40. The Dilemma, To Date or Not To Date?

So where did I leave off?

Oh yes I was about to have a date with London’s answer to Mr Big, my American stranger from the train.  He’d asked me to decide on where to meet for lunch as he claimed to be unfamiliar with the area – it turns out he’s only been in the country about 6 months.

We meet just near the restaurant and head upstairs, I’ve dressed in an extremely clingy but still somewhat professional looking dress.  It’s so tight I’ve had to deny myself any form of carbs for the past 48 hours, in fact I’ve had to avoid even thinking of carbs in case that shows up in this dress too.  So not wanting to waste the opportunity, I ensure that I walk in front of him up the stairs, removing my long coat as I do so.

It has the desired effect as when I turn around at the top I can see his eyes quickly come back up to face level.  He’s dressed very much as he was when I met him, sharp business suit and shiny shoes.  I then notice the shirt – checkered but with his initials embroidered into the cuffs.

It’s only because he’s a Yank that I can forgive him this fashion misdemeanor –  on a fellow Brit I would be mercilessly tearing him apart (unless he was a toff – they can’t be blamed as such, on the basis that they’re usually public/boarding school educated and have had their initials hand-embroidered into their nappies and every other item of clothing since birth).

But back to the date.

Conversation flows easily and I get over my initial nerves  – I was actually pretty terrified of this date as I’d managed to build him up into some amazing international, super-intelligent jet-setter in my head, and couldn’t think for the life of me how I was going to hold my own for an hour in his company.

It turns out he does do a fair bit of international travel with his job, travelling to Asia, South America and the USA visiting his company’s local offices there.  And he’s also pretty intelligent from what I can gather too.  So it seems I’m not far off the mark, but he has an easy manner and seems to be genuinely interested in me too.

So what else did I find out?

Well he’s in his 40s, studied at Harvard, half Italian half Caribbean, oh and has a wife and two kids.

DANMIT!!!   I should’ve known it was too good to be true.

He tells me that he’s in the midst of separating from his wife which he says is further complicated because of visa issues.  Ok I think, he could be telling the truth, but best to approach this whole situation with extreme caution. Heck, I’m not so wet behind the dating ears not to know that a lot of guys will say whatever comes into their heads if they think it’ll help ’em get laid.

So we end our lunch with him saying that he really wants to see me again but will understand if I’d rather not….  So I’m now stuck with a dilemma, whether to give him the benefit of the doubt or not.

Actually, for a change I’ll ask you…  What do you think, would you believe him?


39. Mr Big

So I have lots to tell you all of my dating adventures including a wild trip to Barcelona and a random hot guy on a train.

I’ll start with the guy on the train.  Okay so I may have mentioned in the past how I’ve been picked up on London’s great public transport system.  I even managed to score a date on a bus once – a long time ago I hasten to add.  I was only 20 at the time and was still a relative newbie to the city (I’m a Northerner by birth).  I was still at that naive stage of smiling and talking to strangers, before reality sinks in and you learn that most people in London are freaks, and if you’re speaking to strangers – well you’re probably a freak too.

So there I was, a self-acknowledged young freak talking to a good-looking guy on a bus, so of course we exchanged numbers and went on a few dates.  Sadly nothing much came of him and I was left waiting for yet another metaphorical bus to arrive.MJ

Several years (a decade and a half – cough) there was Train
Guy 1 – the original.  A very tall slim guy, he looked like Michael Jackson sans Jerry Curl, when he was still relatively black and less creepy looking, that small window of time between Off the Wall and Thriller.  Before his nose looked like something he’d stolen from Mr Potato head.Potato Head

Train Guy used to get on the same carriage as me every morning.  For several weeks, possibly even months, we exchanged furtive glances and the odd half-disguised smile.  Eventually one morning he came over and spoke to me and after a few more morning conversations we exchanged numbers and went on a few dates.  But as you’ve probably already guessed it came to nought – well not totally, we stayed friends for a while until he moved away and I ended up having a very short-lived fling with his half-brother who I much preferred and had way more in common with.

