Dr. Spin

So my first online date in 7 months and I’m nervous. I may have said I was charging along with my banner streaming but in actual fact I’m still nursing a stapled heart and getting out there to date is supposed to be an exercise in distraction and immersion.

Reluctantly I drag myself along to meet the latest specimen of interest, well let’s face it, it is similar to a science experiment isn’t it? We meet at a hip bar in town and as I arrive I’m feeling self concious of my stretchy tight skirt and short feathered jumper which is making me really hot in the fully heated bar – oh dear wardrobe malfunction, will he think I’m having an early onset hot flush?

Anyway, he’s there already seated in the corner looking cool and sexy in a fitted, black shirt with a beer, a bar tab already running and he stands up to kiss me on the cheek. OK stop the bus, let’s just rewind that frame. Yes I did just say all of that and no it’s not a joke. He is early – check, he’s not got two heads – check, he’s actually cute – check, and he has a bar tab running – check. OMG has Miss Kitty finally found a fully functioning member of the opposite sex? Shall we buy the hat and bouquet now in preparation? What will the first child be called?

Well not quite. Let’s chalk it down to a very successful date and will soon be followed up by another one I hope, but I do get a slight nagging feeling that I will share with only you. I think I am dating myself!

The fellow in question works in a PR capacity so let’s call him Dr. Spin and my word does he know his product! Not only is his profile cleverly written but it has impeccable punctuation, a wonderful draw you in sparkly-eyed picture (at a wedding no less, to add to the romantic flavour) his manners are a credit to his mother and he scrubbed up very nicely for our date. He trained as a journalist, as did I many moons ago, and we happily swapped newsroom stories and banter. We even compared shorthand speeds and story angles, but here’s the real nub, he’s writing a book. I nearly choked on my cheeky little Sauvignon, a book? Apparently it’s guy-lit, a bit like chick-lit but based on his own experiences of… dating! Well Miss Kitty practically meowed her way out of her seat! You will never know the composure that was employed to keep my face absolutely poker straight and interested, do tell Dr. Spin what are you stories about?

And whatsmore his stories are on a par with mine: a woman who turned up for a date after finishing the supermarket shop and dumped the bags only to let the frozen items defrost and seep all over the bar floor, another lady who turned up on the first date and produced a list of questions so worn the paper was see through and well creased, the first question being how much did he earn? And his absolute corker story about the lady (questionable title) who during the date got completely blotto and threw up in her brand new handbag which had been the source of much discussion that night!

So what have I learnt? That men are having as tough a time as we are, that I have some competition on the block (ha, ha) and that the male version of me is spookily similar in mannerisms and interests, only time will tell if twin attraction is nice or annoying.

his n hers

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The truth serum

There’s no two ways about it online dating is an odd concept. Talking to someone online and trying to condense your life values into sound bites makes for an odd face-to-face meeting when it finally happens.

For starters you have a kind of pre-conceived false intimacy that you know who you are going to meet, which of course is rubbish and this soon becomes apparent when you turn up for the first date and shake their hand, because the real living breathing organism is always light years from their cyber self and they even look different to the picture in your head or on their profile.

But the common thread for me is the weird truth-telling that goes on, I think it’s something to do with the awkward first chat. It seems to prompt a fight, flight or truth response in men and so they choose to get loose of tongue. While you are both in the cold, death grip of nerves and before the alcohol hits the spot and tames the hormones, grown men blurt out the damndest things!

Point in case my very first online date. I was so naive about the whole thing, we got on so well I thought it was a done deal, I skipped all the way to the pub convinced that this was the guy, badda-bing, first time lucky – just like that! We’d been texting (yes texting not messaging) and he had been very flirty, dirty and over familiar with me. It was all sexual tension and teasing and I had a picture of him as a strong, capable, gorgeous, Alpha male. I turned out he was young, spotty, kinda square and obsessed with drinking and going out and ‘getting trashed’. Oh dear. This was not what I was expecting. But worse still he proceeded to tell me in a half hysterical state that he hated his job as an Optometrist and that when his elderly patients complained of poor sight he dreamt of taking them to a ‘kill room’ and putting them out of their misery. Gee, there’s a conversation stopper. Was he being funny or serious?  Seeing my confused look he explained that most of them had inoperable cataracts and that this was his black humour to get him through the day. Really? Too late mate.

