“If you have someone that you think is the one … take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world and go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And … when you land at JFK and you’re still in love with that person, get married.” – Bill Murray
The days were thick and heavy and August ran through our hearts like a bull in a china shop. The heat always did something to us, kept us hopeful enough with its long days and exciting promises, but at the same time, filled us with a depression at the thought that our adventures would soon evaporate and we would go back to reciting a dismal elegy about everyday life. Summer has always held the promise of adventure and a time to create such exploits that would burn in our minds forever. And yet more often than not, come September, I would find myself filled with a new sense of loathing that my summer adventures were never quite as golden as they had once seemed to be.
This year a dense haze had settled over London and our lives and we filled our days with the vacuous and banal activities of the youth of London; drinking, fucking and going to pop-up restaurants and I wondered to myself whether these were supposed to be the golden years, and if so, whether I had rotted them away with such clichéd escapades.
Five years ago I had fallen in love with a man whose skin was soft to the touch and who wore an intoxicating scent of marjoram in the summer that reminded me of Mexico and days spent in Valencia. We had enjoyed a whirlwind romance that gripped our souls like a fatal ague; toxicity entered our bodies and clutched onto us and would not let us go. We were absolutely desperate to disconnect ourselves from reality, to disengage and disappear and fall into each other’s selves. Such is the fatality of young love.
Over the years as we tore each other apart, I began to live for the respite of slumber, for in those precious few moments before I collapsed into a deep state of unconsciousness, I got to be with him again. My lucid state would lull me into his arms and an effortless smile would supplant itself upon my lips as I curled up into him; tracing my fingertips along the far too familiar curve of his back to his shoulders and arms that gripped me tight throughout the night until morning came once again. And with it the cold and grim reality, it was all but a dream.
It was a Thursday when we found our way to the South Bank, sat underneath the watchful gaze of the London Eye and basked in each other’s glow and decided to say goodbye. And like no time had passed, five years had come and gone and we were here in the same place we had been all those years ago, dreaming up the same stories we had before. The thing is, we kept dreaming and dreaming of this life together. Then one day we woke up and had dreamt our whole lives away. We had grown up and grown apart and even the thick stench of love in the air couldn’t bring us back together.
I thought about going backwards for a long time but I really really don’t believe it’s the way forward (hoho). But it’s summer in London and sometimes I find it gets boring if I’m doing the whole wine is my boyfriend thing and not dating another string of awkward 20 somethings like myself… Because the sun makes everything better in my experience. I thought about Tinder (twats), about DoingSomething.co.uk (what if I don’t actually want to DO anything?) and even recently, after my boss’s suggestion, Match.com (after the initial awkward shame that my boss thinks I need to join a dating site). But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. No matter how difficult actual real life human interaction can be in this day and age, I was determined to find love, or even just lust, by my own accord, without the help of social media.
However, I soon realised this business was a lot harder than first anticipated. And I stumbled upon the past again. So there I was, ready to go backwards. I scanned my little black book for an unsuspecting victim. Once I ruled out those who had broken my heart, and vice versa, those who are seriously unstable (but semi unstable was not ruled out), and anyone who had taken drugs in the past week. Well, I was left with a small pool of two. So I chose the one who worked closest to me because, well, that’s how you should make all of your dating decisions.
I always thought that going backwards is pretty dangerous territory because there’s usually a reason why they are in the past. Perhaps he was really really cool, but told a cryptic racist joke that one time. Or perhaps he had that weird fetish in bed and tried to poke it in your ear. Maybe he had a girlfriend (usually quite a big obstacle in your love story), or perhaps you just HATED HIS JACKET SO MUCH YOU COULDN’T BEAR TO GO ON A SECOND DATE (not that that has ever happened to me).
Anyway, the reason this one was in the past was that last time around he really thought that I wanted him to be my boyfriend and was SO against the idea (clearly I thought that choosing a guy who didn’t want me as a girlfriend the first time around was going to be a successful decision…) I mean the guy’s a catch but you know, so am I… Not that it’s a competition or anything, but nobody puts baby in the corner. You know the age-old saying, treat em mean keep em keen? I have always believed in, treat me keen, ok bye. So, when I realised that was the situation, that was the end of that … Fast forward three years and I find myself being told (reminded) that JEWISH BOYS JUST CAN’T MARRY NON-JEWISH GIRLS, SO THERE’S NO POINT TRYING. I mean, I love marriage talk as much as the next unstable twenty something but I did feel a slight twinge when I was told that my heritage was standing in the way of what was clearly turning out to be THE ROMANCE OF THE CENTURY.
