The One With The Ragazzo ROMAntico

As you know by now, the best cure for a broken heart is, in my book, a new date. ow I do admit that, after the upheaval of recent weeks, I am very much not heartbroken at all, but rather relieved and quite happy. And now no more of cowboys…..

I have a very soft spot for Italian guys, I mean how can you not? As long as they don’t shave their legs, they have style, dress impeccably, smell good and talk with the cutest accent there ever was. And they almost always are rather on the handsome side. I happened to be near this guys work during the week, so we arranged a date later that evening. On a side note – cramming too much into one day, especially towards the end of a week, bad call. I was so high on caffeine by the time we met, I was a little worried I came across like a hummingbird on speed.

My ragazzo was not only incredibly cute, but also a little flirt. In a nice way. But then everything sounds nice said to you with an Italian accent, doesn’t really matter what they say. We went for some Italian food, in a nice little place in Knightsbridge – it seemed a rather fitting theme for the evening. He was very sweet and attentive and I think you can imagine this went down rather well with me. We chatted a lot about Italy (of course), how we had both found our way into London from the continent, where we had been on holiday recently, what we liked doing in our spare time. I did regret a little I was so tired and the evening had to come to a close quite a bit earlier than I wanted it too, b was seriously lacking in the ability to keep my eye lids open. And that had nothing to do with my company!

We walked to the station together and in a strange twist of fate realised we were both heading back to the same station. Given that I have been hanging round this particular area for we ll over a decade now and he had been living there for years too, funny we had never crossed paths before. When we were sitting on the tube, we would sometimes catch each other’s eye in the reflection of the window opposite and smile at each other. Very cute right?

Being the gentleman he was, he walked me to my car. And being not quite the lady I normally am, I decided he deserved a good night kiss. And not just on the cheek….. I am quite pleased to tell you that even though he was a little surprised at first, he most definitely didn’t mind me doing so one bit. We had to eventually let each other go and go our separate ways for the night, but for now you can rest assured there will be a second date soon. And maybe even a third. Let’s wait and see.

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The First One After The Break Up

After I had been seeing the Cowboy for a while, he decided to give me the boot in a rather shitty way – cooked me dinner, let me stay the night (which finally included pretty good sex again for our standards), then ignored me for days and finally dumped me by text. Excellent. And rather ironic considering that he had a quite profound dislike of texts. A selective dislike I guess.

Now I did go a little bit bat shit crazy at him at first (not entirely unjustified I think as he was on holiday with another girl days after dumping me) but in the end I thought it was for the best after all. By drawing a line he inadvertently set me free to live my own life again. I stopped waiting for things that were never going to happen. I do admit I felt a little heart-broken, but after a couple of weeks I wasn’t too sure anymore if I just thought I had to feel like that or if I actually did.

The best remedy after a break-up is flirting and going on dates – I’m sorry if that appears to be shallow but it most certainly works for me.

I started chatting with this Italian guy, nice enough, not entirely my type but you know one of those safe options to get back into the game.

We met for lunch (as he liked to point out several times, it was just lunch, not a date). He chose so I ended up at the same place I had my first date with the text dumper. Not a great choice but I thought it might help somehow. You know, break a spell. Or bring about the end of the world. Something along those lines.

He was a bit late, which I’m sorry to say, tends to irritate me a hell of a lot. But I sucked it up like a big girl, got us a table and waited for him. Ordered a coffee. Was a little bored. When he got there, he immediately reminded me of my grandad. Not because of his age. He did have one of those caps though. And took seemingly forever to hang up said cap, and his scarf and his coat. And arrange his man bag under the table. I got bored just watching. After the slightly awkward hello – do you kiss one cheek, or both or three? I always get it wrong – we sat down, ordered food and made very polite conversation.

It was one of those dates you know from the start is not going to go anywhere and you’re kind of glad it has a time limit. It wasn’t that bad, I learnt a thing or two about Italy that I probably already knew but was good a pretending I didn’t and as this still is one of my favourite places to get dinner, I was certainly glad overall I broke the bad karma spell it had held for me for the last few months. We spoke about being divorced, the challenges of having kids – he had two, I have three – and he couldn’t contain his astonishment how I was coping with that. Maybe he should ask his ex-wife sometime. There certainly wasn’t a spark of any kind.

