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Game Over.

So, you may have noticed my conspicuous absence. No, I have not been involved in a freak combiner accident or been arrested for public exposure. Nor have I contracted legionnaire’s disease or moved to a remote island in the Philippines.

No, my friends, it something far more disturbing than any of the above: I’ve fallen in love. Yep! With the Geordie.

What’s more, I managed to meet him whilst following a book that allowed me do whatever I want, ie sleep with him on the first date, get excessively drunk, curse like a sailor and behave in my usual erratic, slightly alarming manner.

Ahem. IN YOUR FACE, RULES.

It will certainly make for entertaining dinner party conversation when someone inevitably asks how we met. 

“Well,” I’ll say whilst gazing adoringly into Geordie’s eyes, “We met through an online dating site.”

“Oh. How very modern of you.” They’ll say, trying not to look disappointed.

“Yes, and what’s more, I was only on the aforementioned site because I was conducting a social experiment and needed test subjects! He was the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dog!”

“That’s right!” Geordie will pipe up. “I was only meant to be a sounding board for socially-constructed behavioral norms! But I am SO AWESOME that she fell in love with me and put a stop to her commercially-viable blog project!”

(I guarantee you that this is exactly what he would say).

So, this is it. Game over. As much as I’ve loved the project, I can’t justify possibly fucking up something amazing so I can see what happens when I follow the advice of a former pimp (though I am admittedly gutted that I never got to try out Big Boom’s admirably named book, If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs).

I’ve got to say, doing this little experiment has been one of the best experiences of my life (and not just because I happened to fall in love at the end of it). It forced me to meet a whole bunch of people I’d never have otherwise met and do a whole bunch of things I’d otherwise never have done. But more than anything, it reminded me that this whole dating thing is meant to be one of the fun bits of life and that it works best if you just shrug your shoulders, say yes and hope you at least get a good story out of it.

And while I’m CERTAINLY not smug enough to end this on a whole Cosmo “just be yourself!” note (mainly because I am well aware of just how lucky I am to have stumbled across the Geordie and all too aware of how quickly it could come tumbling down like a house of cards), I think there is something to be said for the lightning-bolt thing. You can call him or not call him, you can sleep with him or not sleep with him, you can be a total bitch or be a 1950s housewife, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty much just comes down to whether or not you dig each other. And no amount of game playing can force that.

So thanks for coming along for the ride and for all your supportive and hilarious comments. Good luck playing at home and you never know, Geordie might come to his senses in a couple of months and then I’ll be right back here with a whole new set of rules to follow.

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The Bitch has Landed. Very softly.

The title of this month’s book is, as you can see, Why Men Love Bitches. I’m afraid I have no experience in this area as, when it comes to relationships, the title of my book would be something like, Why Men are Relatively Indifferent (and Sometimes Quite Mean) Towards Pushovers.

Sure, when it comes to casual sex, I can be a total bitch. But once ensconced in a relationship I become, as one ex described me, like a 1950s housewife. I just can’t do confrontation; I am the queen of the quiet life and would much rather just suck it up and get over the many minor irritations in life than make a big fuss and possibly start an argument. Because surely my time could always be better spent sleeping or watching TV than fighting.

But seeing as how I have, oh, exactly zero healthy relationships under my belt, I figured that if the Geordie and I are indeed setting sail on the Good Ship Relationship (me vomiting below deck the whole way, mind) I should probably try a different tack because obviously this whole Revolutionary Road shtick hasn’t been working for me.

It’s time to be a bitch.

Test one: So the Geordie has made a couple of irksome “don’t get fat” jokes. I find this irritating on several reasons:

  1. Surely it is on the first page of the male-to-female handbook that men should not make comments about a woman’s hair, clothes, weight or menstrual cycle. In fact, I think John Hannah touched upon this nicely in Sliding Doors.
  2. Dude subsists entirely off of takeaways and does no exercise. As a result, he has a small little paunch (which I find adorable). I do not go around smacking cakes out of his hand and poking at it because it is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
  3. In truth, I think he should just be quietly grateful that he gets to have sex with me. He certainly should not be trying to impart body issues onto me.

I’d been ignoring these jokes up until yesterday, when I told him I’d decided to skip the gym that night in order to go shopping.