I arrived to our (second) first date forty minutes late and about ten minutes before he was about to leave thinking he had been stood up. I would love to say it was because I was trying to test his intentions but it was really because I had had a nap, dreamt about Ryan Gosling and had totally overslept. I had to admit that when he turned round and now had slicked back Shoreditch/Essex boy hair and a pink shirt my heart quivered and I realized my “type” had taken a turn for the worse ever since that night in Shoreditch where I made eyes across the dance-floor with an Essex boy. And then when I saw that he was reading the same Russian novel as me I did think in my head that we were meant to be and surely not being Jewish is just a small hurdle (by the way, it really isn’t). But if he’s reading this I promise I’m kidding… Maybe he had a point in the first place after all…
And that’s the problem with me going backwards. I forget that there’s always a reason it didn’t work the first time around. One, I am not Jewish. Two, I am still crazy. Play it cool? My self control won’t allow it.
Back in a rut of bad boyfriends and bad choices, I wrote things that are better than anything that rolls off my tongue nowadays…
Originally posted on Girl v. London:
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Living a love life through text messages and instagram hash-tags can often lead to confusion and miscommunication. My new pal found this out recently… Self confessed, he told me: “At 28 I was married and had bought a house in the suburbs and now I’m 32, alone, and I live in a bedsit in Turnpike Lane going out on Tinder dates. I haven’t been on a date in 10 years, what the fuck happened?” He recalled the first couple Tinder dates to me, and his tales made me feel slightly less like the awkward turtle I’ve felt on my last few dates. Dating can be tough in any normal world but in an environment resembling the Okavango (London) it’s enough to make anyone go crazy.
The space in between sending a message and those little three bubbles popping up on the screen, or the “last seen: 9.30AM today” changing to “online” is enough time to think about at least 3 different scenarios where you go on a second date, get papped with Bey and Jay in Shoreditch, fall in love at the Big Chill Bar and end the night making sweet love by candlelight… Until they reply with “I’m pretty busy this month, work’s just so crazy, but let me get back to you…” Just a note, no one is busy at work in June and July.
My new dear friend, totally new to this Okavango savannah, was regaling me with tales of his first new Tinder dates… and what a “helpful hand” technology has been playing in this love affair. From drunken texting at least 5 times consecutively without a reply to misinterpreting a text that to a normal person said, I’m not interested but to him sounded like, let’s have a second date and get married. Times really are a changin’. (sorry, Bob)
I’ve written about my thoughts about Tinder before… But when you’re coming up to the fourth year of being single you start questioning whether you should try alternative options to what you’ve been doing so far (because clearly breaking windows of strangers’ bathrooms and dating stock brokers has been going SO well for me)…
Now, I’m not about to download Tinder, but if I was, I would have to compile a rulebook before I touched any online dating and Tinder:
- Apparently this “waiting three days to text” is still a thing… Must remember not to rush to my phone to eagerly await a text message, or even worse, a whatsapp (the devil of over thinkers like myself). APPARENTLY the length of time to reply is not correlated to the eagerness of your new beau (I still hold the same views I did when I was 16 years old when we waited the same amount of time they took to text us back, wait, that was just me… great.) Playing it cool never was my forte.
- Cat emojis. I’ve said enough. (guilty) CATS CATS CATS (I just removed the photo of me and my cat from my whatsapp profile because I realised my crazy cat lady persona is TOO REAL.)
- Don’t lead with a dick pic. NO SERIOUSLY. On and off Tinder. Never send photos of your junk… Because… There doesn’t need to be a reason.
- Don’t be a twat. I know that in this day and age of multiple museums, abundance of libraries and the greatest access to information than ever before, it is difficult to find a hobby that isn’t drinking Grey Goose from the bottle and posting a picture of Tinder. But for the love of god please stop doing this. I don’t want to date, nor sleep with anyone whose mouth has anywhere near Mahiki in the last three years… (At first I wanted to say Movida, but after a quick Google search I realized it had closed and really felt my age.)
5. Don’t drink and Tinder. THERE ARE NO UNDOS ON TINDER.
- Just one thing I (and my new friend) just can’t master… Don’t come on too strong. What? This person I hooked up with at Concrete ISN’T the love of my life??? HOW DO YOU KNOW?? We slow grinded to Destiny’s Child. THAT’S LOVE!!!! Errrrr…. Let me just text him another three times because he might not have got my first five.
- Know your audience. Perhaps you are a right fucking Romeo in real life. Perhaps I want to take my clothes off right now and sleep with you because you are just so charming. But I can vouch that no matter how much you resemble Josh Hartnett or how Mr. Grey you are, you won’t translate well in texts. No one translates well in texts… I know from my own experience, my own brand of crazy just does not convert well in text speak. Keep mobile contact to a minimum, you will seem mysterious but it’s mainly to curb the crazy.