Then there was Crazy Italian – He’s a story in itself – which I’ll have to divulge in full in a blog post all of it’s own – it is that weird and scary.  But just as a teaser intro, basically I was standing outside the tube station talking on the phone when I clocked a handsome tanned guy with short dark hair looking at me.  I then walked down to the ticket area where he approaches me and asks me with a comedically (is that even a word???) strong Italian accent, how he could get to Baker Street.  Eventually he admitted that he didn’t need directions at all but was just looking for an excuse to talk to me.

So another couple of years on and I’m on a crowded tube to work, pushed up against someone’s armpit on one side and with someone’s backpack pressed into the small of my back.  Clearly I had not learned that all-important lesson that so many of us ‘Londoners’ have learned about avoiding eye contact at all costs and I ended up aimlessly staring at the people luxuriously lounging on TFL’s finest plush seating.

It was a few seconds before I realised that the person I was staring at with that vacant, slightly haunted look of the terminal commuter was staring back at me.  In fact they weren’t just staring, they were grinning – and they weren’t half bad looking either!

I did my thing of looking away several times, but I could feel him still looking at me which of course made me look back like a kid that’s been told not to point and stare at the dwayne-johnsonfreakishly tall person standing directly in front of them.  And speaking of tall… at the next stop he stands up, gives up his seat and pushes through the crowd to speak to me… This
guy is at least 6F 2” of dark, skinned handsomeness.   He reminds me of a less muscle-bound version of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and unsurprisingly he’s American.

Well, I mean come on!  How many English guys do you know who give up their seat on the tube willingly just to speak to a stranger?  Okay – you can’t include the pissed guys at 12 o’clock at night on the last tube home.

It turns out that he works in the same area as me and we get off at the next stop together where he hands me his business card and asks if I’d like to go to lunch with him some day…. Like OMG Hell Yeah!!!

But of course I smile demurely and say that that would be lovely and he laughs at my “quaint, English way of speaking”.  I then rush into the office and google/online stalk him and his company like any self-respecting horny, crazed single woman would. Mr Big

Jackpot! He’s handsome, presumably single and has a high-flying city job.  And promptly I start day-dreaming about him possibly being my “Mr Big” of SATC fame.

A couple of days later… I’m a busy lady don’t you know – Okay I’ll admit I had to be forcibly restrained… I contact him and we arrange to meet for lunch at a posh French restaurant nearby before he has to fly off to Brazil on business…

And that’s where I’ll have to leave it for now.  More on how the date went with Mr Big in the next post.

38. Nice Guy Eddie

Ok so before you ask, I should warn you that I did not just have a date with Chris Penn Nice Guy Eddieor anyone else from the cast of Reservoir Dogs.  And neither was there a Mexican stand-off at the end of my date – though there was some tequila involved.

Nice guy Eddie is so named as the guy I had a date with is just that – a totally nice guy.  He’s actually a primary school teacher, one of his profile pictures is of him graduating, an extremely tall, slim black guy surrounded by a host of newly qualified white female teachers who all look quite delighted to have him in their midst.

Nice Guy Eddie (not his real name I hasten to add) is a date from the website, and thankfully none of his text-talk strayed into the borderline sexting of his ill-fated predecessor.  This one seems like a real gent.  He’s 40 years old, about 6ft 4 and relatively good looking without being so handsome that he’d be trouble – he also seems really sweet.

We arranged to meet in Shoreditch at a bar that’s usually quite rowdy on a weekend or Friday, but midweek it’s pretty quiet – in fact we’re one of only two couples in the whole place!

Nice Guy Eddie, is on time and true to form looks like his pictures which is always a relief!  He’s very tall indeed, slim build and a quirky dresser – he’s dressed smart-casual in jeans with a flat cap which actually looks pretty hip.  He’s grinning like a little boy when I meet him and straight away I feel at ease.

We go up to the bar where he orders a pint and I order my usual drink of Havana rum & coke, to which he looks at me all shame-faced and apologises for not ordering a ‘more interesting drink than beer’.  He’s so sincere and endearing that I can’t help but smile at his worrying about what I think of his ‘unimaginative’ drink choices.  I tell him it’s fine and we sit down to chat.