“Go you for choosing shopping over the gym,” he emailed. “As long as you don’t go cakes shopping you’re fine.”

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Normally, I would just brood about this comment for a while and then run it past 7 of my closest friends asking for their responses.

Instead, I only ran it past my best friend, who kindly confirmed that it was a dickhead thing to say. So I summoned up all the inner bitch I could manage:

“Better watch it, sweet pea – you’re on thin ice with the cake comments.” (Apparently I find it marginally easier to be a bitch if I channel a 1940s tough-talking New York dame). Even writing this relatively non-confrontational statement filled me with more anxiety that I’d care to admit, but I knew that I had to say something. Otherwise the brooding (or, as my family like to refer to our repressed emotions, the “rageball”) will one day result in an ulcer .

He responded immediately.

“Blimey. Apologies for invoking your inner Midwestern schoolmarm. I just suddenly realized I should look out for my own interests.”

I conferred with the best friend. Was it an apology? It was not. A further confrontational statement was necessary.

I was feeling a bit nauseated at this point.

“If you continue along this vein, your interests will be a relatively moot point. In future, lay off the fat jokes.”

My anxiety levels were now at Orange Alert.

“I knew my big mouth would get me into bother one of these days. Sorry.”

Huh.

I know this sounds unbelievably, shockingly lame, but that was pretty much the most confrontational exchange I’ve ever instigated. And while it nearly gave me a heart attack and certainly made me EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE, it did feel good to air my grievances and get things (hopefully) resolved.

I’ve just got to start channeling my inner Joan Collins (which is kind of an awesome prospect, really…).

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Oh, that’s right: I’m a jackass.

I’d pretty much decided to chuck in the blog due to my nascent relationship with the Geordie. It’s official: we’re not dating other people. We’ve been grinning inanely at one another and grossing out fellow Londoners with our lovey-doveyness for the past few weeks.

Ever the pie-eyed optimist, I figured that somehow I had stumbled upon a man who required no game-playing or bitchiness or faux-aloofness. I was sitting in his living room on Saturday after spending the day with him in the pub eating lunch and reading the papers before taking a walk in Hampstead Heath (see? Told you. We’re sickening) thinking about how lovely and surprising it all was.

“Huh. So I guess this is what it’s like when you meet someone with whom you share mutual affection and admiration. How novel.”

I said as much to my friends.

“Forget the books!” I cried. “The man is an ADULT. He is always early, he is always great fun, the sex is amazing… stick a fork in me for I am done!”

I’d forgotten a key point: I have a crippling fear of commitment

I keep getting hit by waves of rising panic. The last wave I experienced centered around my fear that being with him would immediately lead to weight gain because he eats nothing but meat and takeaways and does no exercise whereas I am mildly OCD about eating a lot of vegetables and running a lot.

I filled my flatmate in on my concerns.

“You know, maybe I should just forget the whole thing,” I said, only hours after returning home moon-eyed and oversexed. “I mean, he might screw up my exercise schedule! And if he thinks I am going to eat a CLUB SANDWICH with CHIPS every weekend… Well! He’s got another thing coming!”

My flatmate looked at me pityingly.

“Well, darl, I don’t think being with him necessarily means you’ll gain weight. And next time, tell him you want to go someplace where he can eat a lot of meat and you can eat some granola. We live in LONDON. You can find someplace that suits you BOTH!”

She had a point. But the fear hasn’t subsided.

So I’ve decided it’s best to continue with the experiment. Because even if this thing with the Geordie is something amazing, that doesn’t mean it’s not entirely in my power to fuck it up.

Let’s face it: I still need help.

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The bad behavior continues.

One would imagine that after last Saturday’s debacle, I would have learned my lesson and started behaving myself.

But no.

Before I launch into this, I must slip in one caveat. The guy I went out with on Wednesday and about whom this tale centers around knows about this little project of mine. He’s a former coworker and apparently one of his colleagues sent him the blog asking if he wanted to go on a date with me. I wasn’t entirely aware that the blog was now doubling as a dating service, but no matter; he emailed me asking if I wanted to go for a drink and I said yes.

