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Choosing To Live Apart – how does that shimmy down as we get older


9 Minute Read

We were old when we met. Asanga – Pete, Albert variously – was almost 70 and I was almost 60. And we lived five hours apart by car. Holy non-matrimony, that’s quite a trip. From West London to North Wales. And now I’m nearly 70 and he’s nearly 80 – we’re still doing it. And relishing the difference.

Honestly, it was a nightmare to step into this relationship. At least for me. I can’t speak for Asanga but I’d been on my own for 17 years (apart from various mad, bad and dangerous carry-ons with unavailable men – from the drunken difficult psychotherapist to the charismatic alcoholic /would-be property developer, more likely to be found eating the carpet, let’s call them the classics) whereas he’d been married for 30 years. He was more used to a solid relationship.

Asanga found it difficult to comprehend my anxiety levels. Oh – they were so there. Especially when my family were around. For a woman who never wanted to be married (and still doesn’t) and lived her life amid squats, hippies and punks plus has never really been employed; I turned incredibly conformist when it came to this relationship. I was constantly anticipating disaster of an erotic or embarrassing kind. And to give him his disaster credentials, Asanga did live up to my expectations. I won’t go into all the details. But there was the time that he managed to use the bidet – no one actually used it, it was a throwback from 1970s new housing aspirations – and break it in my mother’s Yorkshire abode. I was beyond mortified.

And I absolutely hated that he didn’t know, understand or seem particularly interested in my vivid personal history or vast web of friends – my lumbering baggage. And equally, I abhorred having to get to know him. There was so much of it – on both sides. I’d always wanted to connect to someone who understood my roots and all their little rootlings. That was a part of that woodland, my particular wood.

However – thank heavens – I did love being transported to heavenly North Wales. I’d drive (and still do) my mother’s golden Fabia down his track and wonder at this little piece of earthly paradise full of oak and ash nestled behind Pentrefelin. I still do. Something happens to me as I arrive – a dropping down. Well – it does now. In previous years, we’d have a fight as soon as I got there. To bridge the gap and then we’d have to find a route through. We practised a lot of vulnerability-revealing in those days. It was hard work but good practice, ultimately. We discovered alleys through conflict.

There is so much to negotiate when you live together and yet apart. And there is so much richness too. I love being alone and with someone. It suits my psyche especially now I’m 69. I don’t want to be with another person all the time. But I relish the web. There is such freedom here for me. And for Asanga. We can have the best of both worlds. Well, we can now that we’ve been doing it for so long.

Phew, we are now familiar with the long bags that we drag behind us. Although we are always learning new aspects of each other, misunderstanding and trying to find understanding. Take this week. Here is a small example. Asanga is called Asanga because it’s Sanskrit for aloneness and the spiritual healer, Osho or Bhagwan gave it to him. Sannyasins are not big on boundaries because they are so great at being without boundaries which can be wildly exciting and it can make life feel very unsafe for people like me who are insecure. This is a minuscule example. A FB friend of his, an older woman, also an older sannyasin, responded to Asanga’s climbing post by commenting ‘Great Shape’. It was a comment about his body, his physical shape, she liked it. To me, that was going over a boundary. She knows he’s in a relationship and she decided to not care. I wasn’t majorly upset, just a little putout.

Asanga and I have had a lot of tooing and froing about this kind of issue. Examples more serious than this one but all along a similar line-crossing. Either by him or other women. I’ve often felt that because he’s not insecure in this way, I am being too much. This time – and we have done a lot of personal work on it – I messaged Asanga and wondered if he would act around it. In the past, he would have been, defensive and then claim it was absolutely fine. This time, he understood. He messaged her privately in a good way, then she took down the comment. O the simplicity and calm that I yearn for.

For me, that was a huge action even though it wasn’t. That action made me feel so seen. My love for him instantly deepened.

And we’re still driving 240 miles to see each other. There is no regularity about it. Sometimes it’s every two weeks, often we meet in other places – I love being on neutral terrain with him so that we can relinquish our territorial attachments, especially me, I’m forever clearing his belongings into the study, mind you, I do live in a small flat – like Ilkley in Yorkshire, Bristol – although next, I am going up to North Wales for a month. And he will stay here in July for a week because we’ve got two weekend festivals to go to – Silver Sky Festival, then Womad.

