By Lucy Cavendish

This is what happened to me the other day; I was having lunch in a café with a female friend. We were chatting away, laughing and joking and then, as we finished our cappuccinos, I saw a man a few tables away giving me some sneaky looks. He was tall and really rather handsome.

As I got up to leave, he got up to leave. We both reached the door at the same time. Just as I was about to go through it, he said, ‘you have a lovely laugh.’ Then he winked. I was walking on air when I went back to my car.


Three nights later, I was in London rushing to meet another friend for dinner. I was so late, I grabbed a cab and started touching up my make up in the back. When I got out, the driver (rather good-looking actually) said to me, ‘you look really beautiful. Whoever you are going for dinner with is a lucky man.’

I nearly hugged him. ‘Thank you!’ I gushed.

It’s not only these incidences. Over the last six months, I have been asked out on a plethora of dates. I’ve been taken to the theatre, literary events, dinner, lunch, jazz gigs and the circus. I’ve been wined and dined and I’ve had a great time. It’s all been lovely and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.

I assumed, aged 47, that my dating life would probably be non-existent. After all, who wants a mother, constantly rushing from here and there to pick one child up one place and another child another? But what’s fascinating is that I’ve often met people when I’ve had my children with me. No one seems to be put off by my clinging dependents. They are, after all, the most major part of my life. They probably keep me youthful. And I don’t take them on dates! Yet I am almost at a loss to understand what’s going on.

“I realised I could either stay at home
and never meet anyone or I could incorporate dating in to my life”

The truth of the matter is, I don’t see myself as old or invisible or ‘past it’. What women of my age know is that maybe many men will tire of the beauty of youth, especially once the issue of a second family raises its head.

There are also many other men out there who appreciate what the well-lived 40-something year old woman has to offer. Our biological clocks have stopped. We are not looking for more babies. Many of us are economically independent. We are looking for fun not marriage and commitment! What could be more exciting than that?

My friend Susie got divorced five years ago when she was 41. ‘I spent a year crying,’ she says, ‘then I decided I would start dating. I realised I could either stay at home, devote myself to being a mum and never meet anyone or I could incorporate dating in to my life.’ Susie joined some dating websites, asked all her friends to forward single men to her, joined a choir now she is happy using Love Begins At… ‘I got focused and energetic about it.

I became clear about what I wanted; fun, companionship, sex!’ She also realised that her children would not appreciate her if she focused solely on them. ‘It wouldn’t have been healthy for us at all,’ she says. ‘I believe mammals are supposed to be part of a pair.’ She dated a bit, made a few ‘mistakes’ as she puts it and then, via some friends, she met The One.