Well, the dreaded day is almost at hand. My fourth decade on Earth begins on Monday and, despite previous assertions to the contrary, I have to admit that I still find it a tiny bit daunting. No, daunting isn’t the right word exactly. If I were to be entirely honest, succinct and to the point, sad is how I would describe it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every one of the last forty years has been a waste; I have a gorgeous, complicated nearly fourteen year-old son who reminds me of his father and myself in all the good ways. I’ve grown into a woman who is above average in terms of creativity, insight, decency, fairness and affection, (if a little lacking in compromise, grace and knowing-when-to-shut-the-hell-up). I’ve learned, with the benefit of hindsight, how to love others, what they will expect of me, what to expect of them, and what to expect of myself. The unachieved ambition that is gnawing away at me is one that will undoubtedly piss off some of my regular readers, who are fed up with me going on about how fabulous it is to be single at my age, only to chuck the idea a couple of posts later. Well dears, I am about to exceed your expectations. While there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with being single in your late thirties/early forties, (a lot of you absolutely rock it, I must say), I for one am finally ready to admit that I am sick to bloody death of it. This upcoming milestone highlights the reason that I still spend my free Saturday nights watching Doctor Who (the David Tennant years) marathons and eating chocolate hazelnut spread from the jar, (other than there being something inexplicably heavenly about that combination): I’m terrified not to.
I’m nervous that there will be changes to my everyday life, but that doesn’t scare me. I’m worried that my boy will be resentful of another man in my life, but that doesn’t scare me. I’m anxious (and certain) that my mother will try to drive him away, but that doesn’t scare me (not anymore, anyway). What I find so satin-soilingly petrifying is, ridiculous as this may sound, being a girl.
Told you it might sound ridiculous.
The last guy I went out with never actually took me outside the house, unless it was to a naughty accessories store and prior to that, eons prior to that, I’d been living with the father of my child for four years, and prior to that I was never really the kind of girl who guys took out on real dates; (regular readers who haven’t clicked the big red x by now will know I’m not that girl anymore). I’m not saying I want to don a little black dress and eat at a five star restaurant; I don’t own a little black dress, and figuring out the order of the cutlery alone would be enough to bring on a panic attack! What I’m admitting to you now is that I honestly have no idea how to date. I know how to make contact. I know how to initiate ‘intimate contact.’ It’s all the stuff in between that paralyses me. I want to be asked out; to look pretty in something other than my beloved hoodie-and-jeans ensemble; to sit and talk to someone over a couple of drinks; to have fun without worrying what I’m going to have to do to pay for my dinner later on. (No, I’m not a hooker – it was a metaphor, people).
Am I the only single woman in the world who feels this way? Probably not, given the size of the place. Does it feel that way? Absolutely. This isn’t me calling for a pity party, by the way, and to my Sydneysider friend who is planning on coming down here to Melbourne and have coffee and cupcakes with me – we are still on; it’s just me telling the truth. I like to do that occasionally.