Friday, 30 April 2010

The Result

Music: Game For Fools - Jamie Lidell

So there I was at the crucial rugby game having just met up with my good friend Joe.  If my team won they'd be safe.  If they lost they could be relegated.  I was as nervous as hell and so was Joe.  I could sense it when he kissed me hello on my cheek...  My colleague Mick had been winding me up and saying that Joe could be the perfect guy for me, and on paper he is.  But at 13 years older than me I just didn't know.  And I wasn't sure if I fancied him - even with his villa in Spain...

As I'd arrived at the ground just before kick off there was no time for me to have a nerve-calming drink.  Instead Joe and I headed outside and assumed our usual position in the South Stand, just to the right of the touchline and behind the mini-orchestra.

The drummer banged his drum and the crowd cheered as the team line-up was relayed over the tannoy. The tension was building and I could feel it in the air.  The cheer leaders dashed out onto the pitch with flags waving and pom-poms bouncing as the players readied themselves in the bowels of the stadium. The butterflies in my stomach were flapping in anticipation as to what would happen next. Only eighty minutes separated my team from possible relegation and the desperate feeling of disappointment that it brings. Not even a couple of text messages I received from my work mates Mick and Dan with jokes about “going down” were going to make me smile. Well, maybe a bit.

The crowd roared and everyone was on their feet as the team ran onto the pitch. Flags waved and chants circled the ground before being whipped away on the wind. Joe looked pretty nervous too, and over the next eighty minutes we lived and breathed every tackle, scrum and lineout, cheering our hearts out for the team we both love.

The first half began.  Three successful penalties for us in the first 25 minutes.  A score for them.  We almost get a try but ball is knocked forwards.

At half time we were winning 12 – 3.  It was a lead but I was starting to feel stressed. The half time entertainment didn’t do much to lighten the mood and the entire crowd was on tenterhooks. Whilst I watched the cheer leaders bump, grind and shake their thang, Joe disappeared off to the burger van and returned a couple of minutes later with two polystyrene cups of steaming hot tea. It’s as if he’d read my mind.

We chatted about the game so far and how we'd been playing pretty well, just as the players started to run out for the second half. I could see in their body language that they looked really up for it.  I said a little prayer under my breath.

The second half started like a whirlwind, with the opposition throwing everything at us.  A stupid mistake let them run in a brilliant try, which was converted to take the score to 12-10.  I was feeling really uncomfortable now.  Ten minutes left.  Out of the corner of my eye I could see Joe jigging up and down. I couldn’t work out if it was from nerves or if he trying to keep warm as it wasn't that chilly.

“Are you OK?” I asked.

“Yeah. Well, no.” Joe replied. “This is torture. I can’t bear it."

“I know what you mean,” I agreed. “I kind of wish I’d just stayed at home and listened to it on the radio.”

Joe looked at me and pulls his most wounded face.

“No I didn’t mean it like that!” I exclaimed. “You know I love coming to watch the rugby with you!”

“Yeah, whatever,” Joe laughed.

We turned our attention back to the game.

“Come on Leeds! Get your tackles in first time!” Joe shouted anxiously.

I could tell by the look on his face that he was hating every second, so in an effort to try and calm him down I gently placed my hand on his arm and gave it a squeeze.

Joe diverted his eyes from the pitch and looked at me with a grateful smile. At least I think it was a grateful smile.

Five minutes of the game left and the score line was still 12-10. I could hardly bear it any more. The crowd cheered in time with the drum to try and lift the tired bodies of our players. If we could just hold on or score another penalty, that would hopefully be enough.

Just as I was silently praying for this, the opposition are awarded another penalty themselves.  It was 55 metres out.  Surely they aren't going to go for goal?  The kicker pointed to the posts and the entire stand held its breath.  A few people jeered in an attempt to put him off as he lined up his strike.  He ran up, boot connected with ball.....  And it was short!  He missed!

The linesmen waved their flags to indicate that the kick was bad, leaving the score still agonisingly poised at 12-10 with just a couple of minutes left to play.

The butterflies in my stomach started to flip over and over and I just couldn't watch it any more. I turned to Joe and placed my cheek on his shoulder and linked his arm with mine, then faced the opposite way to the pitch.

“I don’t want to know what’s happening unless it’s another score for us,” I said into the wooliness of his jumper. “Please, please let us score.”

I really couldn't look.

One minute left and the crowd was still cheering and willing the team on, when all of a sudden the noise stopped and for a few seconds there was almost silence. I felt Joe’s body tense up before the crowd erupted into cheers.

“What just happened?” I shouted and span around to face the pitch.

Everyone is punching the air and the rest of the squad is running onto the pitch.

"It's over!  We've won!" Joe yelled.  "They tried to go for a drop goal, but we charged it down and kicked it out!  We've won!  WE'VE WON!"

I started leaping around and clapping and screaming.  A few tears welled up in my eyes.  Tears of pride.  The atmposhere was amazing.  Everyone was clapping and cheering.  It was brilliant. 

I looked at Joe and he smiled.  Suddenly he stopped clapping and grabbed me for a massive hug.  I was so caught up in the excitement of the victory it felt totally natural.  And nice.  It felt nice.

But it ended all too quickly when a drunk guy stumbled into us.  Joe made sure I was OK then carried on smiling at me.  I quickly turned back to the pitch and started applauding the players again.

What was that?

Was I imagining things or did he want to be more than friends?  I was about to find out....

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Game On

Music: F.E.A.R. - Ian Brown

Last weekend really was action packed.

First up on Saturday was the much heralded Blogger's Night Out where I met up the lovely Tuppence, Rapunzel, Gingerella and Helen

We all had a great time.  We talked, drank copious amounts of wine and shared the blogging love.  Well, something like that. 

