Before I can trick my ex-girlfriend into becoming my fuckbuddy, there’s another matter I need to focus on too: finding love. A female friend of mine took pity on me and told me of a friend of hers who sounded interesting. Yes, it was going to be a pity date; a well-intentioned intermediary putting two friends in a similar situation in touch. All my friend gives me is her name and phone number. What the hell, it couldn’t be worse than some of the online dates I’ve had, surely?
Our mutual friend claimed not to have any pictures to show me, so I went looking on the internet. It’s only natural to want some idea of who you are dealing with. The only photos I have to go on were the ones on a closed Facebook account, some press releases and a picture on her Twitter account. She is visually acceptable to me i.e. blonde and quite pretty. She is one of those people who live their day through Twitter. What they eat gets posted on there, anything unusual gets tweeted. Random thoughts feature regularly, all day long, several times an hour, day after day. Our mutual friend doesn’t know that I have found all this and I shall make no mention of it. I’m not sure what to make of it, but it reminds me of The NutSlut who breathed via Twitter.
I make contact via text message and positive banter ensues. Our friend and her tell me about her high-powered job in publishing. Talking on the phone seems a logical thing to do, but she always claims to be busy, so we agree to a date for the coming Saturday at lunchtime. She suggests going to a pub in a scenic part of London next to the Thames, to which I agree, but I have a better idea.
Could she be The One?
I set an alarm for Saturday morning so that I could get to my town’s shops first to have the pick of the freshest, best-looking picnic foods. I go to three different supermarkets buying only the finest of what I want for my surprise picnic. I drive for an hour and a half to get to the part of London where we have agreed to meet. I would never have done this without a satnav as it was tricky to get to and it was a part of London I have never been to. I drive around for ages trying to find parking but eventually do at a council car park that charges five Pounds an hour.
Before leaving home I sent my date an expectation-management text message of “I’m looking forward to meeting you. I’m hoping that my lisp and stutter distract you from my hunchback and limp.” Okay, so I might be a slow learner after the Angy Yank incident. I get no reply from her.
My plan calls for meeting her then saying that I had left my wallet in my car and could we go get it, then I’d surprise her with the picnic. I walk to the train station concourse where we are to meet as she lives a few stops down the line in another suburb. I arrive a few minutes early and can’t spot my date. There was someone blonde wearing large sunglasses who might be her but she didn’t look much like her. I get my phone out to text her when the lookalike comes up to me – it is her.
Her sunglasses dominate her look, so I can’t tell if I fancy her or not, or if she fancies me. I kiss her hello on each cheek, to which she smiles. After a few polite pleasantries I begin my ruse.
“I’m sorry, but I left my wallet in my car. I’m parked only a block over. Is it okay if we go get it first?”
“Sure, no problem,” she says and we start walking to my car. I think if we had met via a regular dating site she would have hesitated.
At my car I open the trunk and start getting the massive picnic bag and picnic blanket for two out. I see her jaw drop in surprise.
“Fancy a picnic?” I ask with a smile.
“I love picnics! It’s a perfect day for a picnic!” she says with glee, but I can’t see her eyes because she’s got her Audrey Hepburn-style sunglasses on. Nevertheless it feels like we’re off to a good start.
There’s a massive public green next to where I’ve parked and we find a spot on the grass under the sun. There’s a cricket game happening on the far side of the common and other picnics are under way too. We’re surrounded by a cheerful Summer’s day atmosphere as I lay out the colourful picnic blanket and we start unpacking what I’ve brought along. I’m relaxed and casual in demeanour, it’s not easy to get excited about somebody you can’t see.
I start the conversation off with the usual safe topics of work, travel, food, drink, sport and television. It’s all pretty innocuous stuff, just really finding out her likes, trying to see what we have in common, trying to put her at ease. There’s no right or wrong answers, just light-hearted banter with some humour thrown in if I spot the opportunity. I go out of my way to never let a date feel like an interrogation. She’s not afraid to talk and is quite open in her answers.
As we talk and I find out more about her, after an hour an opinion starts to form in my mind. From the way she speaks, her tone, her choice of words, her attitude in general, I’m starting to get a feel for what she’s about.
I have an idea about a particular type of single woman who exists in London – I call her ‘The London Girl’. I’ve now worked with, messaged and dated enough of them to know a bit about them. They are almost never born or raised in London, but come from further afield from around England. They come filled with a need to prove themselves, to build a career as their highest priority. They seem to gravitate towards working in sales, marketing, advertising and publishing roles.
Love, if it happened along the way, was an accident that just had to fit into their busy scheduled lives. Their relationship history is characterized by one long-term relationship of usually about five years (The One That Got Away) and several short-term flings, a succession of Mr Wrongs. Of course, there are the occasional drunken shags at the Christmas party (that only their closest confidante knows of) which does not count for anything. They choose to marry their jobs.
