I wake up to see a strange light glowing through my duvet and a rather ominous whirring sound. Peeking tentatively under the covers I discover a four year old boy with a smile on his face pointing his charged up wind up torch straight at my lady bits. “Sid, what the hell are you doing? Go and get ready for school you monkey!” Poor lad, that view could put him off women forever.

I thought the worst humiliation I would ever suffer was when I left my Bunny on the side of the bath and found the bathroom perfectly clean and tidy and my favourite toy moved a few inches by my cleaner. But last week I was called into my bedroom for a magic show performed by magician Sid and his delightful assistant Nancy. Nancy, dressed in an emerald green circus style net skirt and swimming costume turns her arms to introduce Sid with his pyjamas dressed up by a glittery waistcoat as Sid says “Da-Daaaaaaaaar” and pulls something small, pink and plastic out of a hat. “Look at the little bunny ears, watch them move, they’re so cute,” squeals Nancy in delight.

“I really think you need to find a new place to hide your sex aids,” whispers Mr Was Right with a raised eyebrow and pursed lips. Clearly the cupboard in the bedroom with 3 suitcases piled in front of it is not enough to deter young foragers. Time to invest in a safe. A sex safe. Safe sex. But then that makes it all a bit serious. And what if I forget the number?

I send out a text to the ladies:

“Sex aid unearthed by kids this morning. Where the hell do you hide yours?”

Brrrrrrr ….God honey, that’s funny! Go to Babeland they sell lock up sex toy boxes X V

Brrrrr ….lol I bought a hide a vibe pillow a few months ago on ebay. My mum stayed in my bed. I didn’t have enough time to change the sheets and the vibrator I left under the pillow the night before went off when she attempted to lie down. Agggh, Xx red-faced Janey

And I thought my story was bad. I google Hide Your Vibrator and find the Hide Your Vibe Pillow which, I am told, has a secret silky compartment with just enough room to store your favorite toy and a small bottle of lube. All you have to do is “zip it up and toss it on the bed” apparently. Well isn’t that the general idea? You can also buy a sweet fluffy teddy that does the same thing but surely that is just asking for trouble from inquisitive kids?

Pretty up a shoebox says one mummy blogger. Clearly someone who does not have a girlchild with a shoe fetish. As I stumble from webpage to webpage I find something a bit different from Vulvalovelovely on the world famous craft site Etsy – a fanny shaped cushion to hide your favourite accessories. But that’s as obvious as leaving a note on your door saying the cash is under the green towel in my airing cupboard – help yourself – enjoy!

Anyone got any better ideas?

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I once had a friend called Sarah (Gemini) whose nom de plume at the Tottenham Ct Rd Spearmint Rhino was Sacha. She revealed all to me over a vanilla latte one day when I asked her how she got time to wash, dry and straighten her hair every morning. She said if it wasn’t her job remit she’d be slicking back wet hair into a ponytail and donning the loose Ts, tacky bums and flip flops worn by many of the tired looking parents on the school run. Sarah was thirty five and still working the pole. She’d split from a husband who used to drag her beautifully straightened hair across the kitchen floor before smashing her face with the fridge door and desperately needed to raise some cash for her and her little girl.

I sadly lost touch with her after 3 year old Violet (nicknamed Violence) was asked to leave on account of her hitting the other kids a few too many times. I was sad for Sarah because I knew the whole sorry story (her daughter had seen Dad hit Mum regularly) and gutted for me because she was fun and definitely the friend with the most interesting job. I later hooked up with one of Violence’s nursery teachers who said they wondered “about Mum’s career path” after Violet brought a marabou-trimmed g-string saying ‘hot mama’ on them for show and tell.

Back to tonight’s display. No I am not at the fireworks. I am sitting on a velvet sofa between the Swedes looking at Hot Mama pants and nurses outfits’ as Eastern European teenagers decorate the sofa around us, plying their trade for a £20 dance.
“Hi, how are you? Are you having a lovely time here tonight? Can I get you anything? Show you anything?” Bland, bland, bland. I can see why guys love coming here. These girls are the right side of twenty, scantily clad and don’t answer back when spoken to: so no threat to a man’s ego at all. Feeling like I should pick for a winner for my Swedish pals and hating to let the girls in front of me down I say, “What about her, she’s sweet?”. “How about the lady in latex, she’s lovely and you have to admit she’s put alot of effort in?”

