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Parting is such sweet sorrow: An ode to Londontown

2 Oct

Farewell LondonIt has been many months since I’ve written, not due to a dating drought, but something much more life changing…. I’ve taken my first job as a writer in a continent where I’m nearly considered to be of normal height. Yes, sadly, I packed my bags and all of my beloved shoes, and said goodbye to London and have moved to Kuala Lumpur.

It was a bittersweet departure… London was where my heart, friends and without a doubt some of my best and worst memories were – all muddled up in a beautiful and confusing montage of two very distinct chapters. Chapter One was the time I spent with my boyfriend before we broke up; years spent exploring London together, going on romantic holidays, lazy Sunday’s, dinners in quirky little restaurants and lots of laughter, all before confusion set in and I realized that I was no longer in love with him. Shit.

Under the glaze of rose tinted glasses and the passing of time, I mainly only remember our wonderful trips to Europe, walking through the London’s stunning parks in autumn together, drinking red wine in cozy pubs and cafes on winter afternoons, and of course, the joy of cuddling him through a bitterly-cold night.

And then there’s Chapter Two – the single years. Numerous girls’ holidays filled with brief flings, the delight of regressing back to a teenager when you get asked for your number, and countless nights spent in lovely London pubs putting the world to rights with your friends.

Again, with my rose glasses removed, the reality also involved: nights spent wishing you had someone to cuddle during those cold nights (or when you couldn’t slept because you were barely had a penny to your name); the realisation that some men really can be bastards; and loneliness – as despite London being a city of nine million, it has a way of making you feel lonely like no other when you’re down and out.

However, after seven years in this city, you develop a thick skin (if not just to keep the cold out), so I had come to terms with these things. The real, and so incredibly unsexy and boring issue was the recession. It had not only impacted the glamorous parts of single lifestyle described above, it also meant that I spent over a year going for countless job interviews in pursuit of my writing dream and to escape the soulless corporate world that I had strangely found myself in.

It became obvious that perhaps this fairytale was not having such a happy ending, and that it was time to discover a new Kingdom in a land far far away in search of not only a prince, but also a fulfilling career (I am a modern girl after all)….

So bye bye my darling London…. hello Kuala Lumpur…

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Princess Ruby on: Could your next date be sitting next to you?

10 Jun

Definition:

‘A meet-cute is a situation in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing. It can also be applied to two people destined to become buddies’.

Meet-cutes are, without a doubt, probably the best thing about being single. Those little surprise encounters where you bump into someone (sometimes quite literally) who momentarily stops you in your tracks and makes your heart do a little flip. They often happen when you least expect them, or as I’ve recently discovered – while waiting for a bus or a plane!

I guess this is what makes them so cute; because they’re completely organic and even the most unromantic can’t help but think that maybe fate is playing its part. And so my story begins…

Meet-cute #1

One evening, my friend was sitting at a bus stop shivering, staring out at the road optimistically willing a red double-decker bus to turn the corner, rescue her from near hyperthermia and take her home – when a guy also sharing the same fate asked her for a lighter. Not a smoker herself, she was unable to help, however this prompted a conversation which lead to him suggesting they give up on the bus and go for a drink together instead.

They dated for a while, and would often laugh about their cute encounter, however unfortunately cigarettes weren’t his only vice – he also had a taste for snorting a certain Class A drug to help him deal with his high pressure city trading job.

When his nasty little friend started making an appearance before, during and after their dates, my friend conceited defeat and realised that perhaps fate hadn’t bought her prince. But nonetheless, her little ‘meet-cute’ does make her smile from time to time when she’s shivering waiting for the bus.

Meet-cute #2

On route to India a few months ago, I was browsing an uninspiring sandwich counter at Heathrow Airport when I looked up to catch the eyes and the very inviting smile of my next beau. After buying my sandwich I hesitantly walked out the store while flashing my best flirty smile back (one I have done my best to perfect over the years!).

