Smart, sexy single desperately seeking similar…

Is love finally in the air…?

I can barely believe what I’m about to say, so improbable does it seem. After months – nay, years – of tragic mishaps and countless calamitous rendezvous, I finally went on a date and … HE WAS NORMAL.

Incredible, right?

In fact, he was more than just normal, he was a very nice guy and we both agreed we’d be happy to meet up again. Cue the fireworks and streamers.

What’s even better is that the date was notable for its distinct lack of job interview-style questions: I still have no idea of his relationship history, job status or salary bracket, but I do know that he likes pisco sours and bodyweight training, is ambivalent about pumpkins and dislikes early morning appointments.

I’m looking forward to meeting him again.

But irrespective of whether the Great Date turns out to be Mr Right or not, the real gift this singular experience has given me is hope. It seems there are some interesting, fun, decent guys out there and I can start to envisage a future that may not involve being surrounded by cats. And thank heavens for that.

Anyway, since success breeds success, I suppose it stands to reason that the Phantom Texter should be back on the scene, keen to meet up and – no doubt – get down. He seems to have an uncanny knack of knowing when my attentions are drawn elsewhere and pops up at just the right moment to get me back on (his) track.

Now, you might think I’d be more excited about this – he is, after all, a devilishly charismatic gentleman, with more than a hint of sex appeal. But … let’s just say that his textual enthusiasm is well documented, but has yet to be borne out in real life.

It’s all well and good spouting on about how much you want to meet up … yadda, yadda, yadda … if you never actually get off your butt and make it happen. Castles in the air make a happy refuge in times of relationship drought, but sooner or later you need to back up those sweet words and empty promises with some real-life action.

In any case, I have a feeling that is going to be a good year.

It’s true that Cupid is a bit behind schedule, but I hope he has a trick or two up his sleeve. Because in terms of singledom, I’ve more than paid my dues. And besides, I bloody hate cats.


Another year over … and a new one just begun

2016. What a year.

A year notable mainly for the roster of esteemed celebrities who chose to shuffle off this mortal coil, starting with David Bowie and ending with George Michael via Prince, Leonard Cohen and Hilda Ogden.

Fortunately, my own 2016 was rather less eventful.

In fact, my 2016 looked almost exactly like its predecessor, give or take the continuous development of the little guy who, incidentally, visited his tenth country at the ripe old and of three – “and a half!” – and informed me that he’d be relocating to Spain, via Australia and Germany, on his fourth birthday.
I’ve applied for a deferral.

Actually, travel was responsible for most of last year’s highlights: Spain, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Spain again, Hungary and Germany. All fun, interesting trips … although, it has to be said, not always particularly restful.

When we travel in company, it’s a joy. But I’ve discovered that solo travel with a ‘threenager’ has its drawbacks: small humans tend to throw tantrums when it’s least appropriate and are guaranteed to fall asleep just before the plane lands, leaving you to haul a slumbering sack of potatoes – plus your handbag, your 10kg backpack, their mini-backpack and assorted hats, coats and gloves – down extremely narrow aircraft steps. Bonus points if you manage to pick up the pram from below the aircraft without dropping the infant.
Oh, and there’s no lift to the terminal so I hope you’re good with carrying that lot up the stairs?

Truly, I am a beast of burden.

Anyway, travel aside, the biggest excitement of 2016 has been buying a house. Well, waiting to buy a house. And not a whole house. Obviously.

(In this city? On a single salary? Don’t make me laugh.)

Actually, I’ve been waiting to buy the darned thing – that is, 30% of a shared ownership flat – since June. But here we are in January and … fingers crossed we’ll be done before February, or else the little guy and I will find ourselves sitting on a pile of boxes in the middle of the street.
But what of romance, I hear you ask. Did the fat little fella with a bow and arrow make a last-minute appearance, saving 2016 from the designation of romantic wasteland?
Reader, he did not.

Sure, the Phantom Texter popped up from time to time, promise much and delivering … um … absolutely nothing. But when that’s the romantic highlight of the year, you can be sure that it was a pretty poor vintage.

