Turning To Dust Is Not An Option.

At the beginning of last week I was excited to see an interview I’d had with the fabulous Carol Vorderman was shown on the Lorraine programme as part of a series that Carol has done about what it’s like to be over 50 and dating and well just being fabulous. Yep, I’m more than qualified to give an opinion about that but we did in fact talk about how life now is very different to how we thought it would be, it is in fact far better than we expected it to be except for dating, (on my part).

Too many older guys think they can still attract a 35 yr old and the guys a bit younger than me who have taken care of themselves also want to attract the younger women so where does that leave all of us gorgeous over 50 women who are smart, confident and hoping to find someone to spend the rest of our lives with? We attract the guys looking for a “mealtime and holiday companion” as Reg from Runcorn is fed up of eating his Wiltshire meal for one on his own. Pete from Preston too scared to get on the tram to Manchester as he’s not been there for 15 years, we attract the guys who are retired with too much time on their hands but hope you’ll spend time at their allotment with them, (quietly of course) guys who want to be seen with a smart looking woman but would prefer it if you keep your opinions to yourself. But while older guys would like a younger woman what they don’t know is that every single woman over 50 on dating sites/apps will receive messages from young guys in their early twenties, and I don’t care why they do it as it definitely boosts a woman’s confidence.

Don’t believe me? No I wouldn’t have done either but being over 50 has it’s advantages. For a start we’ve probably reached as far as we can get career wise so maybe we can relax a bit in that department, kids have probably left home which means we have a lot more spare time, if we’ve got grandchildren then we have the best of both worlds where we can have them for a short time knowing we can give them back to their parents and everybody’s happy. Hopefully we’ve realised that we don’t have to stay in an unhappy relationship and however scary it is to be on your own, it’s far more scary to waste your life staying with someone just for the sake of it. But do you know what the best thing is?  The days of chasing promotion are over, the days of being a full time mum are over, the days of wondering if your latest love interest is cheating are over, the days of trying to be everything to everybody are over, and it’s great. But let’s not forget that this is also the time we become invisible which means the pressure is OFF. Nobody expects a single thing from us older ladies, not one, nothing, not an opinion, an original idea, a suggestion, nobody expects a damn thing because by now no one sees us so as far as society is concerned we are worthless, we’ve had our life, done our bit, raised our kids so thank you and good night.

This is when the fun starts. Now is the time to reconnect with who we were when we were younger, before the kids, the exes, the daily grind of just getting through the day which means trying to build up that confidence to step out and do whatever the hell it is that makes us happy. When I was a teenager I used to go to Wigan Casino where I used to just dance all night to northern soul from midnight until 8am, obviously I wouldn’t dream of doing that now but there are loads of northern soul nights going on which is full of people my age and now and again I’ll go to one of these (on my own) and just do what I love to do. I’ve also started to go on holiday on my own (which actually winds up a few people my age but there you go) and I absolutely love it, people are always friendlier on holiday and more likely to talk to anyone. The thing we all have to realise is that by now the road ahead is shorter than the one behind, whatever you want to do just do it. Turning to dust is not an option ladies.

Now could someone please pass me my diary so I can pencil in 23 yr old Matt for Monday night.

 

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Age Is Just A Number Right?

I’ve been dreading this birthday. Out of all the milestone birthdays, this was the one that was going to change how I felt about myself, and how others might perceive me, (although I shouldn’t care what total strangers think) once I’d hit what used to be the official old age pensioner status.

The big 60. At one time it was retirement age, free bus/tram pass, eye tests,  free swimming, all the perks of becoming officially old but as we all know those goalposts have been changed so now it’s no different to any other birthday, except it is because 60 sounds so OLD. It shouldn’t, we’re all living longer and people seem to enjoy being older a lot more than previous generations have, but it’s still the one birthday that strikes fear in the heart of everyone approaching it. So instead of dreading it I’ve had to flip my thinking and embrace it as a positive because actually it is. This upcoming birthday motivated me to go to Slimming World just after Christmas, and up to now I’ve lost 2 stone but will keep going until another comes off even though I feel pretty good now.  Part of getting older also encouraged me to think about doing an exercise class, so I started Zumba last week and hopefully I’ll be making the time to do other classes, I can’t even remember the last time I was stood at the back of the class (the only one last week with make up on, what can I say it soon slid off with sweating too much) trying to keep up with everyone else but I loved it, I’ve not felt as good for ages.