I enjoy the feeling of organic endeavour between us and that it’s not regular but is dependable. We trust each other. We’re in contact every day, mainly messages on WhatsApp and photos of what we’re up to. That’s the safety of the web that I feel holding me/us. We don’t talk much, maybe once a week. But since our energy wanes in the evening, one of us might cancel. Often me. I just don’t feel like talking on the phone when I’m at home alone. Or anywhere else for that matter. And I love that it’s okay.

I appreciate that he’s having a good time in N Wales as I am in London. We’re interdependent rather than dependent. It’s taken me a long time to get to this place. And of course, we’re lucky that we’ve both got homes that we own, and are financially stable independently. Neither of us spends much money. Asanga is frugal, my mother was frugal. And – as long we have occasional splurges on travel and a delicious meal out – I’m content to be careful in this way. Money and how we as humans spend it, and what we feel comfortable about spending is such a hugely fascinating topic.

And we are both getting older. We’re aware of it – we’re talking about death and dying. Although not especially at the moment, it’s spring! The question came up not so long ago – what will we do if one of us can’t drive anymore? The answer is that we’ll adapt. If Asanga became unable to drive, I’d be the one who did all the driving, or perhaps I’d move up there for longer periods.

It’s good to be prepared and talk but you can’t be prepared for everything. Going with the flow is one of those hippie things that we can both do. As a family, we the Rouses, learnt when my mother first got Alzheimer’s – she died in 2018 – that it’s important to be organic in terms of finding solutions. My mum moved in and out of different stages – at first, she could be at home with a little extra help and occasional companions to take her out – then it came the time for her to have more care and she moved into a residential home where there was a daycare centre. The daycare centre was so good – mum was ready there and waiting every day, she loved playing games and being sociable. It reminded her of her cruising days. We kept on the paid companions to take her out and about when we weren’t there. Neither I nor my sister lived near Ilkley. Eventually, she moved to a nursing home nearer to us. It was an ever-changing scenario where we tried as hard as we could to fulfil her needs as well as see her as much as we could.

Although I hope our experience in our older years is different to that of my mother’s (in terms of getting Alzheimer’s plus she didn’t have many friends), I know one aspect will be the same. We will be organic around what happens to each other. Fortunately, Asanga has a daughter who lives with him – her boyfriend comes to stay – and that is also a boon for me, because I know he has company and support in maintaining his large four-bedroom farmhouse and 14 acres of land. There have been times in the past when I’ve thought that he’s crazy to keep it on, but he’s almost 79 and he’s still doing it! And it’s gorgeous so why not? He’s happy in his wildland. I’m also very happy about his wildland when I’m there.

I also have a son – who’s 35 – and he lives in London with his partner. We’re very close. I’m not a grandmother yet, but I might be one day, and if I am, I’d like to be relatively nearby. Another reason that Living Apart Together suits me.

I also have to confess that I’m a sucker for anticipation and the ritual of preparation. I’m already thinking about what to take to Wales when I go very soon. I’ll be working there this time – I did that in lockdown too – and Asanga has cleared out his office (formerly a dumping ground for every discarded item) for me. I am touched.

What will the future bring? We’ve really no idea. But I have confidence that we’ll roll with it.

If you would like to read more of my work, it’s here –
http://www.roserouse.co.uk

AofA People: Any Lucas – Events Ambassador, Riverside Studios


5 Minute Read

Let me introduce you to 59 year old Any Lucas who has recently become Events Ambassador at the newly reopened Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

How old are you?

59

Where do you live?

Hammersmith & Fulham

What do you do?

After 25 years spent in the educational system, I decided last summer that it was time to turn a brand new page. My 17-year-old finished 6th form in June (hence ending my 28 years role as a school mum as there is a 14-year gap with my eldest!) at almost the same time that my resignation letter to my headmaster took effect. In September, instead of preparing to meet new classes and deliver syllabuses, I started in my new role as Events Ambassador at the newly reopened RIVERSIDE STUDIOS in Hammersmith.

How do you feel about being your age?

I absolutely LOVE it! My brain seems to have finally learned to live to its fullest without endangering different aspects of my life. I am so grateful to all the lessons learned in each decade (good ones, hard and bad ones) as no growth would have taken place without these different experiences. Physically, despite some inevitable aches and pain, I am the fittest I have been since my body went through the miracle of birth three times.

What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?

So many things to mention, much better knowledge of myself and others makes a huge difference when perceiving everyday life situations so confidence is definitely high on the list. So much more acceptance of everything in general. A real appreciation of being part of humanity.

How do you feel about sex?

