My karaoke speciality, as friends, a few strangers, and members of my extended family will be well (painfully?) aware, is the Beautiful South’s musical masterpiece Don’t Marry Her (Fuck Me) (i.e. the uncensored version). I like to sing it, where possible, sitting on a barstool, legs crossed at the ankles, eyes twinkling with the mischievous yet armoured glare of the free-spirited mistress; holding the microphone with a kind of nonchalant confidence that suggests vocal genius. As I’m sure anyone who’s been present for one of my many performances will recall, I deliver the opening verse with an especially moving quality of emotional engagement.
For readers who don’t know the words to the song by heart, the opening goes like this:
Think of you with pipe and slippers,
Think of her in bed,
Laying there just watching telly,
Think of me instead,
I’ll never grow so old and flabby,
That could never be,
Don’t marry her,
I enjoy singing this song for several reasons; most of which are too off-subject to tackle here, but one of those reasons is the truism embedded in this first verse: that men will tire of their wives, and they’ll tire of them quicker if they succumb to fat. I’m not saying I agree with it – and I’m certainly not blaming the wifeys, but the facts speak for themselves. Years of seeing you shuffling from bedroom to bathroom and back again in a frayed, yellowing dressing-gown, of watching and feeling your once tight buttocks morph into sagging orange-peel skin-sacks will inevitably wear upon your hub and send him running towards the firm breasts of a younger, perter ladee. Soz to any newly-weds who felt a jolt of defensive anger reading those words, but it’s true.
I don’t mean all men, obvs. I’m being deliberately provocative to get a rise here. I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. This post does have a legitimate theme though, because as most women who’ve been single – or in any way sexually attractive (i.e. had a vagina) – between the ages of 18 to 30 will have noticed there’s a particular type of older married man. He is between the ages of 35 and 60; greying, with an inflated sense of the quality of his looks and intelligence. Disillusioned by his own life choices, which usually involved marrying a bland teenage/university sweetheart, making babies, and giving up a promising corporate career to wear off-the-rack suits from Next to his public sector job; he seeks to capture the glamour of the life he thinks he could’ve had by attempting to embark upon illicit affairs with Hot Young Things. He finds himself unable to socialise with younger women without becoming a creepy, drooling perv.
He talks in a leering, pop-eyed manner about ‘sex’. ‘Accidentally’ touches your leg when you accept the offer of a lift home. Recites endless monologues about the misery/mundanity of his home life. Stares a little bit too long at your boobies. Initiates soulful eye-contact over the photocopier. Eventually makes a pass when you’re pissed and/or vulnerable enough that he can be sure of a gentle rejection.
Of course, all but the most damaged of Hot Young Things are horrified by such attention. And I’m not just saying that so you’ll think I’ve got morals. No mentally stable lady in the midst of a satisfying but fleeting youth wants to have sex with a slack, grey grandad. Not even for practice. Having to bat them away with wearisome regularity somewhat sullies the otherwise joyful roller-coaster that most of the single ladies are riding during the 18 to 30 period.
Dating an insecure man seeking respite from an unhappy marriage is not an avenue which is going to lead to fun-time. As Nikki, of Irvine Welsh’s Porno reminds us: ‘impotence is bad, and clinginess is awful, but the two in tandem simply cannot be tolerated.’ She is correct; dealing with the mental and physical issues pervy old married man is guaranteed to bring as baggage takes up precious time and energy, which could otherwise be spent drinking irresponsible quantities of alcohol, and heavy-petting faceless, burly strangers.
Tbh, I’m not entirely sure what it is about us lady-girls that these men find so attractive, apart from the obvious – although a tight bum-bum will only get you so far, sexually. I have a suspicion it’s something to do with what they presume it is the easily manipulated, youthful naivete of the unwrinkled. If they can conceal their underlying normality, and become the exotic object of lust and admiration in the eyes of a semi-Lolita figure, then the men with the grey chest hair can reinforce the mental image they have of themselves as relevant and original. The sad irony of course is that by hankering after such an affair these men only perpetuate the pathetic cliches they’re attempting to avoid.
I have no desire to spend middle age concerning myself over the thickening of my waist and its effect on my husband’s libido. Also, I can’t imagine that the thought of engaging in sexual liaison with an hairy old grandad is going to become any more appealing just because I married him when he was hot and young, and then aged a bit myself. So, no ta, that is not the route I’ll be taking.
What I’m hoping is that I’ll stay single for as long as poss, and then, when my looks start to go meet a George Clooney type who’ll have sown his oats, lived the fantasy, and be ready to surrender to companionship and teacakes. Until then, it’s like the song says: let’s fuck while we’re young and save tedious commitment for some indefinite point in the future. There’s no rush. And I’m telling you, marriage is not the path to fabulous.