In The Dating Game, I discussed how the rapid growth in use of social networks has created dramatic changes in the challenges faced by kids when they they start dating these days.
They're not the only ones feeling challenged.
I was standing at a Club bar last evening with an old chum who told me a quick and simple story that should be a warning to every middle aged man out there.
At a party many months ago, he was approached by an engaging and elegant forty-something girl who had been taking photographs at the party. They exchanged cards with a "must have a drink sometime." Four months later they did and another three months after that they had a second drink. Nothing untoward happened and perhaps my chum was mistaken in not telling his wife, but he was then shocked to be in receipt of a series of emails accusing him of being a "typical arrogant, loud, aggressive, selfish ex public school ex Army blah blah..." Naively, he replied and some email piing pong went back and fore until eventually he demanded she leave him alone and sensibly cc'd his wife on the email.
Curious as to who this lunatic was he called the party host from when it all began and asked who she actually was, "never seen her before," he said, "thought she came with someone; don't worry, probably just a Chelsea Merc."
You may well ask.
He wasn't referring to German motor cars, not to Chelsea football players but to a certain type of women who apparently roam the environs of Chelsea social life aiming to entrap and blackmail married men. With so much easy-to-use electronic recording equipment available, like a mobile phone, the poor bloke whose vanity and ego needs an uplift quickly concludes any liaison with a large bill. The going rate is apparently £5-10,000. Not too big that it breaks the bank and probably small enough to hide from the wife but enough to make you feel a fool for the rest of your life.
It's probably been going on for hundreds of years of course and perhaps the most sensible thing for any man to do if and when he is ever approached by a stranger should be to ask the obvious question, "why me?" Single men meanwhile should of course pretend to be married and that is definite and absolute 180 degree turnaround from traditional behaviour.
Even better, no more salutatory tale than the one above should be needed to convince the average bloke to stay within the safety and sanctity of his Club when in search of refreshment.