Tag Archives: London

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: 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: the demise of her dating mojo and how not to win the lottery

17 Oct

It is safe to say that on many occasions I’ve been more excited about going on a date, rather than actually going out with my ‘date.’ This is partly due to my belief that dating is like playing the lottery..you have to be in it to win it… and I certainly love to play.

The adventure of the whole process – from date to potential mate – is really what makes being single exciting…. you just never know what might happen. Such thrills usually leave me beaming from ear-to-ear, however of late, my beam has gone – I fear I’ve lost my dating mojo.

After some careful consideration, there seems to be a few catalysts for my dating demise: the departure of a boy and Saturday night cocktails.

Let me start with the boy. Funny, cheeky and sweet – we really hit it off. Unfortunately our short-lived romance was doomed from the start – as he was moving to Australia..effectively leaving on a jet plane, not knowing when he’ll come back again!

Therefore returning back to the dating scene can be rather uninspiring when the same buzz….even with the aid of your favourite cocktail…just isn’t there.

And speaking of cocktails – this leads me to my next concern –  I tend to meet my potential suitors when I’m out on a Saturday night, and under the warm and somewhat misleading guide of a drink or two. Therefore if a date follows our initial hazy encounter, I often know so little about them and end up I’m thinking something along the lines of: ‘I could have sworn their hair had been a different colour when I first met them!’

Previously, this would be part of the thrill; the start of many comical mishaps (shortly followed by me tripping over) which would be relayed back in hysterics to my girlfriends.

Having experienced that very situation recently (however to be fair, blonde isn’t too far a stretch from red hair, right?), I’m starting to see how this may not be the best strategy to apply when looking for Prince Charming.

Best case scenario,  you hit it off (which after all, is the aim of the game)…however worst case scenario, the conversation sinks faster than the titanic and leaves you both relying on the aid of more alcohol to get you back to where you were when going out with them seemed like a good idea. Not surprisingly, this process is flawed on many levels – unless you intend to spend your entire relationship in a pub.

So it seems dating really isn’t like playing the lottery. While buying multiple tickets may help increase your chances of securing a win, going on multiple dates with someone you don’t know (or remember) does not. As when it comes to matters of the heart…it takes more than a sequence of numbers to hit the proverbial jackpot!

Princess Ruby on Great Expectations – the search for the English gent

11 Sep

While not a lover of English period dramas, when growing up in Australia I had been under the illusion that the English gent, aka Mr Darcy, was as synonymous as the black cab – stylishly roaming around London day and night waiting to pick you up. So when I moved over to London some six years ago with my boyfriend at the time, I was a little confused by what I found – there certainly were men roaming the streets, some looking for love, many searching for sex, however their disguise and behaviour threw me.

For example, the edgy and artistic East London type rocking the skinny jeans and drugged-up look; the sport fanatics who often socialise and chant in flocks while sporting football shirts stretched to their limit as a beer belly protrudes from beneath; the 20-something Chelsea lads with cardigans wrapped around their necks while wearing pink chinos dotted with birds; or the ‘city boys’ – your suited and booted traders and bankers cashed-up, and in some instances, coked-up to their eyeballs.

Duck trousers

Having dabbled with most of the above (minus men wearing pink chinos with birds), despite their obvious differences there seems to be a common thread– there’s a lad culture like no other and an unwillingness to commit until well past thirty and beyond. Could part of the problem be the city – one that offers too much choice and competition??

Having experienced some ‘cold feet’ issues of my own with that very boyfriend I moved here with all those years ago, I too got caught up in the pandemic. However having ‘matured’ a little (I just turned 30…gulp!), I now feel I’m ready to hang up my glass slipper so to speak. But with some of my male counterparts still caring too much about what their friends think while drinking to excess, roaming the streets like 18-year-olds pissing up against street corners….or worse… as I once experienced, on my new cushions… the English ‘gent’ has left me disillusioned – no matter their appearance or disguise!