It turns out that I am popping his dating cherry as he’s never been on an internet date up until now.  I promise him that I’ll be gentle and we continue chatting.  Nice Guy has been single for about a year or so after a long term relationship went downhill – from the sounds of things his ex was taking advantage of his nice guy ways.

As we continue to talk I find out he has a big brother, who he tells me is very concerned about his going on dates with strangers… at times it feels like I’m out on a date with aCute Kitten naive 14 year old boy.  He’s so sweet and innocent, all enthusiasm and excitement which makes me really like him – I just get the feeling I like him in the way one likes cute fluffy kitten videos on youtube.  There’s a real temptation to say ahh in a cutesey voice before tickling him on the belly till he squeals.

Fortunately for everyone, before I give in to temptation he rushes off to the bar to get a more ‘interesting’ drink for us.  He returns shortly with Patron XO café shots…. I am rendered momentarily speechless, before swiftly knocking our shots back (which are pretty darned good I might add).

I’ve never done shots on a first date in my life and I swiftly advise Nice Guy that it’s not standard dating practice as some girls might assume he’s trying to get them paralytic before having his wicked way with him – the mere thought of which in the context of Nice Guy Eddie could only mean staying out past curfew or possibly jaywalking – he’s just so unbelievably……nice.

And not even in a cringey way, he’s lovely, boyish, charming and endearing – which unfortunately doesn’t really scream MANLY.  But I have to admit he’s great company.  The whole time he’s like an excitable puppy dog that keeps chasing his tail and looks totally delighted at the prospect of seeing snow for the first time – not what you’d expect of a grown man turning 40.  I’m beginning to see why his brother is so protective of him.

For the rest of the date, it’s almost like I’m giving him a lesson in internet dating etiquette, as he asks whether he’s doing things right or if he’s saying the right things.  I assure him he’s doing fine – and he is, just not the right things for me (which I keep to myself – come on, I can’t be mean to this guy!).

At the end of the night Nice Guy Eddie walks me to the tube and I can see he’s hesitating over the whole do I kiss her before I go dilemma.  I have to say as a woman, it’s actually quite nice not having to worry about that one, we can afford to just stand back and wait if we want.  But what he does next really threw me.

We go in for the hug and it’s clear he’s decided to forego the awkward first kiss.  He walks away about five paces, before running back to me giving me a peck on the lips and running away again.

And I’m just standing there like a girl who’s just been caught playing catch-kiss for the first time – totally bewildered and blushing like a twelve-year-old.

So that was Nice Guy Eddie – a thoroughly enjoyable date, just not sure if he’s gonna come out to play again or not – but I’ll give you an update on that next time, along with a tale of my next date with destiny.

37. Desperately Sikhing Perverts

Okay so I’m probably giving away some of the game with the title of this post.  You may well have ascertained that this story has something to do with perverts and men of a particular religious persuasion.  Not to say that his religious inclination has anything to do with his level of pervyness, it’s more of a happy coincidence given the numerous puns that I could’ve gone with.

My Sikh perv came to me by way of the website rather than random circumstance. But why the pervert label? Well we’ll get to that very shortly.

I’ve dated people of various religious leanings from Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu, to various sub-sections of Christianity including  and not limited to the “Happy-Clappy” variety.  I can honestly say from experience that it makes very little difference in the dating world what religion one is, other than a varying level of religious hypocrisy, depending on how devout a follower they are and their views on sex before marriage.

From his profile this guy seemed like a good prospect, moderately handsome, into his fitness and a good job in the city.  'City Traders - The Complete Menagerie'Well that last one should’ve been a slight warning, the religion of your average City Trader does tend to err on the dark side and often involves selling one’s soul to the devil to make one’s yearly bonus.  And yes I am massively generalizing here, but even my flatmate would concur (and she’s dated more City boys than I care to shake a pointy stick at) that they tend to be vainer and more arrogant than your average bear (or bull depending on your trading position).

So for ease we’ll call our prospective love interest Trader-Boy – yes of course he’s younger than me! – but not by too much he’s only nine years my junior…

Trader-Boy and I had exchanged a few emails and were now progressing to text-talk.  We’d established that we worked nearby to each other and had a common interest in all things fitness.  We then started talking about meeting up and arranged to meet near to our workplaces in three days’ time.

