Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

A few months ago, I met a man at a party. “Are you married?” he asked.

“No,” I replied. “Any children?” “No,” I said.
“I’m 53,” he exclaimed. “That’s old,” he said while trying to twirl meround the dance floor to do the foxtrot to Dizzee Rascal. Later, he said, “Do you want children?”

“This is a bit much,” I thought. “I don’t even know his name.” He’d been married and divorced twice, and had three grown-up children.

It must be hard for older men. They’ve done it all and then they meet a younger woman – do they want to go through it all again? Don’t they just want cocoa and slippers?

My major intrigue was: married and divorced twice. Had he buried them under the patio?

No one likes coming third, especially me. I’m very competitive. How would I cope if I had to tell people I’m someone’s third wife? I’d feel like the runner-up in the egg and spoon race.

It turned out he’s actually a very nice man, slightly obsessed by food and drink – as he says, “What else is there to look forward to at my age?”

What I would find difficult is coping with the history, memories, habits and baggage of a man like this. Old man, young woman – can it work? A colleague is 59. He’s going out with a 35-year-old. He said, “If she wanted children, I’d let her have them but I’d make her realise I’ve probably only got 15 years left. But at the same time, it may give me the new lease of life I need.”