unanticipated bonus – for them.

• They get why the roof off the car, loud music at 2am on a frosty night is the only way to get home from a party.

• Importantly – I love younger people…
Most of my company’s clients are in their 20s, 30s, early 40s – I’m mixing with them on a daily basis, building their companies with them, understanding the issues they face. I talk their talk, walk their walk. And some of them are hot as hell. Although clients are a definite ‘no, no’, it’s not rocket science these are the types of men I engage with emotionally, or physically. And I’m not interested in retiring (well, other than to a well-appointed bed with some delightful company). There are too many things to do, people to see, places to go… I find the ‘slippers/pipe’ mentality in older men unbelievably dispiriting. Please no, don’t unhook me from the mainstream.

• Younger men don’t get M&S, or the National Trust
This may sound a little odd. But next time you’re in M&S – look around you. No-one hot and tasty in there, is there? No, see my point. So I run in, buy Rosie HW’s silk bras and dash out again, a little worried I might have been seen by my latest squeeze. Who just so happens to love removing said silk 
bras, cami-knickers and cashmere sweaters that M&S does so well, priced so reasonably. And what hot date has ever asked you to go round a NT property – unless of course they were the tree-surgeon?

• Younger men appreciate the menopause could be a good thing…
My breasts are having a great mid-life career at the moment. Post-menopause they are getting bigger and bigger (and I was never poorly endowed). Whilst the rest of my body is fit, lithe, responding to exercise, healthy diet and yoga, my breasts have decided they are having none of that. They are big, beautiful and objects of wonder to my lovers. Older men have that sort of ‘seen it all before’ ennui.

And of course – pregnancy is no longer an issue. Condoms are for sexual health, not contraception. Ah, pregnancy.

Therein lies the rub when you are in the wonderful world of dating younger men. Because many of them will make fabulous fathers. If they are not already.

My deal with younger men has always been that when they meet the girl they want to be the mother of their children, be honest, say so. Because it can’t be me. Be truthful. They know I’ve loved being the mother of 4 – how on earth could I ever hold them, keep them from experiencing this too. So sometimes even though your heart is aching because you love them, you have to let them go to someone closer to them in age.

• You stay under their skin, in their souls…

So despite the sad point above, bear in mind one key thing. Told to me by a male friend I’ve known since I was in my late teens… If you have enjoyed loving and being loved by a man very much younger than you, he will never ever forget you. You will always be part of his life, who he is, how he loves. And if things go wrong, as sadly they do – it is you that will be on the speed-dial once the worst has happened. Because he knows you have years of life to call on to help him through. Not wisdom. Just years’ of life practice.

Go out and enjoy the smorgasbord younger men can offer. And you know one of the really great things about getting older? There are even more younger men next year than this year! Enjoy.

Simple history of modern relationships | Woman of Experience

0 Minute Read

No so long ago we talked less and had relationships. Now we talk more but it ends in relationship stalemate.

Not so many years ago, there was a time when we actually went out on dates. You went out in person because that was how you met. Sometimes you saw the same person again. And there were feelings. You soon found yourself with a boyfriend or girlfriend (nobody used neutered terms like partner) and people recognised you were in a relationship. This meant they met your mum and on rare occasions, your dad. If you got Serious you could look forward to shared electricity bills and weekly garbage rotas.

Read the full story here: Simple history of modern relationships | Woman of Experience

Swipe for sex

1 Minute Read

It was Suzanne, she of this site who told me to go Tinder. Basically I hadn’t been writing nor had I been fucking and was missing both. “You go on Tinder then you can write about it. Win-win.”

Having done reasonably well out of the analogue world: trains, planes, beaches, restaurants and the London Underground have all produced encounters, some of which became more, I generally consider the online dating scene as a cut-price marketplace for people who can’t get laid. These sites parade an endless stream of dull and wounded men. You know what I mean. Men who say they want ‘an honest and loving woman,’ a phrase which says very clearly they’d been chucked for their best friend. At the other end of the scale, were men who thoughtfully introduced themselves with a picture of their cock, forgetting this was an expectation, not an added feature on which to sell yourself.

But we live in tough times and sometimes an older babe has to get with the programme.  I got on Tinder at 9pm wondering how anyone could spend hours on what is a pretty crappy computer game and was still there at midnight.  Then  he turned up. French. Intellectual. He was early forties, traded something that made him lots of money and well read.  We chatted, well, we messaged with little effort. I was sure he would just wait until his moment and then send me the message that seems to be the calling card for a lot of men on dating sites: “I want to cum on ur face.” Since he was French and well educated it might be more like, “My body and soul, not just my cock, dreams of coming all over your beautiful face.”

