Great news, girls! If you’re a single lady, you can take heart (or, perhaps, despair) at the latest news from the BBC…
The analysis of the 2011 census is finally in, and it seems that women outnumber men by almost a million: there are currently 28.5 million women pitched against just 27.6 million men. For those of us who are still single, it means that it’s definitely not our fault. The odds are against us. It’s as simple as that.
It does, of course, mean that there are a million of us who are destined to remain without a partner forever, simply because there aren’t enough men to go around.
Now, any fool knows that at least one of the key reasons for this discrepancy is life expectancy: it’s no secret that women live longer than men. Apparently, by the time we’ve got nine decades under our belt, women outnumber men by more than two to one.
However, these figures obviously include people like my gran – a sassy singleton who’s smart, stylish and more than in possession of all her faculties but who, at almost 90, is unlikely to be clamouring to bag herself a new fella.
(Not that she couldn’t. She’s a real catch. If I were a nonagenarian male, I’d resort to fisticuffs to win her attentions, if needs be.)
Anyway, ladies like her should be championed and fêted: they’re leaving more men for the rest of us. But some brainbox from the Centre for Population Change reckons that the other main factor in the male-female differential is somewhat more prosaic: namely, men are no good at filling in forms.
Can it really be true that a chunk of the male population aged between 20 and 30 (for they, apparently, are the main offenders) has slipped under the radar simply because they’re a bit slack at attending to their personal admin?
Apparently, gents in this demographic are less likely to be registered with a GP (having omitted to fill in the necessary forms to acquire one) and so are excluded from the census.
So it’s fair (if not exactly scientific) to suppose that, since they have no need of a GP, there are up to a million – and possibly more – young(ish) men, all in rude health, wandering aimlessly round our fair isle. The question is how to track them down.
Anyway, while I’m pondering this conundrum, an email arrives from the Darkly Intriguing.
“Got time for a coffee?” it says. “It’s been a while.”
It has indeed been a very long while. Weeks, in fact.
He’s been off travelling for work and, to be honest, I’ve been happy to let sleeping dogs lie. But since it’s almost lunchtime, and an hour in his company is usually entertaining, I’m happy to catch up over coffee and a slice of cake.
“Make mine the usual,” I write. “Be there in five minutes.”
The million young men – in fine health as they are – will have to wait. Single or not, when cake calls, it’s rude to ignore it.
So I close down my computer, say goodbye to the BBC, and head out the door.