Friday, 19 June 2009

My ‘Bridget Jones’ existence

After a particularly bad speed dating incident with a friend of mine, I left feeling fairly deflated and through the (obviously one too many!) wine I wailed at the top of my voice ‘Oh my god I’ll never find the one’. My friend reminded me that I had only in fact been single for two months and if anything it was her turn next to find a possible Mr Right. So maybe I was over reacting, but why, when we get to a certain age, do we feel like the clock is ticking to find the one?

I keep trying to reassure myself that now is the time to concentrate on me, my career and anything else I have severely neglected over the past 10 years because men have got in the way, but somewhere in that stupid head of mine I seem to think that I need a man to make me happy.

And I know I’m not alone in my thinking - but why? Is it to prove to exes that we’ve moved on – like they have? And even if we do find someone else it’s not as though we’re going to appear at their front door with a speakerphone saying ‘ner, ner, ner ner, ner I’ve got a new boyfriend’, he’s cuter, smarter and nicer than you – so there!’ Then stamp on their foot and run away, because that would of course just be plain childish.

Or is it purely just to fit in with the status quo? When you’re nearing thirty you’ve surpassed those ‘lets have fun’ years and most of your friends are contemplating marriage and babies. Being the single one is like a zebra attempting to fit in with a herd of goats – the likelihood of standing out is quite probable.

Of course your now attached friends have all been there, worn the t-shirt and have felt like a spare part once in a while, but when I was newly single ALL my friends seemed to be happily, smoochly and deliriously in love. They dragged me out and promised that it wouldn’t be coupley, but of course I found myself speaking to a bunch of star crossed lovers by the end of the night - in fact I think I even heard the lonely chair next to me make a whimper or two.

And it’s not just my friends that I have to keep up with - as I stalk old university friends, school friends and work colleagues it dawns on me that half of them are now married, engaged or having sleepless nights because the little one has arrived. I even bumped into an old school friend the other day who said: ‘So have you had any kids or got married since I last saw you?’ – as I muttered under my breath that I was newly single she reeled off how she ‘can’t believe how quickly her young uns are growing up’. Her kids will probably be Mum’s before mine are even a twinkle in their daddy’s eye – that’s if I ever find him!

So did I miss the boat somewhere which was heading to grown up land? Or did I just fall off and wash up on single island? And if it’s as hard to escape from as the one on Lost I think I’m a bit screwed!

It’s not like I want any of that stuff yet. Having to look after a child scares the living daylights out of me, and how, when I feel like a teenager still can I possibly even fathom the thought of getting married? But when everyone else is doing it you sort of feel left out, it’s like being the only one who doesn’t go on that school trip – frankly it’s just not fair and you hate your parents for being so mean.

And yes now I mention them, parents don’t help keep the worrying at bay either. My Mum is quite frequently heard moaning, ‘When am I going to be a grandma god damn it?’ and conversations like how I should start considering freezing my eggs and which fascinator she’ll wear at my wedding aren’t a rarity.

I suppose it’s the whole ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – soon I’ll be singing at the top of my voice “all by myself, don’t wanna be all by myself anymore…” and accidentally making blue soup – but being single after a certain age is still frowned upon. It’s as though people think that to be whole you should be part of a pair and it’s probably drummed into us round about the same time we learn how to make a pineapple upside down cake and the ins and outs of algebra.

Maybe I’ll stop the clock for a while and just enjoy the view. After all I’ve got plenty of time to spend with the ‘one’ when I’m old and grey – maybe its just time to have some fun…… right?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Bumping into the past

When you date someone, and it all goes a bit haywire, you kind of hope that they’ll get sucked into a vortex, never to be seen again. Or you just wish them bad dating luck and hope their next girlfriend cheats on them!

So when a former date of mine walked into the same bar as me the other week, with another girl, three days after our date, my reaction was of course ‘What the hell???!’ – well that and a sprinkling of embarrassment mixed in for good measure. It’s not that I liked him, in fact there was no chemistry between us – but bumping into anyone who has sort of rejected you is slightly uncomfortable.

Unfortunately for me my ex works at my gym so bumping into him mid-sweat session, when I’m ultimately looking my worst, has become a bit of a habit. I should have known this would be inevitable when I met him there in the first place. But when love comes a knocking we stupidly think it’s a good idea to date a work colleague, your best friends brother or any other sort of inappropriate dating material. Of course sometimes it works out, but most of the time it’s just a road traffic accident waiting to happen.

