Rosie Green: ‘I’ve just done the walk of shame… aged 47’

Frank revelations from our unmissable sex columnist, Rosie Green (@lifesrosie)

In the minefield that is midlife dating there are many new (often, er, compromising) scenarios you can find yourself in.

It’s entirely different from dating in your 20s when you mainly worried about relationship ‘overlap’, how to get away with a post-date sickie (‘erm, I believe your grandmother has died three times now, Rosie’) and whether you can wear hotpants (note: yes, wear them while you can).

Louise Samuelsen

Now I’m finding there’s a different set of issues, such as agonising over a post-baby body, navigating the mental battle scars of previous relationships and, of course, factoring in your dependants. In my case, two children, one dog and a couple of borderline obese guinea pigs.

Dating, relationships and a family? There are definitely challenges.

Like when you’re about to go on a date but have just been informed of a nit outbreak at school. Should you a) wash your hair with the special shampoo that makes your locks look lanker than Ozzy Osbourne’s or b) risk transfer of said critters?

It’s a moral conundrum. (Can you guess which option I went for?)

Then there’s the issue of pets that have hitherto had full-bedroom-occupancy rights and are now very disgruntled to meet a new ‘visitor’. Nothing like being growled at by a jealous cockapoo to put you off your game.

A great thing about dating in your 40s, 50s and beyond, though, is that you’ll hopefully have your own place, so if you have someone to stay over you don’t have to do awkward on-the-stairs introductions to your flatmates. No, instead you might have to have them with your children.

Which, I think we can all agree, is worse.

Sleepovers. When a relationship first progresses to that stage they can be truly delicious. My friend described those early days (and nights) as like the first glass of champagne – giddy-making and special. So good it should be savoured rather than gulped down.

Anyway, I digress.

Last week I progressed to that stage with the man I have been dating (Aunty Di, I promise I had the requisite number of dates first).

While he and I went out for dinner, my mother was charged with corralling the kids to bed and staying the night.

I left with a cheery ‘I’ll be back by midnight’ and hoped my hair didn’t smell of the fish fingers I’d served up for tea.

After our meal, I went back to his house

or multiple alcoholic beverages. A sleepover was discussed.

By that time it was more tempting than an Aperol spritz on a hot day. I made a comprehensive risk assessment (that may have been compromised by my intake of G&Ts) and decided that if I could sneak in to my house by 6.30am, my mum and kids would be none the wiser. No explanations needed. No awkward conversations.


At 2.51am my phone rings. I look at the screen – it’s my teenage daughter calling.

‘Mum, I’ve been sick.’

I now feel somewhat nauseous myself. Sick in the night. What are the chances? I whisper,

‘Are you OK?’

She says, ‘Where are you?’

I decline to answer that question – even with my cognitive processing considerably impeded by alcohol and sleep I recognise this is a no-comment situation.

‘OK, my love, I’ll be home in ten minutes.’

Then… ‘I don’t think you need to wake Granny up, do you?’

For a split second I think I might just have salvaged the situation with my dignity intact (ie, got away with it), at which point I hear a familiar voice in the background: ‘I’m awake already.’ Oh god.

I get home and slide the key in the door feeling sheepish.

My daughter now appears to have fully recovered, because she interrogates me with a vigour last seen on Line of Duty. If she possessed one of those brutal spotlights, she would have deployed it.

My mother has already retreated to her bedroom. Which is horrendous. She’s delaying the ‘chat’.

I sweat about it all night. In the morning I slink, shame-faced, into the kitchen.

‘About last night…’

She gives me a wry smile. Seems you are never too old to be busted by your mother.