It didn’t happen.

At some point he asked me if I’d read Hadrien’s Wall by Marguerite Youcenar.

“No it has been suggested but I haven’t read it.”

“Bad girl. You should be punished.”

Now every so often I come across a dominant type and I rather enjoy it. I recalled that I thought he looked a bit strict in his photos. It made sense. I knew how to pick them. At that point the discussion moved up fifty levels, to the joys of BDSM. He wasn’t into the whole Master/Sir nonsense which just turns me off but he had a way about him. He knew his stuff.

“I like whips,” he tapped.

“Why do you like whips?” I said it in the same way I might ask someone about their gluten-free food choices.

“They make a good sound and leave nice marks.”

“Yes I can see how that would work for you.”

If this was a bar, the conversation would have reached the dry throat, wet everything else mode. The only difference was that we couldn’t see each other.

“But I do prefer to use a flogger generally. Or my hand. I would like to to flog you but first I would like to kiss you.”

I gulped and took a deep breath.

He lived between Paris and London, mostly the former but he would be in London after the weekend. It was Thursday. He said he had Monday and Wednesday free and we should go to dinner. I didn’t want to seem too eager, even though I was on heat pretty much, so I said, “What about Wednesday?”

He said Monday would be so much better as he couldn’t wait to see me.

I reiterated that Wednesday was better (subtext: I don’t want to be that easy)  but he said no, he needed to see me on Monday.

“I want to do beautiful, terrible and passionate things to you.”

So, because I am led by my sexual desires and have no shame, I immediately said yes to Monday.

“We need to get out of here now.”

“Where shall we go? “ I asked. I mean we were on Tinder’s messaging app. Was there a chill out room I didn’t know about? A secret place for Tinderati?

“What’s App. I’ll see you there.”  Digital intimacy is a strange concept.

We retired to Whats App and the conversation continued intermittently through the weekend. On Monday he sent me a message from Eurostar. My first thought was he was going to cancel, as my few attempts at digital dating ended up in cancellations. I put this down to something I call the Power of Fresh Pussy.  Fundamentally what you have is a state of Perfect Potential. The illusion of the internet is that there is an endless, nay infinite, candy store to choose from and for men this is particularly compelling and fits nicely with their attention spans. The result is that they might make a date with you but in the meantime they discover there is another and another. Instead of having the date they  are blinded by Pussy Potential and they can’t choose.  Of course the fact that not everyone is there for them has not penetrated their brain.

“I have booked L’Atelier Robuchon and will be in the bar from 7pm. Take your time.”

Of course I would take my time. I would just go about my day as if it were completely normal. In fact I’d forget totally that we had even spoken and that he’d already worked me up into a state where I was unable to think about anything else.  That evening at half six I’d remember I had a date with a man with a filthy mind and a strict manner and I would just throw on something I found  in the bottom of the wardrobe and say to anyone who asked, “Yeah, I’ve got this like date. Drag huh?”

I’d spent a considerable number of hours selecting two dresses that morning. London’s weather, generally on the nasty side of whimsical was being particularly difficult to interpret. The skies looked ominous so perhaps a dress and a pair of reckless heels was not going to work. Plus there was another, far greater factor at play. I had to consider what I could wear home if we ended up in bed. I am not a woman who delays the inevitable. If he pours fuel on the fire, I’m not putting it out.

I called Suzanne. “I am not sure whether to look like I am up for it or I might be up for it.”

“He knows you’re up for it already. Anyway, you’re on Tinder. He’s made a date with you without having to do any more than he’d have to do to call a hooker.”

You couldn’t fault her sense of romance. In the end I wore a leather pencil skirt with a small split in the side and a chambray shirt with the sleeves rolled up in the manner of a Vogue editor. I added Miu Miu high heels.  The look said smart, and a challenge but will fuck in the right circumstances.” Throwing flat shoes into my bag along with some eye-makeup remover (don’t want to wake up with panda eyes) and a small tube of moisturiser I was ready. I didn’t put a toothbrush in my bag as it seemed so premeditated and I didn’t want him to think I had thought that far ahead.

He was sitting in the bar on the top floor when I arrived. I recognised him immediately because joy of joys, he did look like his picture.  A picture on a screen always felt a far riskier thing to pursue, than screwing a guy I’d just met in transit at Singapore airport.  I’m really old fashioned like that.