Next up was the mountain climber who ran his own business designing and manufacturing specialist climbing pants in Thailand. He was a good ten years older than his profile picture for starters, optimistically he insisted on meeting in a darkened pub, but then he went on to tell me about his last buying trip in Bangkok which involved taking a prostitute out for a night on the town and then paying her money because he felt bad about not sleeping with her. Ahem, sorry, come again? I’m sure he did.

Then there was the guy who upon my walking through the door announced that he was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually looked like my picture and was a slim lady after all. He went on to explain that because of his profile picture (which featured him on a boat hauling a catch of crayfish) that he was “a fat bird magnet”, what a nice change he told me earnestly, looking me up and down, not to have to explain that he doesn’t actually have a freezer full of free seafood. Oh bully for you. And finally my pièce de résistance the guy who’s opening one liner was “So how do you feel about a guy with two kids, each from a different mother?”. Funnily enough I haven’t really spent that much time pondering that one…. but oh look I think there goes my bus, bye.

To coin a much used phrase WTF?! Whatever happened to the art of conversation? I don’t want a man to lie to me or hide stuff, absolutely not, but I do appreciate a true gentleman who can charm and perhaps create an air of mystery. What’s wrong with wanting a man who has old fashioned manners in a modern casing? I don’t want to see or hear about your dirty washing, I want you to impress me with your best, pressed, bib and tucker please.

r & d

I love you truly, madly, creepy

Time to dip into the vault and pull out and oldie but goldie that highlights what happens when stalking goes bad.

After my other significant relationship bombed when I was 24 I saw a charming chappie at a bar one night and rather took a shine to him. So after chucking back a few white wine spritzers (hey it was the nineties ladies!) I started to chat him up, he seemed quite taken aback that I was even interested (he had self-esteem issues). I gave him my number before disappearing into the night hopefully in a mysterious and alluring fashion.

He called up the next day and in between asking me out for dinner again stated that he was surprised that I’d noticed him. He was a good looking chap so I thought he was being facetious. So off we went for a rather ho hum dinner at a swanky bistro. He looked nice but when he opened his mouth he said the strangest things. For starters he told me with a knowing wink that his mother had told him he would know for sure when he met the love of his life. Then he told me that he insisted his wife would stay at home, not work and bring up the kids. Again he engaged me in a meaningful stare. Long story short I didn’t call back after the date. I told him I didn’t think it would work for us chalk and cheese etc. He needed a nice girl not me.

And that’s how my own personal fan club of one started. To begin with he would follow me and my friends round town and deliberately walk slowly past the cafe window where we were sitting, then he got into the habit of turning up at my work demanding to see me and then following me home in his car. Naturally I was spooked. But the best was yet to come.

One night lying in bed I heard a sound outside my bedroom window and then a crash and a moan. I sent my Mum’s partner downstairs to look and it turns out in an attempt to get to my bedroom he’d climbed up the kitchen extension but had stupidly used a wheelie bin to stand on and of course it rolled away. He fell and broke his ankle. My Mum wanted me to go out and comfort him until the ambulance arrived but I was adamant I was not going to encourage him. Cold hearted bitch that I am!

Eventually though my niceness did get the better of me and I called and arranged to pop round and see him and take him a conciliatory box of chocolates, I turned up and walked into his kitchen and despite hobbling around with his foot in a cast he’d cooked us a full blown three course dinner with single red rose – would I stay? Hell no!

The final straw came when he was back on his feet again and he got wind that I was moving to London, he turned up at my doorstep with flowers and a card. I talked to him on the doorstep and he begged me to stay tears running down his face, “I don’t even know you!” I said. It was clear I wasn’t getting through so I shoved the flowers back at him, tore up the card and threw it on the floor. It’s the only time in my life I have ever been really, really mean to someone but I was convinced this guy was going to end up hurting me if I didn’t drive the message home forcefully.

