The Chinchillas have had more babies, Jan’s hot-footed it back to Sweden and J is playing hard to get. I check out Facebook to see if he’s on a trip too. Come on, you all do it! Aggh, he’s got messages from women with all kinds of strange profile pics. There’s one from Angel whose bottom is sticking out of bubble bath. I see another from a vixen with a stiletto heel unhooking her G-string and a lady with a Catwoman mask licking latex. This guy is clearly some goddang Pornmeister on sabbatical to fantasy land.

You can tell a lot about a person’s facebook profile so beware what you put out in the ether boys and girls. My friend Angie once lost a contract after someone saw her being rude about them on the social networking site. She had foolishly forgotten she had added them as a friend a few months before. I know we all spy on people these days but I still get freaked out on dates when the person knows my CV better than I do. I think, “I never told you that.” Even my 58yr old singing teacher, who, I might add, I would NEVER date, told me he knew everything about me through the Internet, although he rather creepily pretended he could read me like a book first. I gave up the lessons after that. My favourite story of Internet outing was told to me by my mate Allen who found out a guy was pissing him around with the sale of his house by googling him. After being told the guy could not complete (he was too busy mourning the death of his aunty) Allen found him in some online chat-room saying he was having a great day and about to head off to the pub for a few pints. A few minutes later Allen sent out a rocket of a chat message and within minutes the house sale was back on track and the guy had been publicly humiliated online.

Talking of rockets. I had better make like one as I am off to my first live pole-dancing performance in a few hours. I got into the art of tease to get rid of my cellulite. I also wanted to make my lower half move again after years in the sexual Gobi. Little did I know it would take me to another dimension with all sense of space and time disappearing after 10 minutes on the pole. Music does it to some people, art to others, well pole-dancing does it for me. Of course, I daren’t mention my hobby at Sid and Nancy’s catholic school; most of the Mums and Dads there really are too good for this world. When Sid blurted out “Mummy’s going pole dancing” to one Mum in the park the other day I had to tell a porky (thankfully I am a Buddhist if anything so I won’t need to head for the confession booth). I told her I do folk dancing in Ealing following recommendations from my Polish mum in law.

It’s a full moon tonight and, being a bit of a lunar loony, I know this is not only going to affect me but the audience as well. There’s a reason why Full Moon festivals came into being. Hardcore festival-heads know too well that we all have an urge to to bang a drum and wave a glow stick when the moon is in full glow. But feeling in more of a party mood is not the only side effect. We have problems sleeping, the police have more trouble dealing with anti-social behaviour and psychiatric hospitals report patients get that little bit more crazy when the moon is a balloon. Even the most avid disbeliever can see the Science bit. If the moon changes the way the sea works it must have some kind of effect on our own bodies of water.

I have a diary which charts the phases for me. Moon diary tells me that the waxing phase, from new moon to full moon, is the time that we are at our most outgoing and positive but as the moon then wanes we should put our more quiet and reflective heads on. It was Lovely Liz who got me into moon phases. One morning when the St John’s Wort and meditation was having about as much effect as a smile on a traffic warden, I did what I normally do when I feel low and trotted off to her flat to dump my troubles at her door.

“It’s the double moon, she said. It’s been happening to everyone.” No hint of a “Come on in, sit down, have a cuppa and tell me about the bastard,” oh no, let’s just get straight to the heart of the matter and blame the moon. In myth the Moon is said to rule things like feelings, intuition, fertility and creativity and nowadays even those who come up in hives at the mere mention of crystals, can appreciate there’s truth in what my friend says. Many winemakers, fishermen and hunters go by the lunar calendar and women’s cycles are synchronised with madame moon. So why don’t we pay more attention to it?

“Listening to feelings and hunches requires quiet time, something we rarely give ourselves these days, Abi,” sighs Liz.

Quiet time is something I value more than anything since I had children. Anyone who knows me well will have heard that I meditate for half an hour every day. They might even say, as they do to me, that it has made me a more relaxed person and seems to have halted the ageing process. But heading off into an altered state is not on my to do list today as I sashay off to wow a small crowd of full moon crazed punters with my fireman, carousel and trapeze moves. Power to the moon and power to the pole! Wish me luck tonight…

Friends keep asking me why I named my blog The Butterfly Diaries and why I have not been generous enough to divulge this information to date. Tut tut. Well, to be perfectly honest the story behind the name is so bonkers I was too nervous to share it with you for fear you might dub me a complete fruitloop, but I suppose you think that now anyway.

For about six months before I split up with Mr Was Right I started noticing butterfly symbol after butterfly symbol in the most unlikely places and, as much as my ego kept telling me they had been fashionable for years, the butterflies got more and more obvious, desperately trying to attract my attention like the kids are prone to do when I sit at my computer for too long.

