Now I'm in my forties, my dating guidelines have changed
Dear Potential Date,
As a woman of a certain age (OK, 47) with a certain number of children (three, but it feels like more), I have a certain amount of baggage. Everybody does. I have a series of exes, I have numerous responsibilities, I have a range of anxieties, and a selection of neuroses.
But really, in the scheme of things, these are easy to deal with. With age comes wisdom, and money for therapy, and I'm far better at relationships than I once was.
What hasn't improved are the... well... corporeal issues. I have some minor physical limitations, brought on by childbirth, that impact rather awkwardly on any dating encounters.
And so, to avoid misunderstandings – and any of those nasty little surprises – here is a comprehensive guide.
1. Sometimes, I clutch my crotch. Please note that this is not, as a rule, an invitation to sex (although of course context in this case is very important). And it is never a reference to Michael Jackson or that nice young Justin Bieber. I clutch my crotch because I feel a sneeze coming on, and if I don't clutch my crotch, I will wee a little in my pants. I've had three kids, you know. My pelvic floor is not what it used to be.
2. If we spend the night together, you will notice that I use the bathroom a lot. Please be assured that I am not doing lines of coke on your vanity, or calling my friends to come over and rob your house. I am weeing. Repeatedly. I do that a lot. I've had three children. My bladder has the capacity of a popper juice.
3. Do not be alarmed when you see me for the first time in the morning. I will not look the same upon waking as I did falling asleep. It's odd, but overnight my face rearranges itself into a different shape. My eyelids fall down to just above my cheeks. My cheeks sag down to below my chin. My chin slumps all the way to my neck. It takes a good couple of hours for it all to come together again. Coffee helps, too. Feel free to bring me a cup.
4. The good news is that, at 47, I have reached my sexual prime. I am confident! Uninhibited! Lusty! Ready to roll! The (very minor!) bad news is that my back has gone to hell. And so, I'd like to request nothing too athletic in bed. A firm mattress would be awesome, so I don't wake up stiff. And if you have a heat pack I can use after sex, that would be great.
5. I get tired at about 10pm, 10.30pm if we're having a really good time. If we are still out at 11pm my eyes will glaze over, my movements will become jerky, and I will ask for bed. This is your cue to take me home.
6. Sometimes I get really hot and sweaty. If we are having sex at the time, feel free to take responsibility. If we are not having sex at the time, feel free to take responsibility anyway. It's probably hormones, but I've never been one to quibble over details.