Saturday, 11 December 2010

First impressions.....

As I arrived in Sydney I beamed with excitement; I think I half expected Aussie surfer guys to be walking round the airport, with surfboards and washboard stomachs, waiting with a big plaque welcoming me with ‘Hi Sarah’.

You can imagine my dissapointment, then, when the first group of guys I met were English. Damn, I’d come over here to avoid them, not be surrounded by them. Plus, at 18, they were just a little bit too young for me. I’ve been there with toyboys and it didn’t exactly turn out pretty!

And as the first week passed and I bumped into Irish, American and all manner of men who definitely weren’t Australian, I became increasingly disappointed. Surely I could have met these guys down at my local pub in London.

That is until I bumped into Aussie Paul* in a club a couple of Saturdays ago. I’d been told that Australian men were quite shy and wouldn’t approach me, but Paul was either a rare breed or had just had one too many beers, because one minute I was with my girlfriends on the dance floor, the next he’d dragged me off to a quiet spot to chat. By chatting I obviously mean kissing**. But I wasn’t so sure about this guy: he was lovely, but after a few half-hearted texts my first Aussie encounter fell flat on its face.

So when another Aussie guy, Ben*, offered to buy me a drink at my new local I thought I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I probably should have listened to my flatmate when she told me he was a cocky twat***, but I really saw no reason not to say yes when he asked me out for dinner the following night...

The date didn’t start too well when he asked if he could bring a friend along. Um, really? In England, friends don’t usually tag along on dates! I’m not sure if it was my confused look or the “Err, NO!” which made him realise it was a bad idea.

And after a couple of drinks I wasn’t really getting his Australian sense of humour (or maybe you just weren’t that funny Ben - sorry!) With that and his love of the pokies (yep, while we were on the date) I wondered what I’d got myself into.

The last straw came when I dared to decline his next date invitation, because I really was too busy. He sulked like a 4 year-old! So have I just picked the wrong Aussie men so far, or are they all like this? Let’s hope not!

*All names have been changed
**Or pashing, as you Aussies call it
*** Or complete dickhead, as you Aussies call them

As published on

Friday, 19 November 2010

This town ain’t big enough for 'all' of us

As I bumped into yet another ex a few weeks ago, yes full of red faced, awkward, cringe worthy moments I would rather forget, I wondered who had it in for me? Seriously, it was as though someone was intent on embarrassing me.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen exes pop up on facebook with shiny new girlfriends and appear out of know where – usually when I’m looking my worst. I’ve also had to completely blank two exes in broad daylight recently, well it was either that or smile through gritted teeth when I’d rather give them a good slap!

And remember the fitness guy that I snogged and thought it was a good idea? Yep, I had to endure a full hour’s fitness class, while I squirmed and pretended that I hadn’t had my tongue down his throat the week before. I just need to bump into the boy I snogged in primary school now and we’d have a full set.

For purely research purposes only, I worked out the other day that I’ve had 22 first dates since I’ve been single, and that’s not even counting the amount of 2nd, 3rd and 4th dates I’ve been on. Then it dawned on me, have I just dated one too many men, or just one too many in one place? It just seems that London is way too small to avoid exes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love London, it’s amazing for dating, and I readily admit to still wanting a first date in London Zoo. Come on, how can the conversation dry up when you have penguins and lions to look at??!!

But the problem with London is that it can be so impersonal. Everyone's so busy. Even if you meet a guy you fancy, once you check your dairies you realise that in 2 weeks you may just be able to fit them in for a coffee. It took me five weeks to meet up with a guy I wanted to date this summer – by the time we met up I’d forgotten what he’d looked like and if I still actually fancied him or not!

So it got me thinking – would a new city be any different? Would the men just be a rehash of London men, but with a different accent? Would they still be players? Still be immature, rude or freak out when you mention anything more than dating? And most importantly would they get round to calling me back after a date?

Well there’s only one way to find out – I’ve said goodbye to London (exes and cold weather) and G’day to Sydney (aka hot, toned beach boys!) – I really haven’t got a clue if I’ll meet the man of my dreams, or any men in fact, but isn’t it just worth a try....??

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Playing hard to get – what’s that then?

“It’s called being aloof Sarah, mysterious even,” my friend said to me. But I checked my dating dictionary and it just didn’t seem to be there. Because basically I just can’t do playing hard to get.

If I like a guy then they’ll probably know about it. FACT.

Generally because I’ll be stuck to them like glue, following them around like a lost puppy, or bombarding them with text messages, emails or tweets. Call it having no willpower or being mentally insane, but when I like someone I just can’t help myself.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a ‘boil your bunny’ kind of girl or a scary stalker type who literally won’t bugger off until they’ve agreed to marry me that very night. I’ll just make sure he knows I exist by happening to turn up at the gym when he’s there, appearing next to him at the bar or, you know, just being there whenever he so much as sneezes, oh...'bless you'.

Take Dan* who I met recently. After talking to him and realising I fancied him I may as well have just slapped a sticker on my forehead saying ‘If lost please return to Dan’ - I followed him to the bar, outside when he smoked (I don’t smoke). And I probably would have followed him into the toilets if the toilet attendant hadn’t scowled at me and threatened to chuck me out. Basically I was like a besotted teenager.

Thankfully on this occasion it turned out well – i.e. no restraining order, no cat fights with an angry girlfriend and I went away my dignity intact (well slightly...)and even a date – but, with more booze and a hotter guy, I could foresee my problem getting out of hand one day.

And you’d think it would have something to do with the (large) quantities of alcohol I consume when in a bar and near a man I like, but fear not I still don’t understand the meaning of playing hard to get whilst not intoxicated either. Recently in non-bar surroundings I really did try my hardest to be cool – it isn’t my fault then that he nearly walked past me (and totally ignored me) and I had to shout out his name like some sort of deluded freak – any sort of aloofness went straight out of the window.

