Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Girlie Night Out


So how was your Saturday night?  Mine was pretty eventful as it goes.  Well, from what I can remember anyway...

After umming and ahhing and fannying about, I finally decided to take up the offer of my best friend Nicola for a good old fashioned girlie night out around my home town.
I arrived at Nicola’s house at about six o’clock on Saturday evening after spending a lovely afternoon with my Mum, Dad and Grandma. It was really good to see everyone and my Grandma was in good spirits which I was really happy to see after her latest round of chemo. After chatting away the entire afternoon and drinking copious cups of tea, I set off for Nic’s and I was the first one of the girls to arrive.  There was only one thing to do: crack open a bottle of wine and chill out on her squishy leather sofas whilst we waited for our friends Jayne and Aarti.

A few hours, several bottles of wine and too many shots of sambuca later, we were all present and correct and piling into a taxi to whisk us off into town...

Our taxi pulled up on Preston's main street, just outside of the legendary Yates’ Wine Bar at just after 10pm. Such a classy place.  Most of the bars and pubs line the main drag, which is very helpful when you’re tottering about on your heels after one too many sambucas.

“Right then ladies!” Nicola announced as we stumbled into the bar. “What are we all having?”

Inside it was dark, the music loud and the place is packed with young girls in towering heels, groups of men drinking pints and eyeing up the women, and the dodgy DJ that Aarti had a bit of a fling with a few months ago.

“I’ll have my usual please mate,” I say to Nicola, who promptly orders me a vodka lime and soda.

“Half a lager for me please,” Jayne says before disappearing off to the loo.

“I’m a bit nervous about tonight you know,” I say to Nicola as the foxy barman bends down to get a bottle out of the fridge which shows off his taut arse, a sight that doesn’t escape either of us.

“Nice.” I comment, to which Nicola agrees.

“I’ll say. Anyway, what you on about being nervous for?” Nicola laughs. “You’ve got nothing to worry about at all. It’s going to be a great night, just us girls,” she says as she digs her purse out of her bag.

It’s not that I don’t believe her. It’s just that she’s said that on a night out before, just before she cornered me with the ugliest man in the world.

Who am I kidding? I don’t believe her.

“Please just promise me that you’re not going to try and set me up with some hideous munter,” I say, as Aarti motions that she’ll be back in a minute and then wanders off.

“You know I can never promise you that,” Nicola replies with a devilish glint in her eye.

Oh great. That’s just what I need: a night spent fending off weirdos and serial killers.

“Nah, I’m only joking love,” Nicola continues. “If you do meet anyone tonight I think for once you deserve for him to be nice.”

Ah well, we’ll see about that. I’ll be quite happy to have a few drinks and a good laugh with my mates. Hang on, is this just a ploy to throw me off my guard and into the arms of a random minger?

“Where’s Aarti anyway?” Nicola asks as the barman hands us our drinks.

“Over there,” I reply. “She’s chatting up DJ Dickcheese again,” I say, nodding over to Aarti who is leaning into the DJ booth.

Maybe calling him DJ Dickcheese is a little unfair, but he's like a walking ball of Edam with uber-gelled slicked back hair, with a penchant for making ridiculous gun slinging gestures with his hands in his feeble attempts to look 'cool'.  Idiot.  Oh and he's a total arsehole too.

“Oh God, not again,” Nicola replies. “I think we need to go and grab her.”


Having wrestled Aarti back to the bar, we end up having another drink before deciding to head off for a dance before Aarti tries to pull the hideous DJ again. Our destination is the wonderful *cough* Squires, which is one of the handful of clubs in Preston that specialises in sticky dance floors, overpriced sugary drinks, and a clientele that ranges from pissed up students, stag and hen dos, big groups of blokes, young girls dolled up to the nines and everyone in between. Unlike some of the other clubs the majority of people that frequent Squires are usually a little older than the barely legal brigade so I don’t feel ridiculously old as we make our way to the dance floor and start to dance much less sexily than we probably imagine. It doesn’t matter as we are all having a great night.

It is exactly how I remembered it: the dark dance floor is a mass of people flailing about to the anthems of yesteryear. The place is filled with a mixture of people: some fit, some fat, and some just God damn fugly.

“Come on mate!” I hear Nicola shout behind me. “We’ve got to go and dance to this!” and in one swift move she grabs my hand and her drink and drags me to the dance floor.

It feels like I’ve been blasted back to ten years earlier when I first embarked on vodka-fuelled nights out with my now very best friend. The lights flash and the music blares and I realise I am having a great time as I dance and drink and catch the eye of some cute blokes on the dance floor.

As Nicola plies me with drinks and we keep on dancing, the night melts into an alcohol laced blur. What follows I can’t exactly be sure of as the sambuca flowing through my veins combines with the deadly alcopop that I’m drinking causing my memory function to disengage, instead leaving a gaping black hole.

Now in the cold light of day I’m trying to piece together the missing hours from last night where I lost (amongst other things): my memory, most of the contents of my purse and undoubtedly some of my dignity. I can remember everything until just after midnight, and then? Well, then I can’t remember much at all.

Well, that’s not strictly true as I do remember Craig...

Friday, 29 January 2010

Brace Yourselves... It's ON

Music: Push The Feeling On - Nightcrawlers

OK, so I've been weighing it all up and taking all your comments on board and I've decided that I am going to go out with my very best friend Nicola this weekend.  I've not exactly been a recluse for the past month but it's been pretty close, and I could really do with a proper girlie night to brush away the cobwebs.  I'm visiting my family and my Grandma on Saturday afternoon, then it's all aboard the Nostalgia Express as I head off to my old stomping ground from my college days: the wonder that is Preston, Lancashire on a Saturday night. 

Preston is many things: a northern working class university city; home to one of the oldest football clubs, Preston North End; birth place of sexy England cricketing hero Andrew Flintoff and rather randomly it is one time home to the parents of the legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy. Preston is also perfect if you’re looking for a great, alcohol fuelled night out, especially if you don’t mind pubs and bars that are a bit rough around the edges. The same can be said for most of the people drinking in them. I love it. It’s where my friends and I went out drinking when we were all underage, painted with lip gloss and wearing micro-mini skirts. The height of late 1990s chic - or not. All the old places from those days are still there: Yates’, Wall Street, Revolution, Takkies, Squires – the list goes on and there are far too many others to mention, but every time I return to these places I feel the glow of nostalgia and I wouldn’t change them for the world.

It's payday today so after work I’m going to buy myself a killer new outfit and some sexy, spiky heels to make sure I feel ├╝ber vampy and alluring for my first proper night out as a newly single girl. Who am I kidding? I know I’m going to be tottering round after one too many vodkas, then heading off to the tackiest nightclub with the stickiest floor to get chatted up by mingers.  Just a typical night out round my home town then...

In spite everything else that’s going on I think it’s just what I need to put a spring back into my step.

I'll let you all know what happens!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Mr. Friend of a Friend: More Than Friends?

Music: We Are Your Friends - Justice vs Simian

Whilst I'm deciding whether or not to go out this weekend, I thought I'd treat you to the final dating disaster from the last time I was single.  This one still makes me cringe to this day...

I think that some men are best left well alone. These men include members of your family, weird men that sit alone on park benches, and friends of friends that are mildly obsessed with you.

I’m not blowing my own trumpet but I’d kind of had the feeling for a few months that Beth’s friend John liked me, and even though I didn’t fancy him I didn’t exactly discourage his attentions. In all honesty I found it all extremely flattering, and sometimes I’d sit and daydream about him in a way that almost convinced me that there might be something there. It’s a big ego boost for a girl who’s had her heart bruised and her self-esteem squashed by the love of her life to have a guy always asking after her, blushing when she talks to him and being fascinated by every word that passes her lips. I’ve never been an object of desire like that before and it felt good. I put to the back of my mind the fact that I didn’t fancy him remotely as I figured it wasn’t something that I’d have to deal with. Instead I could pretend that I was wandering round in blissful ignorance about the whole thing and laugh it off if anyone dared to even suggest that he might have a bit of a thing for me.

