I broke my own dating rules


I recently decided to overcome my fear of public speaking and accept divorce coach Sara Davidson’s invitation to speak at a one-day seminar. Other speakers ranged from legal and financial specialists to those qualified to discuss domestic violence and coercive control (spouse financial control is now taken so seriously by banks that many operate a dedicated, confidential hotline). Slap bang amidst all the seriousness, the organizers introduced me as a “divorce influencer”. I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll take it.

After studying the talking points for a grand total of 10 minutes the morning of the event, I not only hadn’t prepared a speech, but I hadn’t slept a wink. As I walked past rows of guests to a raised platform, someone to my right handed me a large microphone and for a fleeting moment I looked for an escape route. Smiling at a sea of ​​faces in front of me, I realized I hadn’t prepared an opening line. Big mistake. You need to have an opening line and a rough idea of ​​how you’re going to end – add three talking points and you can pretty much add the rest.

After spending some time in the back of the room listening to the previous speaker discuss the distribution of pensions and assets, I wondered if the discussion of my personal experiences could be comparable, especially since there is no no two divorces are the same. Did I really have something to offer? Too late. I was about to find out.

“I cried in a tile shop this morning,” I heard myself begin. “I never thought I’d be crying on the bathroom tile, but then again, I never thought I’d be getting a divorce. One minute you’re ordering quinoa at Ocado, the next you’re wearing a catsuit in latex and you kiss a woman in an S&M club Loud sniffles filled the room and one woman laughed so hard she had to wipe her face with a tissue.

“As for dating again in your 40’s, well grab some popcorn, where do you start?”

I went on to talk openly about dismantling my family life in search of something that I’m not even sure exists. I talked about the pain of raising children during the early days of separation and how witnessing their grief was more unbearable than dealing with mine. I talked about how antidepressants got me through and how terrifying it is to press “send” on a nude selfie for a lover worried you’ve accidentally sent it to class WhatsApp. Some people laughed, some cried and in the end a few of us even got a hug.

move again

Back to the present day, I’m moving for the third time in two years. Instead of moving all my stuff from one place to another, I started selling it – mostly furniture; some clothes. I’ve donated lots of nice things to charity and donated second-hand furniture that was given to me two years ago when I moved into a rental with only a pull-out. cap (probably the most used item I have).

Currently living between three friends’ houses, I drag around with a small suitcase and my car looks like a flea market. It’s very Lady in the Van and, like Alan Bennett, a friend even let me park my junkyard on wheels in her driveway. She makes the best coffee in the morning, which kind of makes up for the fact that I didn’t pack any socks and my winter coat accidentally ended up in storage.

Bloody storage. I booked some after realizing I needed help packing up all the crap and there’s a limit to how many favors I can get. distributes Valium”. Then I filled out a form, two minutes later the phone rang: someone was asking me for videos of objects that I “intended to move”. ?? Oh, it’s just a small amount, I said, before sending a few videos featuring knives and forks and a weird image.

In the end I have no idea of ​​the packaging and the three men the company sent to help – Big Will, Little Will and Johan – ran out of boxes. Then they ran out of time, then space, then finally they ran out of patience. Where there is a will, there is a way, isn’t there? Bad. Not after the two Wills had to order a second van to bed before 11 p.m.

During the chaos of sorting, loading, packing and moving, I went on a date. Two years ago and newly single, I could have filled out a scroll with my dating “rules.” I swore not to date childless men, fearing they would demand too much of my time. I made the decision not to date the “never married” because I convinced myself that there was no way they would understand the pain of divorce.

so many rules

As for divorce, unless you’ve been separated from your wife for at least a year, sorry you can’t do that. So many rules! Well, news flash: the rules don’t seem to work. Throwing caution to the wind, and also bothered by my Lady in the Van act, I agreed to go on a date with a never-married, childless man.

He chose the venue, which involved a five-course tasting menu with wine pairing. I hate appetizers, so when I saw the evening’s timeline, I tried my best to stop myself from shouting, “Five dishes? Are you kidding, buddy? I managed to keep my small plate anxiety to myself, and I’m glad I did. The food was delicious and I’m glad I made room for a blind date with someone new. I’m also happy to have put a nice dress and a pair of heels in my little suitcase. This year with Girl Guides has clearly paid off: always be ready for a potential date.

He even offered to send a car to pick me up from the house. No one ever offered to send a car to pick me up for a blind date. So I did the obvious thing and said, “Thanks, but I’ll take the subway.” Idiot.

The date ended late (because that’s what happens when you serve endless micro food) and on the way home in the car he insisted he order, I realized it had been a very long time since I had a date and laughed and talked so easily. Clearly amused by the way I gulped down the amuse-bouche like it was a shot of (pagan) vodka, another date was arranged.

On our third date, we headed to a jazz club. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, a third date in the space of eight days. See what happens when you break the rules?

Two years ago, living out of a suitcase with a public speaking event on the horizon and crying in a bathroom tile store because – well, who knows why – would have floored me (game of words). Not anymore. I am now able to pull myself out of the chasm with ease, a discovery that I happily shared with the audience during my speech the other week. It sparked an interesting conversation about resilience and courage.

“What’s the most unexpected thing about being single in middle age? asked a man sitting up front.

“That I can have a floor-to-ceiling bathroom covered in pink tiles,” I replied, causing a woman sitting backwards to let out a funny noise.

Public speaking didn’t make me nervous at all – unlike meeting Mr Three Date Man. I haven’t met someone I like in a very long time. Which makes me wonder: will there be a date four?

How to shine without glitter

Wondering what to wear for a night out as we head into the festive season? Confused by the inevitable display of shiny sequined dresses, explosive colors and prints that clash with our hair? Me too. As for which shoes to wear with which dress length, ugh.

That’s why I’ll always have a spare black tuxedo in my closet, preferably slightly shiny to keep it from being too daytime. As for shoes, well, it’s not that complicated. With straight pants that end at the ankle, I would wear dainty strappy heels with an open or closed toe.

Thicker platforms work especially well with wide pants that skim the floor. My personal preference, so that I don’t have to worry about pedicures, is a pair of closed-toe, stiletto-heeled pumps. I particularly like this pair from Russell & Bromley. The ankle strap and lightweight platform sole make them versatile enough to wear with just about anything “evening out.”

Make-up should be soft with a slight shine and I’m rediscovering the joys of 90s color gloss.

All I need now is someone to invite me to a party. Any takers?


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