I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to write about him for the past few days (the fact he may read this making it all a bit weird and meta) but then I realized that, unsurprisingly, I’m the one who comes out of this looking deranged. Besides, when he asked me out he told me he was happy for me to write about the experience, so I guess it’s fair game.

Anyway, I found the fact that this particular former coworker of mine asked me out amusing because, during the year and a halfthat I worked with him, he could not for the life of him remember who I was. It became a running joke between me and my work friends. At one point, he thought I worked in the post room and phoned me up asking my how to send a package to America (I did not work anywhere near the post room). So needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes for the evening. In fact, I was mainly just curious to see if he would recognize me.

We met in what I can only describe as an Old Man’s Pub. He was wearing a trench coat and reading a serious-looking book with a serious-looking expression on his face. He had a beard that he didn’t have when I worked with him and was cuter than I’d remembered. Happy days.

The whole evening started out very civilized and above-board (as so many evenings do with me before devolving into utter chaos). We talked about books and writing and, a bit awkwardly, about the blog and dating. It was slightly surreal to discuss my dating habits and inclinations with someone I was on a first date with but there was also something refreshingly honest about it all.

At one point, he announced that he was never the one to end a date, even if he was having a terrible time. I couldn’t figure out if this was a hint that he was having a terrible time and was desperate for me to end the evening or if it was some sort of challenge. Ever the optimist, I took it as a challenge

“In that case, you have to be the one to end the date tonight,” I said. “I won’t get offended if you say you’re having a terrible time. But you have to pull the plug.”

He responded to this by getting us shots of sambuca and another round of pints.

The gauntlet had clearly been thrown down.

After we closed the pub, he asked where we should go next.

“It’s your show,” I said. “Lead on.”

We ended up in a members’ bar under an assumed name. I was growing increasingly impressed with him.

And yes, the Geordie did pop into my head. I couldn’t figure out if I should feel guilty about the fact that I now kind of wanted to make out with this former co-worker of mine when the Geordie and I had, just the night before, declared our mutual liking of one another. But I was having a lot of fun and it’s not like any sort of commitment has been agreed between Geordie and I; I’m still a free agent.

“God, I am a morality-free zone,” I thought.

In the end, I decided that it was best to stick to the grey areas for as long as possible. That’s when I suggested we went back to my place. In the cab, I announced that I was probably going to be someone’s girlfriend soon and that this might be a one-time thing. Unsurprisingly, former coworker seemed fine with this arrangement.

What happened next is almost so cripplingly embarrassing for me to recount that I’m actually having trouble typing this.

We got to my flat, made out for a grand total of 6 minutes (at the most) before I was struck with a wave of intense guilt and self loathing and promptly shooed him out of my flat. I’m serious: I’m pretty sure I actually made the shooing motion with my hands. I then proceeded to text the Geordie (at 1:22am on a Wednesday, so I was clearly at the pinnacle of my critical thinking powers) to say this:

“I’ve made a big decision. Call me when you get this.”

The big decision was that I was going to stop dating other people. At the time it seemed like a sensible and somewhat romantic decision, seeing as how apparently all I do nowadays when I go on dates with other people is behave atrociously and then drunkenly text the Geordie.

But when morning came and he asked what the big decision was, I couldn’t quite face it.

“I’ve decided I’m never drinking sambuca again,” I replied.

Do I like the Geordie? Obviously. But I don’t think I’m ready to start liking him to the point of the exclusion of others. As has become glaringly obvious over the past month, the more I feel myself getting sucked into something, the more I try to struggle my way out of it. So, for now, I’m going to give myself a break and continue to date other people. I think I’ll just drink a bit less and leave my phone at home.

As for former coworker… well, I guess it’s up to him, although the decision might be made for him when he sees October’s book.

Let’s face it: as much fun as it’s been running amok this month, I’m in need of some serious structure.

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Old girls, new tricks…

Well, so much for impulse control.

I went on the date with TV Guy on Saturday night. I was filled with ennui about the evening but was quite pleased with my outfit, so I was in relatively good spirits when I arrived at the cocktail bar at 8:00. He ordered a bright red margarita (which, as a friend said, either meant he wanted to get drunk very quickly or was hoping I’d order the same and get drunk very quickly). I had a gin and tonic.

