Know what it feels like to want attention, only to get it from all the wrong places? Welcome to my world. I don't know whether it's my non-threatening face, my tough stance against velour tracksuits, or just some 'Come get it while it's lukewarm' vibe I'm inadvertently throwing out, but lately I seem to have become the pin-up girl for a clique I really wish I wasn't cool enough for: The Dirty Old Men Club. While guys my own age remain relatively indifferent to my charms, I'm getting hit upon by fellas who are a few little blue pills shy of being my Dad's drinking buddies.
The first incident started innocently enough. While dropping my son off at a birthday party, I was invited in for a coffee. I sat down and chatted with the birthday boy's mother and a family friend for awhile, thanked them and left. A week later the family friend, a man in his late fifties, arrived on my doorstep with a DVD in hand. He explained that my son told him he was a huge fan of stand up comedy, and had put together a compilation for him. I told my son to thank him and invited him in for a coffee. The true nature of his visit was revealed when he remarked how astonished he was that I was still unattached, and I had to spend the next twenty minutes or so balancing my coffee cup precariously on one crossed knee while using my hands to cover the area toward which he was directing his compliments. Once I casually dropped into the conversation the fact that my (fictitious) brother was a policeman and amateur boxer who would shortly be getting up, my guest took the hint and left, never to be seen again.
You might want to reserve that sharp intake of breath I sense you were about to have...it gets worse.
After my landlord sent me an inspection notice, I went into panic mode and started calling professional cleaning services to ask what the going rate was for cleaning and sanitising a three bedroom petri dish. Shocked, but unsurprised that every one of them said they couldn't do the job for anything less than a Brazilian kidnapper's ransom demand, I began mentally cataloguing my DVDs and wrapping my glassware in newspaper to prepare for moving day. Then my mother reminded me that she knew a guy. Nigel had been cleaning her apartment, and those of her neighbours, for the past twenty two years, so I gave him a chance. After taking a quick tour of the place, he quoted me half the next best offer, and I hired him on the spot. It was only when I was seeing him off at the door upon completion of the job that I found out what my slovenly habits were really going to cost me.
'Listen,' he said, 'I know you must find it hard being on your own, so if ever you feel at a loss, just give me a ring. My wife goes interstate to see her mother every second weekend - we could catch up.' I slammed the door in his face and, needless to say, my newly spruced up house might have appeared spotless to my landlord, but it sure felt dirty to me. I'll sum things up and spare you the horror stories of spurned semi-retired taxi driver advances and the grinning pizza shop proprietor who offered to throw in extra cheese for free, if you'll pardon the double entendre, lest I put you off whatever meal you might be trying to enjoy while you read this. I marvel at the fact that I spent my mid to late twenties committed to a man whose football got more physical contact than I did, and never cheated on him despite the offers I got from men who were also in their twenties at the time. Now that I'm single again, men my own age seem to be beating a path to the fire escape, while their Dad's chat me up at the bar!
If there's a lesson here, I think it's that whoever you are, however old you are, the universe is a perverse old bastard with a wicked sense of humour who enjoys getting shits and giggles at our expense, and the best thing to do is to laugh it off and move on, which is what I'm going to do...once I'm done changing my locks and throwing out all my v-neck tops.