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Suzanne Power: Destiny doesn't do dates, he prefers a game of chance

My great friend, who's been single for longer than she has wanted to be, has been fixed up on more blind dates than a guide dog. When the phone goes and another well-meaning pal turns persecutor by insisting she "has to meet . . ." it makes her think seriously of emigration.

"Wherever I go I'm the single one. I get the worst room when I go away in a group, I get the babysitting SOSs from my sisters and even my nieces and nephews refer to me as 'the one with no children'.

"I heard one of the teenage nephews on the phone to his mate the other day, saying: 'I'll get my aunt to drop me over, and she'll give me a tenner. She's no kids.' I feel like a piggy bank."

I was going to ask if that was a piggy bank on a shelf, but her eyes were full of kick boxing.

She's done every evening class under the sun trying to meet a guy: "I even did car maintenance once, though I had no interest in it. Just as well, I learned how to change a spare wheel before I turned into one."

One of her relatives gave her a dating agency membership as a birthday present and she burst into tears: "I feel like I've got 'shelf' tattooed on my forehead. She's noted a rise in utilitarian gifts: "I know I've been on my own a long time, but my brother gave me a power drill, he told me they were easier to find than a fella who could use one. I haven't opened the box. I work hard enough without doing DIY."

Maybe the guys who call round to fix things would be worth hooking up with?

"Forget that," she said sullenly, "I make sure I'm out now, after the plumber asked me out."

"Is this a crime?" I asked.

"It is when he's married! He practically told me he was doing me a favour because there were no male razors in the bathroom. I wouldn't mind, but he was in need of plumbing himself! He looked seven months pregnant. At least one of us is getting to have a baby."

Enough with the medical miracles. All my friend's striving to make fate work in her direction have paid off in some worse-than-dreadful experiences:

Abandoned evening classes: "I took one in accountancy and it turned out to be loads of middle-aged women, all smug and married, trying to make their husbands' pay cheques go further."

Escape from the Alcatraz of a singles' holiday village: "Everyone was bald and sunburned. And that was just the women. I bought a plane ticket for close to €1,000, just to go home a week early."

And that's not going into the blind dates she's encountered, ranging from: "Lovely men, but the 'ping' wasn't there. Awful men, one so bad I thought of climbing out the ladies' window to avoid him lunging at me. Sad men, who'd been horribly hurt by women. Gorgeous men, who weren't a bit interested in me."

Dates with fate are harder to find than the exit from hell. But I keep telling her that one day her car will break down, despite her servicing knowledge, and she'll have to take the bus to work, and she'll fall in love with someone at the bus stop, who the same thing has happened to.

"Is that likely?" She sighed.

No, I told her, it's not, which is why it'll happen.