Fireman Hunks - John and myself had just finished a quiet shift and swiftly headed straight for the locker room, eager to disrobe and transform from firemen back to civilians again. We had a good reason to have a spring in our boots - and it had nothing to do with feeling pleased about the warehouse fire we'd successfully tackled earlier. It was something far more exciting than any of the high temperature chores we'd faced as fireman hunks. We were anticipating intimate contact with some hot older women.
John and I joined the Fire Service within weeks of each other. During the training and subsequent emergency calls we became close buddies. And it was during a night out with the rest of the guys from the station that John and I discovered overlapping interests. It transpired this pair of fireman hunks shared a passion for wild, mature women.
I appreciate that hunky firemen have an irresistible appeal for women of all ages, teenagers to grandmothers. When I'm chatting to some female in the pub, or down at the gym, I only have to drop a casual mention of my day job into the conversation and the transformation is wonderful to behold. Polite attention to what I'm saying instantly takes on a degree of enthusiasm that can, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, erupt into a fiery ardour. Sometimes I feel less of a fireman hunk and more of a rock star.
It was John who cottoned onto the idea of taking our obvious attraction to the fair sex to the next level. Naturally I was curious about what he might be considering.
"Simple," he replied. "Instead of going to busy bars and finding ourselves elbowing in amongst all the other young guys trying to chat up women, especially the mature ones we're interested in, why not bring them to us?"
"Sounds intriguing," I'd responded. "But how exactly do we do that?"
"Simple," he repeated. "We google."
I admit my initial enthusiasm subsided. "Isn't the internet the last bastion of the desperate? For singletons, aren't the ones who resort to advertising online only driven to do so because no-one is interested in them in the real world?"
"Nonsense," replied John, chastising my scepticism. "That's a luddite view. You'd be surprised how many people have embraced the wonders of 21st century technology, cougar women especially. I'm telling you, we concoct an advert along the lines of "two fireman hunks are searching for some mature, sophisticated women to stoke flames of passion ..." It'll be like lighting a fuse, mate. All we'll have to do is sit back and wait for the heat to rise."
And that off-the-cuff remark is virtually a verbatim description of the advert John eventually placed on an internet site dedicated to cougars seeking young guys for romance.
Once we'd emerged from the locker room, freshly-showered, towelled, gelled and after-shaved, and back into our designer shirts and jeans, we made straight for a corner of the recreation room. Gathering around John's laptop, I felt an overwhelming buzz of anticipation as we waited for the machine to boot up. Minutes later he'd navigated to the site, then our "fireman hunks seek fiery older women" advert. His finger hovered tantalising over the button that would unlock the in-box.
The two of us gasped in amazement. I hadn't really considered what level of response we might provoke. But there were so many replies my first reaction was that there must be a technical fault - perhaps some software glitch had resulted in email duplication? But as we proceeded to trawl through them it became apparent each response was unique. Each message came from a unique woman with a taste for younger men in general; fireman hunks in particular.
I felt like a kid in a sweetshop as we meticulously flicked through the in-box. The responses were totally varied. This was entirely understandable. We've been into cougar dating for a while so we appreciate the type of mature women who crave younger guys. They are invariably independent, assertive, assured. As hard-working and independent career women they know exactly what they want out of their leisure and pleasure.
The replies covered a variety of bases but the picture that emerged was that although these women were complicated individuals, with a variety of interests and passions, the allure of fireman hunks was intoxicating. No doubt many of these wonderful females had had their fair share of disappointing relationships in the past. Several of them were divorcees, their children grown-up and living in student accommodation in different cities, their ex-husbands morphed into rotund, unadventurous bores. But they were all drawn to the excitement of fireman hunks. Compared to the oafs they'd had to endure - and many of these cougars did go into some detail about the middle-aged men they were determined to escape from - we were providing a salacious glimpse of more a fulfilling, infinitely more passionate connection.
In email after email it was apparent these wonderful mature women were lusting after fireman hunks. Time and again we were requested for photographs. "Please send a snap of yourselves in uniform, preferably wearing your safety helmets ... One showing you atop ladders and extinguishing some burning building would be especially welcome ... If this isn't possible, how about rescuing a cat? I have several cats, and would entice one of them to climb into the apple trees at the foot of my garden if it meant I had an excuse to dial 911?" Another said, "When would you like to date? Please bring your fire engine?" Obviously many of these messages were tongue-in-cheek. I appreciate there is a certain cartoon-like quality in advertising "fireman hunks"... and some of these feisty respondents were certainly keen to exploit the stereotypes and comedy potential.
But beyond the flippant tone in some of the fireman hunks emails, it did appear that some replies were from wonderful, genuine women who were looking to take the first step towards a rewarding and potentially enduring relationship. And to those who 'read between the lines' of the ad., it would have been clear that just beneath the surface of the fireman hunks persona there were two passionate young men with a genuine appreciation for the unique attributes of an older woman.