We went through the standard chat about work and east London and the quality of olives.

A couple of drinks in, he asked if I’d eaten dinner. Now, in my mind, when a date starts with drinks at 8pm on a Saturday night, it is implied that dinner has already been consumed. Besides, I’m not a big fan of first date dinner; there’s too much food-on-the-face-related anxiety involved. So I said yes, I’d already eaten.

He looked as though I’d kicked a small dog. Eyes wide with panic and dismay, he nervously explained that he hadn’t eaten dinner but definitely needed to eat something as soon as possible (maybe the margaritas were kicking in? Who knows).

I took him to this American diner around the corner. I was extremely excited when I saw cherry pie on the menu but, unsurprisingly, there was no actual cherry pie to be had. I had to settle for pecan. I did have a flickering notion that this was somehow a microcosm for my entire life but quickly brushed it aside.

So, TV Guy had been fed and watered and I had eaten some substandard pie. It was now 11pm. The problem with Saturday night dates is that there’s no clear end to them; they can kind of stretch out forever.

He showed no signs of stopping so I took him to that favourite shithole bar of mine where he immediately started drinking VERY QUICKLY. I mean, I can drink, but he was going at warp speed.

It’s at this point that I decided to text the Geordie.

“This is dull. What are you up to?”

He explained that he was at home curled up watching old movies and asked me what exactly it was that I was doing that was so boring. I evaded. He asked again. I evaded. He asked AGAIN. I then decide to stop evading.

“I’m on a date, you jackass. Which I’d rather not be on because I quite like you. Jesus.”

“Oh ho! I see. Well, I can’t say I’m not pleased that you’re having a dull time though I do feel for the poor chap.”

(I did all this texting surreptitiously, by the way, so it wasn’t as rude as you might think).

Finally (at 1am) TV Guy was on his way up to the bar again and asked what I wanted. I said I didn’t want another, thanks. He then proceeded to go and get himself another drink regardless. That’s when I decided to call it a night.

“I’ve got to get up really early for a training session tomorrow…”

At last released back into the wild, I texted the Geordie. Again.

“Okay, I’ve bailed. You’re not an idiot so I’m sure you realize that you could have had sex tonight?”

“I certainly do but have been almost childlishly sleepy all day so thought it would be unfair for me to get you all the way round here just to watch me doze…”

Now, for most people, that would be enough insanity for the night. But not for me! Oh, no. I then texted – you guessed it! – B! Because apparently it is May.

“Hey, are you still up or have you gone to bed? I have a question for you.”

“I’m still out. Where are you? What’s your question?”

“Is it just me or did we have the best sex, like, ever? Very sensible for us to stop it, etc, but still. I mean, we’re never going to top that.”

We then made vague overtures at one of us coming to the other that were (rightfully, thankfully) put to rest due to drunken disorganization.

The next day he kindly called me to tell me that I’m crazy (as though that thought hadn’t immediately struck me upon waking up that morning).

“I just don’t know what to say to you anymore,” he said.

“Yeah, no one does.”

It turned out that B was on a date Saturday night, too. This momentarily irritated me because it just drove home the fact that the main reason he never manned up with me was because he just wasn’t that into me, not because he didn’t want anything with anyone (a galling realizating indeed after ten months). Ultimately, though, I couldn’t really work up the energy to care. Hell, I didn’t even want to sleep with him on Saturday night – I just wanted to confirm that we had had insane sex once upon a time.

In the end, it was all about the Geordie.

I wish I could explain what in the name of Christ I was thinking on Saturday night, but I can’t. I don’t want to think that I was intentionally trying to sabotage things with the Geordie but all evidence points to it. Maybe at the end of the day I’m just not ready for anything even remotely serious and so when a great guy comes along I choose to push him directly towards the precipice before he can chuck me off it. As Helen says, “There is no question that an affair adds to the emotional problems of many women; however, the ones who suffer the most are probably the ones who have the most emotional problems to begin with.”

Hmm.

Or maybe it just goes to show that you can’t teach an old girl new methods of self control. Helen makes much of the fact that one of the main joys of being a single woman is the ability to do whatever the hell we want. While our married counterparts have to worry about maintaining an air of domestic bliss, we can go out and shag as many people as we like, cause as much trouble as we like, be as independent as we like… and as a result it would seem I’m just stumbling around drunk off all the freedom.