Luckily it worked and I didn’t see him again lurking on corners or creeping round the back of my house, but I do always wonder if he found his little wife and is living somewhere happily ever after. I’m just glad I painted myself out of that little cameo.

johnny

Cold feet

Date night jitters, no matter how old or wise I get nothing seems to fix the pre-date nerves. Even when I’m relaxed all day, two hours before and hello! there’s a little Oompa loompa in my stomach.

It’s just no use, I get it ever time. That horrible sick feeling as I watch the time tick down and my mouth turns into a desert. Followed by a complete lack of interest in food even though I know this would be wise, look out stomach here comes some gut churning anxiety all washed down with a trough load of wine! Then there’s the constant trips to the loo every three minutes. Never mind the outfit hell, trying on endless combos, all left in a pile on the bed in desperation. Inevitably I end up wearing a version of the same tried and tested outfit from last time. I want to look a little bit sexy but not too fleshy, casual but well thrown together. It’s all supposed to look so nice and easy, huh, whatever? Heels are a must I think, just enough height to look womanly but not too much that I look slutty. Wedges I find are a great half way house (sorry but no matter how short they are I’m not massaging his ego on the first meeting by wearing flats!).

Extra time in the bathroom spent on the ‘natural’ look make up. Just enough blush to look healthy and glowing but easy on the foundation! Then there’s my own personal horror – the pre date spot. It’s inevitable. How is it I still get these eruptions in my 30s, what’s with that?! Quick run over with the GHDs, a spritz of suitably floral, girly scent under the ear lobes and neck – just enough for a lean in whiff, not a full on assault! And now I’m ready. Arghhhhhh! I feel like a 16 year old again.

Jump in the car and drive like a crazy thing to get to the arranged bar on time (it’s always a bar, my nerves are so bad caffeine just won’t ever cut it!), and suddenly there I am, parked up, bang on time and ready to go in. Except I’m not. Panic hits. I don’t want to go in and meet a stranger and be all chatty and bubbly. I just want to turn the car around and go home and watch telly with a takeaway and a bottle of wine. That would be nice. I can only describe it like dragging yourself towards a much loathed exam, my stomach is now doing crazy flips, I’ve got nothing to say and I’m bordering on being really grumpy.

Then I tell myself to bloody well pull myself together (see I must be single because I talk to myself). Hey it might even be fun? He might be…dare we actually say it out loud…The One…or at least one of The Ones. This thought can actually make me worse as the terror strikes in. I want to meet someone but why, why is this such a painful process? Can’t my friends and my Mother vet them first and then buy me an instant boyfriend off the internet? Someone who’ll love me and my quirky jokes and ways instantly and then I don’t have to do this excruciating getting to know you,  soul bearing stuff in public?

I imagine the awkward first chat and settling down to talk face to face, no escape, no distractions, just two people and a hope for some chemistry. Oh shit. So I grab that adrenaline rush and I take a deep breath, haul my arse out of the car, flick my hair (I imagine in a Charlie’s Angels type fashion) and strut into the bar, what the hell… he doesn’t know I’m nervous right? Fake it ’till you make it.

Because you know why I do it? For the same reason that every other woman steps up for the first date with a stranger. Because sometimes, just sometimes, you find a guy who makes you forget your nerves and have a good laugh, who’s good looking and interesting, makes you irrationally happy and is actually really funny too. Someone who you get on so well with that 3 and a half hours can fly by on just two small wines and then the bar staff are asking you to leave the pub because they’re closing.

ysl

Horny young things

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus then the male under 30s must have been siphoned off and deposited into their own mini tribe on Uranus. Why? Because they are sex-obsessed and in a word all they want to do is get in your knickers.

Now let’s face it you and I know that’s the whole point of dating right? But at least try to put a finer point on it guys? Men over 30 know this, they play the game and will at least put on a show of trying to engage your brain as well as your pheremones. But these young bucks just want to get straight to the action, no chit chat, no preamble.