Of course he kindly paid for lunch and walked me back to the station – well kind of as his work happened to be on the same route. We parted ways with the same awkward peck on the cheek situation and loosely stayed in touch. That should have been the end of it and probably would have faded from memory very quickly hadn’t he popped up again a couple of months later on my whatsApp.

For some reason the boring Italian guy decided to tell me he had started seeing someone. Do you congratulate someone in that situation? No idea really, but I did anyway. The chat very quickly came to my appreciation of threesomes – errr I beg your pardon?! – followed by pics of the two of them scandily clad in bed. Needless to say I fancied neither, much to Casanova’s disappointment. He eventually disappeared, obviously disappointed that I wasn’t jumping at this chance of a menage a trois. Mi dispiace ragazzo.

The One Without A Spark

Going on a date is a bit like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get (Thank you, Mr Gump). Of course, when we want to buy a new box we haven’t tried before, we choose one that really appeals to us and leave the known or boring looking ones on the shelf.

So, when I started chatting to this cute Kiwi guy, he most definitely looked like a very nice box of chocolates. Couple of years older than me, good job, decent sense of humour. We liked the same kind of movies and music and our conversation bounced back and forth quite effortlessly. Oh and did I mention he was really cute?

So we arranged a lunch date for a Sunday and I do admit I was quite excited. It was a bit of a spanner in the works that I finished work really late – or early depending on your perspective –  so my morning didn’t start according to plan. Still I manged to be on time more or less. We met at the Flask in Highgate which is a very cute little pub, reportedly haunted by Dick Turpin.

I must have looked a little tired because not only did he get me a coffee, but let me have his as well and made do with some water instead. So sweet. Yay to caffeine too. We had to wait some time for our food, but we had a pretty good convo going so it didn’t matter too much. As I already said, the guy was cute, sweet and really my type, but…. as time went on it was pretty clear there was no spark between us at all. If anything it was a little like catching up with your brother after you haven’t seen him for ages – well I guess at least because as far as I know I have none of those lurking about.

We went for a walk afterwards, having a little stroll around Highgate East (yes, EXACTLY what you are thinking where we went) because nothing can be more inspiring in the romantics department than a little visit to Karl Marx. We were still chatting away like good friends, but just that – friends. Admittedly, it’s a little frustrating when you finally get to meet a really nice guy and you’re just not into him and vice versa. This whole chemistry thing between boys and girls really is a goddamn mystery. I would bet the next bad boy that crosses my path gives me all butterflies and weak knees again.

We parted ways after a while, I had to pick my son up from his dad and he had to get some shopping done. We texted a bit in the evening and the few days that followed but eventually it dried up from both sides. Still, I hold the Kiwi in quite fond memory. I had a really nice afternoon in good company and whichever girl eventually ends up with this guy is very lucky indeed.

The One With The Vegetarian

This was one of the rather meh kind of dates, not least down to the fact the guy was a vegetarian. Now before you are all up in arms and get upset with me, I really have nothing against people being vegetarian – one of my best friends is a gluten-free vegan (yeah I know that’s a double whammie) and I go to great length to make sure she is properly fed and watered when she is at my house. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for me as a total carnivore to date a vegetarian because I just love a piece of meat. A lot. Sometimes with two veg as well.

So anyway, I was chatting to veggie guy for a couple of weeks or so and he was nice enough and asked me out so I thought let’s give it a go. The first obstacle was finding a place where I want to eat that also caters for a non-meat eater in a decent way. Not that easy. But we did it. We met up in some Mexican place I go to sometimes with my vegan friend so I knew it would be okay.

