Starter for 15

Hello World,

It’s been a while, I was licking my wounds and letting the dust settle after foolishly jumping, gung-ho fashion back into online dating. Dr. Spin it turns out really did believe his own press about what a catch he was and decided to go on a full facial assault on the third date without testing the waters first. Erm bad move.. I said my goodnights and ran away but he wasn’t letting me go that easily and ambushed me in my car as I tried to drive away. So after removing his tongue from the back of my tonsils for the second time and closing the door in his face, I decided that maybe I was being a bit naive in cyberland.

So I’ve let the online account stew for a bit. Apart from one blind date coffee with a man who is friends with a friend of mine. Her text read “I have a man for you, he does have an ex-wife but he’s lovely and ready to move on”.  I procrastinated and complained, strictly speaking he was outside my new rules but in the end in the spirit of optimism I agreed to dutifully give it a whirl. He was very charming too, although a bit flustered on arrival and stuttered through the first few minutes, so I took the helm and got us going, if there’s one thing Miss.Kitty is master of it’s inane chat! Now I don’t know about you but it’s a bit of a conversation stopper when said fellow reveals he has a) two teenage children and b) a freshly dispatched Japanese ex-fiancee. Hmmm, excess luggage anyone?

Next was a date with a one of our dear city’s ever increasing population of builders who are fixing the place up. He was a real gentleman and attentively turned his laser beam focus on me for the evening asking many, many questions and paying me many compliments. What a really lovely bloke and not to mention buff, but sadly the spark didn’t ignite so we didn’t repeat the date.

So I ducked down my hidey-hole and curled up there for a few weeks. That is until my brand new, shiny, single, gorgeous girlfriend lit a stick of dynamite under my arse! Her turbine drive and vivacious, tenacious appetite for life has shaken me from my backward looking reverie and last week the two of us went speed dating much to our own surprise. 15 men, 15 women and 2 large glasses of vino. It was the funniest, most ridiculous, entertaining night out I’ve had in a long, long time. We struggled to make head or tail of the male pack in 4 minute increments, some passing in the blink of an eye and others feeling like slow water torture.

In the assembled room was a vast array of characters including an executive female man-eater complete with 80s haircut, shoulder pads and knocking ovaries, three persian scientists/engineers who were very intense and painfully polite, a jolly Irish dairy farmer, a mouse sized primary school teacher with a big voice, a nervous first-time builder who had a rehearsed monologue, a Blade Runner looking blonde IT type with a creepy line in pickups (“I’ve seen you online” he breathed down the back of my neck at half time) and the tee-total, serial speed dater who attends doggedly every month. Still we had the best night, it was like a youth club on acid. I loved the craziness of meeting so many people in a short space of time. It’s not romantic and you certainly won’t meet the one but it’s nice to meet people, get out, be human and sociable. Most of all I enjoyed exercising my ‘chatting to strangers’ muscle and I’m pretty bloody good at it turns out  – scoring 12 out of 15 ticks, well surely I’m allowed a bit of boasting? It’s good for my confidence! But I only ticked 3, of whom I only one made one match. So this week I have a date with a snowboarding, surfing, climbing, scaffolder with a sunny personality and not too shabby in the flesh either. Perfect!

And what do they always say about looking the other way? Online I’ve been fished up by a handsome, cheeky chappie from another city who is intriguing and delighting me as well as serendipitously meeting some really lovely guys in the real world for a change.

Now I know something I didn’t believe before, that things do get better, there is always another day around the corner.You just have to be patient, get on with living your life and try everything! Eventually the hurt and loneliness fades and one day you stumble across things that can make you smile again.

Teens at the diner

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Raising the stakes

It’s been a draining few weeks between toughing it out on new online dates (unsuccessful) and limping through painful and fractured communication with a… well I was going to say an ex, flame or love interest but the truth is that he is none of these. We never even made it that far as you know. So let’s call him a could-have-been.

Last week I wandered into the Casino for an entertaining drink and a spot of people watching, as you do. It was buzzing with people from all walks of life in various stages of drunkenness.