And my amazing aloof dating tactics haven’t just stopped there. I’ve added guys on facebook, when they’ve merely just said hello to me (well he was hot!) taken detours on my way home in the hope that I’ll bump into him and generally just gone above and beyond to make sure he ‘notices’ me.

Now let’s be honest, if a guy did any of the above to me, especially if I didn’t like him, I’d probably tell him where to go. “Stop following me around, you’re like my bloody shadow,” I’d scream at him, or snog someone right in front of him – just so he got the picture. I’d feel claustrophobic and scared and probably run very fast in the opposite direction.

And if I was dating you and you weren’t on my potential ‘forever guy’ list you’d probably know about it. Basically because all of a sudden playing hard to get will become easier than ever - I’ll avoid texting you, until I’m either bored or you phone my mum wondering if I’ve died! I’d leave you to plan where we go on our dates and eventually either pretend like I never knew you existed or use a get-out-clause, which is so bad that both you and me know it’s just that!

So why do I find it so hard to be aloof when I like someone? And believe me I’ve tried - but my idea of playing hard to get is waiting 5 minutes to text someone back, rather than the whole week it once took a date to text me back!

And do I even really want to play games? I mean isn’t playing hard to get boring, people get tired of chasing each other, and game playing never results in anything long term. But I suppose there’s playing hard to get and looking a little desperate – ‘a la moi’. Even a whiff of desperation can scare off the keenest of guys.

So in a bid to not scare off the cute guy I happen to stumble upon next, maybe I should try and leave it at least a few minutes before scrambling for my phone and texting him back, unglue myself from his side and possibly buy a new dating dictionary – one which explains ‘playing hard to get’ in all its glorious detail!

(*that’s not his real name, silly!)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Men I really wish I hadn’t snogged....

I must just love embarrassing myself, because when it comes to men I’m always getting myself into sticky situations. Yep I’m the girl who would attempt to snog her male friend while drunk, who can’t visit some of her local pubs because, well, ‘he’ works there and goes bright red every time her friend mentions 'that' work colleague. I do stuff without thinking and have to deal with the consequences later – usually ending with awkward moments, silences and wishing I really hadn’t gone there.

Honestly, if there was a prize for the ‘biggest date fuck ups’ I’d probably be the esteemed winner. I just can’t seem to help myself. If I actually worked in an office I would probably be ‘that’ girl who everyone talked about. The girl that made a tit out of herself at the Christmas party - snogged the geeky virgin and made photocopies of things she shouldn’t have.

Maybe I feel like I’m missing out somehow, so to almost make up for it the stupidity has crept into my dating life. In the last few months not only have I chatted up a famous singers fiancé, scared a guy off by kiss and telling about our date via twitter, but also chased men that really just weren’t that into me.

And when it comes to picking the wrong men I would definitely get an A* for effort. At the time you think he's a great idea – he’s hot, you’ve had some liquid confidence and the next thing you know you’re snogging like there’s no tomorrow – in front of everyone. Except there is a tomorrow and you’d forgotten that everyone was there, until that is you turn up at (delete as appropriate) work/gym class/friends house.

You know how people say: ‘oh she’ll learn,’ – well they obviously weren’t referring to me. In my brief dating life I’ve dated or snogged a collection of unsuitable men, including two bosses, a guy that worked at my gym, an array of bar men and way too many friends of friends. And I know that if I met a hot guy tomorrow, who happened to be my best friend's brother, worked at my local pub and hung out at my gym I wouldn’t think twice about chatting him up!

And if only to prove this point last weekend I decided to chat up an instructor for a fitness class I go to. At no point did I stop and think ‘Oh this might be slightly awkward next time I go to class.’ Nope, I just carried on my merry way, accepting more booze from him while I fought off other girls for his attention. Of course the evening ended in a very drunken snog. But when I woke up the next day and sense returned I seriously wondered if cancelling my membership was a good idea!

Looking back maybe I was doomed from the start! When I was a mere 18 years old I drunkenly snogged a guy, but not any guy – he was my university flat mate, and it was ONLY the first night of fresher’s week! I was so embarrassed about it I could barely make it out of my room without going a ‘London bus’ shade of red and our other flat mates teasing me about how I wanted to be his girlfriend. The teasing and embarrassment probably would have lasted all year if I hadn’t managed to win him over as my boyfriend.

You’d think that cringe worthy moment would have taught me to watch what I drink and only approach men who had no connection to anything remotely fitness, work or friend orientated – but no - I’m obviously the kind of girl who has to learn by her mistakes – ALL of them.

So I was obviously just learning when I decided that dating my boss last year was a good idea. That awkward moment - when I had to see him at work, knowing that just two weeks previously he had told me, in a ‘he’s just not that into me’ moment, that he was just too busy to see me – was just a test of my character, huh?

And you think after one awful incident with a local bar man I would have thought twice about dating another one. But I just couldn’t help myself – his blonde hair and baby blue eyes just won me over. It’s a shame then that date number two never materialised. I now have to avoid both bars like the plague, much to the annoyance of my friends.

Maybe I’m just never really going to learn – even if my friends do ever so kindly try and physically drag me away from my latest victim! After all I’m sure it’s not just me who can’t visit her local pub anymore and has to be cautious every time she so much as pops her head into the gym......oh it is? DAMN!

Monday, 23 August 2010

My online find the ‘one’

I think I’m a little obsessed with online dating. And it’s weird because I don’t even really like it that much. But I find myself secretly logging on every other hour to see how many people have viewed me or to check if Mr ‘online’ Right has emailed me back yet.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with online man hunting. I can go for months without the need to hide behind a computer, in my safe little bubble – but then almost out of nowhere the urge to find out what cyber men have to offer strikes again.