Actually, last year was possibly the most romantically bereft period of my life. No one notices a mum with a kid. And, let’s face it … if I’m not at work, I’m with the kid.
Not that I hold the little guy responsible in any way. He starts conversations with anyone and everyone – regardless of age, colour or gender – and many a happy exchange has been the result of his chatty nature. I just need him to focus his efforts on single men of a certain age and demeanour.

And here’s the rub: I just don’t know any single men.

Few friends from my single era remain, and every single one of my mummy friends is happily married. Single men are entirely outside my sphere of existence. I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than meeting my other half.

But I should hate to think I have yet another year of singledom ahead. Sure, I get along fine on my own, but a partner in crime would be nice … if only to help me carry the kid off the plane. (I jest.)

So join me as I raise a glass to the nascent year, and cross your fingers too. Surely there’s someone out there for someone like me?

I guess I’ll have to wait and see.


10th April, 11.26pm

Yep, that’s the magical moment when my little man finally made his way into the world.

Just one day behind schedule, he must have known he was late, because he came whooshing into the world at high speed: I arrived at the hospital around 10pm, and by half past eleven I was cradling my little pud in my arms.

Like all newborns, he was purple, skinny and wrinkled, but to me he was still the most beautiful thing in the world. Utterly besotted, I spent an age drinking in his deliciousness: the tiny, tiny toes, his miniature fingers with their incredibly long nails, his little rosebud mouth and his soft, downy hair.

My mum had made it just in time to hold my hand for the last, intense throes of labour; the Baby Daddy arrived shortly after, and we sat, marvelling at this little being and his tiny perfection.

But my reverie was short-lived. Just three days later, while friends were visiting, my little bundle suddenly became quiet and unresponsive; panic filled my heart and within thirty minutes we were back at the hospital. The little man wasn’t getting the nutrients he needed: he’d lost too much weight and had slumped into a hypoglycemic torpor.

From enjoying our first golden days together, Bub and I were abruptly plunged into a series of tests, checks and nourishing top-up feeds. Watching them put a feeding tube up his tiny little nose almost broke my heart. His little body went rigid as he screamed and turned red and purple with rage and indignation.

I’d chosen the tube over a bottle, as they told me that bottle fed babies may not return to breast milk, with all its health-giving properties and powerful antibodies. Since it’s so much easier to get milk from a bottle, they simply can’t be bothered to battle with the breast once they’d had a taste of the easy life.

But watching his little face racked with pain, I felt like the worst mother in the world. My little man had had three days of being treated like a prince, his every whim catered for, and suddenly he was being poked, prodded and tortured. He must have wondered what on earth he’d done to deserve it.

Big, fat tears rolled down my face and onto his little limbs as I held him still, complicit in his agony.

To give him his due, the Baby Daddy was absolutely brilliant, running errands to collect the bits and pieces we needed for our stay, taking his turn at waking for the nocturnal feeds and nappy changes (even when Bub exacted revenge for his harsh treatment by squittering liquid projectile poo in his direction) and being generally very supportive.

Two days later, we were finally allowed to take a fattened-up Bub home again.

If my little man had had everything he wanted before, he could now count on being thoroughly spoiled – feeding exactly when he wanted, for as long as he wanted, and being smothered with endless cuddles, kisses and snuggles.

Before his arrival, I imagined that a mother’s love for her child was incomparable. But I wasn’t prepared for the feeling that I would literally die to give this tiny human being everything he needs.

Even when he poops just moments after I’ve changed his nappy; even when he vomits all over his freshly washed sleepsuit; even when he wails inconsolably until I surrender my breast, in my eyes, my little cherub can do no wrong.

Precious beyond compare and utterly delectable, he may be just a tiny wee fella, but I think I’ve finally found my ideal man.


Where is Bub?

I know I shouldn’t be impatient. After all, he’s not even due til tomorrow. But I’d assumed Bub would be in a hurry, just like his mum, and would surely be with us waaaay before time.

The latest midwife visit seemed to confirm my assumptions, when she’d checked his position and smiled, “I’m not sure you’ll make it to 40 weeks!” So naturally, I thought I’d be happily cradling my little bundle by now. But no. I can only attribute his tardiness to the mañana mentality, which I imagine he’s inherited from his (Spanish) dad.

