My love life doesn't quite add up

By Paul Lester, September 1, 2011
Wretch and Example impressing the girls

Wretch and Example impressing the girls

You might have noticed that, after three years of being called "Suddenly Single", this column has changed its name, to "Still Single". That's because I'm still single. It's a title that sums up my continuing utter uselessness with the opposite sex. If I am still writing this column in another three years' time, it will doubtlessly be titled "Terminally Single", or perhaps the less pithy but more incisive "This Man Will Die Lonely And Alone".

This isn't the first change I've had to get used to. For example, I have 50 per cent fewer parents that I did last year, after my dad died in August 2010. As my mother would probably vouch, I simply cannot afford to make the same loss over the next 12 months.

In some ways my life since my divorce in 2007 has been a series of mind-blowing statistics: I've been on (sucks in air in the manner of a plumber about to offer an estimate on a new boiler) approximately 279 dates with 63 women in 38 coffee shops across, well, one tiny area of north London. In fact, if you count the girls I've met between the ages of 30 and 49, and multiply that figure by the number of times I've frequented the Coffee Cup, you have a pretty convincing case for my investiture as some kind of official local dignitary. I've probably done more to increase the GDP - for the fiscal years 2008-9 and 2009-10 - of Hampstead High Street than any other person alive today, with the possible exception of Glenda Jackson MP, although in my favour I would point out that I've never appeared nude in a mainstream movie.

I do, however, get to travel the world with some right old reprobates. In the past few weeks, in my capacity as music journalist, I've been to New York with rapper Jermaine Scott, aka Wretch 32 - number one in the hit parade only last week, pop pickers! - and to Ibiza with Elliot Gleave, alias Example, who may as likely as not be number one in the charts himself with his next single by the time you read this.

Wretch spent much of our stay in the Big Apple detailing his exploits with the ladies. Indeed, at one point, as we drove from the airport over the Brooklyn Bridge, in full view of the magnificent Manhattan skyline, he turned to me and asked, rather poignantly: "Can you be in love with five girls at once?", to which I responded: "No, you greedy bugger", followed by an equally wistful: "Can I have one?"

He asked, rather poignantly: 'Can you be in love with five girls at once?'

As for Example, his dilemma was that he was finding it hard to maintain his relationship with his long-term girlfriend, exposed as he was, on the road, in bars and parties across the globe, to so many temptations of the flesh.

"Girls offer themselves to me on a plate," he told me as the blood started pouring profusely, as you might expect, from my heart. "At the gym, coming offstage - I might get 10 or 12 throwing themselves at me on a typical day. It's really hard saying no."

You poor, poor man, I'm sure it must be, I replied. Undoubtedly far harder than, say, finding one single woman, out of the many in London, to say "yes".

But how much harder, exactly? Shall we do some extrapolating? Let's see now. There are, according to the website SimpleToRemember: Judaism online, 195,000 Jews in the capital. Assuming that half of those are female, that would mean there are (does mental calculation using fingers, toes and hairs on head) 97,500 females in the city. Imagining that roughly a two-thirds majority of those live in north London, and that, based on the death of my father at 77, I have more or less 35 years left to live. Factor in the exponential growth of bistros in the borough of Camden, that suggests that at my current rate of dating...

Oh, you do the math. Please.

Last updated: 9:42am, September 1 2011