Happily on Sunday morning I woke up with no real hangover, and I got back to Leeds just in time for the main event of my weekend.  (No offence ladies!).

The big game.  The crucial game.  The rugby game of the season.

The game that ended up with two results: one that I hoped for; the other that came totally out of left field.

And yes, one of those results involved a man. 

In order to get there I have to tell you about the rugby first... 

Call me weird, but I really love the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach as I walk toward the rugby ground with other fans on the day of a crucial match. It feels like there is a kaleidoscope of butterflies flapping around before they manage to escape and burst into a shot of pure adrenaline.

As usual, I was wearing my replica shirt and I was rushing to get into the ground as I was running late.  There was absolutely no way I was going to miss kick off though. Sunday's game was so important as it was a dog eat dog relegation battle.  If my team won they would survive in the Premiership and the other team would be relegated.  If my boys lost, it would mean a tense final game of the season with the spectre of relegation looming large.  I was as nervous as hell.

I really hoped it would be a big turnout to support the lads, as over the past couple of months the crowds had been dwindling. As I approached the ground and the number of fans increased I could see a sea of yellow and blue flags pouring in through the turnstiles.  I sensed a buzz in the atmosphere that I only seem to feel on days like this. I smiled and felt thankful that the faithful were back out in numbers.

I was meeting up with my ex-colleague Joe to watch the game, as he’s also a season ticket holder and is one of my regular rugby match day mates. If Joe’s not around then I’ll either drag my Dad along (having learnt never to bring him when I’m going with a bloke, oh the embarrassment) or if he’s not up for it then I’ll go and watch the game on my own. I know, it sounds a little bit tragic but honestly it’s not. None of my friends like rugby but it's fine, as when I do go and watch games on my own I still feel part of a combined force of fans all willing the team on to win.  I invariably end up chatting with the people around me and have a bit of a laugh.

Oh, and I silently drool over the players and any fitties in the crowd. Obviously.

Headingley Stadium is a fantastic venue but then again I am rather biased.  As I finally reached the turnstile and heard it click when I scanned my ticket I could smell the unmistakable smell of fried onions and hotdogs wafting on the breeze. From the South Stand I could hear the trumpets and the banging of the drum which roused the supporters into song. Ten minutes to go until kick off and I rushed towards the bar which is where I was meeting Joe.

Joe and I used to work together until he left about a year ago to follow the more lucrative path of the self-employed IT consultant.  We still see each other pretty regularly though at rugby games and on the occasional work night out.  I really like Joe and we get on brilliantly well. 

I’ll never forget the first time we had a proper conversation with each other when a few of us went out one Friday after work.  Everyone had sunk a few shandies and I was busy mingling when I bumped into Joe and we ended up talking to each other for the first time. I knew that he liked rugby so we chatted about that for what turned out to be a couple of hours.  At the end of the conversation he announced that he was really impressed: finally he’d found a woman who could talk intelligently about sport. I felt rather pleased with myself, but then grimaced slightly. I didn’t always like the tag of being “one of the boys”, but it was nice to meet someone with similar interests.

Since then Joe and I started to watch games together and when he left the company we stayed in touch. My colleague Mick takes great pleasure in winding me up about my friendship with Joe and pointing out that he would make an excellent Sugar Daddy. It’s true, Joe is thirteen years older than me, is quite attractive, very single and from all accounts very comfortably well off. The problem is I just don’t fancy him and I’m not sure if I ever could.

I have thought about it though.  Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if we did get together: amazing sex (with age comes experience after all); fantastic holidays; great lifestyle, and maybe he would want to have children reasonably soon (he’d definitely be able to support a family with his income).

But then again he probably has a saggy arse, is incontinent and struggles to get it up.

However, all that aside, I’m not sure if we would have anything to talk about other than rugby...

Mick does make a very good case for Joe, painting the picture of spending a month chilling at Joe’s Spanish villa or swooshing down the slopes with him in France (as Joe goes on at least one skiing holiday a year) but there’s something missing. A spark maybe? Or is it because he’s so much older than me?

Either way, I tried to put all these thoughts out of my mind as I swept into the bar and caught Joe’s eye. I worked my way through the scrum of people and we said hello and kissed each other on the cheek.

To be continued...

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Office Fit List

Music: Fit 4 U - The Young Knives

It was a slow morning at work yesterday so I had plenty of time to slyly check my emails and see if I’d received any more messages or winks from potential online suitors. By lunchtime I had been sent two more messages and had been winked at three more times.  As I pressed Ctrl+Alt+Delete to lock my computer to walk to the sandwich shop I felt positively upbeat.

I mean, I hadn’t actually read the messages or seen who they were from (as that would involve logging on to an internet dating website at work and running the risk of everyone seeing what a loser I am) but that didn’t matter. Some men out there thought I was pretty and interesting enough to take the time to get in touch with me, and that alone was an ego boost.

I was in my own little dream world as I put on my coat and grabbed my bag, so I was a bit startled when my colleague (and very good friend) Mick interrupted my thoughts.  It resulted in a very interesting conversation.

“Oi! Slapper!” he shouted across the office.


“Are you off to the sandwich shop?”

“Yeah,” I replied with a smile.

Not many people can get away with calling me a slapper, but Mick is one of them.

“Can I come with?” Mick asked, already slipping on his coat.

“Yeah, of course,” I replied, knowing full well that a walk to the shop with Mick meant a full on gossip and slag off session of some of our other work “mates” who we loved to hate.

Mick is a few years older than me and is very happily married with a young son and another baby on the way. He’s got a wicked sense of humour and has the amazing ability to make me crease up with laughter over the most stupid things. We used to sit next to each other before he got moved as we were told that we talked too much and apparently had “too much fun at work”.  Now we have to chat over email and synchronise our breaks.