As I waited outside the store for a friend, I froze when I noticed Sandwich Boy was coming over.  He introduced himself and gave me his business card, asking me to get in touch upon my return.

I took him up on this offer and we ended up going on one those amazing first dates where you instantly click, laugh (and well, eventually kiss) for hours!

However, alas, the second date was not such a success. Unsure whether the wine from the previous date had clouded my judgement, he started the date off by making jokes about a slightly overweight girl in the pub, then went on to brag about how much money he made (yawn) right before promptly pointing out that it was my turn to buy the next round, despite only being half way through my drink.  The date rapidly went down from there spelling the end of our ‘meet-cute’!

Meet cute #3

Around the same time, another friend had a transport ‘meet-cute’, however this time while boarding a flight to Australia. He spotted the lovely lass as they were boarding the plane, and to his luck, she sat in the same row as him. Unfortunately, he fell asleep, and when he woke he noticed he had not only missed dinner, but the girl too – as she had moved to the row behind him.

Hungry and disappointed, he looked around to notice her moving back to his row and told him that she had left a chocolate for him in the pouch of his seat as he had missed dinner! The chocolate was not the only thing that melted… he was smitten (after all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach). They have since gone on a few dates, however as she’s an air hostess from Portugal… it has made dating a little difficult.

Although, just goes to show… you never know who you might meet on your next journey!

Princess Ruby on: when the thrill of the chase brings no thrills

16 Mar

To continue on from my last blog, it seems Mr Do You Have Nice Feet was playing a game of phone roulette – although neither of us hit the jackpot! He text the day before the date to say he forgot his sister was coming to stay so asked if he could rearrange for the following week.

The next week came, and my phone was silent as a mouse. No beeps, squeaks or tweets. But in these fickle circumstances, easy come, easy go; best dust off those stilettos (without the threat of any feet perverts) and shrug it off.

However what did intrigue me about Mr Do You Have Nice Feet was that he had asked me repeatedly over the course of our texting marathon to go out with him until I said yes. I couldn’t help but wonder…. why go to such effort???

I started to think of dates-gone-by, and a stream of outlandish broken promises that would make Pinocchio blush came flooding back. Everything from romantic holidays to running away together!

When you’ve only had a few dates, it’s safe to assume these sweeping comments are just displays of affection, rather than actual promises. But when they come from someone you’re dating, it’s only natural to get a little swept up in these fantasies and the potential fairytale, as I found out last year.

So it begs the question, is it an ego thing, or do some people really like the thrill of the chase?

Ego or chase – part 1

Early last year, I met up with an ex for dinner. My stomach was in complete knots – possibly serving as a warning that danger was imminent. Despite him breaking my heart, it’s true what they say about bad boys… they’re really hard to get over!

From the moment we met, I exerted a cool ‘I’m so over you demeanour’… however rather unexpectedly, he began reminiscing about our past and confessed that he never got over me. I initially dismissed his affections and continued with my nonchalant attitude.

Although by the time our mains arrived, resistance was futile – he asked the waiter to move the table so he could be ‘closer to me’, and then suggested that we move away together where nothing could get in the way of us and I could have his children. I nearly choked on my dinner.

Tales of the Urban Princesses

So when we met up the following day, and I suggested dating before running off into his fantasy sunset and bearing his children, the confusion really kicked in. He began to physically squirm at the thought of having to commit, and then voiced his concern about me not wanting to play games. Clearly something he was unable to do…

I’m happy to report this episode permanently cured me of my infatuation.

Ego or chase – part 2

Later in the year, I began seeing a seemingly lovely guy who had accepted a job in Australia before we started dating.

As a constant joker, it was hard to know when he was being serious, but every time we met, he joked about me moving to Australia with him, or kidnapping me. This went on for a few months…and occasionally via email after he left.

However when I visited my family in Australia a few months later and asked to meet up, he panicked.

Initially he said he had some ‘special plans for me’, however a few weeks before my arrival, he cut communication completely. When we finally met up it felt like enduring a gruelling boot camp in a thunderous storm would have been preferable over sitting by the Sydney Opera House on that balmy night with me!