- Don’t expect love. You know they say that love happens when you least expect it? Well if you’re constantly hoping/expecting that guy who said he was “swipe right if you want to date Cleo’s Most Eligible Bachelor no. 28” will be the one, then let me just give you a spoiler, it’s really not going to happen, and definitely not on Tinder, you’ve got some odds working in your favour on Match but I mean, we’re not there yet, are we?
Fuck you, Emma Watson, have you ever been to Shoreditch on a Friday.
I was given a little time off after being antibiotic-sick for the third time this year, a sickly manager is a liability when you start launching FW14 and planning the SS15 dress collection. So I skipped along to Berkshire to help mum with implementing some new designs in her house (finally, Pinterest comes in useful). I spent the week pottering around the greenhouse, going out for coffee mornings, taking trips to Laura Ashley interiors, drinking decent wine, walking the puppy in wellington boots and eating my weight in carbs… I could almost get used to this life…
But then again, there’s something about coming home. That feeling. It reminds me of being in love.
A comforting, warm embrace that feels so natural, like you never really left. It’s that feeling that quenches your thirst on a hot day; that you’re in a place that you belong. That’s what it’s really all about, that fit. We go around trying out Tinder, diving into dating, chasing the one that got away, when all we really want is to come home.
Some days nowhere in particular feels like home. Sitting in my Brixton flat with cracked windows and peeling lino in the bathroom, or working hard for little reward and not a glimpse of greenery or natural light in days. On days like those I try my best to come back to the countryside, where I litter little parts of myself around as reminders of my presence, that I’m a someone somewhere at least.
If you go out to eat at one place in the next three weeks, get yourself to When Mac Met Cheese. The little pop up is only open at its current location in Royal Oak (43 Porchester Road) for another 20 days… (not that I’m counting..) And I’m completely and utterly in love.
With specials like lobster mac and cheese, sides like deep fried mac and cheese balls with truffles and mushrooms and desserts like DEEP. FRIED. OREOS. your stomach will thank you. Oh, and their double gin and tonics are divine. I’d hark on more but I know I don’t need to. This place has got strong carb game and definitely not one to miss.
At the very, very end of last year I met a nice guy whom I clicked with straight away. I walked away from the first date with doubts but luckily for me I agreed to a second because I was pretty besotted after that. He came in a big muscley Australian package with this smirk that just fucking got me, you know?
I guess the problem was I fell too hard and fast….. actually the problem was I was heavily self-medicating at the time which led me to SAY too many things too hard and fast. But anyway, my lack of sanity and self control is not the point of the story here….
Things escalated fast… Our second date was to the cinema… I am a terrible cinema date. If you ever have the misfortune of accompanying me to the cinema you’ll know that this is not a task that should be taken lightly. After sitting through two hours of Walter Mitty biting my tongue from giving a running commentary I got a third date too and a ton of butterflies too… And of course by the third date things should start to get serious… So fast forward through some date of doing I don’t know what and I end up staying round his house. The next morning arrives and shockingly I have kept my trousers on (metaphorically) throughout the night so I haven’t yet been able to mesmerize (trick) him with my bedroom skills yet… I still have to act cool and awesome. Every cool and awesome day starts with washing yourself so off I go to take a shower in his bathroom. Here I am, looking in the mirror giving myself a pep talk whilst he’s pottering away in the kitchen making freshly squeezed orange juice for the girl that didn’t put out.
“Ooo, it’s a bit chilly,” I think to myself as I try to make my hair look elegantly dishevelled. “Let me just close the window.” And with that I jump into the shower and start using all the shower gels in the bathroom to lather myself up into a bubbly foam to make a foam beard with. Which is when I hear a LOUD BANG. I turn round to see that I did not close the window properly and it has in fact blown open and smashed against the wall outside.
So foamy, elegantly dishevelled and completely and utterly embarrassed I creep out of the bathroom in a towel and have to go fess up to this guy who technically is still a stranger of sorts, that not only did we not have sex but I’ve left you with a hole as a bathroom window and it’s zero degrees outside but thanks for the orange juice and wait you’ve just made fresh coffee too. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Now, clearly that whole relationship all worked out swimmingly because last weekend I found myself out in Shoreditch, kissing an Essex boy (with slicked back hair) and liking it but surprisingly I did get a few more dates out of him before we bombed into the ground and shattered, much like the bathroom window.