My other really good mate at work is Dan.  He works on the same team as me and has only been with the company for about a year.  Mick, Dan and I have such a good laugh with each other and sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps me going. Dan isn’t married but he lives with his girlfriend and they’ve been together about five years or so.  His favourite way to wind me up is to slag off rugby union he is a die-hard rugby league fan. But Dan’s not the only one with the wind ups as we all take the piss out of each other on a daily basis. This usually involves jibes focussed on Mick’s ever increasing moobs, my beard (which is a LIE as I do NOT have facial hair) and Dan being a Manchester United glory supporter.

My team leader once said that Mick, Dan and I are like the three amigos of the office, and I suppose that it’s true. If it wasn’t for those two then the office would be a much duller place (especially now that Foxy Scott has moved on to pastures new and I can’t while away my time flirting with him).

On the way to the sandwich shop Mick and I chatted about the weekend's football and rugby fixtures and the usual sort of stuff.  On the way back he steered the topic of conversation in a completely different direction which took me totally by surprise.

As he munched on his tuna baguette Mick asked me who I thought the best looking blokes in the office were.  What a question.

“So come on then,” Mick asked through a mouthful of sandwich. “As a young - well youngish - single woman, you must have given some thought as to who at work is hot and who’s not whilst you lean seductively against the photocopier?”

“Ha, ha, very funny Mick,” I replied, trying my best to evade his ridiculous line of questioning.

It’s not that I hadn’t considered this before, but why on earth did he want to know?

“You’re only asking as you’re desperate for a quick ego boost because you’re careering headlong into your mid-life crisis!” I teased.

“No I’m not,” Mick said as he picked bits of tuna mayonnaise off his sandwich wrapper.

“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. “I’m not going to massage your ego so you might as well just put yourself out of your misery and buy that impractical red sports car you’ve been eyeing up on the internet.” I continud.

“Ha, ha, very funny,” Mick replied. “I’m not buying that car as it goes, and as for my question? Well, I’m just interested in who you think the resident office bog-creatures are. So go on, tell me,” he persisted.

Er, OK then...

“Well, Scott would have been top of my list but he’s left now so I can’t really count him...” I said thoughtfully.

“No you can’t count him”, Mick replied, as he rammed the last bit of baguette into his mouth. “So who would be your number one?”

That was a difficult question.  Undoubtedly Mick would rush off and tell whoever I chose straight away, but at the same time there was no point in lying about it.

“Number one would be Dan I think”, I said quite decisively after a few moments of thought. Mick looked quite surprised.

“Don’t look at me like that!” I said hurriedly. The expression on Mick’s face had changed to that of a schoolboy who had discovered pictures of naked women in his science text book.

Shit, I had to qualify the statement before his mind started whirring.

“What I mean is, Dan is unquestionably good looking and has a lovely smile but obviously I don’t actually fancy him as he’s my mate and is more like a brother. Oh, and he has a girlfriend.”

Phew, good save.  It's true though, he just just a mate.  A very good mate.

But Dan is good looking. Very good looking. He’s not especially tall but he is taller than me.  He has broad strapping shoulders and is quite stocky, and his short dark hair is sexily flecked with grey at the temples. Oh, and that gorgeous, winning smile. He used to play rugby for a local amateur side, and yes, he does have rather lovely arms under his work shirts (from what I can make out).

“OK then,” Mick said, wiping his mouth with a serviette. “Who’s number two?”

“Ha! I should say you as you are a total shit for asking me this!” I joked. “Er, number two would be Sean I think”.

“Yeah, I can see that,” Mick replied.

Sean is a trainee in our department and is pretty fit, but he really knows it and is a bit of a slag with the ladies.

“Again,” I continued, “I think Sean is good looking but I don’t fancy him as I know what he’s like. Number three would be Tim from next door,” at which point Mick and I both stopped walking to do a really bad impression of Tim’s strange nasal inflection.

“I know he’s got a weird sounding voice,” I said, “but he is good looking and I could always gag him or something!”

We had almost arrived back at the office and I had reeled off numbers four and five as one of the team leaders and the new guy Jason. Mick looked surprised and said

“Jason? But I’m better looking than Jason!”

“Ahh, so that’s what this was all about! It was an ego trip for you after all!” I said with a slightly mocking tone. “Oh well I suppose that I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel now so you’d be number six”.

Mick looked quite put out.

“I’ve been told before that I could have been a male model you know,” he said despondently as we climbed the stairs.

After I’d peeled myself up off the floor and stopped laughing I sensed that he might have felt a bit hurt.

“Well I’m sure you could have been... in your day! At least you’re above doddery old Malcolm.” I laughed again, before continuing, “You know me - I like my men young!”

Mick laughed and we went back to our desks. As I ate my sandwich I heard him muttering “Jason?” under his breath.

Male model my arse!  But what was all that about?  Was he just being nosey or is he trying to set me up - either with a bloke from work or for a fall?  I can't work it out...  What do you think?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Mixed Bag

OK, so my internet dating profile has been flirting away in cyberspace for a couple of days now.  But has my painstakingly crafted sales pitch ensnared any desirable men? 

Well, why don't you have a look at a selection of messages I've received.

Oh, so they make sense, I should tell you that my profile starts off with the "Do you look good in shorts?" line and goes on to say how I love rugby (Leeds Carnegie), football (Liverpool), a bit about the bands I like and where I've been travelling.  Mindblowing stuff people.

Message 1

Yes I do look good in shorts (or so I’ve been told!). I also support Liverpool, but I’m more of a rugby league fan than rugby union. Have a look at my profile and if you like what you see then I would love to hear from you.

Message 2

I think you have a lovely smile. Would you like to go out for a drink sometime?