Clearly terrified I may have taken him up on his offer, he was awkward and defensive and seemed more interested in sending pictures of the Harbour Bridge to his mother in England than engaging in any form of meaningful conversation. Oh the disappointment.

Months on….and this date still makes me shudder (and not in a good way!)… !

So what do you take from such experiences (besides your slightly battered pride)? Is it really about the thrill of the chase and unwavering egos for some people? Or have I made some particularly poor romantic choices? I think in the above instances, it is a little of both!

However with all being fair in love and war, best to put my armour back on and keep heading for victory.

Princess Ruby on phone roulette and a fascination for feet

4 Mar

It is safe to say that my love life has hit a bit of a quiet patch of late. I haven’t gone out much, dated, exchanged texts …or anything else for that matter, since the other side of Christmas. And for a change, I’m not bothered by this somewhat forced solitude (well, almost!).

So this got me thinking….where do you meet someone if you’re not out in pubs and bars these days? Of course there’s internet dating, meeting people through friends and the slightly more risky avenue of hooking up with someone from work (…please proceed with caution!)

These are all good ways of finding love… (or lust); however I’m starting to think that chance encounters need to make a comeback. Situations which are not contrived, involve a few cocktails or you paying a monthly subscription. Just plain old fashioned flirting with strangers.

I can vouch for the fact that a little cheeky smile from a suited and booted man during the peak-hour rush can really brighten up your morning. It’s these unexpected encounters that give you an extra spring in your step.

So as I was writing this blog late on a Sunday night, feeling content with letting fate take its course, it came as quite a surprise that I got a text from an unknown number asking me who I was, quoting a badly misspelt version of my name.

Curious, I responded back asking who they were. And so the conversation began. It turns out he found my name and number scribbled on the back of a business card but couldn’t remember who I was….and the fact that I couldn’t remember giving my number out (or that he had never called!) was a clear indication that we had both been steaming drunk when we met…or that this was indeed a very old business card.

After establishing we both couldn’t recall the details of our initial meeting, our random conversation unfolded over the next few hours…

Tom: You must have been pretty for me to ask for your number. Haha. I’d love to put a name to the face.

Me: Well, maybe you should have called the first time!

Tom: Haha, fair play. Am I too late? Fancy a blind date?

Me: It seems we may have been a little tipsy during our first encounter….maybe you could remind me a little about yourself??

Tom: Hi, my name is Tom. But my friends call me Curlytom or crazy. I’m 28, from Essex, but I live in South London. Love it. I work for a start-up in Waterloo heading up the online marketing dept. My favourite food is chicken kung-po and rum makes me sick. That’s me. Your turn.

Me: Nice to meet you Tom. I’m 30, live in West London and I also work in marketing and do a bit of writing in my spare time. My favourite food is Italian and white wine makes me sick.

Tom: Pleasure to meet you. ’Do you have nice feet?’

My smile fades.

Me: Nice feet?? Umm, are you joking or do you have a thing for feet??

Tom: You could call it a kinky obsession but I believe if a girl looks after her feet, you can guarantee she looks after everything else. Have I freaked you out? Haha

Hmmm….

Princess Ruby on phone roulette and a fascination for feet

Was this what he had in mind?

And so our texts continued. Aside from the feet comment, he appeared to be very funny, so we made plans to meet for a drink later in the week.

However as the date nears…reservations have set in. Was he trying to be funny or was he really harbouring some kinky foot fetish?? I really hope it’s the former. And is this how he usually meets girls…. playing phone roulette…. chasing up girls he never called late on a Sunday night to get his rocks (or feet??) off?

