These girls are not just pregnant, they're on kid number two. Everyone is cosy, comfy, homesy, happy ... then there's me, and an ever- diminishing club of unimpregnated singles.
A clipping from The Scotsman wings its way through my letter-box. It says: "More and more women are having their first children in their forties - it apparently delays the menopause." This is from my mother. She, considered to be a "mature" mother when she bore me at thirty, is worried that she will be grandchildless. She was continually hoping that every time I rang, I would have "something" to tell her. When I eventually said, "Mum, we're having a divorce", it wasn't quite what she had in mind. You can't exactly knit anything for that.

It's not as if I need reminding about babies. I know 11 women who are pregnant - is this normal? Now, when friends ring up and say, "You'll never guess!", I automatically say, "So, when's it due?" These girls are not just pregnant, they're on kid number two. Everyone is cosy, comfy, homesy, happy ... then there's me, and an ever-diminishing club of unimpregnated singles. I never really thought about babies, but now that the opportunity has (for the foreseeable future) been taken away, I've started to worry slightly. You know when you have the plumber in, and he turns the water off for a couple of hours, and then all you can think about is how much you need to go to loo? Well, it's the same sort of thing.

My closest friend rings me up - she thinks she has a solution. I can hear her licking the baby's spoon between sentences as she enthuses about her discovery. "Alaska Men," she says. "You've got to buy it!" I have no idea what she is talking about. Apparently Alaska Men is a glossy magazine, in which Alaskans advertise for brides, with photograph, profile etc. My friend says, "Just think, some really hunky Alaskan, chopping wood in the sunshine, stripped to the waist, carrying you in his strong arms to his log cabin, where he will light a fire, and..." I stop her there - motherhood must be causing her imagination to run riot.

I begin to toy with this idea for a while. Quite appealing, really - a man who chops wood, builds fires, traps dinner and wants you to bear his children - sort of Clan of the Cave Bear stuff. I make a mental note to ring the Alaskan Tourist Board to find out where I can buy Alaska Men.

Then I see this article about Alaska, and Alaska Men. There is a photo of a typical Alaskan. Hank is a bearded, grizzly old fatso, whose belly is bursting out through his XXL dungarees. He holds a can of beer, and can probably belch and fart simultaneously. I had been envisaging a bronzed muscular hybrid of the Marlboro Man and the Mounty from Due South. No, I think I can safely say that foreplay, focaccia and flossing are not in Hank or his cronies' Alaskan vocabulary. Long haul to Anchorage is not something I'm going to be doing this winter.

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