So it didn’t surprise me when last month, while slightly intoxicated, (and thinking it was yet again a good idea) I logged on again. And I was hoping this time would be different – that I wouldn’t get the creepy 44 year olds winking at me, have long, drawn out emails sent to me or be ambushed by men who had no profile picture and thought it was okay to ask me out in the first email. But of course it was no different – stalkers and weirdos obviously see me coming.

And now I’m worried that my addiction will spill over into real life – will my facebook and twitter account be deprived because I’m talking to men who go by the names of – ‘I am the one and only’ ‘me again’ (I can just see this one turning up on my doorstep claiming it’s just ‘me again’) or ‘rusty bin 35’ - I really hope not!

But seriously, internet dating can be a bit rubbish. Especially when men think it’s acceptable to have dating profiles which start with.... ‘I hate writing this stuff and I really don’t know what to put here.....’ errr something a bit more interesting than that please – it’s as though they’re thinking out loud but pressed ‘enter’ by accident.

And of course the cost of true love never comes cheap. Whoever cottoned on to the idea of preying on singles, looking for Mr or Miss Right was a very clever person. The adverts make out as if they’re the cupids of the internet, the Cilla Blacks of the worldwide web – and I might agree if it wasn’t for the hefty fee at the end of it all.

Then there are the emails - which we always open with hope. But sometimes they stop us in our tracks. Recently a friend had what I can only describe as a pornographic message via a dating site. Erm...sorry?! We’re on here to find love, Mr Right, our soul mates – it’s not called (which believe it or not actually exists!). So please log off and stop sending us indecent proposals via a dating website!

The other emails don’t get much better either – Dave from Southport emailed me asking ‘I know I’m not very clever or good looking – but will you date me anyway?’ while Brian from London emailed me for the fifth time wondering why I hadn’t replied to him (erm...get the hint mate!). And what’s with men from Scotland, or even Finland emailing me? I don’t mind travelling a few miles to find my soul mate – but you’re stretching it a bit far if you expect me to meet you for a coffee in Madrid!

And why does everyone assume, just because I‘m a journalist that I’m going to be writing about them in some sort of dating column?!? Honestly.

So when you’ve deleted the odd emails, said no to the guy in Madrid and reported the men for stalking you, you may just be lucky enough to stumble on a few ‘decent men’ – well that’s what you think before you meet them anyway.

Step up number one. He seemed nice – he was intense but I fancied him like crazy so ignored those little ‘warning signs’ which I really should have picked up on. That was until I received a text saying ‘I love you – do you love me?’ WHAT???

And number two was just as bad – just in a more camp way. In his picture he’d looked gorgeous – good height, nice features and not the least bit gay! By the end of the night I felt like I was gossiping with my best mate. So imagine my shock when he tried to kiss me – I fled like Cinderella at midnight (minus the shoe mishap!).

And most recent was number three. Who I’d been delightfully surprised about when I met up with him. He’d been honest about his height, his photos and his age – always a good start. And apart from his slightly sarcastic attitude I could see myself dating him again. It’s a shame I mucked it up then. I have a habit of tweeting about my dates – so when he did the inevitable googling of me and stumbled across my twitter account he wasn’t happy! He couldn’t believe I’d kissed and told! Damn google!

I really do wonder why I keep logging on? I’m hoping my online dating addiction will come to an end one day, or maybe my subscription will just run out! Either way I’m sure I won’t find ‘the one’ online – unless I suppose I fancy a date with ‘me again’. Now where did I save his email?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

'He was abducted by aliens' and other reasons why he didn’t call

I know I shouldn’t admit it, but when I’m waiting for a guy to text me about how well that first date, encounter or snog was for him – it’s a pretty painful experience. It’s like waiting for home time on a Friday or Santa to turn up when you're a kid – it’s either going to be a painfully slow process, or, however much you wait, it just isn’t going to happen!

And the annoying part of it all is that my Mum seems to have some sort of psychic ability, and knows when I’m waiting for a guy to text me. Just at that pivotal point where I’ve lost all hope and I’m on the verge of smashing my phone into a million little pieces, my phone beeps like a proud owner of a new boyfriend. Only to disappoint me with my Mum’s gabble about something unimportant like new shoes. Gah!

I’m not stupid, I know how it works, if a guy doesn’t call, or even just text you back, blah, blah, blah – then he’s probably just not that into me. I’ve made the excuses, I’ve trawled through the elaborate ideas in my head. But I really did think this situation was different, i.e – I was in control. He was young, eager and literally tripping over himself to see me.

So when my new toyboy stood me up last week, with no god damn awful excuse text as to why, I couldn’t be bothered with analysing it – yes his friends may have spooked him with stories of older women wanting commitment, or maybe he met up with his ex and they reconciled their differences, and I could even stretch to the explanation that he lost his phone, dropped it in the toilet or a dog ate it! But I may as well just rely on the good old excuse that he’s been abducted by aliens – because let’s be honest it’s probably as viable as any other explanation.

Or if I was to listen to a certain, sympathetic, male friend I could look at the harsh reality of the situation, that he just didn’t like me.

But that’s just plain old, mean rejection rearing his ugly head – and who wants to admit to that? I would rather think that the impossible has happened – some green dudes from a planet far, far away scooped him up (just before he was about to text me, obviously!) and are doing weird tests on him at this very moment, instead of the reality that he decided he didn’t fancy me anymore! Who wouldn’t?

But before you sigh and say, oh don’t worry Mr Right is out there for you somewhere, I would like to beg to differ! He’s not – he’s with his hot new girlfriend, married with kids or has a boyfriend. And it’s not like I’m not looking. But my dating history this year seems to have gone from one unsuitable encounter to the next. Apart from the unsuccessful toy boy encounter I just seem to be treading in already taken territory.

