My man number one was a 6’ 6” (!) alpha male. He positively towered above me. However, by way of practical, manly skills he was utterly hopeless. I well recall an early date – a first-night performance at London’s Royal Opera House after which I found I had a flat tyre. Who changed the wheel? I did, clad in full-length gold lamé and false eyelashes top and bottom – egged on by the cheers of Covent Garden Market porters while my alpha male sat in my car reading an erudite journal. I loved it – and I loved him. We were to have many wonderful years together. We’re still best friends and I adore his wife and children.
Man number two was 5’ 4½” inches tall – although it wasn’t apparent at first sight because of several inches of Afro-style hair on top (it was a long time ago). However, his Irish charm, wit and eccentricity were the great attractions. Our first date was a picnic beside the river Thames during which I thought that he’d had a heart attack, so loud was a sudden scream he emitted. This Irishman was genuinely terrified of a tiny mouse that had attacked our baguette and brie, necessitating a rapid departure to a ‘safer’ spot – much to my amusement! We went on to have several happy, if bumpy, years together and now my husband and I often visit him and his wife in the South of France.
Man number three was first spotted, with a worried look on his face, moving a large lawn mower into a fourth floor, gardenless flat next to mine. He was, I discovered, to be my new neighbour. For starters, his 5’ 8½” of height was well short of mine when I was perched on my killer heels. I had heard that he was freshly separated and had two young children, now living abroad, so I guessed there would be past-life pitfalls aplenty. I reminded myself that my avowed policy, as a singleton in this type of situation, was to run extremely fast in the opposite direction. However, I couldn’t help but be just a little curious, so I spied on him that evening through my darkened window. A sight met my eyes that, in those days, would have made most women very nervous: he was washing up – OK, that’s great, I’ll allow – but wearing PINK rubber gloves! Sexy? No way!
Love at first sight? Forget it; but yes, you’ve guessed, we grew to love each other madly and could not now be happier than we are – admittedly after having tiptoed around loads of old problems. Sebastian’s passion, romantic spirit, wit, kindness, boyish charm and twinkly green eyes still have me weak at the knees. We’ve been married for years, but we’d never have got off the starting blocks if I’d stuck to that Perfect Partner List. As for finding a man who remembers to put down the toilet seat every time, forget it girls. But hey, it’s a small price to pay for true love.