Oh la la! Over the years I have found myself many a time in the midst of conversations with friends where the tone of the exchanges turned far too über explicit for my liking. On each of these occasions, I can always feel the redness and tend to remain rather quiet! Sex is such a powerful expression of intimacy! However, as a mother of 3 daughters, I have tried to make sure that the sexual aspect of their upbringings was always an open dialogue.

And relationships?

My husband Chris and I have been together for over 38 years. It definitely hasn’t been ‘une longue fleuve tranquille’ – far from it! But, despite all the highs and lows, some really humongous ones, he is still my very best friend. We share so many memories! And of course, I could not do without the rich tapestry of people with whom I share an array of different but equally invaluable friendships. 

How free do you feel?

Very free! The freest I have been since my children were born. I value being in charge of achieving the right balance between work/life, wellbeing and I also appreciate the simple joy of life. I feel that today, after years of living in a near state of constant stress I am getting to the balance.

What are you proud of?

As anybody who knows me will testify, I would be a liar if I said anything other than my three smart and talented daughters. Each of them continues to amaze me every day, they are the sunshine of my life for sure. To witness them transforming into confident, super able femi/nist/nine women is the best highlight ever!

What inspires you?

Everything and anything really: family, books, Nature, paintings, skies…To be inspired is to be alive.

When I swim up and down my local pool: it’s my time for making lists, meditating, being aware of strength and physicality or simply the best way to start the day! Cycling along the river as a commute to work and of course at any other time.  Family time.

Where does your creativity go?

Strangely, unlike most of my family and a hefty majority of my friends, there is nothing concrete, visual or audible to touch, see or hear which could be attributed to me. I think most of my creativity is somehow directed in the sphere of my social being. It appears to go into my everyday life and my interactions with my fellow humans. I seem to be able to form connections between disparate people who are often engaged with the creative arts.

What is your philosophy of living?

To really live life. To focus on the positive and let bygones be bygones. Regrets and anger are such destructive and self-centred emotions. To have a permanent sense of curiosity and wonder. To be kind to oneself and others. Acceptance of oneself and others. Someone told me once I was the tree and my daughters were the blossoms and, as it stands I am happy now to be grounded as my blossoming years were somewhat volatile.

And dying?

It should be just like turning another page into the unknown of the next chapter! Unfortunately, it saddens me that in the 21st century too many examples of ‘bad deaths’ are occurring on a scandalous scale. Our modern society needs to have a very serious open debate and to be prepared for some seismic changes at many different levels: law, medicine, care system, costs, attitudes to entitle every individual to a dignified death.

Are you still dreaming?

Oh yes! In all its varied aspects! When I sleep, daydreaming and when completely lucid! Getting the chance of working in the creative arts and joining Riverside Studios, that is a dream come true.

Tell us something outrageous that you’ve done recently.

I find this question confusing. What might appear totally outrageous to one person might not be so to another! For example, recently I was describing to some friends my love of cycling in the dark on the wilder north bank of the Thames between Barnes and Hammersmith Bridge – they described this as being totally outrageous! They mentioned the danger of being alone in the dark. I utterly disagreed (so did some other friends). When you speak of darkness in London, it is a bit of a joke really. In those moments, the reflecting lights on the water, the whooshing sounds of the leaves under my wheels, the complete awareness of sounds in the trees and bushes alive with birds and wildlife mixed with the rush of adrenaline. That isn’t outrageous! That is having fun on my way back home.

AofA People: Kathy Keefe – Artist


3 Minute Read

Kathy Keefe, 63, is a wildly wonderful artist who lives in Kent and can be found often on Colour Walks in London. She makes hats, paints and makes incredible dolls. She also is the carer for her profoundly deaf husband, Derek.

How old are you?

 63

Where do you live?

I live in a small village in Kent.

What do you do?

I am an artist and also a carer for my husband who is profoundly deaf.

How is this age for you?

 I enjoy being my age and living life to the fullest. I don’t have a mortgage to worry about and I only have myself and my husband to please. We are very compatible.

What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?

 I have more time and patience. I also have more knowledge as I decided to get a degree in Art/Design when I was in my 50s.

What about sex?

Sex is great. I have a very loving and healthy marriage to a wonderful man. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.

And relationships?

I have only ever had one relationship that has lasted 45 years. I met my husband when I was just eighteen. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but we certainly had something that has got us through the ups and downs of married life.

How free do you feel?

My freedom to be creative and sometimes impulsive is very important to me, and I have always been able to be myself. I have never felt the need to have extramarital affairs as I am very happy.