The ones around the Poker and Blackjack tables were hard to read as you’d expect, all buttoned up and playing it cool, and the poor Pokie junkies had the desperate focus of someone who’s in need of a break, a really big break.

It occurred to me that life and love are much the same as gambling. We’re either in it for the long game, keeping our cards close to our chest ’till we can see what the other players intentions are or we’re all in win or lose whatever the consequence. No prizes for guessing what type of gambler I am! No doubt I’ve been wearing the same frantic expression of desperation. And that’s not to mention those agitated souls who sit poised with their hand on the one armed bandit, just waiting for all the stars to align in a row.

I may have lucky Jupiter as my ruling planet but my stars have been on a sabbatical and as I walked round the floor I realised looking at the sad and stressed punters that happiness is in pretty short supply at the Casino. So if love is like gambling, the house always wins right? Losers all round. It started me thinking, maybe instead of betting on my losing streak with these idiots who throw me in with their bad hand, I should raise my chip worth? It’s their loss and my gain.

So I fold. I’m removing myself from the table. Period, yet again. Next time I take a chance it’s going to be because someone has asked me to bet on them and not the other way around no matter how long it takes, because the truth is when I win I want to win big. Here’s to hoping that fate rolls a double and the stars come out to play.

marilyn

You Got Mail!

Yes it really is as simple as that. Three hours after reactivating my profile and I’m already treading in the shark infested waters, with an online inbox bulging with smiles, winks and messages. I’m the fresh meat on the block and it doesn’t take long for them to sniff me out…

So here I am 5 months on and right back where I started, full circle, chatting to anonymous people and trying to stay positive, bubbly and chatty just like my profile says (insert smiley face here). But this time I’ve got my armour on so I’ve already politely declined every man who has an ex-wife or kids… hey I’m not putting my hand in that fire again.

This time it’s different and yes maybe this old school, freeform romantic is finally shaping up a fussy ‘list’ after all?

meg

.

Ride ’em Joan

I’m sick of being miserable, sick of being sad, sick of waiting patiently with hope in my heart for someone who doesn’t come, sick of holding myself in like an overfilled cup of water just in case a certain someone wakes up and smells the coffee.

Guess what? It’s me who needs to smell the beans. But you knew that all along didn’t you? It’s me who needs to wake up. Me who needs to be harsh. Me who needs a reality check. He’s not coming. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month. I’ve waited a long time to hear his footstep or the sound of his voice, but it never comes, instead I get empty text promises and lingering silences. The reality is love conquers all and the check is there’s no tick mark for that on my form. It hurts, but I gotta toughen up right? I said back in January that I’d given up, that I wouldn’t look for love. I said I would just be me. Well I’ve been me for 4 months now and I find me is a state of extreme loneliness and longing. Sadness and solitude that I can’t bear.

Driving home tonight and crying over the steering wheel again, I made a decision. I’m not a victim to love, I’m fed up of being an emotional cripple, I will take back my control and come out fighting.  Miss Kitty is coming back! And this time I’m not accepting anything except the very best offer I can get from another person. No half way houses, no baggage (or at least lite baggage only), no skeleton exes in the cupboard, no pathetic excuses  or abuse or drunken twisted 2am blackmail, just someone honest, passionate and pure. Who actually wants to be with me instead of running away all the time like the last two. Someone who wants to have fun and date me (pretty simple you’d think huh? I’m not exactly the elephant woman, last time I looked). No more tortured agony, I mean if it’s like this at the start,what would it be like if we ever actually got off the ground?

So tonight I re-activated my online profile and I’m drinking red wine and putting on my armour (just round my heart you understand) ready to go back into the fray and believe me I need tough skin. Online you get the oldies, the lechees, the insincere, the insane, the day-dreamers and everything in between. It certainly ain’t easy, it takes balls and bravery something my last two guys didn’t have that’s for sure.

But I’m sick of being passive and being walked all over. Sick of falling hard and being left on the concrete. The bitch is back! Well she’s not really back, because I’m just learning, but from now on I will learn to be tougher and harder and not take this shit anymore. There is a FRAGILE sticker on my heart and I’m not gonna let anyone close enough to see it anymore unless they jump through hoops first.

