Our blogger, who at 46 is looking for love online, tries dating younger men – and first up is a guy 19 years her junior.
Am I ready to meet men? Am I ready for love? After my disastrous date with Boepman (Finding Love Online), who accused me of wasting his time, I’m wondering about these questions quite a lot.
It doesn’t take me long to get to the answer. I do the sums and realise that in 20 years I was technically single for only about six months. I’m the type of woman who flies from one relationship to the next – like a trapeze artist. From one pair of strong hands to the next. And there’s always a man to catch me.
The problem is, I fly without a safety net. At the moment I’m a single mother. I rent a flat. I don’t really have an income to speak of. Can I really afford to start from the beginning every time a long-term relationship doesn’t work? Can my heart afford it?
When I think about my heart I see one of those porcelain plates that have been broken so often there are more cracks than plate. Perhaps it’s time to stop trying to repair the plate and go the mosaic route. Create something new.
In other words, perhaps it’s time to play the field for the first time in my life and not get involved too quickly. By Tuesday it’s beginning to sound like an increasingly good idea. On Tuesday night I decide to spread my net wider and enlarge the age group I’m interested in. Forget about men from 40 to 50 – that’s relationship material. Those are men with strong arms who will catch me – and perhaps hang on. What I need is a man who will just fly with me – to and fro in the air. Right there I changed the age group on my online profile to 25 to 45. Why not?
On Wednesday my inbox is so full of young men wanting to know if I like young men that I wonder whether I like young men or not. Perhaps it’s high time I tried one. There are quite a few to choose from. And you know what young men are like – all muscles and sexy smiles with a lust-filled space where the brain should be. I decide on a process of elimination.
First I remove everyone younger than 29. Then I drop the unattractive ones. There are a few left. Then I read their messages. Good grief! Quite a few can’t spell. I don’t mean typing mistakes or finger trouble. Serious spelling mistakes. Spelling mistakes characteristic of the present education system and the fact that perhaps they just aren’t old enough to be able to spell properly. That’s the end of those who couldn’t spell.
Significantly fewer remain.
Then I begin to talk to them. These talks are painful at times. They call me “angel” or “babe”. At least it isn’t “tannie”. They want to meet. Get busy. Should I or shouldn’t I?
Thursday night inbox, there’s a man for me. I like his name. From his photograph he looks in his 30s. He’s very tall. He has completed his studies. He’s working. But he’s 27 years old and still lives with his mother (I shudder but try not to think about it). But he sounds mature (meaning he asks me what I do rather than about my chest measurements). By Friday I know he has always gone out with older women (which means he won’t run screaming from my thick-waisted middle-agedness), that he’s looking for someone to fly with and not to hang on, and that he’s avoiding younger women because they want to marry and have children – something he’s not ready for.
On Saturday morning we meet for coffee. In a coffee shop in Melkbos. I’m a little nervous because I can barely remember what to say to a strange man – let alone one born when I was 19.
On the way to the coffee shop I think back to that time. I was in my third year at university. Madonna was still young and fresh. Cellphones didn’t exist and neither did Internet. I console myself with the thought that I was fatter then than I am now.
He’s waiting for me when I come in. Stands up when he recognises me. Oh, oh, oh, my heart sings. He’s big. Strong. All muscle. He’s wearing a sleeveless vest that shows off his tanned, bulging muscles and tattoos. He’s wearing a hat and looks like a rapper. Well . . . there’s always a first time.
“Would you like something to drink?” he asks.
“Cappuccino,” I answer.
Our eyes meet. He’s really, really attractive.
“You’re very pretty,” he whispers, taking my hand.
And at that moment I forget everything. His age, the hat, the fact that he doesn’t have a single wrinkle on his face. All I can think of is flying – high!
Then the waitress arrives.
“Are you ready to order?” she asks with a smile.
“Yes,” he answers, self-assured. “My friend will have a cappuccino.”
“And for you?”
The waitress and I look at him.
“A milkshake please. Banana flavour.”
At first I think I’ve misheard. Then I start laughing.
“Why are you laughing?” he asks, surprised.
“As if it isn’t bad enough that I’m 19 years older than you, you go and rub it in by ordering a milkshake! A milkshake of all things!”
He looks at me for a moment, confused.
“But I like milkshakes . . .”
Naturally you do, I think to myself. You possibly still have some of your milk teeth. But do I like men who still drink milkshakes? That’s completely another story . . .
“Come on, have I put you off?” he asks, concerned.
“Slightly,” I answer.
“Well, then I’ll have to make up for it,” he says, and kisses me. Right there in the coffee shop. We have a date for next week – because he doesn’t kiss like a man who drinks milkshakes.
- Erla-Mari Diedericks
Erla-Mari Diedericks is the author of the book Sin, Sushi & Survival and her latest novel, Still Standing, is now available in shops countrywide as well as at kalahari.com.
- Watch an interview with Erla on the breakfast show Expresso on SABC 3 on Monday 5 August at 8:20.