It turns out that second dates aren’t that easy to arrange. Or, at least, second dates without a four-year-old in tow.
Yep, I’m referring to Alan Carr.
You wouldn’t think it could be so hard for two grown-ups to arrange a get-together of some sort. But it is. And, I must admit, it’s mostly my fault.
Part of the problem stems from my reluctance to bother any of my mummy friends who already have two offspring of their own to wrangle with. The other part of the problem is my reluctance to pay the exorbitant rates demanded by professional babysitters: although we’re not flat broke any more, I can’t contemplate coughing up fifty quid on childcare before I even put a foot out the door.
And the other part of the problem – yes, there are three parts, OK? – is that weird, undefinable mummy-guilt that crashes down on my head every time I even think about dumping my beloved offspring on a babysitter just so that I can go out and – horrors! – have a good time.
Add to that a man who also has a social life of his own and … yeah, you can see why Alan Carr and I have yet to meet up again.
Mind you, it’s almost easier that way. Because if the next date goes well, I’ll have to think about the date after that. And the thought of having to go through this rigmarole EVERY TIME I want to leave the house pretty much kills my enthusiasm stone dead, right from the off.
The only time I feel completely happy about skipping off for a night out is when Nanna is here – a sporadic happening – or when the Baby Daddy visits, once every six weeks.
I do have one or two childless mates who, for some illogical reason, fall into the category of people I don’t mind hassling, but I usually prefer them to be on the night out with me, rather than guarding my snoozling child.
Anyway, it seems the only way that dating is likely to be a stress-free experience is if the gentleman in question is happy to pop round to mine for a cuppa after infant bedtime. Pretty much every time. (It’s a rock’n’roll lifestyle, I know. He might struggle to keep pace.)
Truly, I’m destined for an old age surrounded by cats.
But, like the good Yorkshireman he is, Alan Carr is being stoic about it, and we’re still in touch … although I imagine I’ve been downgraded from a top prospect to my own special corner of the friend zone. Not that I blame him. From his perspective, it must look like he’s been sold a pup.
Still, I mustn’t get downhearted, because I’ve been the object of not one but TWO gentlemen’s attentions this week.
Yep, the mysterious owner of the-flat-two-doors-down – who hasn’t been spotted in the eight months since we moved in – finally made an appearance … and wasted no time in suggesting that he could, “knock me up for a drink” (a peculiar turn of phrase) next time he’s in town.
He seemed friendly enough, but since he seems to orbit this way … well, about once every eight months, I don’t suppose I need to get too excited, especially since he’s about 20 years my senior. He might be on a zimmer frame the next time he pops by.
Anyway, gentleman number two popped along with his son to buy my old vacuum cleaner … and, discovering that we were both single parents, suggested that I might like to meet him sometime – sans offspring – to, erm, chat about the trials of single parenthood.
Great, I hear you say. What’s not to like?
Well, there’s no delicate way to put this: he had a faceful of tattoos. He had a faceful of tattoos and that just doesn’t float my boat.
Lord knows, I’m not normally so quick to judge people on their appearances: I had dreadlocks for years and I’m no stranger to the odd tattoo myself. And yet … a faceful of tattoos is somehow a tattoo or two too far. It’s a demarcation line that says, you want to be perceived one way, and I want to be perceived another. And so I politely declined.
Still, it’s good to know I’ve still got it.
Mine may be a rarefied cachet, but it turns out there are plenty of youngsters, older gentlemen and social self-excluders who think I’m the bee’s knees.
And in the circumstances, I suppose I should be grateful for that.