Saturday, April 28, 2007
The best (and worst!) ones will feature in the Pulling Power mini documentaries - which will be published as a full length feature at the end of the story - and will feature in Sophie's story. There are hundreds of cliche'd lines out there, but there are also loads of really funny and original techniques too!
Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org - video them from your mobile, send them as MP3 voice recorded messages, or through any other format that suits you!
Can't wait to see them - so get recording!
AJ’s bitchiness is only the tip of the iceberg. Delaney wants me to research speed dating for next week’s piece, insisting that I find a good event on Saturday night and go along. This is ridiculous and completely against what I’m standing for! I’d made my decision to stay single to keep myself away from the leering geeks and slimy creeps that frequent the singleton scene. So how do I find myself spending the entire day Googling every speed dating event in the city of London, in the hope that I might find one that I’d be willing to attend? I’m angry at Maria Delaney, pushing me into this situation and I’m kicking myself for not being more outspoken and telling her that I don’t want to write about my romantic rehabilitation. On checking out speed dating I’m shocked at the amount of choice, amazed to discover the extent to which I’ve been limiting myself to meeting guys through friends and friends-of-friends and random bumping into in the ice cream aisle of the supermarket. Well it’s no wonder that I haven’t found anyone decent! By the looks of it all the eligible bachelors are sat at home, getting piles and drinking cans of beer as they log on to the speed dating highway! There are a good proportion of guys who look like their photos have already appeared on Crimewatch, but then there are others who are positively George Clooneyesque! But can they all really own their houses outright and be earning between £50,000-£75,000 a year? If so, what are they doing on these dating sites and speed dating? And if they’re working 23-hour days, when do they expect to have the time for dating? I have 2 nights to figure out what to wear, where to go and to persuade Tamsin to come with me. And what ‘look’ do I go for? As if I’m there as a genuine speed dater looking for a guy that’s excited me with his conversation in only 3 minutes – or do I go ‘arty’, under the guise of journalist on research?
Exhausted, I leave the office at 6 ‘o’clock, with my head spinning, trying to excite myself about going home to an empty flat tonight…
Adrian had spent the last half an hour sitting with Ellie on reception, gazing into her eyes and asking her about herself. It was his most favoured chat up technique, to ask relentless questions to a woman – to get her talking about herself, so that she would be flattered and intrigued at his interest. “Every woman loves to talk. Especially about herself,” he’d laugh with Trev from their desks on a daily basis. He’d taken the chance to pick up Ellie’s copy of Woman To Woman, flicking through until he’d found Sophie Regan’s Relationship Rehab feature.
“Hey, this is new, isn’t it?” he’d asked Ellie, interrupting her mid-flow as she regaled the intricacies of her divorce. She tingled at the smell of him as he leaned toward her, ‘accidentally’ pushing the back of his tanned hand onto her leg as he showed her the magazine. She flushed, “Oh, yes. That’s the new assistant features writer. Looks like she’s taken over Victoria Harris’ weekly column. Mind you,” she went on, “that Victoria hasn’t been in for weeks.”
“Yeah, thought I hadn’t seen her. So, this Sophie one, what’s she like? I haven’t seen any new faces around.”
“I’ll point her out to you if she goes by,” Ellie offered, before taking a deep breath and continuing with her tale of woe about her ex-husband and his new fiancée’s engagement bling. Ade zoned out to her whilst still gazing into her eyes and nodding at the right junctures. But inside he was desperately hoping that this Sophie Regan one wasn’t some fusty, student-type – it would be so much more fun if she presented at least a glimmer of challenge.
It’s time like this I’m relieved that Mum lives in L.A. now. It’s bad enough having to write this column about not just being single, but choosing to, but it would be a million times more mortifying if my mother was here to read it. And thank god I moved from Dublin; at least there’s less chance that all those hideous exes will be witness to my embarrassing portfolio of dating horrors. It would be too much – the notion that all those married men that had chanced their luck with me would recognise themselves – even worse, that their wives would recognise them. But then again, I’m assuming that they have a single conscience between them! It might be lonely here in London, with no family and only Tamsin as my true friend, but at least there’s an element of damage limitation in terms of my reputation. If Tam won’t come with me on Saturday night, then I’ll have to go speed dating alone. And if that doesn’t scream ‘desperate’ then I might as well go wearing a wedding dress and sandwich board advertising for a ‘vacancy’!
I kick off my beaded sandals and leave them in a clumsy ballet ‘position 2’ in the hallway, throwing down my bag and mobile onto the sofa as I flop down beside them. I must call Tam sooner rather than later if I’m going to make sure she can come on Saturday. She’s been acting slightly strange for the last couple of weeks, but insists that it’s simply work pressures. She’s a nurse and gives 200% to her work, so I suppose it’s unfair of me to expect her to be ‘chipper’ all the time. Lying on my back, the leather cool against my bare legs as my gipsy skirt as flicked up onto my thighs, I grapple for my mobile which has slid somewhere beneath my bum. I scroll through and find Tam.