On first impression, he was nice albeit a little slow. When you text someone you get time to think before you reply or it might take time anyway before you get something back so it’s not that obvious, but when you are in a face to face conversation, it becomes a bit more of a problem if you expect wit and a stimulating exchange of words. Still, not too bad just yet. It got a bit awkward when it came to ordering dinner though because I really, really wanted a medium rare steak. After he just explained to me he doesn’t like to eat meat because animals are so cute. I really am horrible sometimes. So I went with chicken. That’s about the least meat like meat I can cope with. Now, the guy tried, but I did get quite a few guilt inducing glances over the table. Think of that poor chicken how it could still happily roam the fields if you hadn’t ordered it. Ugh, not the most enjoyable meal I ever had. The conversation dragged a little, too.  But because we both had driven there, there was no chance of heightening the mood a little by mild to medium intoxication.

I think we both knew it wasn’t going to be one of those first dates that call for a second one so after dinner he walked me to my car. We did have a bit of a snog, which wasn’t too bad but still not redeeming enough for the chicken guilt trip or warranting a second date. We exchanged a few messages in the days that followed but then veggie guy faded into the shadows. I would lie if I said I was particularly bothered by this but at least it got me out of the house.

The One With Cowboy Steve, Kettlethief II

I assume you figured out by now who I referred to in my anticipated date – of course it had been Cowboy Steve, Kettlethief I decided to give another chance. I still cannot understand why it is that this particular guy had such a deep emotional hold over me but then if we understood love this whole boy-girl thing would not be the mystery it is.

Our date itself isn’t really worth an elaborate story, as it was not special in any way at all. We just picked up where we had left off a couple months ago as if nothing had ever happened – I went round to his as usual, the initial hello was a little awkward as we both did not really know what to say or do. We started talking eventually, ordered pizza, and at some point he started kissing me and we ended up in bed about ten minutes later for an alright but ultimately average if not brief interaction. There wasn’t a round two which was a little disappointing. I made a mental note that he wasn’t allowed on the red next time until after the deed.

He had bought me another perfume which seemed to promise things getting better, but as it turned out they were not. We had the same rows over his lack of communication. And because it was still niggling in the back of my brain, I kept questioning him about his ‘friend’, he had been on holiday with a week after we broke up. He did not take too kindly to that, getting angry and insisting as she was just his friend, I obviously had trust issues.

Things kept going, although a little on the rough side. He could still go for days not talking to me. When I got annoyed with him, he told me I was being dramatic, he was busy with work and family things. Of course I accepted that because I was busy myself and despite the little niggles in my brain, I believed his promises that things would get better soon, once this project at work was dealt with and he had sorted out some things for his mom. It never happened.

Of course this is just as much my fault as it is his if not even more so. Why? Because I willingly made excuses for him. Having to admit that you wasted nearly two years of your life on a c*** like that who doesn’t give a shit of you get hit by a bus, not a great feeling. The thing I failed to realise was that he behaved the way he did towards me because he could. He didn’t have any deep meaningful feelings for me, he knew that if he snapped his fingers I came running back. And I sat tight. I hoped at some point, soon, things would be different, because he promised they would be and you don’t play games anymore at our age. Because despite the promises, thrown at me when he thought I was about to jump ship, he never had any intention of following through with them. And the only reason he stuck with this for as long as he did is because it was easier than going on Tinder and going through the whole pulling another girl thing again.

Writing this down and reading it back, I feel so unbelievably shit about my lack of judgement and general letting-myself-down-ness, I really just want to crawl under a rock and cry. Letting myself down like this is something I had promised myself would not happen again. Allowing some emotionally defunct dude to mess with my head and my heart in such a way. And here I am, feeling as bad if not worse than the first time round. Excuse the self pity. Every so often, we can allow ourselves to get immersed in it, as long as we pick ourselves up thereafter. I’m still waiting for that. Pass the rope please.

The Anticipated One

Technically, this shouldn’t be here. It hasn’t happened yet. Unlike most of my dates that I approach with a distinct unimpressed close to not giving a fuck attitude, this one makes me a nervous, anxious but equally excited and hopeful wreck.

Why you might ask. Because this one isn’t really a first one. It’s old ground. And at the moment it is impossible to determine how scorched the earth between us really is but it looks promising. There are signs that hint at this being a good idea, others don’t. It doesn’t help that before even seeing each other again – we booked a weekend away together (which we never did when we were seeing each other before) and what at first appeared to be such a cool, grown-up thing to do now makes me incredibly nervous.