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of many things. I am proud of our two beautiful talented daughters, and also our two beautiful granddaughters. My wonderful husband who has had to overcome many difficult and life-threatening health issues. I am also proud of myself for finding the strength to help support him and our children during those difficult times. I’m also proud of becoming a mature student and getting my degree. Plus getting a first for my dissertation when I’m dyslexic.

What inspires you?

Like-minded people. I love to mix with other people who are interested in the arts and fashion. I am a very visual person and I need to be stimulated by colour and good conversation.

When are you happiest?

When I am working on a new project. I love it when I don’t want to stop working on something that I’m creating from scratch.

Where does your creativity go?

Into whatever I’m making or painting. It could be a hat, a drawing, a painting or making one of my dolls or putting items of clothes together to wear. I have curated a couple of fashion shows locally. I would love to do more of those..

What is your philosophy of living?

To live life to the full and have no regrets.

And dying?

I don’t worry about dying, it’s something comes to all of us. That’s why my philosophy of life is to live life to the full.

Are you still dreaming?

Yes, I dream about winning the lottery. What I really would like to do is to give most of it away. It must sound boring but I have most things that I need. It would however allow me to organise family holidays and make it a lot easier for my family and friends.

What was the last outrageous thing you did?

OMG I can’t think of anything. I’m much too sensible to do anything remotely outrageous, and if I did, do you think I would tell you?

Divorce Day: Why ending your marriage could be the best decision you ever make | International Business Times


5 Minute Read

The first Monday after Christmas is known as Divorce Day.

Two women reveal how the pain of divorce helped them to create better lives.

Forgetting your birthday was the first warning sign, which only highlighted their laid back attitude to sharing the housework.

Read the full article here: Divorce Day: Why ending your marriage could be the best decision you ever make | International Business Times

Young Hearts | Vimeo


3 Minute Read

Our three couples – Hans (79) & Edith (76), Ellen (84) & Horst (77), Ralf & Kristin (both 73) – have two things in common: After being together for 3, 16, and 51 years they are all still heavily in love.

Watch the video here: Young Hearts | Vimeo

I’ve Fallen in Love with the River


1 Minute Read

It’s often said that we live parallel lives in cities. The other day, I was invited to a pub on a familiar junction in London that I must have passed for 30 years yet never noticed. I was meeting some musicians who found the essence of Macedonian mojo in Peckham Rye but were decamping for the season lest it is sullied by the gridlock and the ceaseless barney.

My daily commute in London was getting to be of that ilk and unreliable too, a weary outwitting of arthritic infrastructure with no access to flotation tank and Dead Sea mud. The creaking bureaucracy overarching my profession of 16 years, that had started out years ago with local JP in the shires popping in for an informed chat and a friendly trawl through the books, had become a behemoth survived by brilliant colleagues and wonderful, woefully marginalized, troubled but soulful clients, but unsustainable.

After those 16 years, my knees were buckling under the legal bundles for constant benefit tribunals, last-ditch stays of eviction belatedly on the team radar, and the pavement pounding to beat the traffic and the tardy buses. I used to go to the river to watch the timeless flow, as referred to oddly enough by HG Wells in the epigraph to a novel titled by my family’s surname. Towards the end of Tono-Bungay, about a wonder tonic whose development is as restorative as the finished product, Wells writes of a trudge through the city ‘…But after that one is in a world of accident and nature…. beyond all law, order and precedence… conferences of brown-sailed barges’. His point there I think is that traditional graft, natures’ anarchy and certain stillness revolve around the river. Not a million miles away from the green utopia he envisaged in ‘News From Nowhere’. Wells saw these urban overloads coming down the pike and he noted where the Lighter Men were, unloading vessels so they could travel safely.

During this testing period, I recalled a couple of idyllic days spent making an EP with an old musician friend some distance up the Thames. Yards away a hippie maker of bamboo sax ligatures was testing his products before an audience of newly-hatched goslings and their mum. The shifted, earthed quality of what we put into these tracks as the studio floor juddered intermittently with the current. The lack of dead-eared deadlined din and hum. The industrious and at-ease-with-it who wave as they pass and the zoned out competitive rowers, waterproof as if allergic, who don’t. The wind in my face as I took the tiller of Russ’ boat for 500 yards or so and felt the benign might of the current and the foliage gently waving and swaying from the bank, the sense of being half a mile from Tesco’s yet in another, ancient world at peace with itself, calling to me. Nearly buying a craft from the Cossack heritage masseur to Dame Maggie Smith and Kylie Minogue whose close circles thereby mutter reverently of the life-affirming qualities of Rickmansworth. A glass of wine swirling with some gentle pitch and yaw is akin to a massage I think.