The flirting had been going on for months, and John had developed a sudden interest in rugby and had started to support the same team as me. Hell, he even came to matches and bought a replica shirt. All the signs were there, but I just played along thinking that he was just being sweet and that there was nothing serious going on, all the while enjoying all the attention.

It was on a night out with some of my friends from university that things all came to a head. John sent me a text to ask if I was out in town that night, and the half tipsy me replied :

“Yes, why don’t you come out....”

I’d been telling my friends all about him, and wanted a second opinion I suppose. I knew deep down that I didn’t fancy him, but with a few vodkas pumping their way round my system he was starting to become an increasingly more attractive proposition. I can see how wooing used to work in the old days, as I think perseverance really can wear a girl down so that she eventually yields to the most persistent of suitors. Well, when she’s half-cut at least. John met us in the club that we were in, and I introduced him to my friends and we all danced for a bit.

After a while, my mate Amrit pulled me to one side and warned me to be careful as she sensed that he definitely wanted to be more than just a friend.

“Do you think so?” I slurred....

Yes. Definitely,” was her response.

Why I did this I will never know, but I marched right up to him and said:

“You fancy me, don’t you?” and looked at him straight in the eye.

The poor f*cker didn’t stand a chance.

“Er, yeah,” he replied, and before he had a nanosecond to register what just happened I launched myself at him and was slobbering all over his face. (I was drunk. I wasn’t being alluring).

We locked tongues for about ten minutes (I might have been pissed, but he wasn’t a great kisser by anyone’s standards) then it dawned on me what I was doing:

Shit. You are snogging a friend of a friend that you do not fancy at all. He’s not just a random bloke that you can hide from in the loos until he goes away. You are going to see him again. It is going to be toe-curlingly embarrassing. He is going to think that you fancy him. He is going to want to TAKE YOU OUT ON A DATE.

F*CK.

F*CK.

F*CK.

So what did I do?

I ran off to the toilets and hid.

I had been avoiding John by skulking about in the Ladies for a good thirty minutes when my friend Amrit eventually came and found me.


“You know, John’s wondering where the hell you’ve gone to. What the hell are you doing? Why did you kiss him? You don’t even fancy him!”

I know. I KNOW!

Amrit and I headed back to the dance floor, and I strategically placed at least two people in between John and me at all times for the rest of the night. I thought I might have got away with it, until we were all getting in a taxi at the end of the evening, as John assumed that he was invited back to my place and tried to climb in with us. I can only thank my lucky stars that the taxi driver (for once) was on my side.

“Only 4 in the taxi mate. No room! No room!” Joe le Taxi yelled at John as he tried to squeeze in.

Phew. Thank God we didn’t hail a 5 seater. I pulled the door shut and John waved us off, looking slightly pissed off. (Cheeky bastard. Did he think I was going to shag him that night? Charming.)

The next day I think that even an intravenous drip would have failed to rehydrate me I felt so rough. I lay in bed until mid afternoon, piecing together all the hideous bits of the night before. It must have been about 4pm when my phone pinged with an incoming text message:

John:

Hey how are you? Great night last night. Can I take you out next week for a meal or something? Jx

AAAAAGGH! There it was. How on earth do I play this one? I decided that the best course of action was radio silence, so I ignored it.

The day after.

Ping.

John:

Hello hope you’re OK. Didn’t hear back from you yesterday... So which days are good for you next week? Jxx

Two kisses this time. Hmm, slightly more insistent. I thought it best to reply as I couldn’t ignore him forever. Let’s blame the alcohol. Yeah, good idea...

Hi, yeah I had a good night thanks. Really enjoyed catching up with my uni mates and I was so drunk! Sorry I shouldn’t have kissed you like that. Think it’s best if we just stay friends.

I felt like such a bitch, and I know that I probably was. However, I didn’t see what was about to happen next and none of my friends did either. I thought that John might lie low for a couple of weeks and lick his wounds, maybe not come out as much to start off with and definitely stop going to watch the rugby, but what actually happened was unprecedented and might I add completely weird. John fell off the face of the earth for six months. SIX MONTHS!

No-one heard from him. He went down to London to work for a bit and stayed with family and didn’t get in touch with anyone. Even Beth couldn’t get hold of him and they’d been really good mates for years.

When John eventually came back, he met up with Beth and told her that me messing him around had been the last thing in a long list of things that had gone wrong and he just needed to get away for a while. Fair enough, I thought, we’ll at least be able to be civil to each other when we meet, and I’m sure he’ll understand that I still wasn’t 100% after splitting up from the Evil Cockbag (even though we’d been separated for about five months when John and I kissed). Hey it was a good reason and I was sticking to it!

I was round at Beth and Rob’s one night just for a bit of a catch up, and we were sat in the lounge when there was a knock on the back door and a “Hello” as it opened. We all looked at each other as we knew it was John, and this would be the first time I’d seen him since he’d been back. Beth and Rob were sat on the sofa, and I was on the chair facing them. As John walked through the kitchen he saw me, and stopped dead in his tracks in the doorway to the lounge. I said hi, and he responded, but he couldn't look me in the eye. He focussed on Beth, and even when I asked him a question he replied whilst looking at her. Very strange. You won’t turn to stone if you look at me you know! John must have stayed all of two minutes before he made an excuse and left. As soon as the door shut we all burst out laughing.

Jesus, is that the effect I have on men? Beth and Rob assured me that John was just being weird and all I’d done was kiss him. Even though he’s a friend of a friend and therefore should come with a gold stamp of approval, it just goes to show that some people have a little too much crazy in them. He’s back living up north now and has a new girlfriend who he’s been seeing for a couple of years, however if we ever bump into each other it’s always really awkward. I don’t want to think that I had such an impact on someone but maybe I did? Or maybe he’s just a bit weird and can’t get over any kind of rejection. Who knows...? Either way this whole situation left me feeling like such a cow and I don’t want to go down the route of leading someone on like that again just to make myself feel good, so sorry John, you know who you are.

Points to note

• An ego-boost is all well and good, but I shouldn’t be so wrapped up in it that I stomp on other people’s feelings

• I should follow my gut instinct as it’s almost always right

• Alcohol AGAIN makes snogging people seem like a good idea. Damn it.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

January Sucks

Music: January Rain - David Gray


I'm glad January is almost over.  It's always the worst month of the year for me.  It's cold, dark, and this year was even worse as it's been horrendously snowy here in the UK.  I'm always skint in January after being paid early in December, and after splitting up with my boyfriend a couple of days after New Year's Eve I've not really been in the mood to socialise.  This is why my blog posts have so far have been about my previous dating disasters and not about what I've been up to, which is because in reality, I've not really been up to much.

January has been especially shit this year for another reason though.

Unfortunately before Christmas my Grandma was diagnosed with cancer.  Her radiotherapy has been going really well though and she seems to be feeling a bit better.  Therefore I'm going home this weekend to spend some time with my family, although my Mum is encouraging me to take my best friend Nicola up on her offer of a girlie night out.  I wasn't going to go out as it doesn't feel right for me to be heading to pubs with my mates and getting drunk when my Grandma is so ill, but my Mum keeps telling me that life goes on regardless and my Grandma wants the newly single me to go out and have a good time and forget all about my evil idiot ex-boyfriend.  She never liked him from the moment she met him.  If only I'd listened to her.  She's a wise old lady is my Grandma.

So what should I do?  I'm going back home to visit my Grandma on Saturday afternoon.  It's weird, but I think a night of letting my hair down with my friends might be just what I need after everything that's been happening.  I'm feeling loads better after the end of my last relationship (although I'm not quite ready to tell that particular story yet). Oh I don't know.  What do you think?  Should I get dolled up and hit the town with my friends?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Mr. Side Parting: The Brush Off


So despite all my reservations about our date, Mr. Side Parting and I met. 

When he was walking towards me, he only vaguely resembled the man I’d swapped spit with a few days before. Damn vodka. He looked much older than I remembered too, late thirties I’d say, and a bit unkempt. The “indie” look which I’d fancied on Saturday was actually just general scruffiness.