I got excited the other day when a friend of mine turned up to meet me and told me she’d found my perfect man on the coach down to London. Apparently he was gorgeous, tall, had a lovely personality and he seemed interested in me. The only problem was convincing his 'boyfriend' that dating me would be a good idea!

Then there was the time when I got the guts up to approach a table full of eight men – surely one of them must be single, I thought, as I pushed any doubts to the back of my head and used a cheeky one liner to ask them if I could join them. Flabbergasted they quickly shuffled up and banter commenced. It was all going swimmingly until I asked where they knew each other from, I nearly choked on my wine when one of them piped up with “From antenatal class,” I realised they weren’t kidding when they pulled out pictures of their kids and flashed wedding rings at me. I definitely hadn’t seen that one coming.

I think my problem is that I give guys too much credit – ‘oh you didn’t phone me for five days because you died, then miraculously came back to life, yeh okay I’ll go out with you this Friday then.’ And ‘why are you snogging me round the corner from all your friends? Oh you’re just shy, nothing to do with the fact that you have a girlfriend then? No, oh okay then that’s cool!’

Maybe I should be a little harsher on men in the future, and look out for those tell-tale signs that I have no hope - like wedding rings, baby prams and boyfriends lurking at the sidelines. But of course if it all goes horribly wrong again and he fails to even acknowledge my existence with a polite ‘rejection’ text, at least I have two things to look forward to: my Mum, ever so lovingly filling up my inbox with texts about reality shows and family get togethers and of course the ultimate one - knowing that my dating disasters are all gathered in the same place – with little green men on Mars!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Once upon a time…..

Whether we admit it or not every girl wants the fairytale. Whether it's our man scooping us up and telling us what we want to hear, proposing while the sun is setting or taking the initiative to kiss us when we’re least expecting it - we're all hoping for that magical fairytale moment.

Unrealistic it maybe, and it would probably get a tad dull if our knight in shining armour did and said all the right things every hour of every day, but most of us would like to know that one time in our lives we may just get our very own ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ moment.

But of course it has to be with the right guy. If a guy that we dated and dumped, because he snorted when he laughed, tried to win us back by serenading us or proposing to us in front of our family we’d probably just die of embarrassment. A while ago an ex was so desperate to get back with me he told me he was going to leave a rose on my door, every day for the next month – he thought it would prove as romantic and I’d fall back into his arms. Now don’t get me wrong, with the right guy it would have been great, but just the thought of him doing it scared the hell out of me.

Basically if we’re not with the right guy their acts of kindness or gentlemanly behaviour will make us feel like their taking away our independence or indeed smothering us. Take Mr Nice guy, who I had been on a few dates with recently - he walked me to my train station, he didn’t even attempt to kiss me on the first date and he even text me to make sure I got home okay. It was nice, but it felt too good to be true.

But of course that all changes when it’s with the right guy, anything which is deemed fairytale worthy we’d see as sweet and a ‘melt in their arms’ moment. I remember gushing about boyfriends who had looked after me while I had the flu, held my hair back when I was sick or even saved me in my hour of need. But when it’s not the right guy we may as well be wearing a t-shirt saying ‘I’m a princess, but I’ll save myself thanks’.

And all those movie moments are great – Danny and Sandy singing ‘you’re the one that I want’ and Patrick Swayze coming back from the dead to give Demi just one more kiss. But if they actually happened to us, whether there’s dramatic music on in the background or not, we may just be a little freaked out! A prime example is High School musical, it seems like a great idea when were watching it and we’d die for a guy like Zac Effron to declare his love to us through song. But in reality if our man broke into song and dance, half way through a night out, we’d either think they were gay or some sort of closet musical fan!

So do these so called fairytale moments, with the right men, just happen to the likes of Cinderella and ‘Pretty women’? Or can we expect it now and again too?

I’ve had my share of fairytale moments – watching the sunrise, picnics on a summer’s day and romantic gestures which would make the romantics amongst us sigh in delight and cynics curl their toes and scowl, but I suppose I’m still waiting for that ultimate one. The one which knocks me off my feet, takes my breath away, makes me smile at the thought of it and without any doubt makes me believe I’ve picked my Mr Right.

And on the flip side, of course sometimes we don’t need saving. Ever since I’ve become single I’ve learnt that I don’t necessarily need a man to make me happy. Whether we save ourselves, our friends come to our rescue or our so called prince charming fails to materialise. Sometimes not having someone there is a blessing in disguise – it teaches us things, makes us better people, and whether we believe it at the time or not, makes us stronger and happier people.

And even if we do manage to have that fairytale moment – where the prince saves us from a world of gloom or Matt Damon beats up the bad guys for us ( yep, my own personal fantasy) I suppose it’s what happens afterwards that matters - after all we’re all looking for a happily ever after….aren’t we?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Do I date to blog, or blog to date?

Being a dating blogger can have its downsides. Namely when you don’t have any dates. And after a few months of being dateless I was starting to get worried – for me having a date every week became as normal as people getting up and going to work. So had I lost my touch or merely just dated all the single men in London?

And when I wasn’t dating it was like everyone was rubbing it in by going on dates instead. Two of my best friends both casually mentioned how they were going on dates and most of my other single friends were being set up around me, chatting up cute bar men or talking about their latest conquest. Even my Mum was on the net setting up dates.

Maybe I was getting too picky or was I just being lazy? I couldn’t be bothered with internet dating – it was just too much effort to email yet another ‘potential’ and rehash the same old details. I had stopped bugging friends to set me up and men on nights out just weren’t blog worthy enough.