So up to now it’s all good and to be fair the last decade was one of the best I’ve had, it had it’s ups and downs but on the whole it was fantastic thanks to all the fabulous things that happened, (I never saw that coming) in fact I would go so far as to say it was almost (but not quite) as good a decade as my 20’s which is usually everyone’s defining decade. Almost but not quite but I never expected it to be as good as it was so maybe there’ll be some fabulous stuff  coming up, who knows? I have plans guys, I have plans. So today I celebrated my birthday, and the celebrations will continue at the weekend because no matter what happens, up to now I’ve had an amazing life and I am a goddess after all.

Now someone please pass me the champagne.

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Almost Famous.

I was never a massive fan of Jane McDonald. I didn’t mind her, I remember watching her when she was on “The Cruise” 20 years ago and I used to watch her on Loose Women and thought that she seemed genuine, warm and down to earth so when the chance came to apply for a ticket to see her record her new Channel 5 series Jane McDonald and Friends at Media City, I thought it would be a nice way to spend a Thursday evening as Media City is literally round the corner from where I live.

I was sent a ticket along with an email asking did I have any funny stories about dating or relationships to which I replied “How long have you got?” After sending a couple of dating stories I was told that I would now be given a priority ticket and that maybe I would get to speak with Jane on the programme, along with the other audience members with stories to tell. This was beginning to sound a bit exciting.

On the day a few of us were seated close to the steps so it was easy for Jane to ask us for our stories, no point being sat right in the middle with no microphone, although to be fair most people will agree that I probably didn’t need one. We were warned though that she probably wouldn’t get to us all but I was hoping she’d ask me (I didn’t want this spray tan to go to waste) as I’d spent ages getting ready. It’s been years since I’ve been to watch a TV show being recorded and I’d forgotten how long it takes, and how hard people work, luckily for us that night we had a fantastic warm up man who kept the energy up for hours so it didn’t seem as long waiting for Jane to change into yet another fabulous dress. Before long Jane was doing the audience participation and came to speak to a couple right in front of me about how they met. Then she asked a couple who were sat right behind me about how they also met but she never got to me. That’s ok though, I was bound to be seen in the audience so I was happy with that and I have to say I really enjoyed the show and came away from it a bit of a fan.

Last Friday was the last episode of Jane McDonald and Friends so I was watching it trying to catch glimpses of myself in the audience, waiting until they showed Jane talking to the couples sat really close to me. It didn’t happen. Obviously a show that’s taken over 3 hours to record then has to be condensed into an hour so unfortunately a lot of stuff ends up on the cutting room floor so I reckon those couples who’d been filmed were fuming that they weren’t seen. So Jane never got to hear about some of the really bad dates that she would probably have to endure herself if she was single and dinosaur dating.  How some of the bald, fat old men seem to think they can get a woman 20 years younger who looks like a Victoria’s Secret model. How some of them get anxious if they have to leave their postcode to meet, or how most of the “spontaneous, lives life to the full, never a dull moment” is boring Brian with far too much time on his hands so likes to message his intended up to 50 times an hour and woe betide you if you don’t reply as quick as he would like.

Maybe next time.

 

Nenewho

 

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Don’t Try This At Home

After watching the programme “Party Pensioners” on channel 5 a couple of days ago, it would seem that there is a (hopefully small) group of people who are refusing to grow old quietly. Women who will do anything to get noticed, to get attention, who are prepared to lose their dignity and don’t seem to realise how ridiculous they look. I’m all for not blending into the background just because you get older, when it seems that you are on the periphery of people’s vision but they don’t actually see you anymore as you have nothing to offer. No young hot body, no mind blowing ideas, no fashion sense, no idea of what’s going on in the world, no use to anyone, but it would seem that some people are prepared to go above and beyond under the guise of “eccentric, outrageous, wild and wacky”.

