The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - September 18, 2014

AGE GAP Pop star Madonna was not shy hunting out a younger man either, seen here with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie

AGE GAP Pop star Madonna was not shy hunting out a younger man either, seen here with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie

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Something happened this week that hasn’t happened since I was in primary school.

I got asked out. In primary school it was a girl called Carol Battersby.

She asked me out not by the method of speech but by passing a note along a line of classmates during a lesson about farming methods in rural Kenya (from what I recall, it wasn’t the most thrilling of lessons). The note eventually reached me and I opened it to read the words: ‘Daniel says you’re rubbish at football but I think you’re brilliant. Will you go out with me? Carol x’

It was an unorthodox way to woo a man, I grant you, but I vividly remember my heart skipping a beat. I was 10 and it was the first time my young male loins stirred.

I remember thinking ‘play it cool, don’t seem too keen’, so I said no. It backfired. She never asked again and started going out with Daniel instead.

The worst thing is that years later, purely out of interest you understand, I tracked Carol down on Facebook and discovered she had become an underwear model for Marks and Spencer.

Do I look back with regret? Absolutely.

But anyway, to this week’s events and my latest encounter with the opposite sex.

I am a regular at a little cafe in Blackpool. It’s how I like to spend my days off - sitting on my own, drinking tea and munching on a sandwich while leafing through a newspaper (I lead quite an exciting life).

So there I am minding my own business, halfway through reading a rather interesting report about a man from Papua New Guinea who lost both arms and his right leg in a yachting accident but managed to steer his boat back to shore using only his left foot, when a waitress appeared at my table.

She was a young girl, early 20s, and rather attractive.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you but I wondered if I could ask a question,” she said.

I told her she could, wondering if I’d got an extra rasher of bacon with my cooked breakfast and accidentally wandered off without paying for it.

“Well,” she continued a little nervously. “My friend who works here wants to know if you’ll go on a date with her.”

Now I was a little taken aback by this, for it doesn’t normally happen.

I’m not a handsome man. Indeed my own mother once left a newspaper article on my bed that told how there had been a 25 per cent rise in people undergoing surgery to have their ears pinned back and that it was a perfectly safe procedure.

So being asked out is a rarity, and especially these days when my face is so wrinkled it is beginning to resemble an ordnance survey map.

I choked on my bacon, resisted a temptation to jump on the table and yell ‘yee-hah, the boy still got it’, and replied: “I’m sorry, I’m afraid I’m already in a relationship”.

She nodded and walked back to the kitchen area.

I picked up my newspaper and pretended to begin reading, but out of the corner of my eye watched this girl move towards two or three other very attractive young female waitresses. Which one has asked me out? I wondered. Which one has great taste?

She walked past them all, to the washing-up area at the back of the cafe, and stopped in front of a woman who I can only describe as being not far short of celebrating her 75th birthday, and shook her head.

The woman looked sad for a moment, shrugged her shoulders, then went back to scrubbing a frying-pan with a Brillo pad.

I felt a mixture of guilt at ruining someone’s day and annoyance that my euphoria at being asked on a date had been tempered by the fact that the offer came from someone who probably had several great-grandchildren.

Still, I think all in all it still proves I’m a bit of a catch - Mrs Canavan had better watch out, she’s got competition.