Thursday, May 03, 2007

Chapter Eleven

Fancy a cliché? How about men are like buses – you wait ages for one, and then three come along at the same time! Or how about men are like placemats - they only show up when there's food on the table. Or even, men are like government bonds - they take so long to mature. Well I have a new cliché and it’s ironic! Here it is, ‘the best bit about speed dating was talking to Adrian-from-floor-2’. I know, it’s ludicrous and loaded with irony, but I have worked in the same building as this man for weeks and learned more about him in 2 hours than in 2 months. He works for one of the financial magazines and it’s surprising what fun he is – considering he spends his days writing about stocks and shares and equities. I usually find that these guys who number crunch are mind-numbingly boring, but Adrian was funny and genuine. Speed dating was hell and I can honestly say that I’d prefer speed dying than speed dating. Never again. It was a bad omen when the evening kicked off with Frank from Leeds buying me a drink (which I’m certain was one of the complimentary glasses of wine) and said, “Hey, babe. Did you know the word of the day is ‘legs’.”

“Legs?” I frowned, checking out his tacky goatee beard as I scanned his face. I thought it might have been some special code word that only the fully initiated in speed dating knew about. It probably was – but only in Frank’s book.

“Yeah,” he chortled, “So let's go back to my place and spread the word.”

I grimaced and handed him back his freebie glass of wine. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Adrian I would have probably thrown in the proverbial towel after half an hour, but he had Tamsin and I in raptures. I’m sitting at my desk trying to write up this week’s column and struggling to keep Adrian’s name out of it. The truth was, that I found him adorable – but that doesn’t quite tie in with my still-wet-from-the-seal promise that I’ll be single for a year. So I need to write this up from the point of view that Adrian wasn’t at speed dating. The truth is I’ve been on the phone to Tamsin at least four times every day since Saturday, just to remind her of something else that Adrian had said to me. I think I’m driving her bonkers, but I can’t help it. So…. to focus on the dreadful side of speed dating….

Relationship Rehab - week 2

Embark on speed dating with caution. Be prepared to mingle, Butlins-Holiday-Camp
style, with a crowd of men with zero personality. Forearm yourself with the reality that, if they had an iota of personality to begin with, they wouldn’t need to resort to speed dating. Prepare yourself to be treated like a Brit-abroad as you are handed your cartoon character playing card at the door and told to ‘work the room, find the other half of your card, and the first couple back here win a bottle of champagne.’ My card was Princess Fiona. Great, that meant I was looking for a fucking Shrek. Plenty of choice there, then. The ‘champagne’ was Asti Spumanti, the guys were Shrek, but hey, at least Shrek had personality. At least Shrek was funny. Unlike these dorks. In the first half hour I was subjected to the old reliable, ‘that outfit would look great in a crumpled heap on my bedroom floor tomorrow morning,’ and the ‘was your father a thief…’ – I won’t bore you with the details. I got chatting to the host at one point, who delighted in telling me how he ‘bagged all the tasty birds’ for himself and don’t even get me started on the ‘7 guys – 3 minutes each’ session. Would you believe how exhausting it is trying to strike up a new conversation every 3 minutes? As for the Texan guy with the beard – the moment I noticed his name badge read ‘Yosemite Sam’ I knew I was looking down the double barrel.
Sophie x


I made a joke of it all in my column, but the truth is, spending time with Adrian made me feel lonely. To have a laugh and a proper conversation with a guy that doesn’t revert to bawdy banter and sexual innuendo every few minutes was refreshing but stark. It made me realise that I didn’t care about losing Danny Mullins or any of those short-term boyfriends. It was the long-term ones that broke my heart. Ben was a hard man to lose, despite his desperate lacking in the communication stakes; we were definitely on the same sexual wavelength. The vagaries of that cattle market, also known as speed dating, have left me numb; made me realise that I’m tired of the brave face. There’s no doubt that break ups are ugly and sting like crazy. Mum is always urging me to be more like Jennifer in my choice of men, but I just can’t ignore the vital signs – such as integrity and honesty – because I’m dazzled by the size of their car/wallet/house/bank balance (tick any or all of these). I’m slightly depressed and disappointed that I felt pushed into choosing to stay single, but convince myself that I’m better off alone rather than putting myself through the trauma of the extreme highs and lows of continually dating the wrong men. And I don’t have the patience anymore, to consider that every guy that I meet is potentially ‘The One’.

Chapter Ten
Chapter Twelve

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