So a mutual old friend of Russ’ is moving to mountainous Italy with his GF and their watery den the Jam Pony is up for sale. My Mum left me part of her bequest and I hovered between her semi-detached sensibleness and her bursts of derring-do, such as flying a glider at 70 and her discreet heroism in the blitz when being the distant relative of one of the Lightermen (they who still unload river traffic from Tilbury that’s too bulky and disperse the loads was considered a walk on the wild side). As I was leaving Streatham for somewhere Thames Water were digging up some tunnelling rumoured to have been deployed for shelters then. And in a manner of speaking, it’s the water again.

So I fall in love with a little stretch of river and she, 55 foot of blue-twinset liveried doughtiness with a hint of the racy, the Jam Pony. A bit the worse for wear but soon with immaculate internal snagging. The engine has the timbre of a fine lady baritone in a barbershop quartet with sympathetic bass undertones. Another name perhaps?

A former co-worker of mine came to mind, and she has consented, but the word is that its bad luck to reassign a vessel when you first take it on. That current means risky business in the wintertime. The Swans, who had made war with me over my lunch when I worked in the canal side country town a few years ago -I’m reliably informed they are cousins- came to be fed through the window. Terms established for the inevitable payola, I went to my local bank and perspired a little as the payment went through to the broker who has a legitimate business rather than a sandwich-fleecing operation. The quietest of red-letter day moments on a busy urban afternoon, as if the river had invisibly manifested as clearing, windy, cool (to quote the usual reading on my parents’ barometer, eventually the case).

I find that I am part of a team. Not as of a corporate training day. As you arrive it’s game on over tea and digestives in a converted Sea Scout hut as mission control. Ropes, timber for decking, scaffolding poles to lash the boat to the riverside even as the bank itself shifts and expands with the challenging winter tides. . Sourcing a dinghy for getting to and fro as there is no direct road access.

It’s a bit choppy but you’re assured these things won’t sink though you might fall in once or twice, so here’s where to get your gear. You’re embedded through this into the friendly passing noddery of the river network that gets things done and organises its parallels to what you begin to see have been and are the much choppier waters of the school run, the mall, the traffic snarls and the glassy commuter glares at uncommitted fouling of personal space. The swans nod at me now as I drive past them in the dinghy like 50s pinstriped commuters, but there by regal charter, making it clear you are on trial initiation.

What the river also does is flow together bits of your life you had left half-done and re-locate those ships that pass in the night. The person making many of these fix-up calls for my boat, with me by his side, who for many years was the first responder to traffic accidents, overdoses and climatically and unassumingly, a gun massacre by a secure hospital escapee for life-saving at which my fixer got an MBE. Though gratefully received, it’s in a drawer now, on land, maybe 15 miles from the scene, and it secured no decent pension rights or security of tenure.

Yet in a roundabout way, it did start their river journey. We also realise that we were vocationally in parallel in the shires in the swan-baited years when hostel residents overdosed, I made the call in the depths of the night and this geezers’ ambulance crew raised Lazarus umpteen times. In a parallel process, we found that the concrete and the clay beneath our feet started to feel that crucial bit less exalted with less challenged, more effusively humdrum missions. In time, tuning into the river and its denizens of all species the and the well of experience finds its wellies, its shed full of useful odds and sods, and time to ponder amid the multi-species waterside welcoming ways and means committee.

 

Is it appropriate to write your own son’s dating profile?


1 Minute Read

Michele Kirsch, learns the hard way, that it is not.

The son has done a mutual and amicable break up with his girlfriend of six years. He is only 21 so she was the main one, probably the only one. When I ask why they split up – I refrained from hysterically crying, saying how much I loved her, how he would never find someone who looked as much like Mila Kunis as she does, how she was the ultimate package deal: beauty, brains, personality and manners, asking him if he was clinically insane, that if so I would draw on my pension early to pay for psychological treatment, or ghostwriting love letters from him to her saying it was all a hideous mistake, and would she marry him and have babies with him – yes, I did NOT do all that stuff, because he just might not have appreciated my making his break up all about Me, Me, Me, cos kids today, ay, they don’t like a drama. So, I have to accept it, that my head-turningly-gorgeous son (this is not my prejudice, he actually turns heads when he walks into a room) has decided, in an outrageously mature fashion, that they had grown up together and as the way of these things, had also grown apart.