Anyway, I really am trying not to be I am impatient. But I just can’t help it. After nine months of carrying this little soul in my belly, I’m more than ready to meet him.

I want to know what he looks like, how tiny his toes are, how pink and wrinkly his little limbs are; whether he’s happy or cantankerous or just plain sleepy. I want to marvel over his crumpled little face and look for traces of my own reflected in his diminutive features.

In the last two weeks, he’s become truly heavy: turning over in bed has become a logistical challenge and I’ve finally had to resort to propping up the bump with a pillow. Even the XL coat that I bought to replace the original size S is straining at the seams. Spring is (finally) starting to spring and there’s no more ice on the ground in the morning … all of which says to me that my little pud is well and truly cooked and it’s time he put in an appearance.

And yet he remains securely snuggled in my belly, reluctant to leave his cosy little den.

Still, I can’t really complain. Some things are going very smoothly indeed: He Who Shall Remain Nameless has been cheerleading for Bub, and brightening my days with his attentions.

Although there are many factors that preclude this from being The Next Big Romance, it’s a real pleasure to know that someone is thinking of me and cares enough to send me the odd text, just to see how my day is going.

He Who Shall Remain Nameless has also reminded me how much I like hugs and kisses, too. They’d pretty much faded from my memory, being replaced with internal kicks and wriggles – which, it must be said, have their own special charm – but now the luxury of sharing body heat is back on the agenda and I feel like the cat that got the cream.

To be honest, I’m seriously impressed that someone is prepared to take on the task of hugging me. After all, at the moment, I’m not easily huggable. But HWSRN has risen to the task, and even seems to enjoy hugging both me and Bub at the same time.

But still, despite all this happiness, I’m impatient. I want to welcome my son to the world. Every day that I’m still at work, every day that he’s not here, is a torture. All I can do is appeal to his better nature, beg him to make his mind up quickly and start his journey into the world at his earliest convenience.

There are so many things I want to tell him and show him, so many places I want us to go – so many tastes and sights and sounds for him to enjoy. So come on, little fella. Put me out of my misery. Come and join this fabulous and exciting world.

Or in other words … stop hanging around and HURRY UP, BUB!!


Life’s too good

So, once again, I’ve been pretty quiet of late. Life’s just been so darned busy: work has been full on, social engagements have been coming thick and fast … and of course there’s been the preparation for Bub’s imminent arrival.

With just seven days left until his scheduled appearance, absolutely nothing seems to have slowed down. There have been parties galore – including a quick dash down south for grandma’s 90th – a hectic schedule of coffees with friends, and work is one frantic round of tasks to be finished before I depart. And who knows when that might be?

In fact, I may have more time than I think, since my contract runs til 3 days after my due date. If Bub’s Latino side comes out, it’s entirely reasonable to suppose that he may arrive fashionably late and we can collect the juicy bonus that depends on the contract’s completion. Anyway, until he decides to put in an appearance, life continues pretty much as normal.

One notable exception to my usual routine, however, is the absence of the gym. At 38 weeks pregnant, I finally had to hang up my towel. Bub was just getting too heavy for Body Combat, and although I was planning to pursue more gentle activities for another week or so, a fall from my bike (thanks to an exceptionally clumsy cyclist) exacerbated the ache in my already stretched ribs and called a halt to all exuberant activity. And then my membership ran out.

I had thought I might go swimming for the remainder of my pregnancy, but of course I was forgetting exactly how much my shape has changed: the neat bump of yore has blossomed into a veritable barrel and the gigantaboobs of pregnancy laugh in the face of even my most capacious bikini. So that’s that.

To be honest, though, it’s probably for the best: my little pud is so active that half the time, my belly undulates and bulges in a way that’s potentially alarming to fellow swimmers unacquainted with the little man’s charms.

So, apart from a lack of energetic exercise, things are ticking along as usual. Well, as usual, apart from the fact that I’ve seen the Baby Daddy not once but twice in the last month. Can you believe it?

Now that Bub is almost with us, it’s apparently the right time for us to communicate, so we’re dutifully meeting up to make polite conversation and – for my part at least – wondering how on earth this is all going to play out once the little fella makes his grand entrance. After all, we seem to have scant little in common except a past attraction to one another and a son that’s about to be born any day now.