His hair was long and a bit shaggy which I usually like, but he hadn’t even been arsed to wash it. He was wearing a “white” t-shirt which was now off white at best but closer to “grubby” after one too many outings, and as he approached me, the slight breeze didn’t do him any favours as it blew his manky top against his chest and showed off his moobs somewhat spectacularly. Not a man who looks after himself too much then. We headed to a quiet bar, and as we took our seats I told him about the situation with the project, all the time noting that his fingernails were chewed and dirty and that he hadn’t even bothered to shave. I played the potential for receiving an emergency phone call down, willing myself to give him a chance.

Ten minutes passed, and it felt like several lifetimes. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so difficult to talk to in my whole entire life and we did the exact opposite of click. We’d already covered music, sport and TV in that short time – topics that I can usually talk about with someone for hours. Still, it was early days so I persevered...

"So do you go out in Leeds often then?"  I asked as I took a sip of my diet coke.

I know, such a lame line but I was running out of inspiration.

"I only moved back up here from London a couple of weeks ago," Side Parting said as he started picking his fingernails.

"Oh really?"  I replied.  "How come?"

It was an innocent enough question, but I wasn't prepared for what was coming next.  Let's just say it was Classic Dating Gold.

"I'd been living with my girlfriend in London but she moved back up north for a job, so I followed her," he began.

"Oh right."  I replied.

Eh?  Did he stalk her up the M1 or something? 
Side Parting must have noticed the quizzical look on my face, as he quickly moved to allay my fears.

"Don't worry, we're not still together or anything!" he 'reassured' me.  "I'm not cheating on her with you, if you're worried about that!"

Well no I wasn't, but I was keeping my fingers crossed, as it would have been an excellent Get Out of Date Free card.

"You see it's a bit complicated," Side Parting continued.

Great.

"I mean, I did move up here to be with her... But when I got here she dumped me in less than a week," he continued, looking totally tragic.

Marvellous.

Cue a five minute (one sided) conversation about his ex-girlfriend, how he felt about her, what he thought they were going to do in the future and where he thought it all went wrong.  I'd say it was your manky T-shirts and chewed up fingernails for starters mate.

Still I decided to try and appear interested in him and steer the discussion away from exes, so I attempted to change the topic of conversation.

"So where are you living now?" I asked as I sipped my drink.  "You must have been lucky to find a place to rent so quickly after only getting back a couple of weeks ago?"

"Oh no", Mr. Side Parting said, "I’m back living with my Mum and my Grandma and I'm sleeping on the sofa bed in the spare room."

I thought he was joking, but alas he was being deadly serious. Man, I wish I could have a beer.

So to summarize, I was on a date with a totally unattractive, tediously dull bloke in his late thirties, who’d just told me all about his evil bitch of an ex-girlfriend and how he'd stalked her from London before she dumped him, leaving him to live with his Mum and Grandma in a small box room. Oh, and did I mention that as he left London so quickly he didn’t have to foresight to line himself up with a job, so he spends most of his days watching Jeremy Kyle and QVC but still doesn’t find the time to wash his t-shirts properly.

What a catch. This was now officially the worst and most painful date of my life. Not only was he unattractive, but he was blatantly not over his ex and nothing in his life seemed to be going for him. Except for when Beth rang, as I hot footed it out of there faster than a cheetah with its arse on fire, therefore saving both myself and Mr Side Parting from any more stilted conversation and very awkward silences. He knew that the date was terrible too, and happily I never got another stalky (or any sort) of text message from him again.

Post mortem:

• Seriously. Learn the lesson that alcohol in vast quantities does not help you meet nice men.

• Text stalking = text stalking. You can be keen and still manage not to harass someone in 160 characters.

• I was quite obviously this guy’s rebound date, and didn’t I know it. It really made me realise that talking about exes in any way, shape or form is bad news when you’re meeting someone new.

• To reiterate: alcohol is not my friend.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Mr. Side Parting: The Tangled Web


The aftermath of my date with Chris (aka Mr Blind Date) put me back a bit on the whole dating game, as everything had looked so rosy but it still fell all flat on its face. I was starting to feel a bit sorry for myself due to my recent run of bad form in the dating stakes, and I think my date with Mr Side Parting was a direct consequence of that.

I still hadn’t learnt from my previous mistakes, as I met him when I was very drunk in a very cheesy club, wearing my thickest beer goggles. Looking back, the venue, my inebriation and the fact that he thought I looked like Drew Barrymore (I don’t, wishful thinking on his part) should have given me all the warning signs I needed to figure out that the foundations for our date weren’t exactly the best. If that wasn’t enough, the day after we’d met I was out with my friend Louise for lunch, when she told me that he had a big, fat side parting and possibly wasn’t as fit as I remembered. To make matters worse, Mr Side Parting then started to text stalk me…

Louise and I had gone to a pub next to a park so we could stuff our faces with greasy food then wander round the park very slowly to nurse our hangovers and gulp in as much fresh air as possible. What was meant to be a relaxing afternoon stretching out in the early summer sunshine turned out to a stressful full on text assault. I didn’t reply to one of Mr Side Parting's text messages within an hour as Louise and I were having a bit of a nap on a grassy bank, and as a result I received another message from him asking me if I was ignoring him. No, I’m suffering and I wish you would BACK OFF.

Still, he might just have been keen so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and we arranged to go out on a date that Tuesday.

Now, due to the factors I’ve mentioned: the side parting, the stalking, the beer goggles, I thought it prudent to put a few measures in place for the date so I could get the hell out of it as quickly and painlessly as possible if required. Deep down I must have known it was going to be shit, but practice makes perfect, and you never know I might have lucked out this time despite the dozen bottles tropical reef and the sinking feeling I was starting to experience.

I am slightly ashamed to say this, but I created the ruse that the project I was working on was about to go-live and I was on call in case there were any major issues. Cunningly, this also meant that I couldn’t drink so therefore my getaway would be relatively easy as I could just leg it back to my car. Genius. The final part of my Great Date Escape Masterplan came in the form of my friend Beth, who was briefed to call me after 45 minutes. If everything was hunky dory then I’d ignore the call and continue in doey-eyed bliss. If I was praying for a small natural disaster involving the ground opening up and swallowing me then I’d take the call, go outside, then return pretending there was a massive issue at work and I had to leave immediately.

I felt a slight twinge of guilt at the web of deceit that I was weaving, but on the whole I couldn’t help smirking at my Machiavellian planning. I mean, the poor guy, he didn’t really deserve all that even if he did possibly have the dodgiest hair seen on a man since 1983…


For legal reasons I'd like to clarify that I didn't pull Ben Affleck as the photo with this post might suggest.  I just liked his rather splendid side-parting.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Mr. Blind Date: The End?


It was a strange feeling, looking forward to going into work on a Monday morning, but I was so excited about picking up where I’d left off with Chris, my blind date, that I sang all the way down the motorway and even got in early. For some reason (and I really can’t think why now) we hadn’t exchanged phone numbers on our date, I think because we’d been so happily communicating by email that the thought never crossed our minds.

It was about 10:30am, and I decided that this was a time that wasn’t too early to look over eager, but was reasonable to expect me to have picked up any new work and have a bit of time to craft an email. So I emailed Chris, asking about how his weekend had been and all the usual friendly/flirty chit chat. I also told him a bit about what I’d been up to, all the while keeping it nice and breezy.

Now up until this point I’d usually get a reply from him in about an hour or so, sometimes pretty much straight away. It was really hectic at work, so I was busying myself with all my tasks. Before I knew it, 2pm had crept up, and still no reply from Chris. I was getting a bit worried. Had I said something to offend him? Had I come on too strong? I didn’t think so, as I’d only sent him a casual email, just as we’d both been doing for the past week or so. Had he met someone else he liked more at the weekend after our amazing first date, or had he decided that he really just didn’t like me that much after all?

At just after 3pm my computer pinged and the new mail icon appeared. It was from Chris. Without even taking a breath I clicked on the icon and his message appeared full screen.