“Wait, wayyyyyt,” says J in a soft sleazy tone that resembles the “T-rust in meeeee,” of the snake from the Jungle Book. “The besssst ones normally come lasssst.” Jan is looking clearly pissed off with his lack of date and not feeling a bit like having a dance with some girl who does it for money. I put my hand on his and tell him I’ll buy him a dance if he perks up. He cracks a half-hearted smile.

“Why don’t I dance for you and your lady friend,” says a blonde girl shaking her strawberry flavoured hair into J’s face? “She’s the one,” says J, leaping to his feet. Come on Abi, show me you are not typically English.” Well I clearly want to see every gory detail of the job my friend used to do and who knows, if Mr Was Right starts getting lax with the mortgage payments and freezes my housekeeping, I might just need a career. So I head behind a wooden screen to watch Misia, the Russian, yes J’s established her name, gyrate a very young bottom in front of us. She’s completely shaved, covered in baby powder and, unless she’s thirteen years old, has clearly had some surgery done to her undercarriage. It’s all very boring and I feel a bit nauseous so I put my hand on J’s muscular thigh to steady myself, which, he says later, is the best bit – fibber.

“You did really well,” says J when the whole excruciating experience is over. “No other girl I’ve brought here has ever been behind the screen with me.” God, he could have told me that before. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’ll be a great story to tell a few of my more enlightened friends.

After taking advice from people I perhaps shouldn’t call my friends, “Cute, clever, creative, careful, I might make you smile,” is crowned dating tag du jour and uploaded with a pic of me dancing and looking elated/drunk. I half expect my wink box to be as empty as the visitors reception in a Swine Flu ward but Holy Moly, Mrs T is pulling in the punters. I am not quite sure how this particular dating agency, voted ‘Best on the Web’, operates but, having stated a preference for guys within 50 miles, I’ve pulled in Melbourne, Tokyo and Alaska thus far. I send 3 ‘Not on your Nelly’ emails and then feel a mild pang of guilt.  Checking your inbox every morning and getting rejection after rejection must be sickening. It sets off a flashback to my modelling days:

“Your tits are too small,”

“Tits are too big,”

“You could do with losing a few pounds,”

 “You’re a bit pasty for Mario,”

“Your feet are too big for sample-sized shoes,”

“You will be swamped by the catwalk, dwulling.”

“But Kate Moss is smaller than me,” I say in my defence

“No offence but Kate’s got that special ‘thing’ honey. You are simply NOT in her league.”

All I can say is after 4 yrs of testing and making little headway in the puke and pose industry – highlights being an Armand Basi advertorial, a Tampax TV commercial and meeting my lovely friend V – it took another 4 years of therapy to get over the excruciating experience. Still, most of my friends from way-back-when became Coke addicts or bulimics or both, so I suppose I got off rather lightly.

Back to dating.

My turn to send a few winks down the line. I scroll through the closest options. David (Aquarius) from Oxford looks a bit of a dish and he’s 40, which would have been nice were he not looking for a lady between 20 to 30. Sam (Cancer, 41) from Tooting likes children and pets. He’s losing his hair which is why he’s gone for the number 1 but he’s got George Clooney’s light-up-a-room smile. Ladies no older than 28. Give me a break? I flick through man after man and find that most 30 to 40-something guys here in Blighty wouldn’t dream of dating someone their own age. What if Elle Macpherson (Aries, 45) slumped into your passenger seat, Sam? Tell me you’d kick Halle Berry (Leo, 43) out of the hot tub, David?