Still, my days of worrying about the Baby Daddy’s involvement are well and truly over. I’m not really worried what the future holds, as long as Bub is healthy and happy.

And anyway, I’ve had other things on my mind: incredibly, there’s been a modicum of romantic activity to grace the endless grey days of Cupid’s absence.

Big surprise, huh?

Of course, I’m an extremely round pregnant lady, so what counts for me as ‘romantic activity’ may barely register on other folks’ amorous scale, but suffice to say I’ve been enjoying the distinguished attentions of a very charming and attractive gentleman and it’s been a pleasure and a joy.

Naturally, as with all good things, it’s not set to last: he’s due to leave town any day now, and my little sproglet is about to be born, so opportunities for coffee and sweet conversation are going to be rather limited. But that’s not the point.

The point is that He Who Shall Remain Nameless has lifted my spirits and given me faith that there are good guys out there somewhere. And some of them might even be interested in me.

Logically, I’m under no illusions: I’m going to have my hands full for the foreseeable future, with nappies, night feeds, and t-shirts decorated with drool. Amorous activities will surely be far, far from my mind.

But just the thought that someone liked me enough to devote their attention to me – even in my rotund state – has made me a very happy mummy-to-be. And what could be nicer than that?

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Crikey, where does the time go? January has flown by in a haze of baby planning, parties and new job integration. I feel as if I’ve barely had a moment to myself and already it’s February.

Now, I know that the move from the flexible, freelance lifestyle to being firmly anchored in an office for most of the daylight hours has had an impact – a fairly sizeable, week-filling sort of an impact – but, if I’m honest, what’s making life completely and utterly hectic is the fact that I’m apparently unable to surrender any of my other activities.

From work I zoom to the gym, or to dance classes, or to dinner with a friend, finally arriving home at eleven o’clock and ready to crash into bed. At the weekend, I cram in the social engagements as if my life depended on it, arranging two or three coffee dates then one or more evening engagements, just in case boredom or solitude should set in.

In the whole of January, there were only three blank days in my diary.

Now, whilst this is all lovely, and I truly appreciate the chance to spend time with my friends, it’s also pretty exhausting. It would surely be exhausting even if I weren’t suffering from the kind of insomnia that sees me get no more than five hours’ kip, three nights a week. As it is, I’m starting to resemble a damp dishcloth.

So why on earth can’t I slow down?

Well, it’s partly because I’m only too aware that once Bub arrives, my social life’s going to be a whole lot leaner than at present. So I’m cramming it in while I can.

And it’s also because spending time alone at home allows me to start fretting about all the Bub-things I’ve yet to do/may forget to do/may never get round to doing.

And lastly, it’s because being home alone occasionally leaves me prey to feeling just a little bit sad and blue.

Whether it’s down to tiredness or hormones or whatever, the beatific bliss that has characterised most of pregnancy occasionally chooses to abandon me – just now and again – reminding me that Bub and I will be facing the world all on our ownsome.

And that’s when I think that if I were happily coupled up with some dashing young gentleman, we’d be moving in to a cosy family home any minute now, instead of contemplating babyhood in an (admittedly very pleasant) shared house. And that if we two were three, there’d be someone to turn to when I’m changing my 97th nappy and Bub is wailing the house down.

(Not that Bub is likely to do anything so uncouth as crying. He’s clearly not going to be that sort of baby…)

Still, when I feel like that, I just have to remind myself that I’m VERY lucky to have Bub, and that we’ll make a great team. And that, 99% of the time, things will be just fine. And that I have my family and friends around me, and that Bub already has a fanclub, even though he’s not even born.

Besides, things with the Baby Daddy are getting better: we managed to talk for almost a whole hour the other day without a cross word. On top of that, I’ve been enjoying some very pleasant coffee time with The Divine One, and Skype contact has been re-established with The Semi-suitable Man, who should be meeting up with us in summer, if all things go according to plan. So things could be far worse.

But best of all, it’s only nine weeks til I meet my little pud. And with the weeks passing like hours, that means he’ll be here in no time at all … and that really is a truly delicious thought.