The Geordie, just to emphasize his general awesomeness and my total assholery, seemed nonplussed by my behavior on Saturday night. He’s still lovely and keen and a bit, well, miraculous. I have now put Best Friend (who described me as “the type of person who happens upon a sleeping bear and thinks ‘Hmm. I think I’ll poke it with this stick’) on sabotage-watch. Because I think with this one, I’d rather see if we get to the precipice on our own volition rather than putting us in a trolley and wheeling us there myself.

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Impulse control

After much debate, I’ve decided to stick with my Saturday plan with TV Guy. He seems like an affable fellow and in the end the idea of canceling on him AGAIN in favor of another guy was a step too far even for me. I mean, I’m an asshole but I have my limits. Besides, I really want to wear my new ankle boots but the heels are too high to wear around the Georgie. Yes, I really am that shallow.
 
More than anything, though, I realized that Geordie (hopefully) isn’t going to evaporate if I don’t see him this weekend.
 
All this to-ing and fro-ing and when-can-I-see-him-next-ing is pretty indicative of one of the massive driving forces in my life: the desire for instant gratification. No matter how logical the reasoning or how sound the argument in favour of patience and moderation, there is always an overwhelming voice of “But I WANNA!” thumping in my head. My approach to sex tends to be, in the immortal words of Fifty Cent, like a fat kid’s approach to cake.
 
There was a study done in the 1960s where a psychologist offered hungry 4-year-olds a marshmallow with the caveat that if he left them alone with the marshmallow and they didn’t eat it, he would give them another marshmallow. when he returned. 
 
Of course the study went on to show that those kids who waited to eat their marshmallow grew up to be more successful and well-adjusted. And I get it: if you wait for something, it will be all the sweeter when you finally receive it. Good things come to those who wait and all that jazz.
 
But frankly, I think those two marshmallow kids are boring. I would ALWAYS eat the marshmallow right away. Why would I wait? So some dude will maybe give me another marshmallow? How do I know he’s even telling the truth? Maybe some other kid will come along and swipe my marshmallow in the meantime! Take the sugar and run, that’s my motto.
 
Still, in the spirit of reforming my ways and being more fabulous and interesting and girl-about-town-ish, I’m not going to cave in to my baser instincts this time. So instead of trying to rejig my schedule so that I can eat the proverbial marshmallow as soon as possible (despite a head cold and lingering half-marathon exhaustion) I’m trying to be sensible about the whole thing. I will see TV Guy on Saturday and will see Geordie when my schedule next permits – no reshuffling or cancelling for his sake. 
 
Maybe it’s not too late for me to learn some impulse control. 
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Run for your life

Last weekend was The Great North Run, a massive half-marathon that runs through Newcastle. Two coworkers and I signed up for it last May in a fit of insanity and it had been looming over us like a heavy thundercloud for months. Still, I felt pretty confident leading up to it and was looking forward to the pancakes I’d been promised once I’d finished. (Food is often a great motivator for me when it comes to exercise.) And anyway, Sex and the Single Girl swears that sporting events are a great place to meet men. I had a vague vision of chatting merrily away to some fit man as I breezed through the home straight, ponytail perfectly in place, face glowing attractively from the exertion.

We arrived at the start of the race to find a massive swarm of people wandering around wearing bin bags for warmth and standing in endless queues for the port-a-loos. We were huddled into our respective pens (dependent on our estimated finishing time) and forced to go through a slightly hurried warm up by an enthusiastic man on a jumbotron.

This was the highlight.

Now, I understand the rationale behind Helen advising her readers to join group sporting events in order to find eligible bachelors. We were literally in a sea of fit and attractive men. Unfortunately, we then had to run 13.1 miles. I think you’ll find that this is not the most opportune moment to try out your best pick-up line.

