“ Surely you want to grow old with someone ” he said.
“I do” I replied, “but I have a whole lifetime ahead of me to grow old.”
I had another disastrous date the other night. Well perhaps it wasn’t disastrous and perhaps it wasn’t even a date. I met a guy for a drink. We met at 10:30pm at Waterloo. We walked along London’s Southbank. We stopped at a bar. He had a diet coke. I had a glass of wine. We then walked back along London’s Southbank. He jumped in a taxi and I got the train.
He was a bit weird, but I quite like weird. He was super intelligent, but I like super intelligent. He was more than a bit geeky, but I quite like that too.
He was also French and I go weak at the knees for French men.
Now the slightly sad thing about Tinder-style dating encounters is that fairly early on in your meeting or date, you will probably have a conversation about why you are on said dating app and what you are looking for.
I met this guy on Bumble which is like Tinder but apparently “changes the rules of dating by putting women in charge”.
It doesn’t change the rules that much and the same old conversation ensued.
We established that neither of us really wanted a relationship. I explained that work, being a single mum and life in general leave me very little time and I don’t feel that I have time to nurture a relationship. I didn’t go into the detailed description of my life being three planets being held apart by delicate magnetic fields, but that is what I was talking about.
I also explained that one night stands are not my thing. I told him that I had never had a one night stand. This is not entirely true. I did have a one night stand many years ago. It was terrible and I don’t intend to repeat it.
I explained that I would like someone to meet up with for a drink. I want friendship. I want the occasional theatre and cinema companion. I want to spend some time with someone with whom I can have an interesting conversation. I would like to meet someone with whom I can occasionally have sex.
He nodded giving me the impression that “friends with benefits”, which I think is the correct term for the above, was also what he was after.
But, after our date that wasn’t even a date he blocked me on whatsapp. So, I am guessing that he didn’t want “friends with benefits” after all.
There was one comment he made during our non-date that I have been reflecting on since. He said “surely you want to grow old with someone”. I replied that “I do want to grow old with someone, but I have a whole lifetime ahead of me to grow old.’
I have already written about how being a single mum has made me a commitment-phobe. But the idea of growing old with someone and companionship in my old age is important.
I listened to a wonderful podcast the other day about a 70 year old woman (Eve) and an 80 year old man (Sam) who met and married each other late in life. Eve, telling her story after Sam’s death, told of the excitement of when they first met when she was nearing 70 and he 80, of their courtship, of their joint 150th birthday party to celebrate his 80th and her 70th.
Eve recounted a conversation with her new amour about his late wife who had died six years before they met. “I know you love Betty and that you will always love Betty, but I think you have room in your heart for me too”. Eve bought her new husband flowers on the anniversary of his late wife’s death. There was no competition nor rivalry, just love, respect for the life that the other had had and a tender appreciation of the other’s feelings.
Eve had been married twice before and was twice divorced. She observed that their love was tender because they each knew who they were, their history had taught them what was important. Status, pretension, ego, aggression and rivalry had gone and what was left was the space for love.
As I listened to this story of love close to the metaphorical finish line I pondered the question posed by my non-date the other night. I concluded that yes I probably do want to grow old with someone, but I have a lifetime to grow old, life is good and, for now, I am a long way from the finish line.
You can listen to the New York Times Modern Love podcast episode The Race grows sweeter near its final lap here.