Why are people in this country so obsessed with youth? I personally think I have never looked better at the geriatric age of thirty one. I have developed a wicked knowing look and have the kind of super-charged sex drive that should be a red rag to a bull of a man. I know women 10 years younger than me who make me look like Miley Cyrus to their Billy Ray. Try this quick experiment: skim the pages of fashion magazines and then jump to pictures of the happier of the 30 plus Heat magazine headliners – espescially those who have had babies – now look back at those 17 year olds pretending to be 25 year olds in Vogue  fashion shoots. Try and tell me you don’t see a brighter light from the laydeez who have been around longer.

I go back to my dating site and check out the female of the species for research purposes. Most of them seem happy to date older men. So what’s your problem, guys?

Before dating exhaustion sets in I switch to Twitter to see what bonkers, irrelevant things are going on in the world:

OHHTDL  Quote of the Day “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” ~His Holiness, the Dalai Lama .

Britney’s Vagina  “May dress up in camel toe today.”

LoulouWitch  “Aren’t glue sticks supposed to be sticky? I’m right aren’t I? I mean they have the words glue and stick in their name.”

Yayyy, I got mail:

@crazyhorseholl  “How r u babe. Cosying up with kids and Chinchillas or busy booking babysitters?”

And Male:

@christian  “How’s newly single life going Ms T? Thinking of you. Letz hook up soon.”

Well there’s a bloke who’s not scared of older women. At 22 Christian (Leo) is almost a decade away from me and yet rather than flinch when I mentioned my age, he had that look of “Whooppadeeedoodahhhh, a lady with experience, I can’t wait to see where this is heading” . He’s from New Zealand so maybe that explains it and, while I didn’t exactly see him dance like a Rugby All Black when I sashayed to the taxi rank instead of his flat, we are still pretty good friends.

You could say he’s part of my new collection. I am gathering a tribe around me. I now have an admirer who mends bicycles for a living (great when you have kids), I have a web expert, a plumber, a builder and a car mechanic on speed dial. They call me for lady advice. I call them for expertise. It’s not like Mr Was Right will come running at the slightest problem any more so I need my Yellow Page Boys. 

Alright, so I make it sound glib, but discounting G, I do value these male companions and like their different points of view as much as hunker after their trades. I have learned to accept men’s wonderful differences since producing a 4 year old male of my own. Sid is a great conversationalist and the cutest thing since Pemba the baby red panda. Except when he tries to tongue me when we kiss good night. Or when he pulls down his pants, prises his bottom cheeks apart and gives people in restaurants his best kidney mooner.

“This week I am braving it. I have erased the ‘it’s complicated’ on Facebook, taken all the pics of me, husband and kids out of my photo gallery and have added my poutiest snap to Zoosk” I tell Janey (Virgo), at our local Costa. I might have discovered my inner sex goddess but for the past week the sexiest men on the planet seem otherwise engaged. Having found out that, post-G, I no longer offer a sex-chaser after cocktails they seem a lot less interested. Don’t get me wrong, I sucked a couple of faces but once the masks slipped through my teeth I discovered rather blander people emerging underneath. So I am taking a leaf out of my friend’s book. Two years ago Janey met and married a man she is gaga about through an Internet agency so I am going to give it a go. Janey says getting to know someone who has been chosen specifically for you with no need to proffer immediate address or telephone number is the safest way to meet potentials these days.

“It’s all so different out there now, Abi. Dating has changed so much since the mid-90s. It’ll probably feel like you’ve been in a coma. But I’d be careful with putting it out there too much on Facebook and Zoosk. Go for the safer option to start with. Sign up with a couple of agencies and see what happens.”

Janey was there when I met my husband at a dinner party, we chatted, he told his best mate he had met the woman he wanted to marry, his best mate told my best mate and then I took my swag bag off to America for three months which made him really, really want me. It was all so easy, which is why she knows I will probably need a compass.

“You’re right Janey. I’ve been doing some research and it makes for dizzy reading.”