In fact, I spent much of the race despising my fellow man. It turns out that, for me, running alongside 54,000 other people is not the joyous, uplifting experience it is purported to be. Instead, I just wanted to mow down all the people who were in my way so that I could get the bloody thing over and done with. No one had thought to warn me that the Great North Run consists almost entirely of long steady climes up a motorway through various industrial estates. I’m sure I’d seen lots of lovely pictures of runners gliding through picturesque cityscapes but this was not true to my experience (though it’s entirely possible that I blacked out during all the scenic bits).

The low point came at the misleadingly-named “boost point” where lovely spectators handed out gummies and ice pops and (oddly) wads of Vaseline (which my poor colleague mistook for food and was unpleasantly surprised when she discovered she’d been handed a large gob of petroleum jelly. Not knowing what to do with it and loathe to stop, she just wiped it in her hair. She spent the rest of the day looking oddly sleek and glossy.) As we ran through the boost point, man on a megaphone shouted “Come on guys! Almost there! You’re at ten miles! Three to go!”

“Okay,” I thought. “I can fucking do this. Soon I will be out of this ninth circle of hell and eating some goddamn pancakes.”

Five minutes on from the boost point, we passed the ACTUAL ten mile mark. I cannot express to you the feeling of utter dismay this caused.

When I crossed the finish line, it was not whilst holding the hand of an attractive fellow runner and grinning triumphantly. I was a salt-covered shell of my former self who was cursing my bloody ipod shuffle, which had kindly decided to crap out on me during the final mile. How I got through that shit without Jay-Z, I will never know.

The race rage passed (although gallingly I didn’t get my pancakes) but I still think Helen got it slightly wrong here. Sure, there were a bevy of men there for the snaring, but I was too busy concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other to notice. Which is probably how much of life should be, really.

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Rudderless

Film Buff and I are sailing along nicely. Almost suspiciously nicely. We’ve settled into a seeing-each-other-every-six-days rota which is twice my typical desired amount and yet… I find myself actually wanting to speak to him in between dates. And since I’m following a book that lets me do whatever I want whenever I want so long as I look decent and hold down a job, the possibilities are endless. I can ask him out as much as I damn well please. But I don’t have to because he does the asking before me.

He is also consistently early to meet me so that when I walk into the bar he is always waiting for me with a gin and tonic. He is one of the few men who seems to have mastered the art of the two-sided conversation; he is both a great story teller and a great story receiver. And the other night, he took me to see Casablanca on the big screen. Unprompted. Because he really likes the film, not because he was trying to score chick points.

Essentially, so far he is exactly what I thought a man should be when I was 16 (before I met actual men and had to curb my expectations somewhat).

The thing is, while I’m certainly enjoying my rule-free freedom at the moment (well, rule-free other than the rules dictating that I must be fabulous, thin and well-groomed) I am noticing a direct increase in my (I’m sure charmingly) neurotic emails to friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances asking for advice on how to handle each and every situation. Right now I’m trying to figure out if I should cancel my Saturday night date with the TV Guy so I can see Film Buff instead (sorry, I know the media nicknames are getting slightly absurd. In fact, if it’s okay with you I’m going to change Film Buff’s name to Geordie, if only because I’m sick of typing the word Buff). If I was following a more structured book, it would solve the dilemma for me. Instead, I’m seeking out council from everyone and anyone, hoping someone will give me the response I’m looking for (and that changes on a moment by moment basis as well).

I always thought that women who relied on these dating guides were silly and self-obsessed and slaves to social mores but now that I’m seeing myself unchained after a few months of rule-following… well, the word “unhinged” springs to mind with relative ease.

For the first time, I can really see the appeal of these books. They provide comfort and structure in the uncertain and often bizarre world of dating. The advice might not always be right (and in some cases might be downright insane) but it’s from an impartial and seemingly-authoritative source. And they have probably saved the frayed nerves of many a friend.

So, left to my own devices and the devices of the twenty three people I’ve consulted thus far, I’ve decided to stick with the Saturday date with TV Guy and see the Geordie on Sunday. At least I think that’s what I’ve decided.

Maybe not.

I don’t know.

What do you think?

