Styling: Nicola Rose. Caroline Barnes, Frank Agency. Makeup Alex Szabo, Carol Hayes
‘You don’t want rescuing, do you?’ said the WhatsApp message from a potential suitor, back in my dating days.
We were planning on meeting for dinner and this question, alongside ‘Italian or Japanese?’, was high on his agenda. My denials were firm. It was because a) it was truthful and b) lackiness isn’t sexy. In fact neediness is only one rung up on the ladder from its deeply unattractive cousin, ‘clingy’.
Neediness says: ‘Go out with me and I will demand to know your whereabouts at all times.’ And: ‘I will require constant reassurance and for you to talk me down from the ledge on a daily basis about my nightmare boss/frenemies/body hang-ups.’ Oh, and in all likelihood, ‘I will message you through all communication media available to me. Constantly.’ Neediness is a hole in a person’s self-esteem that can never be plugged.
Plus, for this man in particular and for others I met, I think there was a financial component – the subtext was, ‘I don’t want another dependant.’ I could see why, if he was on the market for a mate, he would want to avoid this type.
Mental fortitude is required to admit your faults
The same feeling I had. Although my marriage ended in a terrible way, it allowed me to choose the right person for me. The man shops (aka dating apps), offered me the option to choose Taste The Difference instead of Reduced To Clear.
And on my list was ‘strong and capable’. And ‘life enhancing’. Not ‘a broken-winged type with more baggage than Terminal Five’. It sounds harsh, and I feel unkind for saying it.
You have to take a cut if you partner starts snoring or flatulence in a relationship. All that and more, until death do us part. If you’re starting from scratch, you have the option to choose your own path.
My (admittedly very limited) experiences have shown me that men tend to be more pragmatic in selecting a partner. They can weigh all pros and cons objectively.
Looking at both sexes, I think my female friends are more prone to saying, ‘Oh, you have such lovely eyes and a romantic soul, so I am going to overlook your debts, dodgy hip, the pet you can’t leave for more than three hours and the ankle tag.’
However, we must not be needy. Everyone is sometimes a bit needy. Barack Obama may need Michelle to pat his head and say she loves and adores him.
Where is the line drawn between being needy and wanting to be loved, connected and supported? What is the best way to tell the difference?
I learned many things in my life after divorce. Firstly, that I was woefully uneducated about modern expectations of ‘down there’ hair – but secondly, that vulnerability is a strength.
You need mental strength to acknowledge your mistakes and discuss past events.
I’m often tempted to keep up an armoured shell of ‘I’m perfectly fine’ at all times – the fun girl with no requirements other than another cocktail – but then you don’t progress to the next level of intimacy in a relationship.
If I don’t expose my soft underbelly and show my insecurities, how is my boyfriend going to get to know the real me?
So no, I don’t require rescuing – but I would like Taste The Difference.