And this is where it all took a strange turn for the worse.  At first his messages were friendly, light, humorous and mildly flirtatious, but gradually they became more and more suggestive.  No-Idea-of-What-Sexting-is-1Now I’m happy to flirt don’t get me wrong, but when a guy starts making sexual insinuations and asking if you have a lot of ‘energy’ and whether your previous partner was satisfied?  well I draw the line there – unless of course you’ve already crossed that sexual line in which case go crazy, talk dirty and Snapchat to your hearts content!

At first as I’m often prone to do, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he’s just joking I thought.  So I laughed it off and steered the conversation in a different direction.  Harmless deflection into a less sexually charged topic and a polite decline to send any pictures.

It didn’t work.

Again, me being a ‘nice’ person (also look up the definition of stupidly naive person who tries to see the good in everyone even when they have the redeeming qualities of a serial killer who likes to torture puppies for light entertainment), I decided that rather than cut him off completely I would just let him know that I found his language somewhat forward.  hqdefaultDon’t worry I said it more eloquently than that and managed to sound slightly less frumpy than a 76 year old Mormon virgin.

I just told him that as we had yet to meet I’d rather he reined in his ‘enthusiasm’ as I was ‘not that kind of girl’.  Okay okay, you know as well as I do that I can and indeed have been that type of girl, but not with a complete stranger!  Besides I really believe that if you set a certain tone before you meet someone, they can end up with the wrong idea – an idea that some unscrupulous characters will try and force upon you against your will.

But thankfully my straight-talking worked.

For all of about three text exchanges at which point he thought it perfectly acceptable to ask how good I was in bed, how long I could go for and if I got very wet or not.

At this point I decided that he didn’t even deserve the effort of a reply and blocked him on my whatsapp.  And that was that, except I then got a voicemail from him two days later wondering where I was as he was stood waiting for me at our pre-arranged meeting point.  The first and only time I have ever stood up a guy, but to my reckoning it was wholly warranted.

I really don’t understand how some guys think it’s ok to just jump straight in and start asking about your sexual ability before they’ve even met you.  Sure, if we’d met on a hook-up site I’d understand. But surely not when you’re on a site where you’re supposedly looking for a committed relationship???  But then again, maybe that’s just me being naive again.

So this week’s post is really a tale of a date that never happened, but to be honest I’m pretty glad it didn’t!

Onward and upwards though as they say, I have a date arranged next week with a very tall primary school teacher…fingers crossed he’s not a pervert too.

34. Division 1 to the Premiership

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know (and if not just read through some of my previous posts) I was seeing a guy who worked in the football industry as an agent. Well my next date, this time someone from the dating website, is a football journalist! He’s originally Palestinian and reports on all the premiership games for an Arabic TV channel. He’s about 5ft 9 and has the most amazing green eyes! He’s also pretty cute.

The online banter is not amazing but we seem to get along alright and we arranged to meet up at a bar not far from where I live. The bar he chose is pretty nice, quiet and spacious – there’s literally only two other people in the place. As for his appearances… well he looks very much as promised in that he’s quite athletic and toned – he plays a lot of football as well as talking about it for a living, and he trains at the gym even more than I do!

Premiership guy scores well on dress code too, smart jeans, a casual short-sleeved top and smart trainers – no monster shoes like Frodo Feet (big relief). And his eyes? OMG in real life they are even more beautiful, I could gaze into them for hours, which is kind of what I end up doing as we get to know each other. On top of that his eyelashes are as long and thick as mine are short and insubstantial.

He’s recently divorced and has two kids –that I knew about before we met (he was very upfront about that). The first date went of extremely well, conversation flowed easily and comfortably and the banter is much better than I expected. He’s really relaxed and refreshingly honest about what he wants from dating. Although he’s not long divorced he’s been separated for almost a year and is not looking for casual fun – or at least so he says.

We talk about religion and marriage – kind of important when you’re not religious and the other person is. He’s a non-practicing Muslim, i.e. he has the occasional drink, is not adverse to sex before marriage and doesn’t pray as often as he thinks he should.