Tamsin loved afternoon sex. It had a thrilling naughtiness to it, ‘doing it’ during the daylight hours, the sunshine warming the bed and making her skin tender and soft to the touch. She’d been in bed with Pete since 3.45, when he’d arrived with a twinkle in his eye and a hard on in his pants that was positively bursting to get to her. Her knickers lay in shreds at the bottom of the stairs, as he’d ripped them from her and lifted her up, wrapping her legs around himself as he carried her upstairs. Once again he was fabulous – knowing just what to do, and when, and how! He had 9 years on her, and 100’s more partners. Pete was man who knew just how hard to bite on her nipple, how slowly she liked to be rubbed and how he got the best from her when he was behind and pulling her long dark hair a little roughly. Laying, spooning in her bed, she could feel his hairy chest against her back and the warm cup of his groin behind her bum cheeks. He was breathing deeply and slowly, indicating that he was sleeping. She slowly raised her arm to check her watch – 6.53pm – he’d been here just over 3 hours and she so wanted not to wake him. If she woke him, he’d scream that it was nearly 7 ‘o’clock and rush into the shower, back into his suit and straight out of her front door. And she didn’t want that. Not yet. She hadn’t reckoned on her mobile ringing. She’d forgotten to set it to ‘silent’ as she usually did whenever she was with Pete. His job was demanding and their time together seemed constantly limited, so any moment that had together was precious. She lost control of things from then. Pete woke with a lazy groan and she’d have given anything to slide on top of him again, but he kissed her shoulder before getting out of the bed. She knew she’d lost him to the shower and so answered her phone. It was Sophie.
“Hey, Tam?” she was light and breezy.
“Hi,” croaked Tamsin, desperate to shake the sex out of her voice, “what’s up?”
“Yeah,” she coughed lightly to clear her throat, and laughed, “yeah, I’m fine. Just having an afternoon ‘sleep’!”
“Em, yeah,” and then she whispered, “Pete’s here.”
Sophie laughed, “Ah, you dirty dog, you 2 been in bed all afternoon?”
“Not all afternoon,” she giggled.
“I suppose you’ll be out with him on Saturday night won’t you?”
“No! I mean, no. Not Saturday. Not this week.”
“Great! You can come speed dating with me then.”
“Jesus, Soph. Speed dating? I thought you were on a mission to stay single! Change of plan already?” she began to laugh a little, “Bloody hell, it’s only been one day and you’ve changed your mind already?”
“Not me. Delaney. She said the piece was a hit and wants me to write about my life and my ‘mission’. Starting with bloody speed dating on Saturday. Please say you’ll come.”
At that moment Pete emerged from the bathroom and strode, naked into her room again. The very sight of his toned body caused her to ache,
“Oh yeah, not a problem. I’ll have no problem coming.”
I think we'll meet in the Blarney Stone Irish Bar - what better for a venue for singletons than an introductory few drinks in a lively bar!!
If you've never been into Second Life before, then sign up. It's free to join and rather addictive. And it's a great place to meet new people and have a few laughs too! I agree, it is kind of weird at first, and my first reaction was that I didn't have enough time in the day for my First Life, never mind my Second one, but with a little trial and error I now love it! If you have any problems nip over to the Staying Single forum and I'll help you get fixed up!
More details on finding The Blarney Stone Irish Bar to follow and if anybody knows of any other excellent venues for us girls (and guys) to get together, then let us all know! Waiting to hear from you, feel free to join in - the more the merrier!
Adrian Ford shuffled in the Starbucks coffee queue, looking down at his new tan leather shoes and wondering whether they made his feet look too big. He’d sweet-talked the cute stylist at yesterday’s photoshoot, giving her the wink that never failed to work, virtually charming the designer shoes from her suitcase and into his desk drawer. But now he wasn’t so sure – about her or the shoes. He ordered his caramel macchiato, with 2 skinny lemon muffins as an afterthought, flashing his smile at the Polish girl behind the counter, enjoying watching her blush. As he walked into his offices just off of Oxford Street he tapped his jeans pocket, checking that his iPod was still there.
“Morning Ellie!” he breezed at the chocolate-skinned receptionist and placed the brown paper bag on her desk, full of the promise of yet another Starbucks surprise.
“Ade. What’ve you got me this time? You know I’m being good.”
“Babe,” he winked, “you look great as you are. Anyway,” he looked over his shoulder as he approached the lift, “it’s a skinny one.” She smiled and peeked into the brown paper bag, mouthing a ‘thank you’ as the lift doors closed and he disappeared.
