I must have missed the memo. I only realised thanks to the huge number of men I meet telling me that, because they would like to have children, their future beloved must be 35 or under. On this occasion it was coming from a man in his mid-50's.
Chocking on my ridiculously fattening but bloomin' good hot chocolate, I remained composed. Despite the fact that inside I wanted to grab him by the scruff of his neck and put him in the naughty corner.
"You sit there until you behave like a big boy" I would tell him, finger wagging.
Typically I find that at my dating agency, Mutual Attraction, men date down in age and women date up. It works out and you meet somewhere in the middle. But a minimum of 20 years younger? Ohh purlease, dream on!
I jokingly asked him if he was a multi-millionaire, in which case even if he looked like Quasimodo he would probably find a leggy lady somewhere who could keep him entertained. Alas not. Perhaps he should just hit Annabel's in Sloane Square one night?
Clearly going through a post-divorce midlife crisis he uttered the words I've heard so often before "my friend's dating a 29 year old so it is possible." Ah there's always a friend. It's never them. Always a friend.
Fast approaching his 56th birthday, I asked him whether he really wanted more children (his grown up children from a previous marriage had long flown the nest) or whether it was a ploy to bag a younger model - said in jest, meant in seriousness.
Yes, he would like more children he told me but as women over 30 have a ticking clock he couldn't possibly go out with them. Whoaaa there, did he just say 30? Yes he did. He's now changed the goal posts to UNDER 30. Basically she needs to be 25 years younger than him minimum.
There are moments in life where you have to be cruel to be kind and today was one of those moments. I asked him as tactfully and kindly as possible why the bloody hell he thinks a gorgeous (because she had to be 'above average') young woman in the prime of her life would be happy settling for a man of 55? What, I asked him, would he be able to offer her that a man her own age or a bit older can't? Worldly experience he responded. Oh yes, because that's what all women are looking for. A man old enough to be their dad who has experience of the world. How about if they want to get that experience themselves? Only they won't be able to because they'll be bringing up the kids whilst you draw your pension. On top of that, given that men on average die younger than women, it's not really a fair trade, is it?
You might not think it, but I truly believe age is just a number. A man in his mid-50's may easily be fitter and more attractive than a man in his 30's; I've met many a handsome silver fox. Similarly, there are lots of stunningly gorgeous women out there over 35... Cameron Diaz (41), Jennifer Anniston (45), Elizabeth Hurley (48)... If a young woman connects with an older man then so be it. But men, please don't act like it's your god given right to date a much younger woman and use the phony excuse of children. After all, I've never heard of men's sperm count increasing with age.