Trudy Jones* is a leggy blonde who has just celebrated her sixtieth birthday and a divorce from her husband of 34 years.
A forthright Northerner, Trudy offered a succinct assessment when asked what were the major turn-offs in men her age and older:
"Beige!" She explains: "You know those people who go around in a sort of beige burqa of matching windcheater, trousers, shoes and cap. It just shrieks 'pensioner' to me. It says 'I'm old and I've lost interest in being sexy'."
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Things to avoid
Included on Trudy's list of no-nos are a bad hairpiece and dyed hair, following a date with a man sporting hair not his own. Her advice? "Just shave your head! It's trendy now".
As an active horse rider and grandmother of five, Trudy has no time for couch potatoes either. But, reassuringly, she doesn't expect perfection in a prospective partner. "As long as your clothes fit and you don't smell you can't go wrong as long as there's chemistry".
She says of her current partner, "When I first met him, he had a terrible old vest and tatty underpants that he washed every night by hand - they've gone pink now - but they're clean and I fancy him so it doesn't matter."
Trudy's partner seems to agree, saying admiringly "I never knew grannies could be so sexy!"
Stella Asquith*, 58 and a divorcee, has some sympathy with Trudy's view.
"As long as a man's clean and well groomed, a bit of cragginess can actually look good. I don't mind grey hair or baldness."
She too has an aversion to couch potatoes and a hatred of beige for much the same reasons as Trudy.
"Beige means dressing old, giving up. But I can't bear men trying to look young in groovy clothing either, and I think that white socks should be banned on anyone over the age of 19, likewise white shoes. As for gold, ugh! Gold chains are absolutely out. I prefer classic clothing and I like men to look their age."
For Stella, "The very worst things are personal habits like picking noses or scratching spots…things like bad table manners or strange eating habits are difficult to live with. Good manners are essential."
In fact, personal traits top Stella's list of qualities for an ideal man. "In the 50s and 60s there are usually quite a lot of things that are dropping off, but personality can make up for much of that.
Kindness, tolerance, consideration for others, a zest for life, intelligence, life experience, energy, enthusiasm, grooming, an openness to new people, places and ideas, modesty, independence, confidence, enthusiasm, being well-read, outdoorsy. These are the ideal qualities. But if someone was overweight for example, that could be counterbalanced with lovely manners."
However, Stella says that although she feels very lucky to have been born a baby boomer, "A lot of men in my age group were brought up in an age when men were much more important and I can't bear to be dominated.
"I always expect to be an equal partner. So that might be the only good reason I can think of for a younger man!"
*All names have been changed.
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