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Sally Forth`s Diary - Over the Edge

by sue n 

Posted: 13 November 2004
Word Count: 991
Summary: To all Bridget Jones fans: - the truth is far worse than fiction.

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I was 43 when my marriage ended - a civilised parting of the ways that left me undamaged, unrepentant and optimistic. I'd only put on half a stone in the last two decades,the grey in my hair was limited to one rather fetching streak and after 23 years of monogamy I was curious to see what or who else was out there.
I was 45 by the time I realised that the brief fling with the electrician might be the last sex I ever had. Single eligible men were remarkably hard to find.

It was time to be proactive and I began my research.

This was a weekly get together of singles over 30, with social events most weekends.
The women were great- interesting, lively and adventurous. The men, mostly in their 60s and 70s, were a collection of misfits, predators and miseries.

The Toy-Boy - my first foray to a trying-too-hard party was quite successful as I managed to secure a date with the only man under 40. During a discussion of musical taste, it slipped out that I'd screamed at the Beatles in 1963 and I never heard from him again.

At the Valentine's Night dinner-dance with 20 women and 2 men, one of whom went home at 9.30, I decided that maybe this wasn't the answer to my prayers.

Worth a try I thought and after an interview I was accepted onto their books and matched up.

The Woolly Jumper - men in patterned pullovers don't do it for me. (1 date)

The Lecher - nudge-nudge wink-wink, no thanks. (1 date)

The businessman - comatose after 10 minutes. (1 date)

The Porsche - nice man but when the car was mothballed for the winter I seemed to lose interest. ( 3 months)

The Martian - I was ready for a challenge and this man from Mars was certainly that. At the first sign of trouble he locked himself away in his cave, refusing to answer telephone, letters or the door. At first it was worth it when he emerged and we made up but in the end he was just too hard work. (2 years- on and off).

Time to try something different

This was a short-lived experiment, as the reality on the end of the telephone bore no relation to the ad.
'Interesting artist'
'Hello, I'm five foot six and a manic depressive' Hang up.
'Active, with many interests'
'Hello, do you play golf? Hang up.

I only met one caller:
The Charismatic Psycho - this man activated every hormone and alarm bell with equal intensity. To this day, I wonder what would have happened if my sensible side hadn't persuaded me not to risk the second date.

A six month break here when an old friend's marriage broke up and he turned to me for sympathy et al. I didn't like to ask what had gone on in his previous life but it was flattering to be thought of as a sex goddess. Unfortunately I didn't share his passion for folk music and even sex can become boring after a while. We parted still good friends.

Somehow the years had slid by and I was now 50. Almost having given up hope, I acquired a computer and a whole new world opened up.

The beauty of internet dating is that it gives you total control. The press of a key decides whom you communicate with and whom you ignore.
I set little traps to tease out if my emailers had no sense of humour, if they were right of Ghengis Khan or if they thought Meatloaf the height of musical taste. So much time and energy could be saved by letting cyberspace sort the wheat from the chaff.
There were the obvious non-starters:
My name is Igor and I am looking for a wife - delete
I am in a mood today because my Hoover broke - delete
I like cosy nights in watching TV - delete
So you play tennis, you can play with my balls any time- delete
I don't like women who shave - delete
Do you play golf? - delete
I have an interesting job - I am a pathologist - delete

A few got past the cyber-tests:
The Hair - this one didn't have the technology to send a photo and the 'long hair', did worry me a little. I tried to discover whether it was Stringfellow-straggles, pony tail or a Jonathan Ross sweep back but couldn't get a straight answer.
The reality was not only greasy rats tails down the neck but the dreaded strands over the bald pate. I've never downed a beer so quickly.

After that it was strictly no photo, no meeting.

The Disappearing German - I liked this man and after two dinners and a walk was already imagining myself in his Spanish holiday villa. We spent the night together and in the morning he vanished never to be seen again. My divine powers were obviously on the wane.

The Viagran - believe me, it doesn't work for everyone.

The Virus - this one started off well. However the first night I spent at his flat, he was struck down with a mystery illness that left him groaning in pain. Meat and poison came to mind as by now I was getting seriously paranoid. He did recover after several weeks but things were never quite the same.

After a few months I grew tired of reading the profiles of overweight, bald, gone to seed, looking-for-companionship-in-old-age men. All the interesting ones were looking for younger models. I gave up on this too.

So now, age 55, what's left? Speed dating with zimmer frames? I don't think so.

Fortunately I've discovered two new passions in my life - travel and writing. With all the wonders of the world and words to explore, who needs men!

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 07:18 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
Sue, this is lovely - very brave (and it adds up to a lot of men in the end!!) It is also very topical as the new BJones film has just come out.

For me, the only thing which might enhance this is a little description of yourself when you give your age at the beginning. You could also say at the end that luckily you've found some other uses for your computer and maybe you're getting old but you'd rather...