Point in case a certain young man we’ll call Mr G&T. Running a bar he has the opportunity to chat to lots of age appropriate, hot young things (he’ s 28) but he chose to have a crack at me. Every time I went to the bar he got more and more bold meanwhile I was stupidly, more and more flattered. Curious, I eventually I gave in and we went on a date. He really wasn’t interested in anything I had to say (I on the other hand was interrogating him and checking out his prospects), he kept plying me with drinks, got progressively handsy (it was like fending off a swarm of bees) and was shockingly forward. Among other things I can’t repeat, he said he wanted to “put his head between my legs” (good lord look away Mother!) I laughed it off as over-active hormones.

After that date he would regularly sext me and promise me among other things dinner, nudity and multiple orgasms. Over confident, huh you think? He insisted I was way more interesting than his 20 somethings and that I was worth the wait. But the best was yet to come. With at least three weeks distance after seeing each other on that last date, I was beginning to mellow and teasingly told Mr G&T that he’s all talk and no trousers promising me a dinner that never materialises. In return he told me he was “all trouser” and followed it up with a naked self-portrait of himself standing in the mirror!

Blimey there’s a 10am text that’s hard to cover up in work! I deleted it instantly (prude that I am) but the trouble is it’s burned in my brain! Whatsmore when I told him he was naughty he asked me to pop round during my lunch break and spank him! Ohhh the smut – it’s like a bloody Carry On Film…

Now there’s ‘nowt wrong with getting it on, if that’s what you’re after. But I’m not ready to be another notch on a 20 something’s bedpost or a tick on their ‘things to achieve’ sex list read ‘older woman’. I’m kinda looking for something more than just sex on a stick, even if it is a very long rather nice looking stick!

horny

Selective truths

OK so you spot a nice looking guy online who’s got a great smile. This could be promising right? His profile’s well written with fully joined up sentences, his spelling’s pretty good and he hasn’t cited Mission Impossible as his favourite movie. He may even crack a joke or two, name drop a literary classic as his bedside reading or allude to a romantic hero in a popular chick flick just to show you that he’s in touch with his feminine side. Ah bless, things are looking up right? No. Stop right there. He’s too good to be true, there’s no such thing as a free lunch in the dating world.

Go back, check his profile blind spots and study them carefully. These are the three areas where men are most likely to stretch the truth to massage their egos. The first one is their profile picture, look again. Is it a bit blurry or fuzzy? Does it remind you of an Instagram photo effect? Is it in black and white? Is there a corner of a head leaning on their shoulder that’s been brutally cropped out of the shot? Yes. That’s the ex right there living on in their profile shot… great photo choice boys! This snap is from back in his Halcyon days, when he was loved up and had more hair and less wrinkles. They think surely this picture from happier times will work its magic for their profile image? But the reality is the snap is as dated as their memories and nothing quite prepares you for the shock of that first date when you realise that Mr.Vintage standing at the bar is the mature version of your date, anything from 4-10 years older than that golden moment and whatsmore the years haven’t necessarily been kind.

Next we come to their height. If he says he’s 6 foot chances are he probably is. Most tall guys don’t beat around the bush with their height – its a given. But if he says he 5’10 or 5’11 then look out, because he’s probably in acute denial and more in the region of 5’6 or 5’7 and will with surprise mention that you are ‘quite tall in your heels’ before going on to say that high heels are known to give women bad backs! If only these guys could stretch themselves as easily as they stretch the truth.

And then we come to the final corker, their age. Now forgive me for saying but it’s normally us ladies who have a hard time with the age thing. It’s just a number right? It’s what’s inside that counts? Well it’s all true and so I’ve never lied about my age. So why is it that guys are getting creative with the digits? If they say they’re in their late 30s you can bet your bottom dollar they’re actually in their early to mid 40s and when they deliver this revealing little morsel they’ll quickly follow it up with “so how old are you then?”. I’m sorry, pardon? I think my profile quite clearly stated I’m 39…and proud of it! Why would I lie? Like you have…

In their minds they’re not lying, they are simply embellishing, sadly it’s enough to put you off. If they’re telling porkies now what will it be like later?

mirror