As a society we are living longer so the definition of middle aged has changed. Older women are still working, have their own money and are hopefully enjoying life as much as they were 30 years previously, just in a different way. Kids have left home which gives you the time to pursue new/old hobbies and anyone with half a brain is still interested in what’s going on around them, which means you’re open to new ideas, finding your way around new technology, and can probably hold your own in a political debate (maybe).  Just because the shops only cater for the young fashionistas doesn’t mean you’re not interested in fashion anymore, it just makes it more difficult to find what you like as you’re more likely to want to cover up rather than reveal. The mirror might show an older version of you but we all know the truth, inside you’re on the dance floor of that dodgy club when you were 21, on holiday in Benidorm with the girls and choosing which guy you were going to go home with that night.

Everybody fears getting older because of how society sees older people. Instead of seeing it as a chance to try new things, make new friends and maybe broadening our horizons with travelling, we worry that no one will value our opinion anymore, no one listens to what we have to say which is ironic. We have lived through a lot of  life experiences which means that chances are we can empathise with some of what life will throw at you. Been there done that comes to mind. But then again what do we know?

What most people want to do though is just enjoy life. Everyone’s idea of enjoying life is different, how everyone copes with getting older is different, which brings me back to the women who choose a different path than most. Andy Warhol once said that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame and he’s not wrong. With so many reality shows, documentary programmes etc, it would seem that for most people they can have their 15 minutes but because of the fame hungry culture we’re in some people want more. I’m not against people applying for these shows (how can I, I was on one myself) it’s the situation they put themselves in. It’s one thing being shown on a date, fully clothed in a nice restaurant, quite another to be shown legs akimbo  and writhing around the floor thinking you’re giving Beyonce a run for her money. Or maybe giving burlesque dancing a try when you’re over 80, flashing your knickers at everyone at the end of the show, all being shown on tv of course. There are no hard and fast rules but please ladies, where is your dignity? Surely no one wants to see anyone over 60 making an utter fool of themselves in order for them to feel as though they’re no longer invisible, (or anonymous as one of the “ladies” said). Everyone likes to think they’ll grow old disgracefully but hopefully people will draw the line at attention seeking, ridiculous behaviour.

Different strokes for different folks but one thing I do know. I could clear a room in 10 seconds if I took my clothes off. Fact.

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The Fame Game

Everyone seems to want to be famous these days, but with no talent to offer. It’s common practice for some people who want to be in the public eye to “buy” followers on twitter and instagram to seem more popular than they actually are, which seems to be encouraged by the rise in reality tv  programmes which some people try to use as a platform for bigger and better things. Most shows are to be viewed as a bit of fun, not to be taken seriously, but for a small minority this can be seen as making a career out of…well, nothing. The same can be said of the way some young girls make a bee line for footballers/tv personalities  in a club, hoping to sell a “kiss and tell” which in turn might lead to a photo shoot, leading to a magazine article, leading to a stint on Love Island/Ex on the Beach but then what?  Some people want their 2 minutes in the sun stretched out to 2 weeks in Benidorm but having youth and beauty is not actual talent which is why there are so many “wannabees” around hoping to be the next big thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a thrill to be recognised when you’ve appeared on tv  but this is what some people crave, all the time. The constant recognition when they’re out and about and maybe they’ve actually reminded people themselves, jogging a memory and then claim that they can’t believe people still recognise them when they only appeared once on a programme. And that’s the thing. Appearing once on a tv programme does not, in any shape or form, mean that you are a reality tv star. Thousands of people apply for these shows so you’ve got to be something special to stand out to make a career out of it, which hopefully would mean some sort of talent. Or maybe some people want to be infamous. A throwaway comment gets picked up by the press and even though it’s negative they’re going to run with this and try to latch a career on to it, and like the saying goes, even bad publicity is better than none for these people who really want it.

