How to write a book and ---
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... ponder about taking a lover ...

Before we go too far down this route, in advance of tackling this subject, I have to come clean and state that the queue of potential lovers is not snaking around the block. Of course living where I do, in a house set alone, some might say isolated, there isn't a block to snake around, but even if there were I might find it hard to come across anything deserving of the description queue. I can blame isolation. I can blame unsociability. I can blame age. I can blame the weather. Or politicians, or any of the usual suspects which are often named as the scapegoat. But it might just be availability.

And disappointment. The last lover I took was not a success. He might read this and I don't wish to embarrass him but being a late starter, a man with few samples under his belt, a man who was searching for a Relationship (capital R) he didn't quite understand the role of a lover. So he was always headed for the discard bin.

What he didn't get is that having a lover is not a relationship with the potential to grow. It's not superficial but there is no commitment; the end is always in sight. Having a lover is also not like having an affair, it's not a friend with benefits thing or a one night stand. I guess it could be best described as an interim relationship. Someone (Nietzsche) said there 'is always madness in love' and sometimes a holiday from madness is required. What is wanted is not to be captured in a regular liaison. But to have one that is easy going, no feelings of guilt, no emotional dramas. Nothing like an affair, which is exhausting. All that duplicitous behaviour. Deleting texts; never writing notes; hiding receipts; preferably using cash. An affair in the end drags one down; a lover gives a gloss to the day.

So now there is a new lover possibility. Not quite at the door yet but lurking at the gate. Thoughts; or pros and cons if you like. Would having a lover take up too much time? Practically I am asking? All that to-ing and fro-ing what with meeting up and having hair look good and nails manicured, not to mention the time actually spent with him. Time when I could be writing my next crime story. Would a lover be an inspiration, or a drag? Suppose he uses up my energy and I have little to spend on my characters and their dilemmas. Should I be considering their needs rather than my own? Is fantasy life more important than real life? Discuss.

It has to be easier to take a lover in summer. Less clothes for a start. Skin, hopefully, has a golden glow. Blue skies; indolence in the air; spring in the step, all that kind of thing. It's possible to sprawl elegantly; have an extra glass of wine. Relax. In winter there is all that shuddering and shivering. Plus layers of garments. Some very unflattering.

Which brings me to the topic of clothes and the shedding thereof. Those of you in long relationships have little to fear. Bumps, lumps, wrinkles, crinkles are all part of your own life tapestry. Together you created all those aforesaid furrows and saggings. You can trace your history along those wrinkles. But us, the single, the older single, how do we explain them away? Where did that nice clear soft skin go? Slipped into history when we weren't looking, or weren't taking care (as adverts and personal trainers might tell us.)

Shedding clothes when older, well, it ain't the sight that once it was. Perhaps it is time to brazen it out. Sneak surreptitious glances at the prospective lover. Hope he is in tattier condition than you. But if he is do you want him? Looking at the prospect there is only one question to ask oneself: would I take my clothes off for him? One question and only one answer. If the answer is I couldn't be bothered; gather up your dignity and leave. It will save time. No other considerations necessary. It will also save money. No need for the expense of buying all that new underwear.

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