We talk about relationships and marriage even – he brings this up along with kids as he wants to know where I’m at. I tell him marriage one day with the right guy and if kids come along great, but if they don’t I’m just as happy. He says he’d like more and that marriage is not that important to him (not surprising given his own marital status).

In fact we talk about a hell of a lot, for several hours and after devouring a sharing platter of bar food we end up going for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. We sit in the park chatting until the last tubes by which point I’m cold and the conversation has started to dry up – I really ought to have called it a night sooner but I was too busy staring at those hypnotic eyes.

He then walked me to the tube and gave me a very respectful kiss on the cheeks and we’ve agreed to meet up again soon.

Is it too soon to say I’m hopeful again? Probably yes but we’ll see in the next post…

28. Tiger Ears, Potential Stalkers and a Date with No Smell – Part 3

It’s a day later than promised I know – but dear readers, I suspect by now you are used to my usual tardiness in posting when I say I will…

I started this three-part post with a tale of a date that didn’t happen, so it only seems appropriate that I conclude with my most recent mis-adventure that ended up coming to nothing too.

I’d started talking to the newest online contender about a week or so ago. He seemed nice, a decent enough looking professional in his mid-30s, his profile said that he had no children and a good steady job – yep all the things that usually have me running for the hills. What could go wrong? Well clearly something did as we never actually met in the end.

How did it end up being a non-date?

To start off with our email conversations through the site were fine, we’d succeeded in jumping through all the communication hoops of likes/dislikes and questions such as, what would you prefer; death by rabid werewolves or rabid zombies?

I was comfortable enough that I felt happy giving him my phone number and we started texting. Now this first text seems pretty innocuous and to start off with it is, it’s just the context.

At about 7.30 in the morning I get a text from him asking how I’d slept – okay it’s not that weird I’ll grant you that, but given that I hadn’t met him yet, it just seemed… a tad too familiar. It wasn’t like I’d had a crazy night out before, and it wasn’t a morning after a date text so I couldn’t quite get why he was asking.

Ok so maybe he’s just a nice guy who is concerned about my sleep patterns, that could happen couldn’t it? So I ignore the first tingle of my spidey senses and put it down to a very newfound fear of intimacy on my part.

The next thing to set alarm bells for me was his request to befriend me on Facebook… huh??? Ok, again not so strange if we’d actually met, but hell I don’t give out my personal Facebook details to anyone I’ve just met… I’m not one of those people who collect ‘friends’ just to reassure themselves that they’re popular… I don’t need to – I know I’m not that popular and I’m quite comfortable with that. But to give out my details (and access to my personal life and my pictures) to a guy I’ve never even met? Hell No!

So as not to hurt his feelings I claimed not to have a Facebook account and neatly dodged the issue. He then started asking exactly where I worked and where I lived and at this point I was really not comfortable. It was something about his overall tone and over-eagerness that smelt suspiciously like clingy stalker material.

Given his over-familiarity, and I’ll be honest a lot of it was just female intuition, I decided that I was no longer comfortable going on a date with this guy. I could’ve taken the coward’s way out, I could’ve made my excuses, explained I had a highly contagious disease that meant all my limbs were gradually dropping off, or that I’d recently discovered God and converted to life of abstinence as a nun.

But no, I thought, I’ll be honest, I’ll tell him that I no longer want to meet him – and why, who knows, perhaps he’s had other women drop him faster than a leper’s desiccated hand. Perhaps he’ll even thank me for being refreshingly honest and pointing out to him the error of his ways?

Or perhaps not.

Yes I’ll admit to being ever so slightly naive in thinking he would take my politely phrased explanation for not wanting to meet him as anything other than a direct insult to his whole being. But seriously… the tirade of abuse I got from him was… well to be frank it was rather petty and quite a lot vicious.

I’d tried to be delicate in my email, I’d even said perhaps I was being a little over precautious, that he may well be a lovely guy but that he was just coming on a little too strong for my liking. His reply was just pure abuse and vitriol, I’d obviously struck a rather sensitive nerve.