Message 3

Hi, and I’m really sorry if I’ve got the wrong person, but did we used to go to University together? I think we were in the same halls in the first year?

Message 4

Great profile, I really enjoyed reading it. My name is Graham and I work as a project manager. I share a lot of the same interests as you, although I have to admit that I support Leeds United but please don’t hold that against me! It was a great win for Liverpool yesterday. Anyway, if you would like to get in touch it would be great to hear from you.
Take care,

Message 5

Hi there!
Fancy going out for a meal with me? We could go to that new French place in town?

Message 6

I think you very sexy.

Message 7

I only wear shorts on holiday but apparently I have very good legs! The question is, do you look good in shorts?!

Message 8

Hi there, I see from your profile that you don’t like Thunderstorms. Why ever not? They’re amazing!

Message 9

Hi I’m James,
I enjoyed reading your profile very much. If you like what you see in mine then send me a message back!

Message 10

Whatever are you doing on here? A gorgeous, single girl that loves football, rugby and cricket AND has a great taste in music? I’m off down to the gym to go and work on my legs to make sure I’m not embarrassed if I put a pair of shorts on!
I’m Tom, I support Liverpool too and love the Leeds Rhinos (wrong type of rugby I know). I’m 28 and live in Sheffield. I get to most Liverpool home games as I’m lucky enough to be a season ticket holder. Do you get to Anfield much? Anyway I’d love to hear from you!
Bye for now,
There’s a few promising looking messages in there and I’m pleasantly surprised.
But what about the blokes who sent them?
Time to be brutal. 
I discount messages 2, 5 and 6 straight away as I don’t like the look of them and we don’t have much in common, especially the man who wrote “I think you very sexy”. Er, cheers, but you’re about 5ft 2” tall, look a bit like Gollum and seem to have issues with basic grammar. Oh, and you’re old enough to be my Dad!  World of wrong. 

I send a reply to Peter who sent me message number one.  He’s 30, works in sales and lives about 5 miles from me. He’s not bad looking and has very short, shaved blonde hair and a nice smile.  Not drop dead gorgeous but he is quite good looking.  Well, worth a squirt at any rate.

Next up is University boy. And wow, yes I did go to college with him.  He used to hang around with some of the people I knew and I spent the first year lusting after his mate Mikey.  I send him a quick message back confirming that yes I do remember him and ask him what he’s up to these days. I’m not sure if he’s got in touch with me just out of curiosity and to catch up or if he actually does fancy me. Oh well we’ll see.

Message number four from project manager Graham is a nice message to receive, as it shows that he’s read my profile and has taken an interest in some of the things that I like. I check him out and discover that he is 34, lives about 15 miles away, and is a minger. I send a polite reply as I don't want to be rude.

The guy who sent me message number seven is hot, but from the way he’s written his profile I think that he knows it. He’s 6ft1” tall, and has short curly jet black hair, broad shoulders and a gleaming white smile. He has classed his body shape as “Athletic and toned”. So far so good. But after reading his profile I see that we don’t seem to have too much in common. I’m not sure if the fact that he’s only commented on my “shorts” tagline is a good thing though. Has he actually read the rest of my profile, and if he has did he realise that we have nothing else in common? I decide that I’ve got nothing to lose and he is the best looking one yet, so I send him a quick reply saying: “Yes I look great in shorts! As you can see from my profile my legs are my best feature!” It’s getting a bit late and I can’t be arsed to think of anything else to write, especially as he didn’t say much to me.

I ignore message number eight from Will. Why on earth would he pick up on an answer I’ve put in the wanky internet dating section rather than anything else in my profile? Plus, he’s student with ginger hair with a profile so far it’s own arse that I’m surprised I didn’t need a torch to be able to read it. I can’t be bothered with that. Next.

I think that James from message number nine has just sent me a stock message that he must send to everyone that he gets in touch with. I suppose it’s a good time saving device but it is a little bit lazy.  James looks quite cute from the one photo on his profile and I also learn that he is a commodity trader (whatever that means).  It sounds pretty posh though and also pretty lucrative. Ker-ching!  I reply to him and ask him about a trip to Australia that he mentioned in his profile.

Tom from message ten has loads in common with me, but he’s about twenty stone and I just don’t fancy him. I send him one of the stock “Thanks for your message but I’m not interested” replies and then log out.

So all in all a bit of a mixed bag.

I got a load of "winks" too from men who were too lazy to send me a message, but I’m too tired to deal with them or do any searching for myself tonight.

I hope I get some replies to the messages I have sent, but I'm going to bed quite positive about the whole internet dating thing for the first time in my life.

No hot rugby players yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  Please let me know what you think of the first batch of contenders!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

P.M.A: Positive Mulberry Attitude

It is a gorgeous day and it’s my favourite kind of weather.  The sun is bright, the sky is blue, but the air is still crisp and slightly chilly.

Perfect weather for a day trip, and I knew exactly where I was going to go to cheer myself up and take my mind off internet dating.

York is a beautiful city, especially on a glorious day like today. I love how you can wander along the city walls and past the castle, ending up amidst the bustle of tourists and shoppers who navigate the maze-like cobbled streets that are filled with curio craft shops and boutiques which gleam with jewel coloured dresses.

But there is one very important reason for my visit.  York has one of those truly magnificent shops that if I actually lived in the city my poor pay cheque would be spent before I actually received it. Tucked away from the hoards of shoppers on the main shopping streets and in the shadow of the impressive York Minster is one of my favourite places in the world: a Mulberry Factory Outlet. Mulberry handbag heaven, and my one major weakness. A trip there always puts a smile on my face, and sometimes I can even manage to come away empty handed. However if I do go, I know I have to be prepared in case I fall in love and have to flex my credit card.