To summarize:

Chris had a good weekend and spent a lot of it watching the cricket. He’d gone out into town on Saturday night but it had been a bit of a quiet one as his mates were skint. He poked fun at where I’d been out and asked me how my day was going. Then he kicked me in the proverbial nuts. I’m paraphrasing what he said, but here’s the gist:

As you know I had a brilliant time last Thursday when we went out, but I’ve got something I need to tell you. I was singing your praises to all my mates over the weekend and telling them all about you, but that made one of my female friends come to a bit of a realisation. You see, we had a bit of a thing a while back but she decided she just wanted to be friends. I think that hearing me talking about you got her thinking and she wants to try and give it another go before she decides if she’s going to live in New Zealand. I’ve still got really strong feelings for her and I’m really sorry as you are great and it almost feels a bit like wrong time wrong place. I hope you understand and don’t think that I’m a total bastard.

Would love to stay in touch, as it’s not often you find a girl that knows so much about sport and can almost(!) beat you at pool.

Sorry again…. Chris

F*cking great.

The girl doesn’t want him, then someone else arrives on the scene so she decides that even though she’s not entirely sure if she wants to be with him that no-one else can have him in the meantime. Grrr. 

I send a short and to the point reply, which I do remember word for word:

That’s a shame as I thought we got on really well. I hope things work out for you, as you seem to be a nice guy. Take it easy.

And that was that. The best first date in my life, and I didn’t even get a second date out of it.

Things I learnt from this fiasco:

• Blind dates have the potential to work, provided that both parties are truly looking to meet someone new.

• Blokes can have baggage too, even if everything seems to be hunky dory on the surface.

• Sometimes even if you do everything right and things are going brilliantly, try not to get too carried away as things can still go wrong.


Now I do have a bit of a postscript to this story, as two and a half years after our one and only date, I put Chris’s name into Facebook and up pops his profile. I decided to poke him to see if he remembered me, and within a day he’d requested me as a friend. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to send him a message to see if it ever did work out with his “friend”. Here’s what he said:

Me
1:17pm Jan 16th
Well hello, fancy bumping into you on here.

I bet you don't remember me, but you kicked my arse at pool at The Elbow Room after we'd been set up by our mutual friend Ian.

How's things?  Still following the cricket?

I hope that all's well, and that you got it together with the girl that was going away (to New Zealand I think?).


Chris
3:09pm Jan 16th
Course I remember you! In fact I was thinking about you just yesterday strangely enough.

I ended up flying halfway across the world to tell Sarah I loved her: at the Orangutan sanctuary in the jungles of Borneo, alas she didn't feel the same, she decided to stay in NZ although we are firmly best of friends and she's at home visiting at the minute.

I feel cheated by the national cricket team these last few years! They are appalling bad!

Chris

Me
9:51am Dec 17th
Blimey you're an old romantic devil aren't you? I'm sorry things didn't go to plan, but at least you've stayed good mates.
I'm really not impressed with the English cricket team at all at the moment either…

Anyway on a different note, are you back living in Leeds now? From what I remember you'd gone back home (and weren't too happy about it) when I saw you.

Chris
11:19am Dec 17th
Ah well after a lot of umming and aahing I thought it's better not to have any regrets over the matter so off I went. Had a bloody good holiday too.

I am back in Leeds, this time right in the middle of the city, moved back in April after a winter in the wilderness.

I've just checked the cricket score, I feel sick!

Interesting, no? So they didn’t end up getting it together, but notice how he doesn’t ask me any questions about myself. Therein signifies a man who is not at all interested. However, Facebook tells me that he’s not in a relationship at the moment, but that could mean anything. I have to admit though, that recently I have been contemplating asking him for a rematch at pool but so far have chickened out as I think it would be a bit out of left field and also look a bit desperate. We’ll see…

Much to Ian’s annoyance I think I’ll mull over that one a bit more.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Mr. Blind Date: Will We? Won't We?


Chris (aka Mr Blind Date) and I were meeting at 8:30pm and I arrived fashionably late by ten minutes. Having seen photos of Chris I knew that I’d recognise him, so I scanned the bar area to see if he was there already. Nope, not a sign. There was no way he’d go off and get a pool table without meeting me first so I concluded that he wasn’t here.

Great. Be calm, be calm.
(I’d already been to the toilet five times in the half an hour before I’d set off, which was all due to nerves and this wasn’t helping).

A deep breath and I was good. I walked around the bar (just to check he wasn’t hiding) then pulled up a seat facing the door and ordered a vodka lime and soda. And waited.

And waited.

I played with my phone for a bit. Lord knows why as we didn’t have each other’s numbers… Just for something to keep me occupied and make it look like I hadn’t been stood up.

I checked my watch. I’d been here ten minutes. I started to wonder exactly how long you wait for someone before you know you’ve been stood up. Half an hour? Longer? It’s never happened to me before.

Another few minutes passed and it was just after 8:50pm when Chris strode through the door and straight up to me, all apologies.

"Hi, I'm really, really, sorry I'm so late.  The taxi didn’t turn up so I had to order another one and then the traffic through town was terrible," Chris said as he simulataneously got the barman's attention.

Blah, blah, the usual.

I know taxis are notoriously bad at turning up on time, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially as he did seem to be genuinely sorry. Chris ordered us both a drink (as I’d pretty much necked mine with nerves), then turned to me and said:

"You look really nice by way."

OK, so that's one brownie point.

After the initial panic of being stood up, as soon as we started playing pool I was put at my ease. Chris and I clicked instantly, and he had loads of really amusing stories to tell. I liked his dress sense: converse trainers (snap), baggy jeans (Diesel), a t-shirt of a band that I’d not even heard of (they were up and coming and later turned out to be pretty big), all topped off with some tousled sandy hair. He was of slimmish build but had big, broad shoulders and had the odd muscle knocking about here and there. By the time we’d finished playing pool (gutted, he beat me 3-2) I was having a fantastic time and had completely forgotten how he’d been late. He later told me that he was impressed with my choice of venue as he goes there quite a lot on Saturday nights, whereas if I go then it’s usually midweek or on a Friday which is why we’d never run into each other before. Things were going great guns.

We decided to move on, and even though he tried to make me pick I insisted that Chris choose, which he did, and we ended up going to another bar just around the corner. We both got a drink (raspberry beer for me, rum on ice from him – only allowed as he’d just come back from a trip to Barbados) and sat at a corner table, lit by a single tea-light.

I was glad we went for a drink there as we could really talk instead of taking the mick out of each other in between magical bits of pool wizardry and it was at this point I realised I really liked Chris and wouldn’t mind meeting up with him again. Our body language, whilst relaxed was still careful so that we wouldn’t touch each other inadvertently, as I suppose we were still sussing each other out. It got to about 11:30pm and I hadn’t even realised it was so late as we’d been talking so much about anything, everything and a whole load of bollocks in between. As we both had work the next day we reluctantly thought it best to call it a night and go and get taxis home.

So off we walked to the taxi rank at the train station, not holding hands, no bodily contact allowed. As it wasn’t a weekend there were loads of taxis queued up waiting for fares and we walked straight up to the front of the queue. Thinking back, I wish there hadn't been any taxis and that we had to wait, as what happened next would definitely not have happened if we hadn’t been rushed. I hate taxi drivers for being so impatient, and from this point onwards for ruining the end of the best date I’ve ever had in my life.

We were going in separate directions so were getting two separate taxis. Chris did the gentlemanly thing and offered me the first one. The stupid taxi driver, rather than giving us a moment, leant out of the window and yelled:

“So where are you going to love? Do you want me to get that door for you?”

I could have killed him.

Chris and I were just doing the obligatory thank yous for such a lovely night and a goodnight kiss was SO on the cards, but taxi man completely ruined it with his immaculately timed interruption. I looked at Chris and he looked at me, and for the first time on the date there was a second of awkwardness. I think we both wanted to kiss each other but knew that the moment had been lost. Chris smiled at me slightly uncomfortably as the taxi driver continued with his bout of verbal dirhorrea, and as I climbed in the taxi Chris motioned for me to wind down the window, which I did.

"Thanks again, I've had a great night," Chris said, as the cold night air poured in through the open window.
"Yeah, me too," I replied.
He really was rather lovely.
"I'll email you tomorrow," he replied just as the taxi whisked me off into the night.
I spent the journey home smiling to myself but also kicking myself for not just kissing him anyway.