Now I have a history of trying to intervene in his love life, from the age of 11 (him not me, though you could be mistaken) when he fell for a girl called Clementine. It was Valentine’s Day, and after I got him some flowers for her from a Tesco Metro – ‘Mum take the Tesco thing off, I don’t want her to think I am cheap’ – and we jointly stalked her house, and he was just going to leave the flowers with a ‘Be my Valentine’ card and run away. I said, ‘No, son, you want to do a GRAND GESTURE’ – so in chalk, we wrote outside the house, on the pavement – ‘Be my Clementine’. I thought it was ever so original and clever, and we decided against tossing clementines around her path, because we could only get satsumas, and maybe she hated citrus fruit or had a fatal allergy to them.

I never found out if the flowers were received, or if the chalk message was rubbed away in embarrassment. Clem wound up going out with a friend of his, and my boy met his lovely gal when he was in his mid-teens. I think he did. I was drunk off my arse for most of his teens so it is a little foggy.

So anyway, fast forward to…not that long ago. He comes over to my flat cos we are going to do what we do, which is go for Pho and chat shit for ages. It is by far my favourite thing to do. He mentions he has joined a dating app, not the really popular one Tinder but a different one, where you can only potentially hook up if you swipe each other at the same time. I think. I don’t even know what swiping means, except it doesn’t hurt and you do it on your phone and nobody gets pregnant. He shows me some of the girls, and I am shocked and sickened cos they all look EXACTLY alike, like the Kardashians, big arses, small waists, cat’s eyes, virulent lippy, eyebrows shaped by people who do not understand eyebrows, and wait it gets stranger. They are all 22 and all either philosophers or curators or anthropologists. Weirder still, they all pose with their friends who look just like them, and they do some strange photoshop thing to put on kitten ears and kitten noses and whiskers. And I’m like, ‘I don’t get it, so all these kitten women are curators and when you go out with them, you get the friend as well?’. Oh yeah, and lots of them are holding bottles of Prosecco aloft.

I do not understand any of it, so I say, OK, have you swiped any of these girls? Did you meet any, and do they actually have kitten faces and strange brows, and he goes no, he has not really swiped any cos yes, they do all look a bit modified, a bit altered, a bit samey, but the thing that really gets to him is that they all have these fancy pants jobs, and he works in construction, though he was a model til he decided he hated it because he did not want to be judged for his looks. So I say construction is a noble job, honest, everyone needs something constructed. But he feels it is not really impressive enough, and he does not buy my line, ‘Oh, I know these curators, they like a bit of rough’ so he feels that his profile does not really do him justice. I say, lemme look at what you’ve written. (Voice inside screaming – don’t interfere, it’s his date, not yours, but other voice goes, interfere. It is in your genes.) He has a lovely photo, a modelling one I think. So I go ‘Great pic’ but then the first thing he writes is – ‘This is an old photo’ and I explode: ‘You can’t put that! It is only a year old, maybe two, but you look exactly like that, maybe better. If you put ‘old pic’ they are going to think you are 75, bald fat and have halitosis and those strange hairs that grow out of old men’s nostrils and ears.’ He is not convinced. He also does not want to say he is in construction cos it sounds boring. And I’m like ‘no, everyone loves a builder. If you were a curator as well you would just talk hi falutin boring art shite all day and it would be a passionless relationship. You would have to go to galleries and museums, not clubs or festivals, with a clever kitten woman. NO!’.

And I realize that I have to let him go out there and meet these kitten women and make his own mistakes. He rejects my profile rewrite – ‘Can strangle a giraffe with my bare hands, if needed, though I love animals…particularly cats’ even though I protest it shows brute strength and sensitivity all in one phrase. And what do I actually know about dating in the modern world? Nothing. What do I know about my son? Enough to know that he’s smart enough, charming enough and gorgeous enough to make his own way in the world of dating. The stuff I find funny (OK, you meet one of these kitten ladies and find out that she does not have kitten ears and nose, and you look at her in horror and go, “But your ears and nose looked so different in the photo… this is really false advertising. I loved those damned ears and nose…”) leaves him cold. We abandon the app and go out for Pho, and I count my blessings. He’s happy and healthy, I am sober, and life is very sweet right now. He will meet his sweetheart, one day, and I will love her as much, if not more, than the last one.

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