Why you won’t find love in a supermarket

Dearest readers, I’ve been feverishly prodding you in a forward direction along that big dating parade of the post40s age group, helping you dodge the rookie mistakes, drawing on the quirky unanticipated learnings from the experiences of our local celebs and generally doing my level best to help you #findlove despite how vociferously every core of your being might protest the prospect.

But every now and then I need to go on the defensive and declare a certain area the no-go-zone, the Chernobyl-two-headed-fish of dating, the veritable Fu-Ku-Shima of coupledom.

And here I declare of one the prime DMZs of the dating world….

The supermarket

The supermarket is NOT a place where you will meet your #notebook Ryan Gosling, find a chance to press your fevered forehead against a protruding Hemsworth forearm vein, or frenetically swap sustainable recipe ideas with that delightful hipster chap from River Cottage Australia.

Here’s why…

Bad lighting

Just as you are never going to look your best in rehab, you are never going to look your best in a supermarket (and when it comes to deprivation and despair, these institutions are on par)


No one shines bright like a diamond under the industrial lighting appliances that our supermarket chains buy in bulk (their purchase order must read: ‘150 x the Lets Make You Look Like A Long Term Inhabitant Of Guantanamo’)

Unlike the skinny mirrors in the department store change rooms designed to stop you crying over swimwear, or the soft focus lighting of cosmetics counters, supermarket electricals are hard-core. Believe me, until Instagram launches a #supermarketfilter, there’s not even a remote Kardashian third cousin that will post a gluten-free-aisle selfie to the world.

It’s not designed to make YOU look good. The supermarket gods pick a carefully-patented hue that makes the mystery-meat in Chorizo appear caramel smooth and thrice frozen prawns dredged from Thailand look like freshly-deceased local crustacea.

You? You will look like every downtrodden before-pic of any one of the #realhousewivesofanywhere without the costly attention of a cosmetic-surgeon-on-retainer.


Judgement abounds

You thought you were scared of gymnasium mirrors or Eastern suburbs kindy drop-off fashion faux-pas?

In your local supermarket, there is judgement everywhere:

  •  Paleo Guy is staring down at your basket, looking for an errant grain. A non grass-fed protein. a fish item with a loosely defined heritage
  • Hot Vegan is scanning your purchases, searching for non-soy dairy.
  • Fructose Intolerant Dude is turned off by your melons
  • Average Aussie Bloke is deterred by your lack of burger mince or party pies and is quizzically eyeing your over-indulgence in greens
  • The guy toting the Maggie Beer Quince paste only has potential to be your gay bf

 If they are in there, they won’t be for long.

Available men are about as likely to venture into a supermarket with any level of enthusiasm as 40schick is likely to spend quality time in either Bunnings or Baby Bunting.

If there is an available man in a supermarket he will whip in and out of there quicker than you can squeeze an out-of-season avocado (given you WILL spend time evaluating whether paying more for an avocado than a double shot expresso is worthwhile)

Blink and you’ll miss one of them checking out their big-serve Lean Cuisine and 1kg bag of grated cheese (the only thing that makes Lean Cuisine bearable) – even if they are slowish by virtue of being rank self-checkout amateurs.

97% of men are there under duress and not actually available

Most of these are easy enough to identify

  •  They are toting sanitary products
  • They are toting an infant in a sling


Your only shot?

Your only hope is to snag a hipster who hasn’t had time to tram it in to Mediterranean Wholesalers and who tried to sneak anonymously into Woolies. In this case your strategy is…Go Random

Stock up with any combo of the following

  • Pearl Cous Cous
  • 2 x cans imported lentils
  • Wasabi in a tube
  • Bassets Liquorice Allsorts
  • Pocky


Or…. Just Go Kale. You will snag any well-researched male who is trying to Nutri Bullet his way beyond his 20s obsession with Alpine lights, forgive his early-apprenticeship ignorance of asbestos or thinks greenery will help restore a Jim-Beam-rotted liver.

It’s your only shot.

Just. Go. Kale.









The mid-40s makeover

At some point after becoming suddenly single in your 40s, you WILL stop staring into the tub of Ben and Jerry’s* and turn your mind to assessing your date-ability.