The next day was a Friday, and true to his word I got an email from Chris thanking me for the night before and saying he’d had a brilliant time. All was good, and I left work that night very happy about life in general.

So far, so good, but little did I know that everything was about to go very, very wrong...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Mr Blind Date: In at the Deep End

Music: Starry Eyed Surprise - Oakenfold

I was now a couple of months into my new job and I had been sent to work in Manchester during the week.  I was still in touch with everyone from my old job, especially one of the contractors, Ian, who’d been helping out there for the last few months on a project that I’d been involved in. We’d clicked from day one, and were it not for the fact that he was married and and a bit fugly then I would have really fancied him, as we got on absolutely brilliantly and had the same daft sense of humour. Even though I’d only known him a few months when it was my last day working together we both got a bit upset. It’s not often that you feel such a strong connection with someone, even as just a colleague.

Anyway, I’d been keeping Ian up to date with my comedic love life and tales of Mr. Sugar Allergy and the like and he found all my antics absolutely hilarious. I think he must have taken pity on me as he mentioned that he had a friend which (and I quote):

“You would get on with brilliantly. He’s a great guy. He loves sport and is really witty – a fantastic laugh. You and Chris will get on great.”

Now obviously I was both curious and dubious. Curious as Ian wouldn’t try and set me up with someone that was an idiot or had serial killing tendancies, and the fact that they were friends was like meeting up with someone who comes with a recommendation from a trusted source. A gold star almost.  Friends of friends is supposed to be a great way to meet people, right? I was dubious though, as like most men Ian didn't have a clue about what makes another man attractive to a woman, and which men are handsome and which men have a face like a bag of spanners.

Therefore I demanded to see a photo.

And I admit, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Ian sent me a link to a website showing photos of competitors in various half marathons and charity road races as his friend Chris apparently took part in these events quite regularly. All I had to do was type in Chris’s name and lo and behold, pictures galore. I liked what I saw. Chris was obviously very fit and looked after himself. His body was nice and toned and his face hadn’t exactly been beaten with the ugly stick either. He was a couple of years older than me (but at 29 this didn’t make him ancient), had a good job working in IT and came with a glowing recommendation.

Hmm, what to do? I told Ian that I’d think about it, and spent a couple of days musing as to whether it would make me a bit of a saddo to go on a blind date as I’d never done it before. Whilst I was fannying around Ian kept pestering me to find out if he could get all Cilla on my ass and I think he must have got a little bit too excited about buying a wedding hat, as midway through a rather dull Wednesday afternoon I got the following email from him:

You women are rubbish. Why do you over think everything? It’s too late now anyway, as I’ve sent Chris your email address along with a glowing report. Expect an email from him VERY SOON! :-)

Git.

After Ian dropped me in it, I disappeared off into a mind-numbing meeting for a couple of hours and forgot all about it. Therefore when I got back to my desk and checked my inbox I was quite surprised but secretly very pleased to see an email from Chris waiting for me.

It had been there for about an hour, so I figured that I wouldn’t appear to be too much of a desperado if I replied to it straight away, so I did.

What followed was a flurry of emails back and forth every day for the next week in which Chris and I started to get to know each other pretty well. He was a very witty bloke and we seemed to have quite a lot in common, and whilst we weren’t exactly flirty over email it didn't bother me as we hadn’t met yet.  I’m glad that Ian threw me in at the deep end and set us up, as despite my initial worries about becoming a resident of Loserdom by being set up in this way at least it meant that if Chris and I didn’t get on then I’d have saved myself all the effort of having to shave my legs and worry about what to wear. But we did click, and I was getting all giddy.

I emailed Chris a couple of photos of me (just so he could reassure himself that I wasn't a deformed moonpig), and after a couple more days Chris finally suggested that we go on a date.  (Hurrah!).  Irritatingly though, he asked me to choose where we went. Man, I hate it when blokes do this. Maybe they think they’re being thoughtful and/or considerate about what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go and in some cases I’m sure that they are. I bet that’s what they tell women anyway. However, what I really think is going on is either much smarter than that or just plain lazy.

When he lets you pick where to go on your first date, I think it either means:

• Let’s see where she suggests. It’ll be a good indication of where she likes to go out and I can see if we like to go to similar places.

OR

• I really can’t be arsed thinking where we should go. If I let her decide then I can always pretend I was being thoughtful by letting her pick, and if it’s shit then it’s not my fault.

I’d tend to lean more towards the latter in most cases. I think for a first date, I’d much prefer it if a bloke actually had a few suggestions of venues so the girl could pick where they’d like to go. Or, (brace yourselves) just choose somewhere. Radical.

Anyway, as Chris and I had a similar taste in music and I wanted to impress him I decided upon meeting at The Elbow Room in town for a few drinks and some games of pool. I’m pretty handy with a pool cue (but only for the purpose for which it is intended I hasten to add) and The Elbow Room itself is a great bar. Laid back hip-hop meets funk meets indie meets big American Pool tables, dimmed lights and a relaxed atmosphere.

Perfect for a midweek date...

Monday, 18 January 2010

Mr. Sugar Allergy: The Sickly End

Music: Spin Spin Sugar - Sneaker Pimps

The date from hell continues...

With Mr Sugar Allergy's lecture on the absorption of sugar in the small intestine drawing to a close, I drank from my bottle of beer whilst he sipped on his pint of tap water in an awkward silence.  As the bar we were in was a diet coke free zone (other sugar free drinks are available, just not here) we decided to move on and go to one of my favourite bars, The Reform.


Bar 2

The Reform is a small bar with big leather armchairs and sofas, that specializes in selling continental beers of all descriptions, my favourite being cherry beer so this is what I order. Happily for Sugar Boy they also sell vodka and diet coke. It’s pretty quiet, and we get a seat on one of the sofas near to the back of the bar.

Things are getting better and conversation is picking up as we start to talk of our mutual love of music and rugby. I realise that I’m actually starting to have an OK time. I wouldn’t say that I felt a spark or much chemistry between us like I did on the night we met, but I put that down to the vat of alcohol which I’d consumed. Still, Mr. Sugar Allergy, or Stephen to use his real name, is quite good looking.  Not drop dead handsome but not ugly either. Plain I suppose. He’s about 6ft, has a shaved head (I think because his hair is starting to give up the ghost) and has a nice, open face. He smiles a lot, but I think that’s partly down to nerves. I admit that before we met I was nervous too, but as the conversation starts to flow on topics wholly unrelated to the colon and sugar absorption I start to relax, and dare I say it, enjoy myself.

We’ve been in the bar for just over half an hour, and have been laughing at each other’s taste in music, when I start to ask Stephen a bit more about his job and what he actually does. I am literally half way through a sentence when out of no-where and completely unprompted, Stephen lunges across the sofa, sticks his tongue down my throat and attempts to suck the enamel off my teeth. I’m in total shock, and I make no effort to kiss him back. In fact, I think my hands are raised and I’m just about to push him off me when he stops. The look on my face must have said it all (WTF?) as the smile on his face quickly drops and is replaced by the look of a two year old child who’s just been caught taking a dump in the paddling pool.

The date is now officially a total loss.

Our conversation dries up completely and I down my cherry beer so quickly a bit of sick comes up into my mouth, which I almost cough all over him. I make my excuses about catching the last bus home and I’m out of there, speed walking like an Olympic athlete rounding the final bend to claim the gold, except in my case all I’ve gained is a sore tongue and a massive dose of humiliation. I hope no-one I know saw that full frontal assault.

He emails me a couple of times the next day. I ignore him completely and never hear from him again.


Points to note:

• Alcohol is never to be trusted. EVER. I’ve often wondered since that date whether Stephen actually talked about his fascinating sugar allergy on the night we met, or if he lunged his tongue into my mouth from about 40 yards. Maybe he did and he thought that I liked it. Winning formula.

• Dates like this really make me appreciate the good ones, and even the mediocre ones.

