An exciting milestone in a new relationship comes when the man you’ve recently started dating suggests your first weekend away.
But be still, my beating heart, because this romantic tryst can soon turn into trial for eager but out-of-practice women. For a start you’re packing your case acutely aware that your body is now carrying some excess baggage of its own.
If a raunchy weekend is on the agenda, you’ll enjoy it far more if you forget about growing old gracefully and adopt the disgraceful version. That’s the liberating mentality when you no longer care much what other people think, and your inhibitions are somehow less inhibiting.
For me as an older - and usually single – woman, a dirty weekend was something of a distant memory. But you’ll be glad to hear I threw myself into the project with glee, and after an exhilarating weekend in the Drakensberg, I spent the return journey compiling some useful hints.
Firstly there’s the issue of money, because the notion that the man should pick up the bill is so outdated. Equality means that freeloading is now reserved for women who do it for a profession.
My partner artfully broached the subject of money with an email highlighting the proposed accommodation and saying: “The cost is below. Does this work for you, or should I look for something more modestly priced?” No ambiguity, no awkward feelings of being beholden to him.
On the other hand, if spending good money to be with him all weekend sounds like a waste of hard-earned cash, it’s probably a great time to re-evaluate the relationship.
Don’t choose somewhere that involves driving for more than four hours. Travelling together is a perfect way to test your compatibility, but you still want to be on talking terms by the time you arrive.
It’s also wise to make sure your room has proper door to shut off the bathroom. You may be exchanging bodily fluids, but in these early days the sound effects that accompany your partner’s ablutions are still way too intimate. Besides, if you also need to let off a little steam, you sure as hell don’t want him hearing.
Then switch off your cellphone. This is about heady escapism, not reality, so it’s no time to be answering emails or taking a call from your mother.
Secretly packing some champagne is a lovely way of telling your man you’ve been anticipating your time together and fully intend to enjoy it. Pack a good book too, in case you need some ‘me’ time or his attractions pall.
Soon you’ll be sharing a seductive bubble bath, but please don’t wear the shower cap. I know it’s practical, but it’s such a passion killer.
For me dinner was the real test. It’s such a treat to be served a home-cooked three-course meal that it’s tempting to tuck it all away without a thought for the consequences. Yet when you slip into bed the idea is to enjoy a night of lust, not a bout of indigestion that renders any contact unbearable.
Another compromise is to abandon those sometimes antisocial routines you accumulate after years of living alone. You may perform a series of intriguing exercises, slap on a thick face pack and sleep in crusty old pyjamas, but let’s not be rigid. Your skin won’t crack or your muscles crumble if you give it a miss for a couple of nights. Besides, there’s nothing better for giving you a glowing complexion and a full-body work out than the gymnastics you’re about to enjoy.
And on that subject, women of a certain age may need a little help in the lubrication department if it’s a particularly active weekend. Chemists tend to sell the lubricants next to the tubes of tingly Deep Heat. It’s essential never to get the two mixed up!
Even if your thighs resemble grapefruit peel and your tummy no longer doubles as an ironing board, your man isn’t exactly judging you on that. If he is, you’re with the wrong man and can fire him when you’re home. Besides, unless you’ve picked up a young stud your partner will also have his aesthetic weaknesses. This isn’t the time to notice. Delight in the journey together, rather than comparing your muscle-to-fat ratios.
Finally, just relax and enjoy it. You may be sharing the breakfast room with pretty young things on their honeymoon, but trust me, the experience and confidence that comes with age probably means you’re having a far better time in the bedroom!