So while this was somewhat an ‘unexpected encounter’ I’m pretty sure this isn’t how Cinderella got her glass slipper (unless Prince Charming had an ulterior foot motive?) – or how I’ll get mine. To be continued…

Princess Ruby on why I don’t like ‘city bankers’

5 Feb

Despite working in London’s old banking district, I tend to avoid going out to the typical ‘city boy’ banking bars. Don’t get me wrong, I love a man in a good suit….and for this reason, I’m always more than happy to do the morning coffee run to the cafe next door. Although, to accompany these fine suited and booted boys, often comes a certain arrogance and aggression that turns me off quicker than you can say ‘trader’.

However, in saying that, I do like a guy who is not shy about coming forward, and eager to check out an old Victorian Turkish-bathhouse-cum-bar for a friend’s birthday, I was keen to put the stereotypes aside. After all, how often do you get to party in an old bathhouse hidden underneath a tiny pie and mash shop nestled between the buildings responsible for London’s sinking banking system?

So armed with a new dress courtesy of the ongoing sales (one positive outcome of the banking crisis) I was looking forward to the change in scenery.

Trader # 1 – ‘Do you look as good in the morning’?

Will I turn into Princess Fiona in the morning?

While waiting for my French Martini at the bar, I got talking to the guy next to me,  a city trader who was very quick to start firing off questions regarding my career, who I was there with and life my ambitions – all before my second cocktail I felt like my ‘stocks’ where being scrutinised, assessed and measured for risk.

And assess he did, as being the good trader that he was, he later checked with my friend that my name, career and story did indeed match up. Relieved I wasn’t a liar, he continued with his assessment by asking:  ‘Are you rich, as I’m after a rich girlfriend’ and my favourite… ‘Do you look as good in the morning… as it’s hard to tell with some girls’?  Hmmm.  I too made my assessment, and quickly made a beeline back to my friends.

Trader # 2 – the return of Jaws

As I was making my escape, I exchanged smiles with a friendly looking cute blonde guy who later came and introduced himself as a city trader/actor. Intrigued to know more about this unusual combo, we chatted for a while however I noticed he kept getting distracted by the reflection in the mirror next to him… his own.

Having revealed that his brother was a model who had supposedly dated a famous British actress …he seemed to have an inferiority complex as he kept staring at himself in the mirror and complaining that he’s the ugly one compared to his brother. To change the subject, I started to ask about his acting career and which actor he was most inspired by. He eagerly responded by asking if I had seen Jaws. I started laughing and was relieved that he had a sense of humour.

However when he said he aspired to be like the captain of the boat in Jaws with all seriousness… and started to repeat his favourite lines and got into character with such passion and conviction….I had to bite my lip to stop myself from laughing. Jaws???? Really??? And not even the main character!! He had mentioned his girlfriend of two years had recently dumped him because of his acting ambitions… I thought she had sounded mean and superficial. I now think she had a point. Two years of hearing these lines and putting up with him stealing more mirror time than you would be too much for any girl!

Jaws by Slant Media

Trader #3 – busting the moves

My time with the next, but undoubtedly gorgeous trader was brief, as we chatted while I was on route back to my friends. However he was very charming and insisted he was going to come and find me later.

I did see him a little later, standing next to me at the bar holding up a girl who had her legs wrapped around his waist as he parted her firm butt checks and well, … dry humped. (High school disco anyone??)

Meanwhile, my friend had started a hilarious Michael Jackson dance off with a guy who had spent the night in similar position with not one, but two girls, simultaneously. Unimpressed my friend had got into a different type of rhythm with her guy; one of the girls broke up the MJ sequence before any groin grabbing could take place and warned my friend that he was hers.

We later noticed lines of coke on the table next to her semi-passed out body as she vomited while the waiting security guard was gathering her things, and lovers, instructing them to leave.

So all in all, I had a brilliant time people watching, and getting chatted up so much in one evening is always a nice boost to one’s confidence! However as I climbed into the taxi with my friend and we laughed about the night I couldn’t help but be reminded by the fact that it really is a jungle out there (or possibly an ocean in the instance of trader #2) ..and why I don’t like city boys!

