We all get sick of the guy our age and go through a phase of preferring the older man. To me, this phase struck me at 18. I had just started university and being surrounded by childish boys that constantly let you down and had an obscure sense of humour, it was decided that the 'older guy' was definitely for me.
I bumped into Matt at a cafe (he let me go in front of him because he needed to answer his phone) and got talking. He seemed so genuine and 'wholesome' - like a good boy that you'd be proud to take home to your mum. He asked for my number and a couple of days later asked me out on a date.
I was rather excited about this and ran to my flatmates like a giddy, little girl telling them that I had a 'grown-up' date. I honestly felt like I had aged a couple of years and the term 'teenager' no longer referred to me.
On the day of the date I made sure my dress and make-up combination shouted out 'sophistication' and even splashed out on a new pair of (expensive) shoes just so I could show this guy how mature I really was.
We met up at a quiet bar. All the men were wearing suits, grumpily chatting to one another. In one corner two women with glossy, blonde hair stirred their martinis whilst gossiping, occasionally tapping their fingernails on the table to the soothing classical music.
It was a strange feeling. As soon as I scanned my surrounding, I was sure that this was the place for me, and my stomach flipped with excitement.
"Let me get you a drink. A gin and tonic?" Matt asked. Oh, I thought. I was thinking more a malibu and coke but perhaps that'll do. I had no idea what a G and T was. My alcohol habits only extended as far as JD and coke, and the occasional red wine.
"Perfect," I smile at him and a couple of minutes later he returns with the drinks. "So tell me about yourself," I ask, still so excited.
He takes a sip of his drink and begins, "Well, I'm originally from Hertfordshire and moved to London to be closer to work. I'm in finance, by the way,"
Lovely, I think.
"Just bought my first house as well," his face beams with a smile as he says it. Immediately I think how stupid I've been for messing about with guys my age. Here's where the gold really is. "It's just a bit empty. Need someone to fill it with," he continues, his smile slightly vanishing.
I'm about to say that it all sounds lovely but he speaks before I get a chance, "Broke up with my girlfriend of seven years a couple of months ago,"
...7 years??? 7 years ago I was 11!
"She said she wasn't ready for marriage and kids so we went our separate ways. His facial expressions almost convey grief. "But," he beams up again, "It's time for change,"
"Absolutely," I say.
"I'm not exactly getting any younger," he says, "I'm 32 next month. How old are you?"
Well, that's my first thought. After the slight shock I immediately want to know what moisturiser he uses. He does not look 32.
I look down at my drink to hide my expression and then realise that he asked me a question which needs answering.
"I'm 24," I lie.
Yes, I have just aged 6 years.
He smiles at me and tries to hold my hand as if to say that he likes my answer.
"So I suppose you'd want to settle down soon?" he guesses optimistically.
Umm... what on earth is the right answer here???
"Just taking things as they go. If the right guy comes along...well, you never know, do you?" I say and his face lights up even more.
I want to go home. I actually want to go home.
Poor guy. He's clearly lovely and exactly what women are looking for. But perhaps not an eighteen year old's perfect man.
He's now talking about his sister and how she's just starting out as a fashion designer but it's difficult because she had two children. He's now saying that he wants children.
Oh gosh, what if he says, "Let's elope!" All these bizarre thoughts are stirring in my head, but I dismiss each one as they're obviously stupid.
After a couple of hours, we leave the bar and he drives me home.
"I'll walk you to the door," he says.
Oh dear, I think. That means I'm going to have to kiss him.
We're now right by the door and he's looking at me with adoring eyes. Oh, if only I liked you!
"I've had a great time tonight," he smiles and leans in. I have no idea what to do so I just let him kiss me. It's rather awkward. I'm not doing much movement - just letting him do the work. He finally moves away and brushes my cheek with his hand.
"See you soon, yeah?" he asks whilst walking away.
"Definitely," I lie once more.