Those of you that have clicked expecting to read a tale of my sordid dissent into some lesbian fantasy will be sorely disappointed. Despite my unflinching heterosexuality, this IS a love letter to the fairer sex, one which has come rather late in life and to my surprise. Maybe it’s the full moon or the recent reformation of the Spice Girls, but there is something about girl power that has me looking to women over men for fulfilment in my middle age.
Starting over dating in your late 30’s is an arduous and, quite frankly, soul-destroying task. But encountering new women and making female friendships seems to be happening quite naturally, where it never did in my life before. Striking up conversations over social media and meeting like-minded women feels far less pressured, and where most men will view a divorcee as someone to be avoided - women see only an ally.
Past experiences with my sex have never been entirely pleasurable. Clashing with strong personalities at school left me scarred and sceptical of forging friendships. Instead I found myself gravitating to the company of men who were upfront, if at times their intentions weren’t always pure! It became hard to be a girl’s girl in a man’s world and I’ve always felt I missed out on that bond that comes with female friendship. Someone to watch reality tv with and who will be honest when you ask, ‘does this make me look fat?’
Yet somewhere in the midst of middle age, the dynamic with women has suddenly shifted. With each hashtag and complimentary comment, the relationship is no longer one of comparison or competition, but of support and gratitude. Congratulating each other on surviving the challenges of motherhood and spurring each other on to each great things. Did something change in us when we reach motherhood, is it our instinct to nurture that has crept through? Perhaps we’ve just become too old for anything other than straight-talking.
Where invitations of meeting up with a male stranger you’ve met over the internet would raise a few eyebrows, I think nothing of reaching out to fellow mum bloggers and instagrammers – assuming a shared sense of style and ability to ‘put yourself out there’ equals a life-long friendship. And for the most part I haven’t been wrong! The rise of mummy blogger or the insta-mum has bred in itself a whole new community, one open to meeting new people, new experiences and endless possibilities.
I’m excited by this new female energy, which has become far more satisfying than waiting to hear back from that bloke you thought could be kind of cute if you squinted a little. Bored of waiting for my Prince Charming to arrive on horseback, I’m accepting all offers of drinks, vacations and collaborative opportunities from so many well-meaning women - all with no strings attached. If middle age means parking the romance in place of this, then I’m all set to welcome it with open arms. After some 20 plus years of writing women off, hopefully I’m not yet too old for hair-braiding and pillow fights.