At the moment I am closely watching a one trick pony who has recently appeared on a well known programme, they’ve acquired an agent and seem to be taking great pleasure in winding people up to get a reaction. As this person has no talent whatsoever I’m curious to see which lengths they will go to, as up to now we’ve had an alleged homophobic attack, and a kiss and tell that was probably fabricated, and this is all in the name of becoming famous, with the ultimate aim being to appear  on Big Brother.

As for me, I really need people to stop phoning me asking me to model the latest hearing aid, as I’m far too busy contacting the press about my night of passion with the local lollipop man.

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Got Good Friends? Hang on to Them.

It’s been a month since my episode was seen on First Dates, and like any major event in life you will find that people’s reaction vary, good or bad, and this is what I found happened in the days following that programme.

Obviously some people at work had been told about it (I was on the opening credits for a while so it was no big secret) and I am lucky to have some great friends at work who were going to watch it, even though they’ve  never actually watched an episode before which meant a lot to me. On the actual night I drank far too much wine as I was really nervous about how Twitter would react, as we all know it can be cruel, and having been advised not to read any comments I kept off it. It is also really weird to see yourself on TV, and anyone who read my blog about when I actually went on my date will know I wasn’t happy with my appearance, but that was totally my fault. So, what happened after?

About a week after the episode had been shown  people started to come up to me and ask “Were you on First Dates?” and then stand and stare expectantly which threw me a bit as I wasn’t sure what to do, but everyone was really nice and more or less said the same things every time. Luckily Twitter had been kind (relief!) and friends at work were really lovely about it but it was also quite amusing to see how some people reacted. One or two who you never have a conversation with, suddenly became your best mate for two minutes as they wanted to know everything about what happens on the show (as if I’d tell them) before they went telling their mates. Some people who never said anything publicly when we were all in conversation talking about it, came and asked questions when I was on my own, one or two waited to see how everyone else reacted before saying anything, and you’ll always get the ones who’d rather choke on their own vomit before they’ll say anything at all, which is fine.

Unfortunately you will also get one or two long standing friends who while saying they support you, when it came down to it actually didn’t, which although was a bit upsetting at the time, came as no surprise.

I did of course have the support of people who were there from the absolute start, the ones who were cheering from the sidelines from the very first audition, the ones who responded to frantic phone calls from me when I was getting nervous and having second thoughts, the ones who met me at a minute’s notice to lend me a valuable item of clothing, and of course a couple of work mates who were there all the way who were so supportive and for that I’ll always be grateful.

People don’t always respond or react in the way you expected, but some will exceed all expectations and make you realise that actually, you have some really good friends, make sure you hang on to them.

 

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The Magic Of Twitter.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a huge fan of Twitter, I love the fact that you can have brief conversations with total strangers who you will never meet but for whatever reason you’ve become friends with on Twitter. It also has a down side of course and there are many stories of people in the public eye who’ve had to leave due to abuse from trolls but for me it’s been a positive thing (this might well change in the very near future) and something interesting happened to me a few weeks ago.

One day a BBC journalist started following me on Twitter and asked could I follow her back so she could direct message me and after a brief conversation I gave her my phone number and the next day someone from the BBC phoned me asking would I be interested in appearing on the programme Rip Off Britain as they were doing one about how people get ripped off on holidays. What was this to do with me? Well apparently a while ago I’d posted a tweet about how I’d have loved to have gone on holiday but was sick of paying single supplement. A throwaway tweet that I can’t even remember posting had led some poor researcher trawling through hashtags to eventually find little old me. I was gobsmacked.

So, a couple of weeks ago I went to Media City where we proceeded to film a segment for the programme. It did take a while and there was a lot of leaning against the rails looking out into the distance over the water at Salford Quays pretending I was really wishing I was in Benidorm but it was fun and it’s always nice to meet new people. This won’t be shown until January or February I believe and I’m interested to see how much footage will actually be shown but in the meantime, as most of you know, I will be seen dining in a certain restaurant on Channel 4 next week. Let’s see if I’m still such a fan of Twitter after that…

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