I've never been short of male attention. Pre-cancer I was a blue-eyed blonde, and a UK size 16, which despite what the fashion industry would have us all believe is quite a popular way to be. (One of my favourite compliments ever was being likened to Philip Larkin's "bosomy rose with fur gloves on," although I'd never wear fur...)
I've always got second glances in the street, largely, I think, because despite having lived in London for 20 years I've never got out of the Northern habit of making eye contact and smiling at strangers. Where I grew up, there's not really any such thing as a stranger. Everyone knows your Mum, or went to school with your Dad, or lived up the back lane from your Grandma. So even if you don't know who people are, chances are they know you, even if they know you as 'Mike Breeze's lass' or 'Susan Boyd's sister's daughter' or 'You know, Stephanie Breeze, her mother went to school with our Gillian.' It's therefore best to be nice to everyone, just to be on the safe side. In London, such Northern friendliness, alas, can be misconstrued...
Those little twinkles from strangers do decline a bit as the thirties roll on, but not entirely. They did pretty much die away during the earlier part of this year. I guess the 'bald, grey and a bit too fat for your clothes' look isn't quite as popular as the bosomy rose. Who'd have thought?
Once I'd lost the chemo weight and got some hair- and a bit of confidence - back, I started getting the odd twinkle again. In the early stages of hair regrowth, they came mostly from women, which I didn't mind at all - I'll take a compliment wherever I can find it. (I'd always wondered how true the stereotype of the trouser-wearing short-haired lesbian was. Pretty accurate, it would seem.)
But over the last couple of weeks, I've turned a couple of male heads. Yesterday, walking down Putney High Street, a man who (I think) had been on the same bus as me came after me and asked if I'd like to 'have a coffee or a drink with him sometime'. Which I thought was sweet. (I thanked him and told him that I was already married to the nicest man in the world. He said 'fair enough' and went on his way. I hope he finds someone to have coffee with soon. I liked his 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' approach.)
I'm gratified by this, not because I'd think for a moment of taking an offer like that up, or following up any of those little twinkles. But because it shows me that I'm looking well, looking happy, looking confident - all of those things that are actually much more attractive than the physical, and almost impossible to fake.