A few years ago I didn’t even know about Mulberry or the love affair that I would be embroiled in only a few years later.  Now I am a total handbag slut.

Today, York was resplendent in its cloak of glorious spring sunshine. The bright sun bounced off the city walls and made the aged old yellow Yorkshire stone of the castle glow as if it were summer.

I watched the familiar sights go by as I sat on the bus until it was time for my stop. I came on my own as unlike a lot of people I enjoy the experience of shopping alone. I like how I can wander around the shops and drink in the history and the atmosphere at my own pace.

I got off the bus and headed towards Stonegate and in the direction of the Minster.  This is where the more interesting and unique shops can be found. I love looking in shops that sell nik-naks and crafts and also in the small boutiques that sell curious clothes. There also seems to be loads of shops peddling deliciously calorific handmade fudge, designed to tempt the tourists and shoppers alike. I tried my best to avoid these though, as otherwise I’ll woof a slab of double chocolate fudge faster than you can say “Get your arse to the gym”.

A few doors down and past Fudgetastic is a new Cath Kidston store, full of chintzy fabrics, bags and vintage home wares and I can’t help but have a look inside. Last year I was desperate to revamp my kitchen in a retro 1950’s style with pastel coloured crockery and utensil pots.  However Matt, my now ex, said it would be a waste of money as when we lived together the kitchen would be one of his rooms and he had decided upon a sleek modern look. Wanker.

I love all the vintage floral patterns and colours, and I moved around the store touching the patterned oil cloth bags and cute egg cosies thinking how I could quite easily spend a fortune in here. I tried on a pair of blue floral pumps, but to the dismay of the friendly shop assistant with strangely drawn on eyebrows they didn’t fit me as I’m an awkward half size. Oh well, no matter as now I could head off to the shop I’d actually come to visit.

As I reached Low Petergate I could see the towering Minster bathed in sunlight through the alley in front of me. It is such a beautiful building and as I wandered down the street in its shadow I completely missed my turning for the Mulberry store as I was distracted by the sound of music coming from somewhere close by. As I walked a little further I saw a piano in the street being played by a middle aged lady in a hounds tooth checked cap. Ah yes, you get a better class of street entertainment in York! I backtracked and saw my destination up one of the quieter side streets, so took a deep breath and walked in.

The shop is exactly how I remembered it from last time. Dark wood shelves hold bag after beautiful bag in a rainbow of colours and styles. I won’t bore you with the details, but I feel, touch and swoon my way around the store a couple of times.  However, nothing really grabbed me.

I feel pretty disappointed, so I go back to the shelves for another look and to see if there is anything that I have missed.  It's then that I catch sight of the bargain bin by the door. There’s not usually too much in there but today it was different. In the bin towards the back is a bag that I have never seen before. It is such a pretty, vintage-style and here it is all lonely in the bargain bin. I rushed over to the mirror to try it on. It was perfect and I knew instantly that it was coming home with me.

As I paid for my brilliant find, I mused at how I had discovered it where I had least expected to: tucked away from sight and hidden away at the back of the bargain bin.

Maybe this was a sign that sometimes you find things where you’re not expecting to, and one person’s cast off bargain is someone else’s perfect find?

Maybe this could be applied to my attempts at internet dating?

I smiled to myself, as this rare find made me feel much more positive about everything. As I walked back through the maze like streets in the sunshine I must have been deep in thought, as I didn’t even realise that I’ve walked past all the fudge shops until I found myself back at the bus stop.

Maybe internet dating won't be too bad after all...

Friday, 16 April 2010

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who helped me with my dating profile headline!  With your ideas I had a flash of inspiration.

Ideally I am looking for a someone who is a bit of a sportsman.  OK - a rugby player.  So here it is:

Do you look good in shorts?

Yes, I think that will work.

I know, it’s totally lame but it will have to do as I’ve got a mental block and I can’t think of anything better for now.

I've written the rest of my profile and it's online now.  I have to say that I still feel totally embarrassed about the whole thing.

God, what will it be like if someone I know sees me on there? I think I would die. But then again, anyone who sees my profile must be on the website for exactly the same reason as me.  Unless they take some sort of perverted pleasure from cruising dating sites.

I hope that my ex Matt doesn’t see me on there as that would be disastrous. In a way, it will be like I am admitting that he is better than me, as I have to resort to internet dating to meet anyone.

Tragic, internet matchmaking.

Oh God, I can’t think about this anymore as it’s starting to upset me. I figure that as I am now effectively flirting in cyberspace 24/7 and I’m starting to get stressed even thinking about it, I will leave my crappy profile to get on with it whilst I do something much more interesting than watching my inbox and waiting for random men to send me creepy messages.
(Mental note to self: not everyone on there is creepy. Probably. I’ve got to give online dating a chance.)

One thing is very evident though.  There seems to be a very fine line between sounding happy, positive and up for a laugh in your profile to coming across as a little bit mental. Also, is it just me or does writing “I like staying in and watching DVDs with a bottle of wine” make you sound as thrilling as a wet weekend in a crappy caravan with only a chemical toilet for company?

Sure, I love doing that too (that’s watching DVDs and drinking wine by the way, not sleeping in a glorified tin can with only a cupboard to shit in). However, if that’s all you can think of writing about yourself then you really should give up now and consign yourself as another soul lost in the dating wilderness.

Needless to say I didn't put that in my sales pitch.  Because that's what it is, isn't it?  A sales pitch.  I feel a bit dirty - like a prostitute flaunting herself in a window in Amsterdam

Agh I can't think about this anymore!  I'm off out for the day.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Headline Act

Help!  I need your help!

Why did no-one tell me that setting up an internet dating profile is such a minefield?

