So, I was in the pub last night, in order to meet a mate from back in the day (when The Day was The Day) who I’d not seen for four years. The first surprise was his hair. Where once there was a wavy mullet, was now full-on Silver Fox. The second surprise was that he’d just crawled out of a complete train-wreck of a marriage (I dunno what happened, and don’t want to know. I never met her, because when she found out I was a Smut Pedlar, she didn’t want anything to do with me. So bollocks to her.)
Anyway, we’re clustered outside in the alleyway having a fag, and my mate clocks a woman who I’d been chatting to on and off for a few weeks (on a ‘can I ponce a light?’ level). He’s already had a skinful, he’s starting to slur, and by noticing his eye level sweeping downwards across this girl, I know what’s coming. “’Scuse me, duck - can I tell you something?” Oh God no. He takes a drag on his fag, exhales, leans in, and points.
She looks at him, laughs, and says; “Can I tell you something? You’re old enough to be my Dad”
I immediately piss myself, do that snappy thing with my hand, lick my fingers and apply them to my mate’s forehead (making that ‘TSSSSS’ sound, naturally) and shout; “Oh, I don’t think he is. When you were born, he was at college dressed up as Oscar Wilde, singing the whole of The Queen Is Dead in the middle of the refectory on his own to his Walkman, and shoving a matchstick up his nose. Trust me, he was having sex with no-one at that time, let alone your Mam. Tee hee!”
And then I stopped laughing.
And then I thought; hang on - he’s three years younger than I am.
It’s a common male stereotype; the aging roué. The older bloke chucking his money at a simpering, giggly young thing. The Dad who acts all funny when his daughter’s mates come round. A lot of my mates are getting to that stage now. I see them in the pub, making absolute arses of themselves in front of women who not so long ago were not even allowed to go to the youth club, never mind a licensed building, and I can feel my hands sliding down my face.
But I feel I must speak out in their defence.
The first thing that needs to be said is that when you get older, you genuinely don’t know that you’re older, particularly when you’ve had a few and you’re in a frisky mood. You actually forget. Thing is, men of my age are flying blind. Our life experiences are totally different to the ones our Dads had when they were our age, being completely bound to our Mams, sitting in all-male pubs and not giving a fuck about their beer guts. We, on the other hand, can still go to all the places we used to in our twenties, and no-one bats an eyelid. We can dance for longish periods of time without worrying that we're going to have a heart attack, we can drink for hours without leaving a massive piss-stain on our strides, and we're all thinking Oh my God, I'm still alive and mashing it and not glued to an armchair watching Taggart. Fucking YES.
Problem is, where the available women of our age at? It seems like they’re either all married or coupled-up, or sitting at home knitting. And you’ve got to chat someone up.
Because here’s the other thing; God, if she exists, takes the absolute piss out of men throughout their lives. When they’re at their absolute sexual peak, they’re too young to do anything but wank themselves bandy and shove their nobs into things in their bedrooms. When they’re actually of the age to do something about it, most of them put women on pedestals so high that they’re too scared to talk to them (I was fucking terrible for this; until more recently than I care to admit, if I ever saw a really attractive woman in a pub, I’d deliberately move my chair so I couldn’t see her. How fucked-up is that?). And when they finally become mature enough to realize that, actually, women are just as confused and awkward and rubbish and normal as you are, and you can actually talk to them like human beings…it’s too fucking late to do anything about it.
Nowadays, whenever I’m out, I make a point to compliment at least one woman before the night is over, no matter how old she is (and no, I'm not as forward as my mate). I love having the confidence to chat to (and even chat up) a complete stranger, even though I know nothing is going to happen. Perhaps that’s the reason why I do it.
Actually, I know it is.