• Some dates are a total loss and don’t deserve a second chance.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Mr. Sugar Allergy: The Centre of Splenda

Music: Slow Night, So Long - Kings of Leon

As I stood at the bar I kept glancing over to our table and saw Mr Fit's friend looking over at me.  Beth and I downed a couple of shooters each before returning to our table, and almost immediately Mr Fit's friend came over and started chatting away to me whilst Beth went to join Louise. Unlike his Ferrari-driving cockhead of a mate he seemed pretty nice, and we had a good laugh talking about anything and everything from sport to music to how his friend, Mr Fit (who wasn’t actually his friend just someone he used to work with) came across as a bit of a twat. Now please remember, I’d been mixing my drinks like a wino and therefore my beer goggles were firmly affixed to my eyes. Not sounding promising now, is it? Anyway, we had a bit of a kiss (which was very nice as I remember) and swapped numbers. He was called Stephen and worked a project manager in the next town.

Over the coming week Stephen and I played text message ping-pong and swapped email addresses, so my working days were filled with the excitement of waiting for an email and carefully crafting my reply. Should I be flirty or just friendly? Was he flirting with me? I couldn’t tell over email…. It didn’t matter, as we arranged to out for a drink that Thursday so things were looking good.

Thursday evening came, and as I approached our designated meeting point I could see the solitary figure of a man waiting there and I knew straight away that it was Stephen. Even though I’d consumed enough alcohol on the night we’d met to kill a small herd of buffalo I was pleased that I recognised him, and even more pleased that when he spotted me he didn’t try and leg it. However, I was soon to wish that he had actually done an impression of speed King Usain Bolt and made a run for it, as this was quickly about to rank second on the Worst Dates of my Life leader board.

Here is a brief overview of our date:

Bar 1

We walk up to the bar.

Stephen: “Can I get you a drink?”

Good. Nice and gentlemanly.

Me: “Yes please, I’ll have a bottle of Corona”.

Nice barman gets me a bottle, opens it and puts it on the bar.

Barman: “Anything else?”

Stephen: “Yes. A vodka and diet coke please.”

WTF? A bloke drinking vodka and diet coke? On a date? Is he gay?  OK, don't judge him too quickly Kate...

I smile.

Barman: “Sorry mate, no diet coke at the mo’. Is regular coke OK?”

I’m still standing there, smiling awkwardly now. Just say yes so we can go and sit down. Surely you’re not so bothered about a few extra calories in your drink? You’re a man for goodness sake.

About ten seconds pass whilst Stephen umms and ahhs and shuffles from foot to foot, all the while drumming his fingers on the bar. It feels like ten hours, when finally he sighs and sounds really downcast as he says:

Stephen: “Oh. Er, no thanks. Can I just have a glass of tap water instead please?”

At least he’s polite I think to myself, but WATER? Not that I’m an alcoholic or anything, but that’s a bit weird.

A pint of tap water it is, and we sit down.

“So, er, water?” I say, somewhat bemused.

I’m glad we’d managed to get a table as this was the last input I had into the conversation for about half an hour, apart from the odd umm and “Oh, that’s interesting”. You see, good old Stevie baby has an allergy to sugar, and in what I can only class as possibly one of the most tedious thirty minutes of my life he explained to me the intricacies of his affliction in graphic detail, what he can and cannot eat/drink, what happens if he has more than 1 gram of the stuff (you really don't want to know), and that Splenda is apparently the best thing since sliced bread and has revolutionised his life (I kid you not). 

OK so I know that he was probably really nervous but seriously, what a topic of conversation.  Did he not realise this is something he really shouldn't talk about on a first date?

So only 0.5 hours into the date and I’m losing the will to live.  This isn't looking good...

Friday, 15 January 2010

Mr Sugar Allergy: A Sour Start...

Music: Alcohol - CSS

A few weeks after my minor dalliance with Mr Sexy 20yr Old I went out into town again, this time on a Friday night after work. I met up with my friend Beth, her boyfriend Rob and my other best friend Louise for a few post work drinks and a bit of a catch up. Rob was meeting up with a few of his mates and he left us pretty early on, so we headed to one of our favourite bars to get a table before the evening rush started.

Prohibition is one of those bars that is always dark inside due to the thick red and black curtains and wall hangings that flank the ceiling to floor windows. The tables and chairs are made of dark mahogany, and the bar is partitioned with plenty of tables and big red leather sofas for you to sink into in hidden corners. It always gets busy after about 9pm for a number of reasons: It’s filled with some of the more beautiful people that go out in town but manages not to be overly pretentious, and whilst drinks are quite expensive there’s always a really chilled out atmosphere and sometimes you get a bit of live music.  Failing that they play a mixture of indie and classic dance music from yesteryear, you know, just to remind you that you're slightly older than you'd like to admit.

Having secured our table, Beth, Louise and I started to chat the night away with table service handily removing the necessity to queue at the bar.  As the sky darkened outside, we sat back and started to unwind over a few glasses of wine. Wine soon degenerated into vodka and after a couple of hours Louise had convinced us that pitchers of cocktails were an excellent idea.

Fatal.

By now my man-radar was working overtime, and I was getting into the swing of quickly scanning a room for any half decent specimens and giving them the once over, which generally went something like this:

Face: Good looking.

Body: Average. Nice jumper.

Hair: Good. Not ginger.

Height: Tall – excellent.

Mates: Don’t look like cocks.

Girlfriend: Can’t see one.

At about half ten the bar was pretty full, and we were getting ready to make a move and head on somewhere else.  Just as we were about to leave, Beth got talking to a bloke who was standing quite near to our table. He was pretty foxy, quite the Mr Fit, but he was one of those men that knew it. He was out with a group of three or four friends who were now all looking over at Louise and I.

Here we go...

Beth beckoned me to go over and join her conversation with Mr Fit, and I thought well why not? After all my confidence was being fuelled by vodka and several mojitos and he looked like he'd been put together rather nicely. The fact that I was now sitting on my own as Louise had wandered off to go and chat with one of her work mates sealed the deal. I stood up, tottered on my heels ever so slightly and wandered over to introduce myself to Mr Fit, with Beth winking at me conspiratorially all the while.

What a disappointment. He was a total knob.  Our brief conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hi, I'm Kate. Are you having a good night?"

Mr. Fit. "Nah. It's shit in here."

OK. Lovely to meet you too.

Beth: "He was just telling me about his job. He works as a..."

Mr Fit (butting in): "I'm an entrepreneur. I buy stuff. I sell it for a massive profit. Last year I turned over £3 mill. Bit of a bad year. You know how it is."

Me: "No I don't."

And quite honestly, I couldn't care less.

Mr Fit: "Yeah well I still bought a new Ferrari."

Woo.

Me. "Great".

I stifle a yawn.

Me: "Anyway, got to go.... to the bar. Beth?"

I grabbed Beth by the hand and despite the table service still being in full flow I dragged her to the bar.

Talk about someone bigging themself up. Mr Fit might be good looking, and possibly quite rich (if he wasn't spouting a load of bullsh*t) but he was so full of himself it was unbelieveable.

Moron.

As Beth and I stood at the bar I glanced back towards our table where I noticed that one of Mr Fit's friends was giving me the eye.  Maybe it was worth staying a little longer...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Top Ten Topics to Avoid on a Date

Music:  Shut Up and Let Me Go - Ting Tings

Is it just me or do some people not know what topics of conversation are off limits when they go out with someone on a date? 

There are certain areas of discussion which I really think should remain taboo during those first few all important meetings with a new victim potential love interest.  I know this, as I've has the (dis)pleasure of experiencing quite a few horrific dates where the conversation has veered perilously off-piste and into the realms of dating nightmare.

Please have a read of the list below and let me know what you think.  I'd also love to hear any of your dating horror-conversations (as it will make me feel better for the dates I'm going to tell you about next!).


Top Ten Topics to Avoid on a Date

10. The Weather.
Just how dull are you? Ooh, can we talk about the long range forecast next please? (Unless you’re a meteorologist on a date with another meteorologist, in which case I’m sure this would be fascinating. You could flirt unashamedly about “Moist conditions south of the border” and use other such racy innuendos).



The only spark came courtesy of the lightening

9. Affiliations with racist organizations.
Or making racist comments in general. I won’t laugh politely and I’ll end the date very quickly. Probably after hitting you.