So I sighed a breath of fresh air when I finally got a date last week – I was officially back in the game. And I realised I’d actually missed going on first dates. The classic first date nerves, the awkwardness that comes with it, the free drinks (only kidding…well kind of!) - I had missed the whole shebang of it. So much so that when a friend of mine told me she had a first date planned I almost turned up in her place. Don’t worry I didn’t!

And when potential dates find out you’re a dating blogger it can have its downsides too. Google is great but I merely have to mention my name and men know about my dating history before I’ve even sipped on my first glass of wine with them. The first date to uncover my little secret pretended for all of ten minutes that I wasn’t a dating blogger while I reeled off all the other work I did. Of course I tried to deny it, but when he claimed he knew where my last date had taken place he had either been stalking me in person or on the net – and I was hoping it was the latter.

And another date, who knew about my blog, told me he had read it in detail, written down notes and thought he was fully prepared to see me. I wondered if he was expecting me to give him a pub-style quiz at the end or hand out tasks throughout. He was dating me, not appearing on mastermind.

So if potential dates know about my dating past and trip-ups, will it put them off? I’ve had guys running for the hills when they’ve found out they may appear on the net. Even when I’ve clarified that I only write a dating blog. So after my dating drought I wasn’t surprised when my recent date, after stumbling across my blog, emailed me to let me know I wasn’t quite the right ‘dating material’ for him. Maybe if I hadn’t revealed his toilet habits in a previous blog we’d be married by now. Damn.

But if the tables were turned then I admit I may be a little reluctant go on a date too - especially if I knew he’d be analyzing my every move. If I drunk too many vino’s would I be an alcoholic? If I didn’t make him laugh would I be known as the moody cow he’d been lumbered with for the entire night?? Or worse - would I be classed as a no-go cougar or the girl who he officially went on his worst date with?

I suppose there’s always a downside to everything. But in my bid to get more dates I suppose I’m going to have to stop being so lazy, picky and possibly googleable. And as for blogging about the dates I go on – well that’s not stopping, for at least a while yet. Maybe I’ll just have to change my tack. My dating ad will have to say in big red letters - Please apply within – dates who have a GSOH.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

TMI (too much information) syndrome

Sex with your ex girlfriends, how many notches you’ve got on your bed post and definitely your toilet troubles – they are all classic cases of too much information.

When we’re dating, or even in a relationship us girls can be a little inquisitive, okay just plain nosey. But sometimes you boys don’t know when to stop when you start revealing the ins and outs of your past behaviour, or even current behaviour when we’re not around.We may ask about your previous sex life and you may have visited strip clubs, dated underwear models or dipped your toe in the threesome dating pool but we really don’t want to know about it – however much we quiz you.

Like the saying goes - what we don’t know won’t hurt us. Not that I’m giving you a free pass to go all John Terry or Ashley Cole on us but when it comes to your past sex life it’s usually best left in the cupboard marked ‘Do not open’. And if we do delve into it we usually regret what we find out. After lots of drunken questioning once I found out that a boyfriend had had a threesome with another guy –the other guy being his best friend. It was a classic mistake of too much information and one which made me not able to even look in the direction of his best friend again without a weird image in my head.

Sadly it didn’t stop there either – I’ve had guys I’ve dated revealing sex positions their exes have preferred, how good a one night stand was and how many women they’ve managed to seduce into their bed.

And a couple of mentions about an ex girlfriend is fine, but when you start delving into your past relationships like we’re your therapist - along the lines of ‘I just don’t know where it all went wrong…’ we’re going to start worrying if you’re with the right person. And the more you moan and slag off an ex girlfriend the more we’re going to wonder how much of a decent person you are – if you can slag her off and make her sound like the bitch from hell then what will you be saying about us in six months time?

But it’s not just your sex lives where you’re revealing things that make us want to cringe. After a series of emails on a dating website recently I got a bit more than I bargained for in one email. Things were going swimmingly – the emails were funny, we were getting on famously and then he just had to delve into an area which us girls just don’t want to talk about. I’d asked him if he’d felt hung over from his previous nights antics but wasn’t quite prepared for his reply of: “I’m not actually feeling too bad, but my bottom feels like its been blown off after the curry I had last night,” – eek!!! We hadn’t even shared our first date but already I was getting a play by play account of his daily toilet habits – nice.

And of course we trust you but when you mention boys and holidays in the same sentence then fear usually spreads through us like a wild fire in a forest. A few years back a former boyfriend couldn’t wait to go on a rugby tour he’d been planning with the boys. But instead of reassuring me that it was a chance to spend some quality time with his males mates and enjoy the sport he loved so much he stupidly revealed the motto which all the boys were standing by – ‘What goes on tour stays on tour’ – how could any sane girl not jump to ‘stripper, bed hopping and one night stand’ conclusions?

So when I met Mr TMI recently I knew it wasn’t going to work out. After he had revealed the amount of girls he’d slept with, how he was up to his eye balls in debt, how he hated his job and the icing on top of the TMI cake – his big ambition to marry a stripper in Vegas one day, I decided that however honest a potential date could be, a little bit of discretion is always a good quality to seek out.

And if you still don’t quite get it – then let me turn the tables on you. If you found out your dream girl had more notches on her bed post than you’d had hot dinners would you still want to take her home to meet the parents? Nope, thought not.

So the next time we ask you how many girls you’ve slept with, if the stripper you were forced to watch on a stag do was hotter than us or if you’ve ever dreamt about that really hot women next door, either keeping tight lipped or bending the truth a little would be a good option. Because after all, what we really want to know is none of that, in any way, compares to dating us….

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

My stuttering, blubbering dating techniques

In normal life my mouth rarely gets me into trouble – I’m polite, friendly and have a way of getting people to open up to me. But when it comes to dating it’s as though I suffer from Jekyll and Hyde syndrome.