As A.A. Milne once said “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” So here goes. Can you see me going? Charging forth into battle like Joan of Arc, dressed in glistening chainmail on a white horse called Faith, with a banner embroidered with the words Love streaming behind me in the wind and in my hand I carry a silver shield held high which reads Hope.

I know it’s good isn’t it? But erm by the way…. I can’t ride a horse, so let’s make it a miniature pony and I don’t have any chainmail so instead I’ll just wear my favourite pretty retro pink leopard print dress with matching pink wedges (which means I’ll have to ride side saddle of course) and I don’t actually have a banner just a hankie and will a compact do for the shield maybe? OK. Well off I go… of course I’ll keep you posted ‘cos you’ll be with me every gallop of the way, well it’s probably more of a trot really eh? But in for a penny in for a pound – let battle begin!

joan

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

Hobby horsing around

A weird phenomenon about flying solo in your thirties is that it’s like going back to high school.  Firstly I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time sighing dramatically and mooning over handsome actors in movies (this time minus the posters on my bedroom wall) and optimistically revisiting and studying classic romantic films – are there any clues I may have missed the first time around? Secondly I hang out a lot with my bestie (who is also sans a hubby or a boyfriend) and we spend any spare time in each other’s pockets, so much so that people start thinking she’s my girlfriend and not my plus one. Oh and thirdly I’ve taken up hobbies. Yes it sounds very pre-pubescent.

If the last time you had a hobby was back when you wore long socks and braces and they took the shape of ballet class, guitar lessons, athletics club, brownies/cubs or swim school then you’re in for a shock. The adult version is way more sophisticated. Granted it’s more like a bucket list before coupledom or arthritis sets in (whichever comes first!) but I have taken up in the following order op shop furniture shopping, a bit of DIY dabbling and the odd crafty art thing, running, chutney and jam making, pet therapy, life drawing, a two times crack at rock climbing, archery and some naughty but nice limoncello making!

So yes in a nutshell, I guess I have finally turned into my mother. Except for the gardening, which so far I am resisting, apart from the 3 shrivelled up orchids I foolishly bought. Soon to be added to the wish list are hot yoga, pump, a French language refresher and Vietnamese cooking. Thankfully I haven’t started crocheting or knitting yet but you never know. Of course the thing I haven’t mentioned in my new array of skill sets is also one of my favourite’s and that is blogging and talking to you.

archery

Sugargirls

This is a shout out to all my ladies (D.J. Miss K in da house!), my sisters in arms who step with me shoulder to shoulder along my pathway to… well to whatever lies in store? I salute you and thank each and everyone of you beautiful troopers from the bottom of my misshapen heart.

When the chips are down, when I’m out for the count, when the tears are pouring they step in, unsummoned, with flowers, wine, tissues, chocolate, reassuring nods and unconditional support. I may be unlucky in love and pick the wrong guys but at least I scored the four leaf clover with my girlfriends.

They say you know who your friends are when the shit hits the fan, by God I’ve had so much shit hit the proverbial, my girls all wear jumpsuits and galoshes…pink of course! One particular lady, she knows who she is, is my Gibralta. Always there no matter what. Any time, day or night with a splash of the hard stuff, a warm and ready hug and some sage advice. She has a heart of pure gold and a generous spirit, my Maori-Manchester kaitiaki. I shelter under her strong umbrella, you mess with me you mess with my adopted big sister!

And it wouldn’t be right to give a nod to the sisterhood that props me up and keeps me marching through the daily grind of celibacy without standing to attention for the one who made it all possible. And yes, I know I should have listened from the start… and yes, I know you know best….. and yes, I know you wish you had a fairy wand…. but hey I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t test your limits – you are an inspirational warrior queen and I love you Mum.

As someone who was bullied at school and spent the best part of my teens and twenties trying to recover, I can tell you that the greatest gift actually is true friendship in all its many glorious shades, because even meeting your soul mate is just finding the best friend that you happen to love too.

So ladies… next time, let me toast you all with one for the road and hope like hell the highway has been recently tarmaced!

girls