Why am I even going there? Nothing tastes better warmed up, right? Yes and no. When I was younger, once a thing was over, it as done with. You never looked back, you didn’t go back. Now I’m a bit older, I learnt that there very much can be the wrong time for something very right. That sometimes circumstances force a course of action that at this moment in time is hurtful and horrible, but necessary in the long run for all involved. And it might lead to better things

I am quite sure I’m not kidding myself into thinking this is a two way street rather than a one way system I drove in at the wrong end. Of course, I am emotionally still more involved than I thought I’d be, after all I was going on dates with other guys in between, but then that has always been my go to cure to forget someone. So this has the potential for disaster. I’m fully aware of that. And yes, it does scare the shit out of me big time. Strangely enough, the very few people who know about this, seem surprisingly supportive albeit urging me to be cautious. Together with unveiled declarations of excellent knowledge of hiding bodies should the guy fuck up again. Which for now I am keeping to myself. He might not appreciate it too much.

But back to the why I’m going back over old ground. Because I honestly think it is worth another shot. Because I know there is a bond between us that allowed – after a little time apart that gave us both time to heal and grow and learn – for us to engage with each other again and no, it is not unrealistic to believe it could work second time round. Of course I am worried I end up even more hurt than before if it will be intentional or unintended does not matter. Still, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

For now I’m a nervous wreck though. I want to sleep for several days so I don’t sit here trying to keep busy with silly stuff, being worried that he changes his mind at the last minute – or that even I might. I already came quite close to messaging him that this is a terrible idea. But then the ‘what if’ wins. And I get a little bit excited. Happy excited.

 

The One That Went Great And Still Tits Up

Every so often, you have a great first date. One you remember for all the right reasons, that gives you butterflies in your stomach and puts a stupid smile on your face. Of course it still goes to pot shortly after which makes you wonder if you’re best off to sign up for the crazy cat lady club now, but still it’s nice to know you don’t entirely suck at this dating lark, at least for the first two steps. Step One – getting a date. Step Two – going on said date.

This one started really promising. With three or four weeks of intensive WhatApp exchanges, good nights and good mornings and more or less veiled hints that we both hoped this would be something. Proper Jane Austen style. I normally go for the tall, dark and handsome type and that hadn’t worked out too well recently so with this guy I went completely against the stream. Still handsome, but only as tall as me and with a beard. Both of those were novelties to me. No joke.

We arranged our first date. Very exciting. Again, we met at Liverpool Street – seems to be my go to first date place. He was there before me and sent me a pic of where to meet. Cute, right? Now, I do have my moments sometimes and this turned out to be one of them. I get there and there is a guy in a shirt with a beard who I thought sort of looked like my date. People can look very different to their photos in real life so I just walked up to him and said hi. He looks at me as if I’m some weirdo and someone comes up behind me and tries to say hello which was a bit difficult because he was laughing so much. Turned out he had seen this other guy too and thought it would be hilarious to wait somewhere else, walk behind me and see what I do. So we definitely both had a wicked sense of humour. There was a brief moment of hesitation, then he gave me a peck on the lips and we ended up strolling to our dinner place holding hands. Eww, so romantic, it’s sickening.

Dinner was at a really nice place doing all kinds of barbeque stuff so I was in heaven anyway. We chatted a lot. Had some dessert. And then went for a walk along the river. Interrupted by stopping here and there for some snogging. Absolutely wonderful. We ended up in a hotel bar for a couple of cocktails, more talking and more snogs. I might have accidentally hit him in the balls mid conversation but he was rather forgiving on that point too. Although I had to promise not to do hitting of any kind – be it on other guys or in his balls – on another date. He definitely made my heart beat a little faster.

I was a little gutted I had a last train to catch but it was made a lot sweeter by having more snogging while waiting for said train. He obviously waited with me until I was safely on board and I hadn’t even left the station yet I already got a text how much he enjoyed the evening and that he couldn’t wait to see me again. Heart melting.

As I said, unfortunately this one didn’t work out too well because I had good reason to think my Prince Charming had a wife and kid at home. Quite a blow I do admit. Why did Jane Austen never write about that?