I embarrassingly have something programmed into the dating part of my brain which means when I like someone I just have to say something stupid, irrelevant or just downright dumb. You know, one of those – ‘I’m just going to bang my head against a wall now’ moments.

I either pick up a bout of verbal diarrhoea – with something along the lines of ‘Did I tell you about the time my cat pooed on my bed?’ or reel off a joke which I’ve forgotten the punch line to. In special circumstances, usually when I really like someone my mouth goes dry, my hands start to get clammy, my head starts moving like one of those nodding dogs and I splutter out something which even my14 year-old self would have cringed at. And in both situations my potential love interest usually leaves looking at me oddly and wondering who the freak he just spoke to was.

And being the flappable idiot I become when a guy that I like is anything but a two mile radius from me I wouldn’t be surprised if I actually started spouting off things which were on my mind like – ‘Can I snog you please?’ or ‘I wonder how your surname sounds with my first name?’ – they’d be running scared before I’d even attempted to bag myself a date with them.

So you’d think if I had time to plan what I wanted to say I’d come up with a cute, sassy one liner which would make them think, ‘Wow this girl is cool,’ – but no I’ve managed to kill my street cred when it comes to e –flirting too. Like the time I was sharing flirty email banter with a minor celeb (okay he was just a reality TV star) and he asked if I wanted to watch him DJ one Thursday night. My reply? “I don’t think I can, it’s a school night,” I thought I was being funny – he obviously thought I was some sort of nerd who had a 9pm curfew. Funnily enough I never got a reply back from him.

So it’s always great when friends share the ‘dumb dating talk’ limelight with you. One revealed the moment she became speechless when she saw the object of her desire at the gym, then proceeded to walk head first into a weights machine. And when a hottie walked into another friend’s work place all she could utter was a squeak, before she dropped her newly made hot chocolate over her keyboard. She tried to dab away the choccy mess like it didn’t matter – when the reality was she had totally short circuited it.

And I can’t quite decide if alcohol helps matters. On the one hand it gives you the confidence to think what you’re saying sounds like you’re not an over-excited school girl, but in reality it’s probably doing more harm than good. After one glass you’ve got the confidence to steam roll the flirting, after two you’ll probably say something you wouldn’t dare say if you were sober. And don’t get me started on a whole bottle worth of wine induced confidence – it’s got me into trouble more times than I can remember.

And rest assured if you’re of the male species and the conversation flows like wine into my glass - if us girls are comfortable in your presence and we can have a good old natter with you it usually means we see you as a brother, a mate or even a father figure – sorry!

So it really is a surprise that I’ve been on any dates, at all, in the past year – have men just felt sorry for me after my blabbermouth has tripped into their lives? Or have I just dated guys who I wasn’t really that into? Whatever it is I’m sure the embarrassing encounters will continue long into my dating years and beyond. Life might be so much simpler if I was one of those girls who said all the right things at all the right times - but wouldn’t that be boring? I’d rather be the girl who trips up any day.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Speed dating....take 2!

"Never, ever, again!" I vowed after a particularly bad speed dating experience last year. I’d expected tall, dark and handsome, I got short, bald and boring.

For some reason speed dating had seemed appealing. There had been a sheer lack of men in my life since I landed in dumpsville a couple of months earlier, so dating 15 men in one night sounded like the sort of challenge which would brighten up my love life, hell - maybe even resuscitate my sex life too.

But of course I hadn’t been in the right state of mind. Under no circumstances should you go speed dating if you’ve just been dumped, your pining for another man or wondering where oh where Mr Right is. Unfortunately I had been suffering from all of the above.

Speed dating is always misunderstood anyway. It should come with a caution which clearly states *we take no responsibility for quality of dates, of the rubbish conversations you may encounter and the severe lack of love life which may precede your speed dating experience.

It’s safe to say my first experience of speed dating didn’t result in me recommending a friend for the torture. Instead of leaving the pub that night with numerous phone numbers and plans to date half of the hotties I was left emotionally drained and exhausted after not even stumbling across Mr Right-now.

So whenever friends’ so much as whispered speed and dating in the same sentence forget about running in the opposite direction I’d be packing my bags ready to leave the country. Never again would I join the conveyor belt of dating or have to sit and make small talk with men I'd rather chew off my ear for than date.

Okay, well that was until a friend decided to arrange a speed dating night for a charity. I attempted to leave the country, but my conscience got the better of me and before I knew it I had parted with my cash (*and obviously felt better for it!) downed a few courage cocktails and decided that maybe speed dating and I had got off on the wrong foot. So armed with a truck load of ice breakers and expectations lower than if I was turning up to an insurance seminar my second instalment of speed dating commenced......

Unfortunately the night didn’t start off on a particularly good note when I got the contents of a girl’s martini glass thrown all over me. And that’s before we’d even started dating. It didn’t dawn on me until afterwards that she may have actually been trying to cut out the competition. Good job I had a change of clothes – ha!

And because I’d ventured into the scary world of speed dating before I was somehow seen as a ‘pro’ - friends who were speed dating virgins were hoping some of my dating skills would rub off on them, when really I was probably about as clueless as them. Did they expect me to wow the men with my witty one-liners? Get a clean sweep of ticks from the men we dated? And go home with my diary cram packed with dates for the next two months?

My nerves racked up a notch as our mini dates commenced.

And it’s safe to say that most of the dates fell into two categories – ones where you completely forgot about the four minute time limit and the others where you were hoping and praying to be saved by the!!!

The most memorable date, for all the wrong reasons, has to be the guy who bounded up to my table like some sort of excited teenager. His opening line was, "Oh my god, you're the most beautiful girl in here," before he proceeded to get up and check what he had said was actually right, and after a few seconds of scanning the room said, “yep you definitely are.” Oh and dear was all I could muster.