It’s Tube Hunger Games season again. Not that it ever stops being, but with the tourists (the enemy) flooding in thick and fast, and the prospects of schools soon breaking up for summer and that means mummy just HAS to take darling Rufus to the Natural History Museum, it’s an extra special time of year for all of us. As I prepare myself to brave the season once again, I begin to wonder why I keep staying, volunteering myself to an inevitable season of heartache as once again the enemy’s army tramples my feet, dawdles at the bottom of escalators and NEVER LET ME GET OFF FIRST… Of course, the week of sun that inevitably pops up in May (NB. last weekend), disappears for two months and reappears for a fleeting two weeks, goes someway to explain why it is that I stay. (So do the deep fried Oreos at When Mac Met Cheese.) When London is basked in sunlight I often forget the high rent prices, the en vogue food trucks where I have to queue an hour to get a table and of course, the overpriced, overcrowded tube.
But back to the matter in hand… To survive the season you have to be serious about the Games. You have to be prepared. This isn’t child’s play, people, this is the London Underground:
- The first rule of the Tube Hunger Games is that we don’t talk about the Tube Hunger Games. That’s a lie. The first rule of the Tube Hunger games is that YOU STAND ON THE RIGHT OF THE ESCALATOR AND EVERYWHERE. SERIOUSLY HOW ARE WE STILL DOING THIS WRONG. The second rule of the Tube Hunger Games is that you don’t talk about… No, again. The second rule is letting people off the carriage before you get on. Simple and yet so many perish at the first hurdle. If you make it pass this point, there’s a chance we can join forces to create a team. Sometimes it’s better to take on the enemy in numbers.
- In the height of the season sometimes it’s wise to stop washing. Personal hygiene is a desired quality on the underground. The less you have, the more likely people will keep their distance. And a healthy distance from fellow competitors is one of the few ways to ensure victory.
- Take no prisoners. There are no rules now the season is upon us. If someone pushes past you without a nod of solidarity, consider them the enemy… trip them, push them and call them names, anything goes.
- Comfortable shoes. Don’t bother boarding this mission unless you’re in sensible shoes. Ain’t nobody got times for those in heels. If a member of your team gets caught on the escalator, leave them behind. It’s their fate to be eaten up by the end of the escalator. (I’ve heard the rumours but never seen a real life escalator gobbling up a tribute).
- My personal favourite thing to do during Tube Hunger Games is to Google odd things on my phone. Since people are so insistent on reading over other people’s shoulders (myself being a main offender) give them something to read. Perhaps you will bond over searches on mating rituals of tribes in the deep Amazon jungle, who would win in a battle; a shark or a bear, or even whether Jesuits can marry. But we need to let the enemy know we mean business.
- Armour. What to wear on the tube is a question that many philosophers have spent many hours mulling over since the start of the Tube Hunger Games all those years ago. But like the meaning of life, there are many theories but few real answers. Too scantily clad and you keep cool but risk prying hands over your hot bod (running up escalators is the best work out a girl can do… apart from actual exercise of course). Too covered up and well, you won’t have to stop washing because you’ll run up quite the sweat – I know too well having had my nose in several sweaty business man’s armpits in my time.
So flats on your feet, three day stench and your game face on, let’s go. See you on the other side fellow commuters.
Tastelessly in some half way decent hotel in central London, on a Thursday lunchtime, sniffing coke off the half way decent six pack of some Jewish millionaire. Or with class at the Dorchester for tea with your girlfriends who have all set the dates for their Spring 2015 weddings.
By reliving your youth at sweaty gigs on Tuesday nights in Converse trainers and skinny jeans at Koko Camden. And holding a Mad Hatters dinner party where the only rule is to bring a mad hat and a mad secret to share to all.
Waking up in a stranger’s bed and being fully clothed and utterly elated (and surprised) by your grown up behavior. Or waking up in a stranger’s bed not even remotely fully clothed in the clutches of a very naked man and being utterly elated (and surprised) by your reckless, if not enjoyable, behaviour.
Bask in the glory of making great plans such as Mardi Gras in Brazil or even Paris for the weekend on a whim because we’re not working around each other’s lives. Work hard and work late and pour every ounce into your job. At least for a week or two. Have time to read. A lot. Read books about lady parts or traveling the world. Grow your leg hair long and don’t deep condition your hair for once. Learn to cook for one. Wear your laundry day underwear and sleep in the same tshirt you slept in when you were 14. Enjoy the time you can go for a whole weekend without saying a word. Watch back to back marathons of the tackiest American sitcoms Netflix has to offer you in a fort you built in your bed. Whichever way you wear single, wear it well and wear it with pride.