Contrary to popular belief Adrian was worth a lot more to the men’s magazine Geezer than his fortnightly ‘Ade Gets Laid’ quirky feature. That had really come to fruition after a drunken bet with the deputy editor who had doubted Adrian’s ability to sell the idea to the editor. Ade had won and the jokey 800-word feature became just a fraction of what he wrote for Geezer and was an unfair window for the journalistic skills of Adrian Ford. As usual the daily press cuttings had already been placed on his desk and he prised the plastic lid from his coffee and lightly blew at the milky froth. Flicking through the latest news and celebrity scandals he waited for something to jump out at him – something he could write about for Geezer – another great story that men would love to read. He reached page 20 before he spotted anything. And then he saw the column from Woman to Woman. He read it intently, smiling into his coffee as he slurped at it, his feet up on his desk,
‘…and so I’ve checked myself into Relationship Rehab. Staying Single is a positive choice, which buys me the luxury of just being into ‘me’. With no man to consider I can concentrate on my inner and outer beauty! And what plans I have! No more ‘D.S.S.’. No more married guys or clumsy kissers. Forget looking for my G-Spot – I know where it is, thanks very much….’
Ade laughed out loud, cuffing his frothy lips with the back of his tanned hand.
“Who is this woman?” he scanned the page for her name. “Sophie Regan, eh? He went onto read a little more before resting the page back down on his desk and shook his head,
“Babe. You sound perfect for my next feature.” He called out to Trevor Malone, his co-features writer, “Hey Trev, you know a Sophie Regan? From Woman to Woman?”
Trev shook his head, a vacant expression on his face, “Never heard of her. Must be new.”
Ade slurped at his coffee, placed the Styrofoam mug on his desk and rubbed his hands together,
“Excellent. I love a challenge…”
I feel good this morning. The sun woke me, teasingly dancing over my face in a playful way and I nearly woke up giggling. The weather’s been delightful and news presenters all over the country have been telling us how it’s the ‘hottest May since 1801”, and promising an even more scorching June! In a way, writing the column about Relationship Rehab was strangely therapeutic and I’m excited about going into work today. As I chop a banana into chunks and throw them into my smoothie-maker along with a handful of blueberries and raspberries I remember what I’d written and left on Delaney’s desk last night. A wave of sickness churns in my stomach as I watch the reds and purples cling to the glass jug as the blender screams, “you’ve gone public with your horrorscopes!” My historical farce, my predictions and premonitions of dating terrors that I’d forecast. My public decision to opt out and vow to stay single. Suddenly it didn’t seem such a great idea. And it was too late. The mag went to print overnight and I can’t back out.
I’m slow to get dressed and drag my white gipsy skirt up over my equally white legs and my red vest top down over my slightly sunburnt arms. I’d offer to marry the oldest and ugliest guy in the world right now, rather than face up to my public speech about what a failure I am. But hey, I’m sure some Hollywood celebrity already married him!
The tube ride to the office was far too quick. What usually takes half an hour seemed to take all of, oh, three minutes today! And I’m sure Ellie, our receptionist gave me a weird smile as she said ‘hi’ when I walked past her desk, but she did have her mouth full of muffin, so maybe I’m being Paranoia Princess. I don’t so much wish the ground would swallow me up, as to wish that I could simply melt into it and remain there – for eternity. I’ve managed to crawl to my desk, thrilled to find that I have an unopened bottle of water in my drawer from yesterday. Fabulous news, which means I don’t have to suffer ‘the kitchen’ and the water cooler small talk. I snarl at my computer as it twinkles its start-up jingle and I try to press the keys very quietly. It’s going to be all about blending in today.
“Regan!” Delaney’s voice could shatter glass. I physically cringe as she gently spins my chair around and slides her left buttock onto my desk. “You did a great job on that column. Fabulous! You pulled it off. You were meant to write this column. I want you to take over Victoria Harris’ column from now. I’m not convinced about the Relationship Rehab tag – maybe we’ll discuss that. Now you have to really write about what it’s like being a singleton in London. Come into my office at 10 and we’ll talk it through.” Rabbit-In-The-Headlights I stare at her, my brain labouring for a response, but I needn’t worry because she has more to say as she rises from my desk and smiles, revealing lip-stick smeared teeth,
“Oh, and Regan? Speed dating. Saturday night. Leicester Square. How about writing that into next week’s column? You can try them all – speed dating, internet dating – find out about them and write ‘em up! You made this promise now – to stay single – so try to keep to it eh?”
And she breezes back to her office, leaving me stunned. I catch AJ’s reflection in my computer screen and realise that she can see my crushed expression. I turn on my chair to face her,
“Hey, this should be fun!” I force through gritted teeth and a plastic smile.
“Yeah,” she whinnies, “and there was me thinking you didn’t have any choice but to stay single…”Chapter One