Princess Ruby on counting calories – sex vs dance

15 Jan

I have welcomed the New Year with a rather monumental list of resolutions. I’m certainly a woman, or Princess as it may be, on a mission for bigger and better things. Gone are the days sitting around in a castle waiting for your fairytale to happen will do. You have to get out there…. glass slippers blazing and make it happen!

With an ambitious year ahead of me… I started out with one of the least extreme items on my ‘to-do’ list; learn to dance.  In hindsight, opting for a fast-paced street dance class may not have been the best place to make my debut – with the class resembling something out of Flash Dance; my two left feet began to sweat before we even started the warm up.

Trying to keep up with the class as they gyrated, jumped and spun was much more of a sweaty challenge than Beyonce makes it out to be. However two classes down…and I’m hooked! It also turns out to be a great way to release some semi-sexual energy, albeit in a slightly clumsy manner. And with little happening on the Prince Charming front, it got me thinking… which is a better workout? Dancing or sex?

Princess Ruby on sex vs dance

My research produced interesting results. According to one website (one which I suspect is yet to yield a scientific stamp of approval) you only burn 25 calories during the act if the woman is on top, add an extra 7 calories for bouncing, 22 for urgent begging, 33 calories for trying to keep your eyes open, and 27 for orgasm! Giving you a grand total of 114. However for someone my weight, an hour of fast dancing would have burnt 272 calories. Dancing wins!

Although according to the same questionable website, I could have upped the ante and produced better results if I were caught misbehaving with someone other than my partner – apparently trying to explain would have given me 165 calories, getting dressed in one large motion 300, jumping out of the window 15 (add an extra 5 if the window wasn’t open).

So if I were prepared to get myself in this messy situation, jump out of bed and into a closed window, sex would win hands down.

Therefore the results are open to debate, and of course a combination of both activities, with the dancing being the back-up, would be ideal. However in the meantime, I shall continue with my resolutions, which now may include testing out some of the above….perhaps minus the cheating.

Princess Ruby on: are you dating for love or for sex?

4 Nov

The dating business is huge – you can’t escape a tube carriage without an advertisement for online dating beaming down at you. However I’m starting to notice that for as many services there are devoted to finding ‘true love’, there’s an equal number of services looking to help you get your groove on….no matter how that might be. Here’s a few I’ve stumbled across this week…..

Are you dating for love or for sex?

Shag lotto anyone?

While scanning one of the many London lifestyle newsletters which bombard my inbox, I noticed a singles dating night with a twist – anyone for a game of shag roulette? For £1 (after all, these are frugal times), you can enter the ‘shag lottery’ where and you and one lucky punter are paired-up and sent off in a pre-paid cab at the end of the night. (Is anyone else hoping this also comes with a police check????)

Mood clothing – the dress that asks for sex for you

Also to pop into my inbox this week was an article about hypercolour clothing making a comeback. Somewhere between the hypercolour t-shirt days of the 80s’ and the naughty noughties, heat sensitive clothing has come a long way. Introducing the transparent dress’ – a dress that turns transparent when you’re getting a little hot under the collar and want to give your date the green light.

From what I can gather, it’s just the top half of this very low-cut crazed creation that radiates this subtle seduction technique.  Therefore if your come-to-bed-with-me eyes are letting you down, or, if you can’t find the words to say ‘it ain’t gonna happen sweetheart’ … this dress is for you!

Playing ‘dress-ups’ for adults

And finally, if hiding behind the privacy of your laptop is a little more your style before you hop into the hot seat (or bed) there are a host of websites that can cater for your individual needs…no matter how diverse. For example, ever wanted to slide down a fireman’s pole (literally)? Well, there’s a website that can help you do just that – by pairing you with someone who works in uniform. Now that’s customer service for you!

So it seems dating for sex is no longer a taboo matter. Gone are the days the ‘desperately seeking’ section hidden at the back of the newspaper is the only port of call for this audience.  And why should it be if conventional dating doesn’t float your boat?  However for now, I might leave the shag lottery and flashing transparent dresses to the more daring!