I’m really struggling for inspiration for my profile headline.  This is a one liner that will be displayed under my username and next to my picture.  What the hell should I put that doesn't make me sound like a borderline mental patient?

According to the tips on the site apparently this is a good way to entice people to look at your full profile. Either that, or it’s an easy way to make yourself look like a total freak.

I’ve decided to check out my competition. Here is a selection from some of my fellow female online daters, along with what I think of them:

Girl seeks knight in shining armour to whisk her off her feet!

- Classic, traditional and a bit boring. Also, I bet this poor girl will be inundated with messages from knights in tarnished armour all offering to prod her with their rusty lances. Romantic.

Georgeous wee lass

- ...who cannot spell.

Where are you?

- Let’s be having you! Is it just me or does this sound like a desperate plea? I’ll tell you where all the men are: they’re dying a slow and painful death in IKEA whilst harbouring a not so secret desire to be down the pub watching the football with their mates.


- Zzzzzzzzz. Not a very promising start. The name of the game is to try and grab someone’s attention and encourage them to read on. This is dull, dull, DULL!

Fun loving, tall, slim brunette

- Not bad. This is nice and descriptive but not very intriguing. I can see how this will appeal to all the men out there, but they’ll probably just use her profile photo for a cheeky five knuckle shuffle whilst waiting for the five minute freeview on Playboy TV.

Wanted: Testosterone

- She might as well have just written 'Wanted: Cock'.  I guess she must be happy for geeky blokes called Colin to send her pictures of their knobbly penises.  (Or is the plural penii?  I never did know...)

Can you keep up?

- How? Sexually? With a football?

Blonde and buxom

- The picture of the lady whose profile this belonged to suggested peroxide and a few too many extra pounds. Mental note to self: I must be aware of false advertising.

Looking for an adventure?

- I don’t think this too bad an opener and I reckon this could be good conversation starter. I like how it is phrased as a question and I can see how this would appeal to a bloke. That is, unless the lady in question’s idea of an adventure is a battle through the scrum of rabid shoppers in Primark on a Saturday afternoon.

New to the market

- Are you a used car that’s been around the block a few times? Yes, and that’s why you’ve found yourself floundering around the internet equivalent of a backstreet scrap yard. Not a good analogy.


- OR ELSE!!!!!!

From looking at other profiles on the site it seems that I’m not the only one who is struggling with what should be a simple opening one liner.

I am thoroughly depressed.

Any ideas? 


Sunday, 11 April 2010

My Wanky Internet Dating Profile - Part 2

Music: Still haven't found what I'm looking for - U2

Right, so I've filled in the wonderful "About Me" section on my profile.  Now I get to fill in the section of what I am looking for in my ideal man.

This should be easy.  I mean, after years of perfecting the art of finding what I don’t want in a man I’m pretty sure about what I do want. I can choose more than one option in each section to maximise my chances when searching, so here goes:

Hair: Black; Blonde; Dark blonde; Dark brown; Light brown; Salt and Pepper

(Auburn a.k.a. ginger (mingers) are out.  I’m not a fan of slapheads, so baldies don't make the cut either)

Eyes: Any

(Ideally he would have some)

Height: 5’10” (177cms) to 6’7” (200cms)

(Shorties need not apply.  I would love a man who can pass the heels test, but I can cope with 5’10”. Hopefully this will rule out all those freaky ‘petite’ men who have bodies like 14-year old boys)

Body Type: About average; Athletic and toned; Stocky

(Mmm, athletic and toned please!  However I am realistic.  As an average bodied kinda girl I maybe should expect an average bodied kinda guy? Plus, some men are modest and claim to be average when actually they are ripped. Maybe.  Well, unlikely.)

Languages: English

Ethnicity: White / Caucasian

Faith: Any

Education: Any

(If I'm honest I want to meet someone who is intelligent, but certificates aren’t the be all and end all. As long as we can converse in real words and not shorthand text message talk I’ll be happy)

Job: Any

(Having one would be a good start. And no, trying to get on ‘Deal or No Deal’ doesn’t count.)

Income: Any

(And so the lies begin.  Cards on the table: I want to find someone who earns a similar amount to me as I don't want to be somebody else's meal ticket. I daren't say this though as it feels a bit rude, and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a gold digger. I’ve decided that I can assess a bloke’s income when I find out more about him.)

Smoke: No way

Drink: Any

(Yes please! Going out with a teetotaller would be a bit of a bummer, but on the positive side there would always be a designated driver.)

Relationships: Never married

(In an ideal world I would want to be his one great love. An ex-wife equals a whole load of baggage that I’d prefer not to have to unpack. But I am realistic and I know that there is a good chance that a man in his late twenties/early thirties could have this sort of relationship history.  I am prepared for it but would like to avoid it if possible)

Have kids: None

(Again it’s not ideal but I know it’s a possibility. I really want to have children one day, and if I do I would like it to be a first for both myself and the man I have them with.)

Want kids: Definitely; Some day; not sure

Turn-ons: Candlelight; Dancing; Flirting; Public displays of affection; Sarcasm; Skinny dipping; Thrills

(Groan. It’s the wanky internet dating section again)

Turn-offs: Body piercings; Long hair; Thunderstorms

(Well I don’t mind this section.  I hate long hair on men and body piercings just leave me cold. As for Thunderstorms? Well I hate argumentative relationships and I think this is what it means, or does it just literally mean Thunderstorms? I give up)

Right, that’s the easy bit done.

Now all I have to do is fill in the difficult wordy sections where I have to sound bright, interesting, amusing and the kind of girl that Mr Perfect Rugby Player has been searching for all his life.

Hmm.  I can't be arsed.  I'll do that tomorrow...

Friday, 9 April 2010

My Wanky Internet Dating Profile - Part 1

Music: Binary Love - The Rakes

OK, so first things first with this internet dating malarkey.  I have to create a profile for myself.


