Dating diary 11. Our single 50-something columnist heads to a fancy dress party, but will this bird pull?
A tall donkey waves to me and I say hi back. “Wow, who was that?” says his lion companion
October 3, 2015 | By:
Dressed as a sexy feathered friend, Louisa goes to her first party as a single woman for 30 years: fancy dress, at a smart members' club, and she's booked a room for the night

Dating at 50. Fancy Dress. Louisa Whitehead Payne. Stocksy. 620x349Buoyed by my dating success in the real world, (well, a date on a private jet with a millionaire isn’t bad) an invitation to a glamorous and full-on fancy dress party arrives in my inbox from a glamorous and full-on girlfriend.

Now, I am absolutely not a party girl. Unless there is a theme where I can lose myself a bit and I find fancy dress liberates you.

The party’s theme is ‘zoo’ and will be held in a swanky private members’ club in London. A little animal action might not come amiss, I think, so I accept and focus on the outfit.

I have two rules for fancy dress: I must look glam, and I have to put together my own outfit and not buy one whole. And as this is my first party as a single girl for 30 years, I need to make the best use of my best assets.

Paradise lost

Legs are definitely top of the list, even more fab in high heels. Maybe a mask. A Bird of Paradise is my chosen zoo animal. I have visions of a multicoloured, feminine and exotic parakeet strutting her stuff. Oxford’s fancy dress shops, however, do not deliver my dream ensemble.


Improvising with the available birdy accessories, I pick a red, black and white Indian headdress, black feather boas and a two red feather masks. Trying everything on at home, however, I realise that my paradise parrot has morphed into a red-faced black cock.

Not quite the vibe I was going for, but the legs do look great… and the overall look is quite Eyes Wide Shut. No one will know my first idea and I think that this bird should pull!

I book a room for the night at the club, so am up for anything, should it happen.

Playing chicken… with a donkey

The night of the party arrives and I am strutting around checking everyone out and I do attract a lot of admiring glances. As I walk past a group of guys, a tall donkey waves hello to me and I say hi back. “Wow, who was that?” says his lion companion as I strut past. “My ex,” says the man in the donkey suit.

I know that voice. I have just bumped into my ex-husband. Twenty minutes later we find ourselves standing next to each other and the event photographer asks to snap us as he thinks we go well together. The irony of being photographed with my donkey of an ex-husband is not lost on me either. And I am red-faced.

My adventures with younger men on Tinder

I retreat to sit and drink with my pals. A young, handsome but very short Brazilian guy greets me and sits himself right down at our table. He is very flirty, loves my legs, loves my outfit. But he is young, young, young and small, small, small.

Not what I am looking for at all. And very, very hard to give the brush-off to. He is dressed as a dog and dogged he is.

Chicken soup for the soul

He begs me and begs me to take off my mask, so finally I do. Taken aback by finding someone rather older than he evidently expected, he charms me with: “In my country, we say, the older the bird, the sweeter the soup.”

I roar with laughter and propose he go off in pursuit of younger birds. He would like to drink my soup, it seems, in multiple ways and with many recipes. I tell him to go away. That directly.

He just will not get the message and tortures the soup metaphor in more obscene ways than I should describe, making me laugh until I cry. I am not trying to be encouraging, but he is just so dirty and keen and young and I am so not interested.

Animal magic?

Finally, when I think I have made my position clear, he looks at me with puppy eyes and says as he walks away: “It is a very long time since I had any soup.” Too bad. This red-faced cock does not give pity soup.

Louisa shares her sexual fantasies

Mask back on, clearly. Lots more flirtations and after a little light bird-on-bird action I find myself on the dancefloor with a flamingo. I decide to call it a night. In bed alone, but the rooster had her ego boosted at least.

Being out and about doing wilder stuff and being sexy in public is good for your soul. Even if you don’t pull in real life, it is confidence boosting, and sharing those pictures will add a little spice to my dating profile and conversations. So I save up my animal magic for the next date.

Read more of Louisa’s dating columns