(*Although, if it were possible to marry a pint of B&Js Clusterfluff in all its peanut buttery marshmallow glory there would simply be no need to move from the couch. Ever)


The safest entrée to this pursuit is to skip the dangerous, if insightful, territory of emotional introspection and spend time on the less-perilous ground of whether you need a wardrobe and image makeover.  If the last time you were single was when Justin and Britney were rocking double denim, you may wish to do a little examination of your image in case it has remained a little stubbornly wedged in that same era.

britney and justin double denim

It is important, however, to understand that less is more when it comes to the makeover, and illustration is often the best way to describe where that line falls.  Much as I detest joining the majority in taking cheap shots and lampooning foolish celebrities, I’m declaring all bets off as its Friday night, I’m alone under a rug on the couch watching the footy, so such tomfoolery seems justifiable, if not NECESSARY,  in the name of pure entertainment.

Freakishly, there is a single celebrity that comes to mind as the iconic cautionary tale when it comes to the mid 40s makeover and that is our Aussie cricketer Shane Warne. You may know him as the other half of Liz Hurley, and one suspects his transformation may not have occurred had he taken up with Cheryl from Fountain Lakes, but regardless of whether his transformation occurred off his own bat or at the urgings of Ms Hurley, the lessons still remain.

Here are four areas where you are encouraged to indulge in a makeover, with the Warnie caveats to help you understand where to stop.


If you were ever in doubt that what you wore out and about when dating in your 20s was NOT appropriate now, take a brief look back at Brit and JT and come back to this spot.  OK? Right.  If you are still not sure, start with the casual first-date staple – jeans – and eliminate all that are in your wardrobe that resemble those worn by the cast of 90210 (the original series)


Apply similar improvements to other aspects of your wardrobe, using 90s American TV if necessary as a reference point on what you need to eliminate.

Its important to move on, but it is only an invitation to ridicule at the hands of your nearest and dearest if you move TOO FAR along the spectrum to a point where you are not even in the same universe as your original style.

Case in point.

two warnes


Nothing screams ‘I’ve moved on to some new levels of fabulousness’ than a great new hairstyle.  Again, if you’ve hung on to something a bit Billy Ray Cyrus, then you could certainly do with a move towards Bradley Cooper.

BR and BRC

If you are female, the inequities of womanhood means it will cost you about seven times as much for your follicular transformation, but if you are male, you will achieve this relatively cheaply and easily in a single hairdresser visit, albeit with probably a fair amount of take-home product.  If you persist with the lovely chap with the venue displaying the barber’s pole that you’ve been seeing for 20 years, please do be specific so that you don’t just end up with a neater version of the Billy Ray.

My hairdresser and I already have a pact, that if ever I go in and ask her to HACK IT ALL OFF that she will send me away for two weeks to have a think about it, in case I am in a Ben and Jerry’s sugar coma or once again trying to replicate my boyfriend’s ex

If you don’t have a pre-existing arrangement around major hair transformation, just be gradual.  eg Shane – always needed to move on from here

hair 1

Should have stopped here

could have stopped here

Went here

went here


Nothing is guaranteed to make you look more subtly sprightly than a dental makeover.  Whilst an overhaul involving crowns, straightening and the full enchilada will cost more than putting your first-born through private school, a simple whitening treatment will do wonders in erasing your late night red wine and long black coffee habits.  You can undertake at-home treatments that involve dental molds full of something toxic-bleachy that you soak your teeth in, but be sure to cease and desist if you do manage to entice someone back into your boudoir – revealing these types of night time habits are not for early-stage dating.  Better to succumb to yet another example of our instant-gratification culture and get your fangs nuked in the dentist chair in the same time as it would take you to get a takeaway coffee and sandwich.

JUST. DON’T. OVERDO. IT.  Also – be wary of your degree of teeth bleachedness vs your degree of fake-tannedness.

shane warne teeth

Social media

When you were last single, the greatest evolution in communication was in the form of the mobile phone – and it had only just moved from being brick-like to the look of a medium sized dictionary.  Now we have drunk texting, facebook faux pas, instagram oversharing and twitter fails.  Although you might think these are outside the scope of a blog on physical transformation, all this social media becomes the online manifestation of your physical form.  Once out there, its out there forever.  So take a moment to acquaint yourself with these tools, sort out your privacy settings, NEVER LOG ON under the influence of alcohol and develop a healthy cringe-ometer before you post.

Yes Shane, I’m talking to you….


If you are not sure you can manage it, stay on the couch with ice cream for a week or two longer….