Or so I thought. It really is a lot harder than it looks. I have to find a clear photograph of myself looking straight at the camera and it has to be a headshot. Right then...

(An hour or so later….)

I’ve been looking though all the photos of me on my computer and Facebook and out of hundreds I can only find two that I’m happy to have linked to my online dating profile. Two photos! The rest are group shots, long shots or photos from drunken nights out. I thought I might strike lucky with some of my holiday photos, but then I realised that my hair straighteners didn’t work in America (so those ones are a no-no), the photos of me in Italy were taken when I was a bit porky and in the rest I look a bit greasy because of the sun cream.

I’ve settled for a photo of taken in London a few months ago (one of the few photos I think I look quite pretty in) and a picture taken at the start of a night out before too many glasses of wine were consumed. I’ve submitted the photos knowing that it will take at least a day for them to appear on the site, so I might as well give some thought to what I’m going to write in my profile.


I’ve quickly realised that this is even harder than searching for a passable photograph. There are so many sections to complete, and all the time I’m conscious that I have to make it interesting and witty enough for the kind of guy I’m looking for to want to read it.

Sod this.

I decide to fill in my basic information, as this bit is easy.

Age: 29

Relationships: Never married

Want kids: Someday

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Body Type: About average

(I’m a UK size 12, so as much as I’d love to I think I’d be lying if I say I am slender, as I reckon that’s a size10 or under)

Height: 5’8” (172cms)

Religion: Christian / Protestant

Smoke: No way

Drink: Social drinker, maybe one or two. (Ha! Well I socially drink one or two bottles of vino…)

Hair: Blonde  (ish. Dark blonde I suppose)

Eyes: Blue

Best Feature: Legs

Sports/Exercise: Gym; Weights/Machines; Aerobics

Exercise habits: 2-3 times per week

Daily Diet: Keep it healthy

Interests: Coffee and Conversation; Dining out; Movies/Videos; Museums and art; Music and concerts; Nightclubs/Dancing; Playing cards; Shopping; Travel/Sightseeing; Watching sports

(Just how lame is this section? This is why internet dating makes me feel like a loser. Coffee and Conversation? Seriously?)

Education: Bachelors degree

Occupation: Technical/Computers

Languages: English, French (basic)

Politics: Liberal

Star Sign: Don't believe in that nonsense

My place: Live alone

Pets I have: Fish

Pets I like: Cats; Dogs

OK good.  That will do for now. 

I'm off for a cup of tea and a lie down in a dark room.  I'm sure internet dating isn't supposed to be such a harrowing experience...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Final Taboo

The General Election has finally been called here in the UK, and now it's time for me to start doing some campaigning of my own.

At the beginning of the year I said I would try anything once in my search for my Perfect 10.  With this in mind I’m going to dip my toe in the murky pool of internet dating.

To many people internet dating is still seen as one of the last dating taboos and the preserve of the more socially inept losers out there in Singlesville. I have to admit, rather judgementally, that I subscribe to this line of thought, and I agree with the common belief that internet matchmaking websites are like dating graveyards.

I am of course talking from a position of total ignorance.  But surely these depressing places must be inhabited by sad and desperate mingers masquerading as someone altogether more attractive?  You know, people who use a photoshopped picture of an overly coiffed David Hasselhoff for their profile picture.

I’m probably being unfair, but it’s got to be a last resort if you have to look for a partner online, hasn’t it?

I know, I know, this isn’t strictly true, and I do know a few people who have signed up to various online dating websites with successful results. However there is still a part of me that doesn’t want to admit that I’m giving it a try.

In my eyes internet dating is still tarnished with the stigma that you really must have exhausted all the other options of finding a bloke.  It can't be good if you have to resort to spending hours on the internet, cruising pictures of men sporting Borat-style mankinis in their dodgy holiday snaps.  That's before you even start to read their tedious profiles.

But, fortune favours the brave, and not being one to back away from a challenge I'm going to give it a whirl.

I’m going to tell a few of my close friends that I’m signing up to the world of internet matchmaking heaven so I can get a bit of moral support.  I'm also going to get them to check out any potential finds so I can have a second opinion.

You know, things like: He looks like a serial killer.
Or: I've dated him already and he has rabies

My best friend Louise is already signed up with Match and has been out on a few fairly successful dates, so this is the one I decide to plump for. 

I've paid my registration fee and I’m ready to go.

Well, just not yet.  I have to carefully craft my profile and hone my weirdo-rader first...

Monday, 5 April 2010

No Great Shakes

Music: West End Girls - The Pet Shop Boys

Last night I went for some bank holiday drinks with my friends Amy and Nikki.  Miraculously I woke up this morning with no hangover and a full memory of the evening's proceedings.  I know, quite an achievement, right.  Here's what happened...

Destination: Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Drink of choice: Vodka lime and soda.
Men: Pretty hot, as it goes.

Bar 1

First up, it's a cheesy 80's bar.  Duran Duran and Bananarama all round.  All the normal Sunday drinks offers were off (robbing bastards) which made my first round a bit expensive.  Hmm, not impressed so far.

When I got back from the bar, Amy and Nikki were talking to a group of blokes.  They were OK.  Mid-thirties, not beaten with the ugly stick and they looked pretty friendly.  But then one of them came out with possibly the weirdest chat up line I've ever heard.

Bloke 1 (to Nikki): "Hi you alright?"
Nikki: "Yeah thanks."
Bloke 1 (looking at Nikki closely): "Bloody hell love, you've got really hairy arms."

He then pinches Nikki's arm hair as if to demonstrate his point.  We all laugh.  Ace line, but it didn't get him anywhere.