Although I’ll miss his little head butting into my ribs, and his 4am wriggling and my inside-out belly button, I just can’t wait to welcome my little Bub to the world. Because even though it sometimes isn’t the way I’d want it, it’s still a bloody brilliant world and I can’t wait to show Bub all the fabulous things it has to offer.

So the time can fly, for all I care, and the negative thoughts can just sling their hook: whatever life throws at us, Team Bub is in the building and we’re going to take the world by storm!


Shaken, but not stirred

So, after a month’s silence, Normal Guy has been in touch again.

Since we last spoke, or rather messaged, I’ve been to Barcelona and partied at the Festa de Gracia, supped innumerable coffees and gossiped with girlfriends, been to birthday party, a fancy dress party and a retirement party … oh, yes, and I’ve also started a new job.

I’ve no doubt that Normal Guy’s schedule has been equally packed … but is it wrong that I’m a bit underwhelmed by his rather meagre missive, which amounts to just four words?

“Hey! How’s it going?”

Now, I understand that folks is busy, but such a short and superficial message says to me that you’re not really investing much in this friendship. Like, not even a full minute.

And yes, I know, I know. I know some people just don’t rock it by email. But four words? Four? At this rate, YEARS could pass before we have a proper conversation.

Since I’m sworn off menfolk anyway, I’m finding it hard to get excited about such titchy tidings.

What I am properly excited about, though, is a book that I’ve come across called Live Alone and Like It: The Classic Guide for the Single Woman.

The book, “takes readers through the fundamentals of living alone, including the importance of creating a hospitable environment at home, cultivating hobbies that keep her there (“for no woman can accept an invitation every night without coming to grief”), the question of whether single ladies may entertain men at home and many more.”

Nothing amazing about that, you might think … except that the book was published in 1936.

Apparently known as a bit of a bon viveur, the authoress, one Marjorie Hillis, was apparently fed up of hearing single women complaining about their lonely lives, so she penned the book as a call for single ladies to stop whingeing, take control and start enjoying their circumstances.

Sound just a little bit familiar?

Anyway, the inimitable Ms Hillis is an arch old bird, dispensing pearls of wisdom such as:

“One of the great advantages of your way of living is that you can be alone when you want to. Lots of people never discover what a pleasure this can be.”

Quite so.

How anyone could fail to love a book with chapter titles such as ‘A Lady and Her Liquor’ is beyond me, but it’s ‘The Pleasures of a Single Bed’ that has me snorting with laughter, making me realize that although the good lady was writing more than 70 years ago, some things never really change. Or, perhaps, the more they change, the more they stay the same…

“It’s probably true that most people have more fun in bed than anywhere else, and we are not being vulgar. Even going to bed alone can be alluring. There are many times, in fact, when it’s by far the most alluring way to go.”

Sounds like the old girl is right on the money. Now, according to the book, all I need is a maid to mix my martini and a set of matching bed jackets and I’ll really be living the lifestyle.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with decadence lined up. Mine’s shaken, not stirred, with just a twist of lemon, please…


Alone again, naturally

Holidaying on your own is great.

Some people shy away from dinner for one, or days spent in their own company. But I don’t.

Of course, I love it when a bunch of us get together to explore somewhere new, or to traipse over hill and dale before scoffing down a hearty dinner and bundling into a leaky tent. But holidaying on your own gives you so much … well, time alone.

With no one to talk to, and no one to please but yourself, you can indulge in a luxurious amount of reading – the truly absorbing, head-down sort of reading you never have time for at home – as well as an almost indecent amount of navel-gazing. Which is what I have, quite shamelessly, been doing.

And in amongst all this reading and thinking, I’ve come to wonder if – just possibly – I might be happier without a man in my life.

Maybe I’m actually happier on my own.

It seems a bit of a strange thought, all things considered, but as I look back over my various love stories, I have to concede that, in recent years at least, I’m pretty rubbish at being in a relationship.

Falling in love isn’t the problem, however rare an occurrence it might be. No, my problems start when all the hearts and flowers have been packed away and the nitty gritty of real life kicks in.