8. Religion.
This should only be discussed if you are a member of a fanatical cult (possibly dating unsuspecting victims to try and increase numbers). If this is the case I would like to know, so I can get away from you as fast as I can before you seize my bank accounts, reduce me to a brainwashed zombie and poo on my chest.

7. Politics.
Do I have a passing interest in politics? Yes. Am I a political activist? No. Does talking about politics generally involve a light hearted discussion, allowing you to get to know each other over trivial details? Definitely not. Therefore avoid.

6. Sex.
Unless you are just dating each other for sex or you’re already in the hotel room. A graphic description/reconstruction of your best sex move is not going to impress me if we haven’t even kissed yet.

5. Money and how much money I/you/we make.
Big alarm bells ring if this comes up too soon. Are you eyeing me up as a meal ticket? Is the fact that I’m supposed to be impressed by the size of your wallet meant to stop me from wondering about the size of anything else, or from realising that you’re a complete idiot? PS: This round’s on you.

4. How many children do I want?
AAAAAAAGGGHH! BACK OFF!

3. Weird illnesses/afflictions that you have.
I do not want to know that you have a third nipple/sugar allergy/plastic arsehole until I actually know you a bit, otherwise you’re just going to come across as a weirdo that tells total strangers really intimate details inappropriately early. And that’s just slightly worrying in my book.

2. The fact that you did have gonhorrea
But it’s more than likely cleared up by now. Yeuw.


"Did I mention that I have knob rot?"

1. You’ve just split up with a girl who dumped you.
For your dad.  Or talking about/slagging off your exes in any detail really, as this will either show that you’re still hung up on them, or that you’re a bitter and twisted type who’s going to be a right barrel of laughs…. Both of which are equally unattractive.

So what do you think?  Is it just me who thinks these topics of conversation should be off limits at least until you've been dating for a good couple of months?  The reason why I ask this is because I experienced quite a few of these conversational gems the last time I was playing the dating game, as you will soon see...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Mr Sexy 20yr Old (Part 2)

Music: Kiss You Off - Scissor Sisters

I was pleased that it was just Beth and I going out for my first night as a newly single woman. Beth had a steady boyfriend, and had got together with him only a couple of months earlier than me and my cheating ex, aka the Evil Cockbag. Beth has never really done the whole meeting men in bars thing, and as it was just me and her and a bottle of wine I figured that the night would involve no men, no drama and absolutely nothing to write home about.

Wrong.

We were standing by the bar we were on our second bottle of el cheapo plonk, chatting away about anything and everything other than the Evil Cockbag. A group of lads came in, and I refer to them as lads as that is exactly what they were. Young, late teens and early twenties, all good looking and most of them knew it. They ended up standing not so far away from us in the bar, and as they were a good bit of eye candy we attempted to focus our inebriated eyes in their general direction and started to talk about which one was the fittest.

I have to be honest with you; Mark was one of the most beautiful young men I had ever seen. When I say beautiful I mean it in exactly that way if that doesn’t sound too strange. He was 6ft tall, had broad shoulders which tapered to a slim (but not too slim) waist, and you could tell that under his pale blue polo shirt he had a very toned upper body. His skin was slightly honey in colour and he had the most amazing wide blue eyes with just that hint of cheekiness, but also the innocence of a man who’s still a bit of a boy. His hair was short and light brown and was slightly ruffled at the front. In short, he was well fit.

He’s really fit,” I said to Beth. (Well, I slurred… probably).

“Right then, I’m going to tell him," Beth replied.

And off she went, not even giving me chance to feebly attempt to try and stop her.  The cow.

Beth was talking to him for what seemed like absolutely ages, until she sashayed back over to me, grinning ridiculously, with Mark and one of his mates in tow.

Exactly what Mark and I talked about I have no clue, but we weren’t exactly chatting for long before we were snogging each other’s faces off like teenagers in the middle of the bar, almost as if we were back at school and getting off with each other behind the back of the sports hall. It was ace. I later discovered that the teenage snogging was highly appropriate, as Beth had successfully used the classic “My friend fancies you” line. I didn’t think that line actually worked.

Anyway, Mark and I swapped mobile numbers and went our separate ways at the end of the night, with Beth getting a gold star for not only being the best wingman ever but also spending a couple of hours chatting to Mark’s tedious friend who thought he stood a chance with her, the loser.

Mark and I sent each other a lot of text messages the following week. I’d just started a new job and was working away from home and I found it all a bit of a thrill to be flirting with a guy I didn’t even know. Every time I received a text message I got a bit of a tingle, and I have to admit the texts did get a little bit steamy. Whilst I did consider that he’d be showing what I’d written to all his mates I didn’t care as I found the whole experience quite liberating.

Through these texts I found out that he was only 20 (eek, very young), played football (mmm, wears shorts: good), lived down the road from me (with his parents: not so great) and worked as a packer (again, not great but hey he’s my rebound guy). This young, sexy man who purely based on looks was totally out of my league was interested in me, some slightly messed up woman who was six years his senior.

The next weekend I was out in town on Saturday night again, when Mark sent me a text message:

Hey, are you in town tonight?  Wanna met up? M x

Looking back I realise that he must have thought that his luck would be in and who can blame him as I suppose I’d led him on a bit during the course of the week like some wannabe dirty slapper. I managed to convince my friends to go to the cheesiest club in the world so I could meet up with him, and once in there Mark and I found each other and had a brief snog before I had to leave him to go and powder my nose.

The guilt of dragging my friends in there was so strong, and when I re-emerged from the loo I couldn't see Mark so I excitedly rejoined my friends at the bar and ended up having a few drinks with them.  I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not going to start scouring a club for a bloke as that just smacks of desperation, doesn't it?  I must have stayed with my friends for about three quarters of an hour, and I was starting to wonder where the hell Mark had got to when I glanced across the dance floor and spotted him kissing a younger, slimmer, (and I think) prettier girl.  I could have kicked myself for being so stupid, and for even thinking that he might have been interested in more than a quick feel up and a shag (if I was lucky). I left him to it and didn’t go over.

At about 2am my phone vibrated to life with an incoming text message as I was waiting in the queue for a taxi.  It was from Mark.

Hi, are you still in the club?  I lost you!  Do you wanna drag me back to your cave then or what? Mxx

Charming.  He had obviously been blown off by his earlier conquest and was ever so kindly offering me his sloppy seconds. 

Funnily enough, I didn't reply.

A few weeks later I bumped into him again when I was out in town. I smiled and said hello, but Mark completely blanked me, either not remembering me at all or pointedly choosing not to.

Still, I took a lot from this brief interlude...

• I can pull fit men (with a little help if I’m too scared!)

• Young men are likely to only be after a bit of fun, and if I’m looking for anything more serious then I should probably avoid them in the future.

• I shouldn’t set my expectations too high as to what might happen as a result of meeting someone in a club.

As dating disasters go that one wasn't too bad.  It's time to bring out the big (and more embarassing) guns...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Mr Sexy 20yr Old (Part 1)

Music: Like A Virgin - Madonna

Before I embark on a whole new world of dating, I suppose I’ve got to look at my previous dating disasters and see where I’ve gone wrong in the past to try and prevent the same horrible, cringe worthy dating mistakes from happening again. History can have a nasty way of repeating itself, so before I dash out into the great unknown in search of the man for me, I'm going to dish the dirt on my all time worst dating disasters to try and banish all my dating demons once and for all. I’m getting embarrassed just thinking about them, so strap yourselves in as this might get uncomfortable.

I'll start off with one that isn't too bad...

Mr Sexy 20yr Old

I was 26 at the time and had just split up with my long term boyfriend Paul. Paul and I had been living together in Leeds for just over a year and we were three and a half years into our relationship when he confided in me that he’d porked some fat slapper from work whilst I was away visiting my university friends. Nice. Cue a bit of a shitty time all round with a lot of umming and ahhing from him about how he wasn’t sure if he loved me anymore (again, nice) and me being really upset for a few weeks.