Hamburger Yogi & PBW at 07:34 on 14 November 2004  Report this post

Very funny - and true to life, no doubt.

I found each vignette a good laugh and thought you should easily find a publisher for this piece.

By coincidence, I am also writing a piece of fiction about dating agencies right now, though of a different kind - more connected with the shadow side. I will zip it over to writewords in a month or so when it is done.

Screaming at the Beatles is surely the worst sin of our time,

Hamburger Yogi

scottwil at 09:57 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
This is great, Sue; a lovely thread of self-deprecating humour running through.

I thought this line was just brilliant: 'My name is Igor and I am looking for a wife - delete'

Charming and funny. Thanks for this.


sue n at 11:21 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
Thanks all,
I enjoyed writing this piece - quite cathartic.
Elspeth, you made me look at the end and I have changed it a bit.
Not sure I want to describe myself - I've given away far too much already!

sue n at 12:02 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
I read the article - what a load of b*****ks.
What self respecting woman wants to be some man's accessory. It's a good job I have long been reconciled to the fact I will never be rich - obviously no millionaire will look at me even once.

Account Closed at 12:19 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
Isn't it just! I mean, when did you last have a manicure? Even if I had tons of dosh, I'm not sure I'd bother.

SamMorris at 16:56 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
This was hysterical, Sue. It was keenly observed all the way through, and each episode described with a tender but sharp sense of humour. I was laughing so loudly that others came up to see what the fuss was all about.

I would be disappointed and surprised if there was no market for something like this.

All the best


sue n at 17:26 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
Thanks Sam
I am open to any suggestions of a potential market
(though I'd have to use a pseudonym as these men actually exist)

Elspeth - until recently I thought a manicure was the bottle of wine one drank after a break-up.

Richard Brown at 17:30 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
Sue, I agree with those who suggest that this piece has commercial potential. It's not as though the partner-findng problem has not been much written about but so has just about everything else. You bring a fresh and witty perspective which, I'm sure, would fit with some magazine's style
I have, if it's ok, just a suggestion or two if you are going to send it out.
I would dispense with the 'Single Again' sub-heading. Just the title of the piece and then; 'I was 43...etc'. It's a good, attention-grabbing introduction to the body of the article.
Thereafter I think it would be much more effective if every 'solution' to the singledom problem had the definite article in front of it; 'The Club, 'The Dating Agency' etc. So, 'The Internet' rather than 'Internet Dating' and perhaps 'The Personal Touch' rather than 'Interlude'.
This way it seems even more like a catalogue of possible routes - all of which lead (dare I suggest?) to 'The Conclusion.'
Lovely piece - and very brave as others have said.

sue n at 18:05 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
Thanks Richard,
I have followed your advice and also changed the beginning- although I'm not sure it is better.
Not being much of a magazine reader I have no idea where to sent it out to.

Richard Brown at 19:59 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
If you're not happy with the changes, do revert! 'Twas just my 'take' on the piece; it's really important when trying to sell an article that you completely believe in it. The editor might make suggestions for changes but it's ok once you have hooked their interest.

As for selling. have you tried putting 'women' and/or 'relationships and/or 'true life' into the WW Directory search engine? These will bring up a goodly number of women's mags, quite a few of which have web sites.

By the way, I'm just updating the Directory at the moment so if you come across any sites (via Google or whatever) that are not listed in the WW Directory, would you please let me know?



sue n at 23:16 on 14 November 2004  Report this post
I liked your ideas, I've only expanded the opening sentence.
What do you think about changing the title?
So far I've come up with
Madge Jones' diary-over the edge
Biddy Crone's ....
I think I'll sleep on it.

Richard Brown at 13:04 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Just for a moment I read 'I think I'll sleep on it' as an alternative title! But yes, I think a new title would be excellent. Either of your suggestions would be ok, I think, but I'll be interested to hear if a night of semi-conscious contemplation produced any new inspirations. I have a feeling that there's something snappy and witty just around the corner....


sue n at 17:44 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Well what do you think of the new title? I've been pondering all day - from Daphne Drones, Mina Pawsal to Erogenous Zones.
Any other offerings welcome

Richard Brown at 20:43 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Sally Forth - very witty! Like it.


Mooncat at 16:57 on 10 January 2005  Report this post
I loved reading this, Sue. Brilliant writing - the humour works well with this kind of piece.


sue n at 19:21 on 10 January 2005  Report this post
Thanks Marie
I thoroughly enjoyed writing it.

di2 at 06:56 on 03 November 2005  Report this post
A good read. I know exactly what you went through. There is an Australian saying "you'll never never know if you never never go". It's like a right of passage for finding what we really want.

I've just read a more recent piece of yours uploaded to the Journalism Group "Chapters of Life". I enjoyed it so much I thought I would read some more of your writing. Hence my reading a piece that your wrote in 2004. This is another good one. I'll keep reading.

Well written.


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