When you see an ex you want to be looking your very best. You spend hours coming up with scenarios where you’ll just happen to bump into them. You want it to be when you’re wearing that new figure hugging dress or you’ve just come back from your holiday – all tanned and looking radiant, and of course they’ll wonder why the hell they dumped you in the first place. But very rarely does it happen. The reality is you’ll bump into them when you’re having a bad hair day, you’ve just been caught in a downpour or when you’ve drunk one too many tequilas and just projectile vomited over your mates shoes.

A friend of mine dated, then got dumped, by a guy who worked at one of our favourite bars. For ages she would beg us not to go there as bumping into him was probably as much of a highlight of the night as being asked for ID ever is. When we finally badgered her into it, it would have been nice to be discreet about his obvious appearance, but in my drunken haze of course I mentally scarred her by shouting out his name, attempting to call him over for a chat and generally being the worst ever friend I could be.

I suppose that’s one good thing about long distance relationships, if you want to, you can get away with never having to lay eyes on your ex again. Okay so maybe you don’t actually see them when you’re together, but at least you’ll never have that fear of a quick trip to the shops ending in an embarrassing reconciliation when you, or worse they, have their new love interest in tow.

Of course there are situations where couples still have to see each other after a break-up, whether they like it or not. Owning any of the following together, a house, a child, a pet or mutual friends – pretty much means you’ll have to see their face, albeit one you want to smash in, for the foreseeable future. Cue the awkward, irrational or needy ex who just can’t be professional about such matters – honestly!

I suppose the solution for the above is simple – we merely just have to uproot our lives, move across the world, find new friends and most importantly find a new bloody gym. Then again, you’ll probably still manage to find them on facebook.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

How quick is too quick? Moving in and moving on…

A friend of mine recently told me how her and her boyfriend were moving in together after dating for barely more than a few months….I thought she was joking. But she was dead serious.

Had I missed something - was it a life or death situation? Or had I side-stepped that trend where couples decided to share bathrooms before they had even had their first kiss?

So how quick is too quick? ‘You just know when it’s right,’ my sister said, who has just happily started to co-habit with her boyfriend of a year and a half. ‘Whether it’s a right after a year or just a month after you first started dating, it’s different for everyone.’

But personally I don’t see what the rush is, unless you’re about to become homeless or you have your eyes on marriage in the foreseeable months then why the hell would you want to put up with a man in your space?

Maybe that’s a typical single girls reaction, but will a man ever let you fall asleep watching Sex and the City, appreciate your shoe/magazine/bag (delete as appropriate) collection or understand why you eat cold pizza, a handful of haribo or a mars bar for breakfast?

I suppose for a girl who was lucky to even get a share of her exes bed I may be slightly sceptical, but usually in my experience anything that is going too fast usually comes to a grinding halt before it reaches its destination.

And it’s not like I haven’t been there. When I was a naive 22-year-old I couldn’t wait to move in with my boyfriend – I was imagining sex on tap, romantic evening meals and cosying up in front of the telly. Instead I got ‘wait a minute, I’m just going to finish this level on the playstation’, arguments about the washing up and my two pet hates – cold tea bags in the sink (why couldn’t he put them in the bin??) and WET towels on the bed!

I quickly tired of his behaviour, which was frankly nothing like I had seen in the movies and moved out sharpish, and it left me with a bitter feeling that moving in with a boyfriend would mean goodbye to the happy, spontaneous relationship you once had and hello to being their mother, cook and cleaner all rolled into one.

And is moving on as easy to do as moving in with someone? My ex seems to think so. Two weeks after our break up he had declared his single status on facebook and deleted all existence of me, after a month he was happily flirting with members of the opposite sex, and two months later he was claiming, ever so loudly (are you sure New York heard you?) via his facebook status that he was in a new relationship.

Yes I know, it means I’m facebook stalking him (doesn’t everyone do it?) and I’m probably a hypocrite – after breaking up with my ex before my ex I was happily flirting with men just weeks after we broke up and my online dating profile wasn’t far behind that – but of course it’s different when its you.

So for how long should we be holding on to the past? I suppose if we’re still dreaming up scenarios of them begging for us back – 6 months, or even a year after they dumped us it’s maybe going to be a problem, and our friends will probably commit us to some sort of insane asylum if we keep dropping their name into ‘every’ conversation months after he’s said goodbye.

But when they’ve got rid of you it’s always harder, it’s that personal rejection. And when you see them happily skipping along with someone else the seething fangs, bulging eyes and feelings of jealousy, which you thought were safely hidden away, find their way back to the surface again – and there we are right back to square one.

I’m getting there. The ‘him wanting me back’ daydreams are closing in on less than one a week. His number has nearly vanished from my memory. And the facebook stalking…yeh that’s probably not going to stop - isn’t that what is was invented for?! But date number four is underway – he’s cute, not too tall and seems to have a good sense of humour and so…I can’t still be that hung up on Mr Perfect.


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