Fortunately Paul moved out, meaning that I had time and space to work everything out at my own pace. After about a month I had the moment of realisation: He was a complete and utter Evil Cockbag.  Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting the boyfriend stealing trollop who he bumped uglies with, I had just as much an issue with her as I did with him.  After all, she knew he had a girlfriend and yet she still decided to mess around with his joystick on several occasions and break my heart in the process.

Vive le sisterhood. Bitch.

Anyway, after my eureka moment I decided to have nothing more to do with him, even when he tried to come crawling back begging for a second chance. I went through the seemingly obligatory break-up diet of eating nothing which fabulously resulted in me losing over half a stone in two weeks with no effort required whatsoever. Result. Thanks in great part to my wonderful friends, I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing after only a month, and it was on my first proper night out with my friend Beth that I met Mr. Sexy 20yr Old.

Going out into town when you’re newly single is a very strange experience, and I’m not talking about pulling guys or even just talking to random men. The thing that’s weird is that when you’ve got a boyfriend/husband that you love you just don’t notice other men, and when I say notice what I mean to say is that it takes a VERY fine specimen of a man for him to even create a flicker on my radar if I’m happily coupled up. As a newly single girl it’s a whole different ball game, and I don’t know if it’s just me but I didn’t have a clue what to do anymore. All of a sudden I’m allowed to look at blokes in a different way again, and I do, and it feels a bit weird to be checking out the arse of the sexy barman who knows he’s hot. I don’t want to massage his ego and look, but I just can’t help myself, and what-the-f*ck-am-I-doing-I-can’t-tear-my-eyes-away-from his-completely-fantastic-arse. When a bloke catches my eye across the bar I don’t know what to do. Before I would have just looked away quickly and carried on with my conversation, but now my head is full of crazy thoughts like:

Did he just smile at me?

Oh he did. Right. Do I know him?

Er no. Oh shit he’s looking again.

Am I staring at him now? Shit. Shit.

Look away.

Do I want to?

Well is he fit?

Shit. Not sure.

Oh f*ck he’s coming over.

Retreat! Retreat! (and run off to the loos…)

All of a sudden, after years of not looking at blokes, now I can’t help it, and every bloke I see I give the sly once over, then fly into a mad panic if they even so much as possibly glance in my direction (when in reality they’re probably just checking themselves out in the mirror).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that newly single me needed to hone my flirtation skills drastically, and on that first night I stood in bars like some petrified virgin on speed, anxiously checking everyone out with no intention of doing anything apart from run off to the bogs and possibly shart myself.

Fortunately for me my good friend Beth had other ideas….

The Perfect 10

Music: 10/10 - Paolo Nutini

First things first, and with my new approach to the dating game I need to be clear on what I'm looking for.

I know that over the years I’ve been selling myself short with the blokes I’ve dated and been in relationships with. I’m not supermodel good looking, but I’m by no means a hairy swamp donkey either. I think it must be down to a confidence thing, as through my teenage years and twenties I seemed to fall into the same pattern every time before getting together with a new man:


• I’m single for a while and decide I don’t want to be.
• I drunkenly snog someone, rush into it too fast, and before I know it we’re an item.
• It invariably goes wrong and I end it with them because there is a glaring incompatibility.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that:

Loneliness + Several vodkas = An Inappropriate Man in my Life

This is something that I’m not proud of.

I know there are men out there who match what I am looking for. I know this as THE man, my perfect man exists.

He is Dan Carter. The Perfect Package off the pitch. The Perfect 10 on it.



Hello!


Dan is a rugby playing Adonis who plays for the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team and wears the number 10 shirt. Most rugby fans will agree that he is the best Number 10 in the world at the moment, and I’d even go as far as saying that he’s the best rugby player in the world full stop. Oh, and did I mention that he is completely and utterly drop dead gorgeous? Dan has arms to die for and muscles in all the right places. He is tanned, toned and sexy but still somehow maintains his boyish charm.

In order to find my version of Dan Carter, I need work out just what it is about him that has got me so hooked. I need to break down his qualities to see the things I really want in a man, and from now on I won’t settle for less. So here goes. Here is my list of man requirements:


The Perfect 10

1. Looks

Dan has the body of a god and the world’s most amazing arms.

I’m not being shallow (OK, yes I am) but looks and attractiveness are the first things I notice about a man. I’ve got to fancy him even if I don’t realise I do straight away. And I fancy Dan. A lot. So this is number one on my list.

2. Sense of humour.

If I’m not able to laugh with my boyfriend then I don’t see the point really, so a similar sense of humour is really important. I have no idea what tickles Dan’s funny bone but sense of humour is crucial, so it’s in at number 2.

3. Being down to earth.

I’ve been out with guys who have an over inflated amount of self importance and men who’ve had their heads stuck in the clouds. Neither of these are great and both piss me off, so that’s something to avoid. Dan always seems modest and really down to earth in interviews so it’s added to the list.

4. Loyalty and Trust

Cheating is a big no-no. I need and deserve to be with someone who is 100% loyal and honest with me at all times. Trust is a must (cheesy but true). Have you ever heard any kiss and tell stories about Dan? Nope, me neither.

5. Kindness

I don’t want to go out with someone who treats me like shit or like the lesser person in the relationship. I’ve been there before and it killed my self esteem. Now I’m back to the “me” I know I am with my confidence returned I am determined not to let this happen again. Therefore I am looking for someone who is kind, caring and will look after me a little bit too. Preferably with big, strong arms to wrap around me.

6. Has a strong sense of family

I suppose this is increasingly rare nowadays, but if a man’s parents are still together and happily in love (like my parents are) then I think this is something that their children aspire to as well. Not always, but most of the time I think this is true. Family is really important to me and if I have children I would ideally like to do this within a loving family environment so if I’m setting out to get my ideal then this has got to be part of it.

7. Solvency.

This is also pretty important. No offence, but who wants to be with a man that doesn’t know his arse from his overdraft and can’t support himself financially? Dan the man can, especially with his advertising campaign for a certain underpants range. (I can’t see an overdraft but I can definitely see his rather lovely derriere).



Nice.

8. Ambition and a drive to succeed

This is really important to me. I don’t mind so much what a man has ambition to do, but I hate people who coast along in life with no focus.

Dan plays rugby for his country. Cheeeck.

9. Different Interests.

Living in each other’s pockets is not fun. I think that shared interests are crucial, but so are individual ones. Go off and play golf and I’ll happily trot off down the shops and lust over some handbags.

10. Romance

Not all the time so that I’m spewing up into my cornflakes whilst he recites me a love poem, but a little bit of love and romance goes a long way. I’ve been out with a bloke who was good at the romance but was rubbish everywhere else and the relationship lasted longer than it probably should because of all the tingly romantic feelings.

(And I bet Dan buys his girlfriend flowers and is really good at writing romantic cards).



Oh, and one final thing which didn’t quite make it to the top ten:

Must be a good kisser.

I bet you thought I was going to say “Mind Blowing Sex” in didn’t you? Well I didn’t, and for one very good reason. I’m not necessarily going to jump straight into bed with a bloke that I meet (although I might, you never know) however I’m much more likely to kiss him pretty early on. If a bloke is crap at kissing then I am pretty sure he will more than likely be crap in bed.

I should know: I’ve been there. He wasn’t very good at thw whole kissing thing so I should have expected it I suppose, but as he disappeared under the duvet my mojo was unceremoniously dampened by his super-fast, speed-circling tongue which assaulted me like a tumble dryer on a spin cycle and not in a good way. He shall remain nameless.

So there they are: my man requirements. Am I asking for too much? Well, if I’m talking about getting together with Dan Carter, then yes. As for a bloke like him? I don’t think that I am. After all, I’m sure there are men out there that fill my criteria who I would find funny and engaging, and who would also see me as their perfect match. If they have arms of steel and happen to enjoy wearing shorts and rolling around a muddy rugby pitch – well that would be a big bonus! I am determined that this year my romantic life is going to be different as I’m going to be aware of what I really, truly want and who is right and good enough for me. Gone are the years of wasting time, tears and push up bras on unsuitable men who either aren’t right or who are in it for the wrong reasons.

So with all this in mind, here starts my new approach to dating and something of an experiment for the coming year.

Here’s the challenge: One Year. One List. The search for The Perfect 10