Sunday, 22 May 2011

In which I wonder what exactly is going on

We all know that there are rules around dating... but does anyone have the faintest clue what they actually are? I only ask because I have no idea what I'm doing.

Yesterday I went on a second date with Good On Paper Guy. Yes, a second date, despite the fact that I didn't really want to go on the first one. You may assume that when we met for drinks the first time, my reservations were cast aside and the sparks flew. You would be wrong. The date was perfectly nice, but I still didn't fancy him. The reason I went out with him a second time was that he was persistent, and I'm too polite to say no. Having attempted to avoid the situation with a variety of transparent excuses, I eventually bumped into him in the pub on Friday night, where he said "So are you going to let me take you out again?" and I found myself saying "What about lunch?"

Lunch was undeniably lovely. We went to a Michelin starred restaurant and sat outside in the sunshine drinking wine and eating amazing food. He was sweet and entertaining and interesting, and refused to let me pay my share despite the fact the bill came to more than £70. (In fact, there's a good rule for men to look out for - if I'm insistent about paying my share, it's because I don't plan to see you again and don't want to take advantage.) The trouble is, what if he asks me out again? What can I say? Ending a relationship is one thing, but admitting you don't even want to see how things might progress seems really cruel. On the other hand, I'd really rather that I didn't end up marrying him out of politeness.

In other news, Future Husband returned from his holiday with a beautiful framed print he had bought me in an antique shop, and we spent a happy afternoon kissing like teenagers. Meanwhile, we absolutely failed to discuss any elements of what's going on between us, which is odd because we talk about everything, all the time. To further complicate matters, I've spent so much time being indoctrinated by elements of The Rules that I have now developed a phobia of texting or calling a man, even if I have known that man for more than two decades. If you think that sounds mad, it gets worse: I haven't even read The Rules, somehow I've just learned them via osmosis. My loved-up friends think I'm mental, but if a potential date is going to disappear off the face of the earth (as seems to happen to single friends, male and female, with alarming regularity), I'd much rather that he didn't realise I was interested in the first place. Of course if you're genuinely not interested, men will behave like perfect gentlemen, with regular, witty texts and expensive lunches.

If dating is a game, does anyone happen to know how one would go about winning it?

Monday, 16 May 2011

In which I wonder what it means to be single

It is three months since the Former Love of my Life and I made the decision to split up, and it feels like three years. I still feel like I'm drowning if I think about him too much... but I've realised that I'm going to be ok. I don't know when, or if, I'll ever wake up and not care about him, but I've realised that even when something heartbreaking happens, life is good. And I've learnt a few things about being single:

1. Girlfriends are the best. A girlfriend told me that the only possible reason that The Brazilian hadn't called is that he'd died. When I told her he'd updated his Facebook profile that morning, she told me I was in denial. I laughed so much I forgot to be sad.

2. You have more friends than you think. I have driven to Wales to spend the bank holiday with a dreadlocked uni friend, been clubbing with a girl I haven't seen since I was 10 and her hilarious friends, watched the Royal Wedding with friends I've seen every few months since I was four, and been to a gig with a Twitter friend I'd never met before. And that's just the start of it.

3. You meet men everywhere - but you might not care. When I was in a relationship, I thought I might be missing something, or someone. Now I realise I probably wasn't. There are gorgeous, kind, sweet men everywhere (as well as some grade A tossers) but most of them aren't for me. I'll wait for someone exceptional, thanks very much.

4. Bathtimes are depressing. God knows why, but I've lost count of the number of times I found myself crying in the bath. Often I accompanied the crying by mournfully singing Adele songs. Maybe it's a rite of passage for the broken hearted. Exercise damage limitation and don't take a glass of Pinot to the bathroom with you.

5. On a related note, Pinot is depressing too. Drink Martinis instead. You might fall off your stilettos and graze your knees like a schoolchild (hypothetically, of course) but you're less likely to end up sobbing under the duvet.

6. You can be really, really selfish. It's awesome. When I was in a relationship, mine was the "sensible car", with five seats and boot space. I've since bought an apple green convertible. I also bought clothes I knew my ex would hate, and had my hair cut the way I wanted it for the first time. Can you believe I'd never decided on my own hair cut without wondering if a guy would like it? Jeeeeezus.

7. You will remember what you actually like. I have listened to Adele's new album pretty much every day, I have watched the Sex and the City movie about six times, and I've filled the gaps in between with the Cold Feet box set and a pile of books. Oddly enough, I haven't watched a single episode of Top Gear.

8. You can plan for a future which is all about you. Yes, I hope to get married one day, but before then I plan to buy my own flat, with money I have saved up, and decorate it however I like. Pink, probably.

9. You should buy a Rabbit. Don't ask questions, just do it.

10. Being single is a permanent state of hopefulness. You could meet your next Great Love anywhere you look. He might be your best friend, or the guy you meet at the bar, or someone you work with, or the drummer in the band, or Prince Harry. Tonight might be the night you meet him. Or it might just be the night you drink fifteen Martinis and graze both your knees.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

In which I agree to a date I don't really want to go on

I've been a bit quiet of late, what with the two bank holiday weekends, a trip to Wales, a hen do, a new car and a promotion all happening in the last two weeks! I've been far too busy writing angry letters to banks and insurance companies (a bit of a speciality of mine - I should start a sideline in professional complaints) to have any time left over for blogging, and with so much going on, I haven't really known where to start...

Future Husband* went on holiday last week, but spent the whole week texting me. When he got back, we spent nearly two hours on the phone. I even told Forces Wife about my feelings for him, as he was her first love, and under normal circumstances I wouldn't go near a friend's ex for all the shoes in Louboutin. She told me to go for it, bless her. I didn't think she'd be upset, especially considering that she is marrying a wonderful man is in less than a month, but I felt very uneasy about it all the same. It's a weight off my shoulders to have her blessing.

So FH and I are slowly maneuvering our twenty-two year relationship into new and much more dangerous waters. I haven't seen him since our amazing weekend together, partly due to his holiday, and partly due to the fact that (I have now remembered) he is wholly unreliable. I was supposed to be seeing him today in fact, but he went out last night and didn't wake up until three. Maybe this is why we're not together! Still, I'm excited to see where this might go, despite the fact he's a mature student who's incapable of setting an alarm.

In the meantime, I found myself agreeing to a date with a man who is incredibly Good On Paper. I met him at birthday drinks for one of my lovely colleagues, we hit it off, and the following day he asked my friend for my number and texted to ask me out. He's thirty-something, works in IT, drives a BMW, owns his own flat... and I don't fancy him at all. It's not that he's unattractive - he's actually lovely, and really fit - but I'm just not feeling the spark. However, in the name of playing the dating game, I found myself saying yes to post-work drinks next week. It doesn't sit that well with me considering the situation with FH, but that's almost why I agreed to it - it would be easy to start treating FH as a boyfriend, and he isn't. Yet. Still, I feel a bit bad for leading Good On Paper Guy on when I'm fairly certain there won't be a second date, but isn't that what being single is all about? Meeting people, having a laugh, enjoying each other's company for a while...

So we shall see. Neither the date with Good On Paper Guy nor the next meeting with Future Husband have been confirmed yet, and with my recent track record I won't be putting any money on either of them actually taking place!

*I'm beginning to wish I'd chosen a different moniker... 'Future Husband' has lost its irony in recent weeks!