And well yes, to be fair I was asking for it really, lesson learned – and if in future I meet a weirdo guy who give me that freak vibe, well I’ll do as I’ve always done in the past, delete them from my contacts, block them completely, and should I have the misfortune to run into them again? – claim total amnesia.

26. Tiger Ears, Potential Stalkers and a Date with No Smell – Part 1

This is a tale about two dates that never happened, and another that I wish hadn’t.

I’ll start with my first ever internet date.

At the time I was using Match.com I was relatively fresh to the dating game at the time, still being in my first 12 months of singularity after almost a decade of coupledoom (yes the typo is on purpose).

I’d say I should have known better but I was literally a fresh newbie to online dating, he was literally the first guy I clicked on to contact. The reason I say I should’ve known better is because of his profile picture – never, I repeat NEVER trust a guy wearing fake tiger ears and hugging a giant stuffed toy. Alright, alright I told you I was a newbie, and it had been so long since I’d seen any action I was beginning to suspect that my hymen had re-grown.

Much as in the previous tale, emails had gone well and we’d decided to exchange phone numbers. He enthusiastically texted me first thing in the morning at around 7.15am whilst I was driving. A full two minutes later and my phone pinged again with a second message…

I parked up and looked at the two messages, the first one quite harmless wished me a good morning and asked what I was up to… errm going to work??? But then there was the second message

“ Oh I see you’re too busy to reply to my message…. Xxxxxxxxxxx”

WTF??? It was literally two minutes after the first message…

In my naiveté, I decided to reply and explain I’d been driving (may I remind you I was a dating newbie?) and therefore unable to reply sooner. That seemed to quell his nerves and we resumed normal texting, albeit there always seemed to be a profuse amount of kisses at the end of his texts.

A couple of days later and we were due to have our first date. By this stage I was starting to get a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. Not just because of his growing ‘affection’ towards me on text but also because it was to be my first time to meet an online date.

I was studying my massage course at the time and I had an important assignment due in the following day. I had been extremely busy writing it up but realised that morning that there was no way I could go on a date and get my essay in on time. Something had to give, and that something was going to be ‘Tony the Tiger’.

I apologised for the late notice but I was going to be too busy writing up my assignment to meet him. He was understanding, even suggesting I eat some fish… good food for the brain apparently… He then called me and offered to bring some fish to me … what? I’d never even met the guy!

Now some of you may think this is really sweet, and to be honest, if I’d been dating the guy for a while I would too, but I didn’t even know if he even looked like his photos in the flesh, or even if his ‘tiger ears’ were fake or not.

I politely declined his offer and after the third call in an hour I decided that perhaps it was best if ‘Tony the Tiger’ and I never actually met. I explained to him that I had ‘gotten back with my ex’ and we’d decided to give things one last try. And that was that.

match pic

Several months later and I was waiting for a friend outside a pub opposite my low budget gym in town. A cute looking guy comes over and starts talking to me, he seems slightly familiar but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.

He proceeds to chat me up and after much persuasion I end up giving him the number to my new phone. A couple of minutes later and my friend finally turns up, the guy is still hanging about and joins us for minute or two before returning to his friend in the pub.

It’s at this point that I start to recall where I know him from… I picture him with stripy tiger ears and a cuddly toy and I start to get a little worried. A while later I go to the bathroom and when I return to my table I spot Tony the Tiger chatting to my mate. He then scuttles off quite sharply back to the table where his friend is waiting for him.

“Who was that bloody weirdo?” my mate asks

I then proceed to tell her of my suspicions of who exactly I think he is.

“You know as soon as you went to the toilet he came over and started begging me to put in a good word for him.” she says

Stalking pic

“Kept on harping on about how he’s a great guy and that you could be great together even though there’s an age gap and that he can see a wonderful future of the two of you together…”

Dear God! And if that wasn’t creepy enough, I got three texts from him straight after leaving the pub asking where I was going later, could he come along and what …. Two days later I got yet another text saying he recognised me from Match.com and that our running into each other like that must be a sign – a sign of a lucky escape if you ask me!!!

Well that’s it for now, I have to go to bed soon so I’ll fill you in on the rest as soon as I can.