The unspoken warning was that, because of my age, I might not find anyone else.
Sometimes my love life feels like a late night trip to the fried chicken shop.
I turned up a few minutes late for one date to find that the guy had already ordered and eaten dinner without me, and I booked myself on a climbing holiday with 14 fit men, only to discover halfway up the highest mountain in North Africa that they were all married.While I did meet some really nice men, it was certainly not at the tortuous round of singles events, at which there were always more women than men and everyone had a sad, resigned look in their eyes.Why would they like someone who, if she can still have children, would need to have them straight away?No, men will run a mile.’ She paused, then added: ‘Sorry, dear.’ I’ve never been someone who absolutely has to be in a relationship.It sounds like a mind-boggling amount of money to me, but with 12 offices around the world and more to follow, they’re clearly doing something right.
Before I get ready to go on my dates, I meet Mairead to discuss my possible matches (Mairead deals with the international business, while the lovely Jo manages the London office and usually deals with local clients).“People are more discerning now – they care about wealth, family background, DNA,” she explains.I assume when she mentions DNA she’s referring to genetic disorders, but I’m wrong: “They want to know what their kids are going to look like – they want to know what gene pool they’re going to be in. People put invest in it so they can meet someone like them. The birth of mobile phones, social media, tweeting texting and chatting online have changed human nature. And that culture has spread into the dating world – people want what they want.” The agency is designed for cash-rich, time-poor people who don’t have countless free evenings to spend scouring bars, or online dating sites, for a potential partner – they want to cut to the chase.Whenever I was between boyfriends in the past, I would just enjoy life until another man came along — through work, mutual friends or our eyes meeting across a crowded room.But when I phoned a dating agency eight months ago, everything had taken on a new sense of urgency. ‘Haven’t you found yourself a husband yet, Bridgey? But don’t look desperate — men hate that.’ I went speed-dating, online-dating, wine-tasting dating, quiz-dating and dinner-dating.And, as I’m always complaining, everything has become so cloaked in ambiguity, that there are 67 different levels of ‘not being in a relationship’ you have to go through before you’re allowed to call someone your significant other.