He's straight, he's single . . . but read the small print

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The Independent Online
ACCORDING to new research, there is only one single, heterosexual man to more than 11 single, heterosexual women in London. It's certainly one more than in Bath or Cardiff, where I've spent much of the past five years, so single women in the capital have reason to be optimistic.

Before you go rushing out to find one of these endangered species, however, it's wise to consider the potential problems. Single and heterosexual does not necessarily mean desirable: after all, Michael Winner is straight and single: so, it is rumoured, is Prince Edward. Eligibility by sexual persuasion and non-marital status is no guarantee of success; neither is it an assurance of 'normal'.

It's the unspoken small print kept quiet by the researchers that is the best guide to the odds of a woman finding a decent mate. 'Single and heterosexual' is only half the story; here are just a few examples of what you're likely to find as the story develops.

1 - Single, Heterosexual But Says Yes When He Means No.

A new breed of man, who listens to his organ when he's had three pints of lager ('My last girlfriend told me it was more of a picnic hamper than a lunch box'), but is struck down with a distressing wave of erection-free New-Manness when the duvet threatens. Excuses to get out of sexual activity at the last minute range from: 'You know, I really like you' to 'The truth is, I don't fancy you . . . but it's my problem, not yours.'

2 - Single, Heterosexual And Over Fond Of Your Best Friend.

Just when you've warmed him up nicely and spent four hours listening to him tell you about his problems and philosophies, he decides that you're too understanding by half and that what he needs in life is a good laugh. Enter your Best Friend, who has stayed the distance but kept her mouth shut and now bursts forth like the first daisy of spring. Man wastes no time in nuzzling into Best Friend's neck like a closet carnivore at a convention of vegetarians.

3 - Single, Heterosexual And Dumps You Just Before Your Birthday.

He's an Aries, born on 24 March; you're a Scorpio, born on 3 November. You buy him a weekend in Paris for his birthday (he takes his best mate), plus a radio for his car and a new shirt. Come 31 October, he decides it just isn't working. Variations on this man include 'Dumps you before Christmas', 'Dumps you before New Year's Eve' and, the worst, 'Dumps you on New Year's Eve'. (On 18 March he decides he can't live without you, after all.)

4 - Single, Heterosexual And Really Wanting Someone With Bigger Breasts.

He tells you you have a great figure: he likes the rounded type. He just can't help looking at those 22-year-old nymphets carrying breasts that look as if they need visas just to get through a revolving door. He starts to ask you what you like about your body. You tell him. He doesn't want to know. The questions are only an excuse for him to tell you (without prompting) what he doesn't like about your body. Those molehills, for a start.

5 - Single, Heterosexual And Size Isn't Everything.

He had a bad experience as a child. He was in the shower after gym and a schoolfriend accused him of having a peanut for a penis. It devastated him. Now, he can't urinate in front of other men. He's embarrassed to take off his clothes. After a few dates, he does. His schoolfriend was right.

You can never tell him, though. Every time you have sex, he will need constant reassurance that it's what you do with it that counts. Even though he doesn't do much with it either, the reassurance will have to keep on coming. Then, one day, he dumps you for someone who has greater control of her pelvic floor muscles.

6 - Single, Heterosexual And I'll Give You A Call.

All single, heterosexual men say this; very few of them mean it. Why do they say it? 'I'll give you a call' has several different meanings, the most common ones being: I never want to set eyes on you again; I won't remember your name long enough to ring you; I don't have a 'phone.

Two of my friends met single, heterosexual men in London last week. One thinks she's found a single, heterosexual manic depressive: the other, a single, heterosexual who may be lying about whether he's married. I met a single, heterosexual man, too. He hasn't phoned. Maybe he's too busy working his way through the 10 women who missed him on the night I didn't.

Miles Kington is on holiday.