When I say dizzy I mean fairground waltzer dizzy. If the dating scene was the menu in one of Gordon Ramsey’s ‘Kitchen Nightmare’ restaurants Gordon would be going mental. I can see it now: Pub, You Tube, late night supermarket shopping, chat rooms, park, Roller Disco, Dinner, Zoosk, Nightclub, Facebook, Speed Date, Twitter….”For bleeps sake Stopppppp,” screams mouthy chef pulling his hair out, “There is too much c’in f on this bleepin menu, simplify it for f’s sake, simplify it.” And that’s before we get to the main course – aka dating sites. As Gordon gains a few more lines to his furrowed forehead the list of places you can tap into male totty keeps going. With sites for the disabled, the able bodied, the fat, the fit, the farmer, the miner, the ‘tradie’ or tradesman, the man in uniform, the dull, the disaffected, the foodie, the bookworm all requirements are catered for.

“Do you think you could you hook yourself up with a drug addict or an alcoholic if you were looking for someone to heal. Some of us rather like co-dependent relationships,” laughs my giggliest friend Heather, when I meet her that night for a drink at our favourite local, The Sozzled Bishop. This cheery, cheeky, bottle-blonde 35 year old is still married, but clearly getting her kicks from hearing about my newly separated life. “Hmmm. Not stumbled upon that one yet but now you have sent it out into the ether it’s destined for the dating conveyor belt, doll.”

There are sites for bookworms http://www.penguin.match.com; people learning to cook http://www.cookanddate.com; single parents with kids http://www.singlewithkids.co.uk; people who think they are sophisticated http://www.luxurydate.co.uk; people who like to flirt over coffee http://www.coffeeandcompany.com; no holds barred gold diggers http://www.sugardaddies.com ; people who want to chat and ‘that’ http://www.chatnthat.com; people who want to forget dinner and go Gordon Ramsay’s favourite word http://www.sexintheuk.com; people who want affairs http://www.ashleymadison.com or x rated dates http://www.verynaughty.co.uk; friends of yours http://www.friendsofyours.com; friends of Mine http://www.friendsdatinglondon.com; the single in their 50s http://www.friendsoverfifty.co.uk; eager beaver college undergrads http://www.flirtingstudents.com; flirting professionals http://www.poshflirt.co.uk. There’s even a site designed for nerds and geeks http://www.nerdpassions.com.

“You wouldn’t believe how some of these websites market themselves. I mean would you sign up to a site called http://www.marriedandlonely.com? Doesn’t that sound like the saddest ad of all?”

Heather looks down and starts biting her newly manicured nails. I go on and on as the blood rushes to her cheeks. I fail to register until much, much later, too wrapped up in today’s rant. Having researched this for days I am clearly cooking on gas.

“You can date everyone from a prison inmate http://www.meet-an-inmate.com to your local cop http://www.PoliceSingles.com. You can go Russian, Thai, Welsh; whatever your preference. You can even date and donate to a charity. I liked this idea so much I checked out the Donate 2 Date application on facebook – or d’you think I’ll I meet men with beards who are far, far too good for this world?

“Ich. I don’t get beards,” says Heather, looking up. “Facial furniture is one man-trend I’ll be happy to see the back of. Even Joaquin Phoenix looks daft with one and I LOVE Joaquin Phoenix. Have you tried Sarah Beeny’s site http://www.mysinglefriend.com? Someone recommends you. I would recommend you. You are the funniest, sexiest friend I know and you can feel safe with that property lady from the telly. She’s had babies and she’s, well, kind of sweet. ”

“Thanks Heather. I can always rely on my girlfriends for an ego boost. You’re lovely and I do value your input but I’m on a different mission.”

“Do tell!”

“Did you know that 20 million people around the world visit at least one dating site every month? The smaller sites cost a few thousand to set up and generate anything from £6000 to £60,000 a month. Well, you can just say forget the manhunt. I’m heading up my own agency.”

“How exciting, what are you going to call it?” Heather’s got a sense of humour but poor thing, she believes anything you say.

“Maybe something quirky like Madwomen for Madmen?”

“Too niche.”

“What about socialbutterflies.com?”

“That’s got a cute and flirty ring to it.”

“Whatever I call it, it’s got to be a good thing. At least it’s one way of ensuring I get first dibs on the best looking arm candy…”