Maybe I expect too much, or maybe I’ve just not been with the right person, but lately, I seem to have spent a lot of my time en deux feeling underappreciated, undervalued and underloved. And when I feel like that I start to get clingy. And feeling clingy is, in my experience, the beginning of the end: if you feel yourself needing more and more reassurance of the other person’s love for you, either you’re too needy or they just don’t love you that much.

Either way, it’s going to end in tears.

Take the Uni Boy fiasco, for example. (And before you say it, yes, I know this is a bad example, since it was never really a proper relationship anyway. But hang on in there…) The more rejected I felt, the more tightly I tried to hang on. But you can’t hang on to someone who doesn’t want to be there, so I was just setting myself up for disappointment.

Of course, it’s easy to be confused by someone who tells you they love you one minute, and reminds you that you’re “just friends” the next. Someone who’s happy to take all the nice parts of being in a relationship … without ever calling it a relationship or assuming any of the responsibilities the title implies. But hey.

The point is that I spent a lot of time tolerating something that wasn’t quite what I wanted, because something seemed better than nothing.

The rollercoaster excitement of the good times kept me going through the bad times; like a junkie waiting for a fix, I waded through all the bad stuff for the glorious moments of harmony and fun that I knew were always just around the corner.

And it seems that’s not my only problem.

Looking back over the years, I can see that when someone says they love me, I just can’t accept that it’s true. I can’t accept that they won’t, at any moment, cheat on me or pack their bags and leave. And the thought of that moment makes me sad and suspicious and I start questioning their every move.

By attempting to not be made to look stupid by their infidelity, I’m actually driving them away. The case of Uni Boy, in which neither of us invested 100%, merely gave me the detachment I needed to see what I do and why.

Now, I know plenty of people manage to have harmonious and stable relationships, built on trust and understanding. I just don’t think I’m one of them. And if I were rubbish at ice-skating, or playing the violin, after giving it my very best shot, I’d give up.

So why am I supposed to pursue a relationship at all costs?

Although that the nameless, faceless entity that is “society” – to say nothing of my mother – wants me to settle into socially-acceptable coupledom, it seems to be something that’s just not within my abilities.

Sure, I’d love to have the whole family thing, with a devoted husband and curly-haired children squealing delightedly in the garden. But what if I’m just not capable? Should I keep flogging towards an impossible goal, hoping that if I fail enough times, sooner or later I’ll get the hang of it? Or is it more sensible to accept that it’s just not my skill, and get on with something I can excel at?

Since I seem to have no choice in the matter anyway, I suppose it all comes down to my attitude … and there’s nothing like a bit of time on your own to make you feel invincible. I can decide to ride the rollercoaster, hanging on for grim death, or I can choose to hop off and accept that I’m doing just fine all by myself.

And since I’m sitting in the sunshine, with pescaito frito and vino blanco for one, you can probably guess which one I’m going choose…


Making an escape

Well, Normal Guy has turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.

After his first message, none of his replies have exceeded 20 words, and the few tidbits he’s thrown my way haven’t exactly been action packed. Who is he? What does he like doing? What floats his boat? Well, to be honest, I have no idea.

I thought I’d try to lure him into conversation by writing two whole paragraphs … but that failed, too. At this rate, it’ll take six months before I have any idea of his personality at all.

Anyway, since messaging is free, and there are plenty of people who are vibrant and engaging in the flesh but just don’t cut it on the page, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. But I must admit my initial enthusiasm has been squashed a bit.

But no matter, because a new week has brought a new paramour vying for my attentions: The Bull.

Now, you might think this is an overly dramatic nickname for someone, but if you saw him, you’d be nodding your head like one of those dogs that sits on the back shelf of the car: he’s properly beefy.

Beefy isn’t a type that I usually go for, so I’m not sure how I feel about it. But to be honest, I think there may be more problematic aspects to this friendship than physical dimensions alone…

The Bull is one of those friends of a friend who’s been on the periphery of my group for a while, yet I couldn’t claim to know the first thing about him. Although he seems nice enough, there’s something about him that makes me uneasy – but I don’t have a clue what it is.

He’s about the right age for me; he seems bright and interesting and he’s making all the right sort of moves. And yet. And yet…

Of course, my antenna could be wildly off the mark: Lord knows I’m not renowned for my ability to pick a good ‘un, so it stands to reason that my ability to spot a wrong ‘un should be no more accurate.