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Bend Me, Shape Me

One thing about Sex and the Single Girl is that it rapidly becomes apparent that it was written by the long-standing editor of Cosmopolitan. Helen is OBSESSED with the importance of being thin (she had a 23 inch waist at the time of writing the book) and is all about eating next-to-nothing and doing a shedload of exercise. Her argument is that if you feel fit and healthy, you’ll project an irresistible air of happiness and confidence (with a strong undercurrent of “boys don’t like fat girls”). She goes as far as to advise that a cup of cottage cheese and a tin of peaches is an ideal dinner.

WTF.

That’s the weird thing about this book – it’s half feminist manifesto extolling the virtues of independence and sexual liberation, half reinforcement of superficial ideals and stereotypes. One minute she’s encouraging her readers to diversify their stock portfolios and the next she’s telling them to get plastic surgery (literally). It’s all a bit Cosmo - their whole “fun, fearless female” thing seems to consist almost entirely of recycled articles about elaborate sex tips (in which silk handkerchiefs feature far too prominently) and how to dress for your body shape (unless, of course, you’re fat, in which case according to them you’re screwed), all under the guise of female empowerment.

Don’t get me wrong – I still really love the book (though I do admittedly despite Cosmo) – it just has a couple of seriously outmoded moments.

Anyway, I’m not about to go around eating tinned fruit for dinner any time soon and I already do a shedload of exercise because of all the running but I figured it was about time I branched out in terms of my regime. So I tried yoga.

I walked into the class feeling extremely self-conscious about my choice of wardrobe (old soccer shorts when everyone else was wearing lovely Sweaty Betty yoga pants) and the state of my pedicure (hideously old and chipped). Since I had no idea what I was doing, I figured the best thing to do was to position myself next to someone who looked like an expert. A non-threatening-looking expert. So I plonked my mat down next to an excessively well-groomed gentleman wearing three-quarter-length trousers who had already wound himself into some sort of strange cobra-like position as his warm up stretch.

I spend the entire class looking at him askance and trying to copy his every move (which was tricky considering he was clearly far more bendy than me). Everyone in the class looked serene as they balanced on one leg and contorted into a swan-like position; I teetered around awkwardly whilst shaking like a shitting dog. The highlight was when I managed to get myself in a shoulder stand with my legs in the lotus position (a feat powered solely by stubborn pride rather than natural strength and flexibility). There we were, essentially stood on our heads, exchanging shifty glances at one another (his increasingly hostile, mine increasingly panicked as my back began seizing). By the end of it, I’m pretty sure the poor man felt violated.

It was good experience, though, and the next day I ached in places I’d never ached before. I think Helen would have approved of my efforts. She probably would have frowned upon the bag of M&Ms I consumed afterwards but I’m afraid she’d have to pry those bad boys from my cold, dead hands.

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Bros before Hoes

So I was meant to go out with Film Buff on Thursday. I’ve had a long standing work/friend party to go to that evening but I decided to try to stuff two things into one evening because no other date this week was working and I was keen to see him again.
 
“I’ll be out of the party by 8:30,” I thought. “Besides, I’m not even meant to be drinking before the run this weekend! I’ll be very well-behaved, say hello to everyone, drink a diet coke, and then meet him for dinner.”
 
There were several glaring flaws with this plan.
 
First, I’m not really giving up alcohol before the half marathon on Sunday. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. I’m not exactly an Olympian and I don’t plan on breaking any records. In fact, I will be pleased if I can drag my limp body over the finish line. I doubt a couple of days off the liquor is going to suddenly turn me into Flash Gordon. In fact, it might drive me to such stages of despondency that I give up on the run entirely and spend the morning in bed.
 
Second, I have a long-running reputation as the Last Woman Standing at a Work-Related Function. If I tried to sip a diet coke before casually slipping out the door, there’d be trouble.
 
Third, if I carried through with the plan it would be a clear case of bros before hoes. And not only is that against the tenets of Sex and the Single Girl, it’s against my tenets as well. Because I think we can all agree that no matter how awesome a dude seems on a first date, 9 times out of 10 it’s going to end in angry ranting and cigarette smoking with my flatmate on my balcony.
 
So I rescheduled. Well, what I actually did was reschedule a date I was meant to have tonight with that wild card who works in TV and then shifted Film Buff over to tonight. Now I get to see the so-far-awesome dude AND leave my reputation unsullied.
 
So I guess it’s now a case of bros before other bros, which frankly suits me better.
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