My ever-increasing list of butterfly symbols that have turned up in weird places includes:

. a butterfly sticker on my petrol tank
. a big butterfly embossed at the bottom of a pub umbrella stand
. a piece of paper blowing around at the side of the road revealing an intricately hand-drawn butterfly illustration
. a massive butterfly illustration on the side of a lorry
. a huge gaudy papier mache sculpture on a dingy back wall of a very small and traditional pub leading to the loos.

butterfly illustration

These weren’t the kind of butterflies I was used to seeing decorating Matthew Williamson dresses, Accessorise jewellery and my Toh Sho shopping bags. And why would they appear during huge moments of doubt? It got so ridiculous that I started spotting butterflies or butterfly symbols all day, every day. What were they trying to tell me? That I was being a social gadabout, that I was vain and rather too carefree or was this a kick-ass message about transformation?

Just when I started believing Mr Was Right’s theory that I was suffering from the onset of an early mid-life crisis, I would see yet another one. The red eyed techy guy who came to set up my new computer put a butterfly before my name on my sign in box. A friend gave me his new album which had an illustration of a butterfly unfurling from its cocoon. But it was not until a complete stranger lifted her top up in Victoria Station to reveal the most incredible tattoo of a butterfly on her lower back, said nothing, then walked away, that I surrendered, knowing something or someone was trying desperately hard to get through to me.

‘Power Animal’ specialist and regular Hay House contributor Steven Farmer says the person with butterfly as a symbol can be flighty and quite detached. According to him we love fresh air and have a lot of vitality – which fits if you call smoking a cigarette on your doorstep fresh air and an hour of poledancing practice vitality. Carl Jung tows a more serious line. The synchronicity specialist says that butterfly turns up when our ego consciousness gives way to spiritual consciousness. The Goddess Psyche herself was represented as a butterfly in Greek myth and butterflies are often seen around coffins and said to represent departed souls and the freedom of the soul upon death. I could go on and on but those clever people at Humanity Healing have put it in a lovely colourful nutshell in the following video. So check this out…

http://www.humanityhealing.blogspot.com

The butterfly asks us to accept our fluid lives as casually as she accepts her metamorphosis. She teaches us not to let change freak us out and accept the short life and death of things as we undergo the most difficult transitions in our lives. “But I don’t want to leave my lovely comfy cocoon,” we squeal. “Before I make the leap you must give me a sign, a really BIG sign…” And so she flutters softly into our lives to remind us to go with the flow and surrender to nature’s beautiful way…which is a dangerous philosophy when you are being pursued by a brace of Swedes and a G.

But more on that next time…

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.

I heard on my DAB this morning that the most popular line ever sent off to the personal ads was from a medic.  It read “Lady doctor loves to laugh in bed”. In seven words she put across her intelligence, her caring nature (well, she’s a doc), the fact she was a good laugh and a suggestion that she was probably up for it – attributes which, according to dating experts, are handy to plug if you are going to date a man. The hundreds of guys who instantly applied to meet her was testimony to the genius of the one liner.

Others did not fare so well. Less fortunate was the “Tall, well-built woman, with good reputation, who can cook frogs’ legs, appreciates a good fuschia garden, classical music and talking without getting too serious,” who added to her framed advertisement as an aside, “but please only read lines one, three and five”. Lady, you’ve lost me.

Forget signing up for the courses with the Catch a Man and Keep Him gurus, reading men’s personal ads will give you a heap of clues as to what a guy is looking for.  Here’s one of the top ten most bizarre personal ads that made me giggle (yes I am a girl and I do read top tens!).

“Single male searching for double-jointed supermodel, must own her own brewery and grow her own pot. Access to free concert tickets a must, as is having an open-minded twin sister.” Which, when it comes to tugging heartstrings  worked a little better for me than, “Have Viagra, need woman, any woman from 18-80.” Wayhey, sign me up for that dude immediately – can’t wait to introduce Mr. Desperado to my friends. 

One year I gave Mr. Was Right a year’s subscription to Esquire for Christmas. My favourite bit of our top loo read was the Brutally Honest Personals. Does Esquire still print the page where men and women write in with 250 wds rubbishing themselves in public? While I suspect a member of the editorial team may have been responsible for making most of them up they certainly pressed my funny button. “Before I got married, I kept the names of men I slept with in a binder. I have herpes, but I don’t give it away,” is one that particularly sticks in my mind.

Well now it’s my turn and I am as lost for words as a disappointed contestant in Dragon’s Den.

“I’m clever, kind, I care and laugh when I come! Date me.” Desperate.

“Butterfly maiden, ready to wake up from her cocoon.” Too esoteric.

Forget it. I’ll send out a clarion call to friends on Facebook asking them to pitch. You can help too if you want.  Just add your comments under this week’s  blog. After all it would be churlish to throw away the opportunity of tapping  into all you clever people out there in the ether.

“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…”