The first time Lucy Cavendish, 46, was asked out by a twentysomething man, she laughed. As the evening went on, he gazed into my eyes and brushed his fingers against mine as he handed me a glass of wine. I sit there and listen to it all, rather impressed at how much he has done in such a short time. At the end of our coffee, he asks if I’d like to have lunch. In Cougar Town, the television series starring Courteney Cox, it was predatory, with older women pursuing younger men for sexual reasons. The woman gets — whisper it — hot sex or that’s what we are supposed to think.
Also, I’m not convinced I would find someone two decades younger than myself that intellectually interesting. He has been modelling for five years and now models part-time. Sam Taylor-Wood (now Taylor-Johnson) aged 45, is married to the actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson who is 23 years her junior. Joan Collins, 79, has been married to Percy Gibson, who is 32 years her junior, for a decade.
” Here is the problem; I can’t get my head around having fun with someone who could almost be young enough to be my son. What young twentysomething man would seriously find a 40-plus woman and mother attractive? I fear it would make me feel old and threatened (by every woman aged 18 to 50) and that I’d probably want to mother them. He tells me he is a male model, spotted by the fashion designer Hedi Slimane.
Since my summer encounter, I have been told by at least three other single female friends, all in their forties and all divorced with children, that they too have been hit on by men in their early twenties. One of them, Susie, is now happily dancing the night away on a weekly basis with someone aged 23. A thought occurs to me that maybe some easygoing fun is exactly what I need. But Jono sits down and we start chatting and it turns out he is very easy to talk to.
Trembling at the thought of feeling old, but keen to get away from divorcees-who-play-golf dates (for I can see this is where I’m heading), I agree to meet up with him. But then a tall, dark-haired, good-looking man/boy walks in to the coffee shop and smiles at me. It would feel terribly embarrassing; very Mrs Robinson. No amount of face peels and Botox is going to change that.
So when a male friend tells me I’d get on like a house on fire with another friend of his, I don’t balk at the fact that he is 25. I’ve gone for a shirt and jeans, but now I feel so Home Counties I am sure he will take one look at me and run. The second thought is that there is no way I could ever fancy someone of this age.