From men to mid life crises, from Botox to Brazilians, from infertility to infidelity, every week Jacqui Leigh gives her personal take on being a fortysomething woman
A coffee order
I’m in a daze. I was leaving work on my half day yesterday, rummaging at the ticket barrier for my Oyster card...
My bag is a bottomless pit from hell. It must be decreed somewhere that not a day may pass without me having a nervous breakdown because I think I’ve lost either my keys, my phone or my purse or all three. Is it just me or is does every woman spend half her waking life looking for one of those items?
The other day I tried a new method of keeping track of my things by loudly announcing to the world what I was doing. 'I am putting my phone in the front pocket of my bag', I proclaimed in a loud voice, to Mo’s amusement, as we left the house. 'I am putting my purse in the main pocket of my bag.' It kind of worked actually but I’m not sure I can keep it up. Which is why yesterday, for the sake of variety, I had lost my Oyster card.
Anyway, there I am, rummaging furiously when I realise Daniel, from the coffee shop, is standing next to me by the ticket barrier. It’s the first time I’ve seen him outside of his little coffee shop, no longer safely behind the big espresso machine. Now he’s right there, a little too close, so I have to back off slightly.
A jumbled up mess of thoughts compete with one another. He’s very young! He’s not much taller than me. Jesus I wish I’d put on some bloody makeup. He’s grinning. He takes my arm a bit confidently for someone who could easily have been born any time after 1990 and leads me over to the little wrought iron table outside the coffee shop where there’s a cup of coffee already waiting for me. He pulls out the chair for me to sit on. Then he sits opposite me smiling and I’m also smiling and feeling a bit self conscious and wondering what this is.
Anyway, he wants to know why I haven’t been coming by for my usual coffee. I feel even more embarrassed at this point, but anyway I come clean and say I’m economizing which is the complete truth. No shame in that really. I think he looks a bit relieved. I laugh and ask him if he interrogates all his customers in this way.
No he says. Only the pretty ones.
Impressive. I’m not just saying it, I’m convinced, I really am old enough to be his mother and this cheeky confidence has taken me by surprise.
Anyway after that we just sat, chatted a bit, me doing much more talking than him. I made him laugh with silly stuff about work and then I left.
In the couple of short silences, I felt the way he was looking, no, gazing at me, and it was exciting and a bit uncomfortable.
You won’t find me on Ten Years Younger just yet. I look pretty good for my age but there are moments when I glance at myself and I see the years and there’s no kidding myself. I’m an older woman and I’m not sure I’m up to being gazed at.
Anyway his last words to me were ‘Come and see me next week. That’s an order’.
This is all just new and I keep running through the whole thing in my head. I’m sure you’re all shaking your heads and thinking I’m delusional and quite frankly I’m also wondering that, but I think this man, this boy likes me. And I like him. But am I allowed to? I keep wondering why a guy his age would fancy a woman twenty years older? I mean, it would be a surprise to me if he’s even thirty. Suddenly I really don’t feel like getting any older, not that I did before, but now more than ever.
Deep breaths, Jacqui.