Her life features alcohol on a daily basis, whether it being socialising with friends and on the prowl, or a work function, but no week is a dry week. I see this in their dating profiles by way of most, if not all, their pictures featuring a glass of wine in hand. Any man who buys her champagne may have her false, eyelash-fluttering company while she drinks his money. She does not know how to socialize without involving alcohol. Going to a fashionable up-market restaurant is a must-do weekly event; something is wrong if it doesn’t happen. She has her favourite brands and labels, thus any man not as materialistic as her just won’t interest her.
By their late thirties and early forties they have achieved what they wanted in the working world, The London Girl looks around to see that most of their female friends have married and are raising children. She realizes that she has paid a price for her ‘little miss independence’ routine. The London Girl’s hopes for the future switch to being more focussed on a sense of security (emotional and financial) and the job isn’t her highest priority any more. She realizes that the job will never love her back. The London Girl still wants to keep her job though so that she can lord it over other women as it provides the social status that she enjoys. A man with money is a basic requirement because she doesn’t want to earn more than her man because that just feels odd, and besides, it elevates her status if she lands a rich guy.
This emotional security itch is something new to her because for as long she has been independent she hasn’t felt it. However, she hasn’t quite yet squared away this need happening at the expense of her ‘independence’ – her emotional aloofness. While The London Girl comes to terms with this trade-off she will contradict herself and drive her man crazy with her inconsistency. After years of holding herself back emotionally, especially since The One That Got Away, she’s not quite sure what love is any more. The London Girl is in a mild state of confusion, but her intent is sound, it’s just that she don’t know how to go about it.
With the advent of online dating it’s now easier than ever to meet someone who ticks all the boxes, because hell, most sites insist on you ticking boxes. Of course The London Girl has a precise idea what kind of man she deserves and nothing less will do. She didn’t compromise in her career and that was a success, so why should she compromise when it comes to men? Online dating is treated like browsing through a catalogue and if she waits long enough she’ll get the best product, because that’s how life is for her.
Their hearts are hard, that has been the price for their success, but they don’t know this. The London Girl is best avoided because she is incapable of a loving relationship.
I see bitches. I see hard-hearted bitches. They don’t know that they’re hard-hearted bitches.
This date’s attitude just personifies the London Girl and I don’t like it. I’ve now lost interest in her. I go distinctly passive disinterested in her, not because I want to invoke attraction in her or have her pursue me, but because that’s how I feel about her. Nevertheless I keep conversation flowing, but I can see she’s not attracted to me in any way.
By now the parking time I have paid for has run out so I excuse myself to go add more money to the meter. I only pay for another hour because I know that she’s not The One. I’ll be polite and a gentleman because maybe she has a single friend she might introduce me to? As I walk back to her I see that she’s on her phone; checking Twitter no doubt.
We make some more small talk but the atmosphere between us feels deflated. She’s clearly not interested in me either. I’m starting to think that dating is a numbers game; date enough people and you’ll click with someone eventually.
“I thought we were just going to have a drink in a pub,” she begins, “I wasn’t expecting this, but I need to get going now. There’s a few other things I need to do around here.”
I just smile and say, “Sure, no problem.” I was just starting to think of how to phrase the ending of this date.
“Thank you for the picnic. It’s a lovely touch,” she says politely. At least she has manners; I appreciate that.
We pack everything up and I give her a polite kiss on a cheek. She walks off toward the main road. I know that I’ll never be seeing her again. For the entirety of the date she didn’t take her sunglasses off.
As I drive away I spot her thumbing her phone; on Twitter no doubt, it’s been a good few hours after all. I note the time on my dashboard. When I get home I go onto Twitter and this is what she was typing in when I spotted her.
“Why can’t the ones we want make as much effort as the ones we can’t be bothered with?”
Can’t be bothered with?!
Ungrateful fucking bitch. I’m incensed. I feel patronised and demeaned.
So I forever more I think of her as The Bitch.
My friend and The Bitch are oblivious of my knowing about her Twitter habit and to this day I have not mentioned it. To my friend I just said we weren’t right for each other, while The Bitch I sent my standard thanks-but-no text message the next day that could never convey the seething dislike I felt for her.
A week later my friend said to me that The Bitch nearly didn’t come on the date when she got my expectation-managing text message. Apparently she found it off-putting.
I wish the uptight bitch hadn’t bothered.
LESSONS LEARNED: 1) Some women are just plain bitches, that’s why they’re single. 2) Never again will I go on a pity date. 3) Keep a first date simple and cheap; all this expense and effort is rarely appreciated. 4) I must be more cautious of someone being a London Girl.
Meredith Brooks – Bitch