And don’t you just hate that feeling of déjà vu? Well that’s what happens when you become embroiled in back to back dating......!The first date’s fine, but come the 8th you wonder if it was him or Mr no.7 or even 6 you told about your extensive Barbie collection? And did he say he was an actor or a policeman? Was he 27 or 32? In fact hadn’t you just spoken to this one....?

And then there’s the really decent men, who if I hadn’t been on a 4 minute date with I may have become quite good friends with. But it’s always awkward to pull out the friends’ card when you share a dating history with them, be it 4 minutes or 4 years.

By the end I felt guilty for not ticking anyone’s box. Was I being too picky? Would Mr not-quite-so-right have been ‘the one’ had I given him just one more minute? Thankfully my conscience was cleared when friends revealed that no one had quite floated their boat either. Phew!

So I’m thinking speed dating and success shouldn’t really be used in the same sentence – especially when I’m involved. Unless of course you count going home with a girl’s phone number as successful? Nope thought not. Back to normal dating it is then......

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Delights of Valentines….

Every year, whether I’m attached or not, I’ve looked forward to Valentine’s Day with anticipation – will a red rose magically appear at my door? Will the milk tray man swing in and leave me some chocolate goodies or will I be faced with a night of steamy sex with my latest eligible bachelor?

Last year that illusion came to an almightily halt, without so much as a tacky teddy bear to comfort me. I woke up and was faced with my then boyfriend’s facebook status claiming that ‘Mr (not-so) Perfect is…… chocolates – check, flowers – check, restaurant reservation – check, overdrawn – check!’

The say romance is dead – it was as though he was hammering in the final nail. I was gutted. Had I pressured him into celebrating Valentine’s Day? Did I expect too much from him? Or was it my right, like millions of other women, to expect to be spoiled on Valentine’s Day, whether it breaks our men’s banks or not?

Some say I’m high maintenance (only a little bit!) but don’t most girls, especially when they’re attached, at least expect a card on Valentines? Never do we expect to be guilt tripped into how they’ve ventured into the depths of their overdraft again. I tend to now steer clear of guys who talk about being ripped off by card companies come Valentine’s Day – in my eyes they’re either bitter or just a tight arse.

And it’s safe to say I haven’t really had an amazing track record when it comes to Valentine’s Day anyway. One boyfriend took me to Venice, well attempted to – he stupidly got the dates mixed up and there we were in one of the most romantic cities a week before all the other love birds got there. One year I got bought a CD ROM. A CD ROM for god sake – let’s just say practical was his middle name. I duly dumped him, but not before he cooked me a Valentine’s Day meal, in the company of his parents, and with the rugby blaring away in the background.

Then there was the time I was in Paris, the city of love on that very day. The Eiffel Tower beckoned and it even began to snow. It would have been the perfect romantic gesture – had I not been single and on a school trip. And I really can’t forget about the picnic incident (it was in the middle of February, i.e. not really picnic weather) or the year my knight in shining armour came bearing…….a womble bag! Okay we were 16 and he turned out to be gay – but even so – ever heard of flowers or chocolates mate?!

But then there are the times when they surprise us. A friend last year had almost given up hope of any sort of romantic gesture from her man – if she’d got a smile from him on Valentine’s Day she probably would have been happy. So imagine her shock when he presented her with not just any old necklace, but a Tiffany’s necklace. He may as well have been proposing. It shouted not just ‘I’m from Tiffany’s – but also an ‘I quite like you’ too.

But what do we expect when we’re single? Being newly single and after last year’s lack of romance I’m sort of happy that I’m without a man this year. Okay so maybe I’m slightly jealous when I see women holding flowers and maybe my lip does a little wobble when I pass card shops which are adorned with red and pink heart shaped cards but being single means there’s no fuss, no need to get dressed up and no baking of silly heart shaped cookies. And come February 15th it’s all forgotten anyway.

Other single friends have organized single’s parties, some will be burying their heads in their duvet for most of the day, and some have just forgotten the day exists all together. Me, I don’t have any grand plans – apart from waiting for the mounds of cards to arrive at my door and deliveries of flowers to commence of course. Well, a girl can dream I suppose.

And as for the men reading – we don’t need a proposal, hell we don’t even want flowers (okay, some roses would be nice) – just an acknowledgement that it is actually Valentine’s Day and you’ve remembered would be appreciated. And if your admiring from afar – isn’t it the perfect time to tell us? After all it’s probably the one day of the year when we might take pity on you enough and actually agree to a date!

Happy Valentine’s Day…….x

Saturday, 23 January 2010

It’s a google thing……

Okay I’ll admit it, it’s one of my guilty pleasures – spying on exes that is. And I know it isn’t just me. Whether we’re happy in a new relationship or you’re single and hoping he comes to his senses any day now we’re all a little curious about what our exes are up to.

Even with exes who I despise, and would rather sleep with someone like Darren Day than bump into them, I weirdly find myself googling their name or stalking down their facebook page, in the vain hope that I may find out who they’re dating or what life has thrown at them since we parted ways. But what am I looking for? Something to tell me they’ve moved on? Something which shows they’re having a miserable life without me? Or just for a little giggle?

When I facebook stalked an ex last week I found out he’d gone on a blind date. I couldn’t help but have a little chuckle to myself – if you knew him you’d understand. I could just imagine him turning up to the date with as much enthusiasm as a clown on crack cocaine, the poor girl would leave wondering who the hell it was she just met.