**** Apologies Liz and Shane.  I do feel a bit bad about this.  But it was either you or Miss Utah, and my last post had a reference to another unfortunate beauty pageant speech so I couldn’t go there again.

Adjoining decades only

Whilst I empathise with my fellow 40something single friends and would be ecstatic to see them transition to some loved-up coupledom, I love that they are able to provide fodder that broadens my knowledge, feeds my blog and gives me that ‘there but for the grace of God…’ shudder.  There are two rules about my use of their stories in this blog:

  1. We wait for the tears to dry before ANYTHING gets written down
  2. We measure the impact of the experience on the Veuve-ometer.  Any dalliance where the recovery strategy requires more than a half dozen bottles of Veuve Cliquot is too deep a wound to ever be shared with my blog readers.

Once such experience has now translated into the now-immutable dating law of ‘always keep it to adjoining decades’  As a 40s chick, dating someone in their 30s is perfectly acceptable, in fact encouraged, but when she dabbled with a guy whose age began with a 2, here’s what we learned:

One – There’s weirdness about invention and extinction of stuff.


You will remember a time prior to the mobile phone, in fact even a time before land lines were hooked up to voicemail.  They can no more imagine that than a time before Kardashians roamed the earth.

You probably had brush with death dealt by a street directory becoming an unintended projectile straight from the parcel shelf upon some unanticipated braking.  The closest navigational aid-driven near-death experience they have had was that dreadful period when Apple’s IOS upgrade trashed google maps.

Your first musical capture device was the pizza sized LP record whereas they can’t recall a time where a song was anything but a file.

If you kept clothes from your teenage years, they would now term them vintage.  Vintage is great when it involves wine, impressive when it applies to your boho wardrobe items, but you don’t want to be FROM there.

This is not to say you are not super obsessed with everything that’s new and good – from knowing all the quirkiest questions to ask Siri through to knowing the coolest hashtags, but one day, you will speak out loud of something that no longer exists and there will be a weird awkward silence.

 Two – they will go to music festivals

We’ve come a long from the Big Day Out baby.  Music festivals draw in today’s 20somethings like moth to a flame and have become multi-day, fashion and music extravaganzas.  The only thing that you are likely to relate to is the fashion.

coachella celebs week 1 day 2 4 150412

If the music festival on the tip of your tongue is the Port Fairy Folk festival, then even the biggest Paris Hilton-esque sunglassies and the flowiest Nicole Richie dress CANNOT SAVE YOU.

The only person in the world in your age bracket who can pull it off is Kate Moss and that’s only because of her ageless, rock-star girlfriend, <alleged> drug-dabbling cred. Even if you think you have these attributes, you can’t go there unless you actually look like this

kate moss at coachella

Three – you will have vastly different perspectives on major milestone years.

combined image

The year 2000, after we established that we weren’t wiped off the map by the y2k bug, had milestones for everyone.  Our heroine, some 12 years after attaining legal drinking age and after persisting with the drinking of red wine with a patience more robust than the tabloids with a Jessica Simpson pregnancy, she ditched it on the grounds of its unfailing hangover-inducing properties.  Upon some unrelated conversation about red wine and why she no longer drank it, she remarked the stuff hadn’t touched her lips since Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympics.  Ah, he said, the year I got my learners permit and drove my family up to Sydney to see Cathy Freeman run.


Four – they sext.  You don’t.

It’s a fairly safe bet that Black Caviar is never going to return to racing. (and if you think there is a mare-out-to-pasture subtext there then you’re right)  Its an ever surer bet that if you indulge with a 20something with any degree of duration, you will receive a picture in your message inbox demonstrating some degree of swordsmanship on the part of your beau. lt will occur when you are discretely checking your message inbox in a key meeting and represents potential to cause untold damage to your level of concentration

There are three golden rules around this.

  1. you will show it to your besties
  2. you must not respond in kind
  3. you must delete it or engage in some mindless back and forth message chit chat in order to send it off the current screen into that special archive place where it is not likely to make an unwelcome appearance when you are demonstrating to your dad how cool an iphone is.

There is no shortage of examples where a 10plus age gap works and translates into a glorious life long partnership.  This was not one of them, but became embedded in our shared bestie folkore as the ‘adjoining decades only’ rule, the only tangible reminder of the relationship being the sword pic that is dusted off whenever someone needs a chuckle.

If you are taking your online dating a little more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.