Photo: Jono Parker for Fashion Quarterly, Issue 4, 2018. Stylist: Sally-Ann Mullin.
Newly single Londoner Sophia Money-Coutts reports from the frontline of the 30-something dating scene, where she’s encountered all of the following…
Dating in your twenties is easy. Not everybody’s married, there’s more choice than at a cheesemonger’s. But, BANG! You hit 30 and the men seem to dwindle. I recently went to a wedding where there were 27 single women and two single men. But don’t panic – the good news is there are still some out there; the bad news is that they’ll likely fall into one of these categories:
1. The Tinder Warrior
He’ll have a practised opening line to spark conversation on Tinder or any/all of the other apps he’s fishing on. One swarthy, stubbly Tinder Warrior I know is having huge success with the line, “Uh oh, we can never have children because they’d literally be just eyebrows.” Women find this weirdly flattering and take his mention of children as a promising sign. Don’t fall for it. He will be talking to multiple women on multiple platforms, putting in an almost admirable amount of effort to shag you once. He may be 39 but he’ll be looking for women aged 20 and up. Assumes he can get 23-year-old models to hook up with him in the disabled loos at a nightclub while busily swiping right on his next target. Avoid.
2. The Peter Pan
Works his way through a stream of perfectly lovely women, but ultimately breaks it off because he’s unable to commit long-term and wants to behave exactly as he did in his early twenties. Should you have fallen prey to a Peter Pan, console yourself with the knowledge he’ll feel lonely when he gets to 45 and, while he may have 32 godchildren, he’ll have nobody to watch Bake Off with.
3. The Political Obsessive
You’re only on the first glass of wine when he demands to know how you voted in the referendum. That’s okay, you think, at least he’s politically aware. He looks presentable, too. Nice shoes, he’s probably a barrister or does something in law. You could take him home and he’d impress your parents. The only hiccup is he likes having sex with the news on, as well as his socks.
4. The Divorced Dad
HELLO, BAGGAGE. He seems sweet and – crucially – vulnerable. He’s been through the mill with his ex-wife, who is painted as something of a Rose West. She never really loved him, he tells you sadly over a bottle of decent red wine in a decent restaurant. He knows about wine and restaurants and seems seductively grown-up because he’s been married. You want to smooth his troubled brow and prove not all women are bad. Plus, you want children and he already has a child. Ergo, he’s more likely to commit, right? Confusingly, even though the DD professes to loathe his ex, he still takes her phone calls at 2am and she’s issued a rule that you’re not allowed to meet their children until you’re engaged. This makes hanging out with him on weekends tricky.
5. The Daredevil
I dated a string of these. The war reporter, the explorer, the former SAS commander. The war reporter arrived late to dinner one evening, apologising that he had to wait for his flak jacket to be delivered since he was off to Syria the next day. What a line! He then ordered vodka shots, because he was “going to war”, and I drank so much I had to be sick in the restaurant loo, before hauling an Uber home by myself. I was lucky, it turns out, because I later learned I wasn’t the only woman being spun lines about him going off to the frontline. These men, often a bit older and attractively rugged, are deadly. They’ve been around the block, they’re living out their own James Bond fantasy in their head. Will almost certainly ghost you.
6. The Wife Hunter
Adorable, like dating a puppy. Will offer you breakfasts, lunches, drinks or dinners, not for shagging purposes, but because he wants to find someone to share his Sky subscription package with for the rest of his life. And he feels left out because he’s the only one in his group who still hasn’t had his stag do. Pros: can cook. Cons: will have a questionable relationship with his mother.
7. Mr Perfect
Weird. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with him. He’s got all his own teeth and hair. He has clean bed linen and smells nice. He texts you back. He likes your pictures on Instagram. But still, it feels like there’s a catch. Oh yes, here it is! Turns out he likes a golden shower…
Words: Sophia Money-Coutts
Photos: Jono Parker for Fashion Quarterly, Issue 4, 2018
This article originally appeared on Grazia.