Bar 2

An old man pub turned into a bar with blaring dance music.  But things are looking up.  I spot a really fit guy.  And I mean really fit.  Tall, dark, broad shoulders, great arms, slightly tanned.  He was wearing a turquoise t-shirt that hugged his body in all the right places.  To top it all off he had a cheeky glint in his eye.  Nice.

Sadly, he was at the other side of the bar and I'd only had one drink.  There was no way that I was making a move on him sober.

But we did meet a guy with the best hair I have ever seen in my life.  Amy, Nikki and I had been debating whether his curly white-man afro was real or if it was a wig.  Think Seth Rogan with a head of massive bouncing curls.  He was quite cute, in a slightly geeky way.

Me (beckoning him over): "I've got to ask, is your hair real or is it a wig?"
Curly Wurly: "What do you think?"
Amy: "Wig."
Nikki: "Real."
Me: "Wig".
Curly Wurly (laughing): "Well, touch it and see."

Amazingly it was real.  Soft and bouncing curls.  He must have loved it: three girls running their fingers through his hair.  And do you know what?  I kind of liked it too.  Not enough to pull him though.  He wasn't that fit.

Bar 3

A slightly cooler bar.  Now we're talking.  Plenty of muscle bound hot guys roaming in packs.  That's one thing I love about going out in small towns - the undiscovered talent.  However, there were also plenty of young, primped and preened 18-year old girls which made me feel about 100 years old.

To make matters worse, one (slightly drunk) bloke decides that I have an encylopedic knowledge of the drinks prices, just because I'm standing at the bar.

Drunk bloke:  "Alright love, how much are Jagerbombs?"
Me: "I have no idea."
Drunk bloke: "Yeah you do.  Come on, are they £3?"
Me (sighing): "I don't work here."
Drunk bloke: "Or is it £3.50?"
Me (getting annoyed): "Yeah, probably."
Drunk bloke: "Will you get me one?"
Me (really annoyed): "No."
Drunk bloke: "Oh go on."
He then thrusts £4 into my hand.  Fine.  Anything to get rid of him.  I jiggle my boobs and get the attention of the barman.
Me: "How much are Jagerbombs?"
Barman: "£3."

Nice one drunk bloke.  The extra quid will buy my winning lottery ticket next weekend.  I give him his drink and keep the change.  Ha.

Bar 4

We grab a table and another round of drinks.  We've been there for a few minutes when fit turquoise t-shirt guy from the earlier bar strides in with his mates.  Excellent, a nice bit of eye candy.  I consider doing the oh-so-not-very-subtle brushing past him on the way to the bar technique, but then I see that he's the wrong side of drunk and is ogling a group of girls who are about 10 years younger than me.


Maybe this cougar in training needs more work...

I decided to leave it.  More drinks all round.

Bar 5

Several double vodkas down the line and we're all a bit drunk.  That's probably why we ended up having a stupid girl row over where to go for takeaway. 

We quickly leave after necking our drinks, and half an hour later I am safely tucked up in my bed, alone, with a belly full of cheesy chips.


As nights out go it was OK.  No great shakes.  If I'm honest it was a bit of a weird night out.  Maybe I'm just used to going out in the big city?  Wakefield is, well, it reminds me of the small town where I grew up and where I went out drinking when I was 16.  I felt old, really old, being out in the same places as a load of teenagers.  It doesn't feel like that in the city.  I don't feel like a crusty old fart. 

Maybe I've turned into a city girl?  Eek, I never saw that one coming...

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Delicious Dylan and Time to Get Shaky

Music: Get Shaky - The Ian Carey Project

So yesterday I watched my beloved rugby team, Leeds Carnegie, take on Northampton Saints - the team of my current crush du jour, Dylan Hartley.

Delicious Dylan wasn't named in the Saints squad because of his injured leg, bless him.

BUT, Dylan was on the pitch before the game and was sexily trotting around in a pair of shorts, helping out with the team warm up.

Even though Leeds lost 14-7 after a very close game (which was GUTTING!) I came away with a very well stocked visual wank bank.

Sadly I didn't see Dylan (left), or his team mate Ben Foden (right) in a state of undress...


Anyway, moving on. 

Today is Bank Holiday Sunday, which can mean only one thing:  No, not Easter eggs - a big night out.

Tonight's glittering destination is the wonder that is Wakefield.  Cue plenty of scary women with way too many tattoos, a smattering of middle-aged men trying their luck with teenagers, and me and my (much classier) friends.

It should be interesting. 

If I survive then of course I will tell you all about it.  Vodka and cattle-prods at the ready...

Thursday, 1 April 2010

100% New Zealand Beef

I have a new crush.

He is a 6ft 1", 17 and a half stone hunk of pure New Zealand beef.

And I think he is gorgeous.

Allow me to introduce you to Dylan Hartley, Northampton Saints rugby star.

Dylan and his Northampton side are playing my team, Leeds Carnegie, this weekend.  Needless to say, I am VERY excited at the prospect of watching him trotting up and down the pitch in a pair of thigh hugging shorts.

But here's the thing.  Is he good looking?

I ask the question for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, I told a couple of my friends that I had a bit of a soft spot - OK, a raging wide-on - for Dylan and they laughed in my face.  You see, when he plays, Dylan looks a bit more like this:

Hmm, not quite as hot.

Secondly, I need to know if my man-radar is a bit iffy.  You see, I'm thinking of dipping my toe into the dreaded internet dating pool, and I need to make sure I'm not going to inadvertantly stumble into Minger Alley.

Oh and one last thing.  Dylan is only 24.  I am a bit older than that.  Does this make me a Cougar in Training?


Whatever.  I'm going to Headingley Stadium nice and early on Saturday to watch him warming up.  And maybe do a spot of gentle flirting with him.  If I'm lucky... ;-)