Singledom in Istanbul

Posted on August 18, 2015


Dating at almost 40 should come with a health warning. After things went pear-shaped with the chef (yes pun intended) I wondered whether I would ever meet someone who sought the same things I wanted out of life. I’m still wondering….

The last 18-months on the single scene have been a mixture of fun, excitment, dread, heartache and disappointment. Men my age are either gay, married, still in their 20s or have more baggage than lost property at Heathrow airport.

I’m in a new city and yes I am on a dating website. Why the hell not?! A girl has to get out there.  As my Bulgarian friend said to me, “If you want to catch a train Asha you have to be on the platform.”

So here I am on the platform, but the calibre of men here, as I have quickly realised, is hardly the Orient Express. Either all the locals are liars or they’ve endured some serious hardships. This lot claim to be well under 40 – who are you kiddin’??

I’m not printing their names, because there’s no need to be unnecessarily cruel.

Women from the moment they hit puberty are given such a hard time by society about their image. The pressure to maintain your looks is ridiculous because the same rules simply don’t apply to men. They can gain weight, lose their hair, get wrinkles and everyone will say, “it adds character” or “their great guys” but for a women “she’s let herself go”.

My job is all about image so I do strive to mantain that. I have to. I’d be unemployed otherwise. That’s not my gripe. My frustration is that a hell of a lot of single men just can’t be arsed to make an effort.

OK so I have picked probably the worst of the bunch to illustrate my point but seriously the attractive ones are like diamonds, rare as hell! You may see two every 50  photos. Then when you send them a message and they’ll either respond 2 weeks later or not at all. And to make matters worse they are all considerably younger than me!! I do not need to babysit on my nights off.

Tonight I was meant to have a date with a very attractive French journalist whose English is hopeless without google translate. Sadly I speak German not French. It didn’t work out. I am a talker, I am never gonna have a face-to-face meeting if you can’t string a sentence together or fire back a quick witted response. We didn’t even get to meet so here I am writing about it sacré bleu!

Then there’s the popularity of the beard. Over here it is a pre-requiste for a man to have one. Anyone would think we are living in sub zero temperatures. It is bloody 30 degrees outside. Shave!!! I can’t remember the last time I saw a man’s chin. I wish the fashion for a hipster beard would die, in fact die now. Who started that damn fashion trend anyway? Can we blame David Beckham for it?!

This weekend I went out to a glamous rooftop bar and tried to do it the old fashioned way. Istanbul is very much a young person’s city. If you’re 25 to 35 this is your town. I’ve never had a stage age, I’m proud of the age I am, but these days I just let people assume that I’m younger.

So where do all the eligible 40-somethings hangout? Does asking all these questions make me Asha Bradshaw? (Sex and the City reference for those not in the know). I am hoping my pending membership to the club Soho House Istanbul may hold the answer…..

Posted in: Istanbul 2015