Maybe it’s just the unusual enthusiasm with which he’s thrown himself into courting me that makes me suspicious, but I have a feeling that he’s a bad boy who’s not to be trusted. At any rate, I’ll keep an eye on my twitching antenna but, again, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. For now.

But one person for whom the benefit of the doubt has well and truly expired is Uni Boy. Suffice to say that we had a minor disagreement that escalated into a major disagreement … and ended with me pouring a beer on his head.

Now, I know that sort of thing isn’t big and it isn’t clever, but sometimes words just don’t cut it. Part of me is dreadfully sorry that I did it, but I’ll confess that part of me thinks he had it coming. And that’s the part that hasn’t got in touch to apologise or make amends.

So it’s probably just as well that I’ve been given the opportunity to get myself out of town for a while. Being able to drop everything at a moment’s notice is one of the few benefits of being single. And when someone offers you the run of an apartment in the centre of Barcelona – no questions asked – you’d have to be an idiot to refuse.

It took me about an hour to accept and book my flights.

As of tomorrow, I’ll be leaving behind all thoughts of Uni Boy, Normal Guy and The Bull and filling my head with thoughts of sunshine and sangría. And who could complain about that?

Arriba, abajo, al centro … pa’ dentro! Cheers!



Ohmigod. The unthinkable just happened.

I just got a message from a guy who seems NORMAL.

Oh, wait a minute. Did I mention I went back to the dating site? I went back to the dating site.

Actually, I was just planning to re-instate my membership, have a quick snoop around to check for any new faces, then de-activate it again. But it turns out you can’t do that. No, once you’ve decided to snoop around, you have to be active for at least a week. Rats.

So, quietly biding my time until I can once more hit delete, I’ve been fielding (read: deleting) quite a few uninspiring messages:

“So what is it your looking for yummy” [sic]

“Hey babe you look horny LOL”

“U look like a hot one LOL!!”

Even reading these moronic missives, I can feel my hackles rising, and my aversion to LOL is back with a vengeance. I mean, really, what’s there to LOL about?

Anyway, in the midst of all this mildly priapic spam, I get a message that simply says:

“Hello! How are you doing? How’s your week going so far? I’m look for new friends as well as a partner and, as we’re not too far apart, I thought I’d come and say hi.”

I have to read it twice just to check I haven’t missed some salacious subtext. Nope. It seems like a message from A Normal Guy.


I click to his profile: 36, tallish, darkish, handsome-ish; athletic build (he says); fluent in English and Greek, with an intelligent profile that contains not a single LOL.

I’m immediately suspicious. Ah wait. He’s a Christian, and I’m definitely not … but in the face of so many other positive traits I’m prepared to reserve judgement, especially as it’s only the second time I’ve corresponded with A Normal Guy on the dating site.

(The first seemingly Normal Guy was intelligent and fun in correspondence, but turned out to be rather reticent about making any real-life contact. I couldn’t even persuade him to come for an innocent coffee.

Now you can call me picky, but I consider meeting someone a pre-requisite for any form of friendship, never mind a relationship, so that one never really got off the ground. Still, he remains an intermittent pen-friend and advisor on the State of Things from a male perspective, which is nice. And, occasionally, maddening.)

Anyway, I’m so joyously overwhelmed by the outstanding normalness of Normal Guy’s message that I feel compelled to reply, and reply with haste. So I quickly compose an equally normal message and, with fingers crossed, hit send.

Also in my inbox is a message from Uni Boy. He’s finally being transferred, to a city that’s not too far away – but far enough.

I’m pleased for him, of course: it’s a promotion, and a good step up for him. But while part of me is glad that we’ll finally step off the merry-go-round of our own making, I admit that part of me will miss him.

Because even though he was never mine and could, at times, drive me to distraction, his hugs really did warm me to the bone. And although we’ve had the craziest arguments about the most ridiculous things, when it was fun, it really was fun.

But sometimes Cupid knows what’s best, and steps in to make sure that things happen as they should. So off Uni Boy goes, and here I stay.

And that’s all there really is to say, except thanks, Uni Boy, and good luck. And keep a hug to one side, just for me.