There was a kiss on both cheeks and then we just melted into conversation.  We were smiling a lot and I think as far the staff were concerned it wasn’t awkward which was good because you really don’t want restaurant staff looking over at you thinking “Met on a site. First date.”

I ordered a Lychee Martini. “Aren’t you drinking,” I asked noting his virginal orange juice.

He smiled. “I haven’t drunk for twenty years since I went overboard.”

We went out on the terrace to smoke and size each other up.

Two Martinis later (me) and we were leaning forward, closing the rest of the world out, only to be interrupted by a waitress who wanted to show us to our table. We’d actually been given a spot that was easily the most  secluded in the restaurant. “Did you ask for this?” He laughed. “No they just gave it to us.” “Are you sure?” He knew what I was thinking and his eyes twinkled. Yep. Lust. It comes along and doesn’t usually bring love or even a deeper connection with it. You make your decision knowing that you are about to ride the wave and when it drops you, you must be be gracious and remember that it was a just a moment. That is lust. Anything else is optional. I however, was in the mood for lust. It had been a while since it had seemed like such a good idea.

Word to the wise: Never, ever underestimate staff at top restaurants: they are very savvy and I think the fact that he had already stroked my face and produced a visible shiver of anticipation had not gone unnoticed so they’d decided would be a good idea to give us a table that suited everyone’s purpose. Thus we were screened off from the rest of the room.

At some point he whispered,“I’d like to take you to a dungeon.”

Theatre, riverside walk, country pub, dungeon. It was all the same to me.

‘Why yes, of course,” I said as nonchalantly as I could with his hands stroking my neck. I would like that very much.”

If there had existed any doubt that we were going to spend some quality time together, he settled it when he leaned over and whispered.

“Remove your panties.”

It had been a few years since I’d engaged in this particular manoeuvre but reader you will be delighted to know I’d lost none of my skill and acquitted myself perfectly, deftly whipping off my Rigby and Pellers and sliding them down my leg while kicking off my shoes.

I reached down and then handed them to him, making a mental note to remember to ask for them back as they were quite expensive and nothing would match the bra otherwise. I did think it was a shame that he wouldn’t see me in the set but hell, sex was generally a messy business.

Now if a waiter can see there is  no white wine in your glass from across the room, they know a man has your panties in his hands and is now putting them to his lips.  Which brings us to the food.

It was most excellent but eating had turned into a sideshow by now. I remember my  sea bass was so delicate but as I ate it, all I could think of was sex which, in retrospect probably had something to do with the bubbles of lemongrass foam that were sitting on it. I think it’s fair to say thing were going very well at this point. By dessert he’d moved next to me, had his fingers tightly around my neck and my head was running through bondage scenarios. The air around us was heavily scented with the right amount of tension and just enough danger to make it interesting.

There was more foam when dessert arrived and he asked me to feed him. He didn’t want the berries underneath the foam as they were too cold. “If you give them to me I will punish you.”

“Yes of course.” I fed him the berries. He squeezed my neck in a way that said, “I totally mean it.”

I knew I had basically given him my cards and all I wanted him to do was play. He knew he had me (well he probably had me at hello) so did what every smart man in his position does. He leverages it.

“The hotel is not far away,” he whispered. “But first I need an espresso. And you need to wait.”

Somehow we made it to the hotel. Inside the lift, the padded walls had evidently aroused his no so latent dungeon instincts and he pushed me back, just watching me as he lifted my hands above my head. We were not the only ones in the lift. There were three other people trying not to look but look at the same time.  The lift door opened at the next floor and our fellow passengers couldn’t leave fast enough, no doubt headed for the stairwell to continue their journey without having to deal with an elevator now saturated with sex.

He on the other hand was completely unconcerned by them and was undoing my shirt. He seemed quite pleased with himself. I was very pleased with him.By the time we got to his room, he’d obtained my bra so I felt I didn’t have to worry about losing the panties as he’d put them together. Thoughtful.

It was one of those evenings where our bodies burned  faster than a startup shredding money. In the morning he endeared himself to me by ordering cake products for breakfast. Little pistachio cakes that were sugary and sweet and exactly what I would have chosen for myself.  “I will be back soon,” he said. “I really want to see you.” A perfect tonic after months of absolutely no fun. Which is probably what Tinder is for: a  palate cleanser.

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