And as my Mum always says (Yes I know Mums are always right!) you’ll never find anything good from snooping. But of course curiosity gets the better of us. And if they’ve dumped us we obviously want to know about how painfully unhappy they are since he made us cry (for at least two days – straight!). So of course we want to know if our recurring dream of them being dumped by their new girlfriend, losing their job and reaping that karma back has happened yet. But usually you’ll just find hurl inducing pictures of him and the new girlfriend smiling back at you.

A recent ex, annoyingly, had an open profile on facebook. And believe me, I tried my hardest not to facebook stalk him. When I dated him he proclaimed that he had an open profile because he had nothing to hide. Of course I realised the real reason when he dumped me - he was just a big show off. Especially as his profile gave me a running commentary of just how quickly he was getting over me and moving on, it quickly made those daydreams of reconciliation as realistic as ever snogging Bradley Cooper is.

And then, secretly of course, the comparisons start. ‘Why the hell is he seeing her? I’m so much prettier,’ ‘ha, gutted, he’s still living with his parents,’ ‘yes, he lost his job,’ and the list goes on until you feel like the gold medal winner in the race for ‘who has the better life’.

And it’s not just facebook which has been at the hand of my guilty stalking. I’ve also been known to use a little tool called google too. Being a journalist of course it's just research but sometimes I feel like I’ve crossed that line from sane individual to a deranged one. Do I really need to know how they’re doing at work, what they ate for dinner last night or how well they did in the egg and spoon race in 1988? Well you never know.

A friend of mine bumped into my first ever boyfriend the other day. Being over four years since we split up you’d think he’d have forgiven me for dumping him by now. After all I didn’t do any dirty deeds on him like cheat on him with his best friend, spit in his Mum's face or cut off any of his manly parts. But his childish behaviour would make you think I might have. So when my friend asked him why he wouldn’t accept her ever so polite friend request on facebook his reply was ‘well you know Sarah don’t you?’ Unlike me he had gone the other way –he was making pretty damn sure that I would never pop into his life unexpectedly and probably hoping that google will cease to exist any day now.

I’d like to say I’ll give it up one day, be the bigger person, get on with my life and not care about what they’re getting up to in cyber land. I’d like to think I could drag myself along to SEBA (stalking ex boyfriend’s anonymous) one day and say ‘My name’s Sarah and I google my ex boyfriend’s,’ but I really don’t think it will happen. Mainly because I’m sure a group like that doesn’t exist but also because it’s only a bit of fun. Of course, if I’m ever issued with a restraining order I may change my mind. But for now I’ll happily keep on googling and facebooking them – in secret of course, I mean I don’t want everyone knowing!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

It’s a Bliiinnndddd Date!

I’ve always frowned upon the concept of blind dates – at least when you’ve met a guy in a bar you sort of have an idea if you fancy them and get on. And the same goes for internet dating – their picture has caught your eye and you’ve had a chance to assess his height, if he’s a smoker and if he can spell correctly.

So when some friends of mine told me they had found me the ‘perfect guy’ I brushed it off. Did they really know my type? What if I didn’t like the look of him – would I hurt their feelings? Would I have to let them down gently, as well as him, if the first date was disastrous?

None of my blind dates have ever been that bad – but I've heard enough horror stories. The one that didn’t even bother to show up, the guy who bored my friend stupid about his ex girlfriend and the guy who was so far from my mates type she thought they chose him for a joke. And then there’s the rejection – before and after the date. When the matchmaker shows them your picture and apparently it’s a no go, when your friend says ‘actually I better not set you up – he’s a bit fussy’, or your date acts fine on the night only to forget you exist after you leave his company.

A friend of mine had a pretty disastrous blind date. She’d met him online only to realise that his profile had forgotten to reveal one small minor detail…..that he was the most boring guy she would ever meet. And once she got past the fact that he was 30 and still living with his parents, she wondered why she had given up a perfectly good night to spend it with Mr Boring Geeky Guy. So she did the only thing she could – she faked an illness! And after her golden globe winning performance, he left and she quickly threw on her dancing shoes and had one of the best girlie nights she’d had in a long time! Who needs men eh?!

And then there’s the guy I dated who had actually been on Blind Date, you know with Cilla and everything. Apart from him boasting about this and thinking he was famous because he had been the ‘picker’, it made me wonder how far my luck would stretch if I had ever got on it. Would I be date number three who went home empty handed and dribbling over the guy who rejected me? Or the one who picked date number one because of our shared interest in Matt Damon and musicals – only to find out the real reason he went on the show - a free holiday and a chance flirt with some Spanish boys?

But of course there are the exceptions. Some people have gone on to meet the love of their lives after an ever so kind friend set them up. I bet Gary Linekar got more than he bargained for when he turned up to meet Danielle Bux on their first date. He probably couldn’t thank his friend enough for setting him up on a blind date with her - and at least she gets free crisps for the rest of her life!

So when I turned up to the date I ‘tried’ not to have any expectations. I’d seen his facebook profile and a few emails had gone back and forth, but he was still virtually a stranger. So I was pleasantly surprised when I turned up to meet him - he wasn’t a loser with a chain smoking habit and neither did he bore me stupid about his Lego collection. In fact, he was pretty damn cute.

And he seemed pretty normal too. No other weird hobbies. No puffing on cigarettes on the way to the next pub. He wasn’t abnormally tall and seemed quite good at making sure the evening didn’t go from ‘good date’ material to potential ‘yep I see a blog in that – but not in a good way’ material. So it was just down to me to f**k it up really.

But I didn’t. Well only if you count how drunk I got and the amount of times I told him it was my birthday soon. But that’s just a normal date, right? And as the night progressed I realised we actually had stuff in common too, we made each other laugh, there were no awkward silences and he even let me share his crisps – what a gentleman!

The conclusion? Maybe I should let my friends pick all my dates in the future – especially when they obviously know my type more than I do.


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