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Left to my own devices

So the new book doesn’t offer up all that much advice about how to behave around men. She does, rather awesomely, give advice on advancing your career, decorating your apartment, investing in the stockmarket and entertaining at home as according to her you can’t be a truly happy and attractive single woman unless you’re living a full and fulfilling life, man or no man.

And too right. It’s actually fascinating to see how this book, written before the big feminist wave in the 1970s, stacks up against post-feminism-era The Rules. While The Rules essentially decrees that no woman is truly happy unless she has a diamond on her finger and therefore should devote every waking hour to ensnaring her man, Sex and the Single Girl is all about being clever, successful, attractive and all around amazing – not because you want to get a man, but because you deserve to live a fabulous life.

Also, dear Helen is the first author of one of these books to say what everyone else is thinking (well, at least what I’m thinking): women like sex and shouldn’t have to deny themselves the pleasure of sex in order to convince a man that she is valuable. While both The Rules and (to a lesser degree) The Technique of the Love Affair were all about the Virgin/Whore complex (where withholding sex leads to power and allure), Sex and the Single Girl encourages readers to embrace their sexuality and be open about the fact that sex, when good, is pretty fucking amazing. In short, a woman who loves sex is sexy. Not a revolutionary thought, but an important one nonetheless.

Let off my leash a bit (apparently I’m just meant to turn up, make eyes and be fabulous) I’ve found myself slightly drunk on freedom. And a little bit nervous. I feel like a rabid fox that’s escaped from quarantine.

I had my first date with the Film Buff last night and rocking up to the bar, I felt slightly rudderless. I’m so used to going into these things armed with a checklist and prescribed set of behaviors that knowing I could say whatever I wanted, drink however much I wanted and make a pass at him if I wanted was all a bit much.

But it turns out I had nothing to worry about; I fell back into calling my own shots in no time. It was made considerably easier by the fact that the dude was awesome. First of all, he had a Newcastle accent (which is inherently fantastic because he calls cigarettes “tabs”). Second of all, he was one of the most entertaining human beings I have ever met. We talked, we laughed, we drank the place dry. We went back to my place for some perfectly above-board bourbon and making out. In short, it was a grand time – I was fabulous, he was fabulous, the whole thing was fabulous. And I got to make out with a guy without worrying about lowering my prestige.

It’s weird, I’ve gone on so many dates over the past few months that I’d kind of forgotten that they’re meant to be fun. Surely Helen has it right – men are meant to be a pleasant accompaniment to a full and interesting life. And it doesn’t hurt if they have a Geordie accent.

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A step too far

There’s a whole section in Sex and the Single Girl on how to meet men. Places include work, bars, sporting events, dinner parties and… AA meetings. I shit you not.

Now, I don’t want anyone to doubt my dedication to the project, but I’m going to have to draw the line at sneaking into an AA meeting with the hope of ensnaring some poor unsuspecting twelve-stepper. Not only because it’s morally reprehensible but because I can’t really imagine dating someone who doesn’t drink (which probably indicates that I could be attending the AA meetings legitimately, but no matter).

To whit: the Sailing Enthusiast. As I mentioned briefly, the first time we went out we had two pints over four hour. Never have I seen a man milk a pint like that in my life. He spent the last hour just shuffling his glass around the table and taking what could only have been fake sips of his remaining inch of beer. It’s not that I wanted to drink more on the date; I just wanted him to drink faster so I could get home earlier (midnight on a Wednesday is late for me, regardless of how scintillating the conversation may be).

Still, slow drinking aside, I happily accepted when he asked me out again. After all, he was cute, funny and had all his own teeth (except, it turns out, one of his front ones, which has been capped since he was punched in the head as a ten year old). When he suggested a hot chocolate, though, I started to get sweaty palms, especially as it was an unseasonably hot day yesterday and everyone else was pouring gin down their necks like it was going out of style.

When we got to the café, I couldn’t face the prospect of a hot chocolate. I just couldn’t. I had a Corona instead, which of course forced him to have a Corona as well. I think he was operating under the (very sweet but very incorrect) misapprehension that I had given up alcohol until I’d finished running my upcoming half marathons. Ha! If anything, I’ve been drinking more to quell my rising terror. Anyway, we had a Corona. A single Corona. Over three hours. And while my liver is certainly celebrating and the conversation didn’t suffer from the lack of booze, I realized that so much of my attraction to men tends to bloom when I’ve been drinking.

Not a great realization, admittedly, but there you go.

Without the lovely glow of a second glass of wine or the clinking of ice in a tumbler of bourbon, it’s harder to gauge if I actually fancy him or if I’m just playing along because I think I SHOULD fancy him. When drinking, no such niceties factor in. The light is either red or green, no confusing shades of yellow. I know the opposite should be true – that because I’m clear-headed and sober, attraction should strike me like a bolt of lightning – but no.

Also, closing at the end of the night becomes EXTREMELY AWKWARD. We ended the first date with a kiss on the cheek, so as we said our goodbyes last night, I was fairly sure he’d go for the full-on kiss. Instead, I got another kiss on the cheek and a hug. A HUG! When he pulled away, he looked mildly annoyed with himself. Such a thing would never have happened if we’d been drinking (mainly because I would have gone in for some sort of drunken lunge/grope).

On the walk home, I had to wonder if he was just my new non-drinking buddy. But this morning I got a text from him asking if I was free over the weekend, so apparently he’s thinking third time might be the charm.

I might just bring a flask this time.

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A lovely collection

Well, folks, I’ve done it:

“There should be at least two men desiring you at one time – more if you are very skillful or fortunate”

This has proved trickier than one would hope but I’ve finally managed to collect a coterie of men (just at the point when I have to switch books).

There’s Triathlete, of course. There’s the Australian sailing enthusiast I went out with on Wednesday (who was lovely and accomplished and interesting but who nursed two pints over FOUR HOURS, something I found rather unconscionable). I’ve got a date with a rather dapper film buff on Thursday. And then there’s a charmingly odd guy who works in TV I’m seeing the following Wednesday. It’s pretty much a full house.

So, after a month of shameless flirting, I think the author of the book would be rather proud of me – I’ve turned into a fairly decent coquette (drawing on my own natural inclinations as well, of course).

But here’s the thing: having a veritable harem isn’t giving me that glow of satisfaction I thought it might. Instead, I’m growing increasingly bored. It’s the dating equivalent of eating cotton candy: so delicious at first but eventually you start feeling a bit sluggish and ill.

In a way, I totally get the point of having as many men in your life as possible. When there are lots of different possibilities on the horizon you don’t get too invested in any one person. I don’t have to feign indifference, a la The Rules – I actually AM indifferent because there isn’t enough time/brain space to get attached to any of them. So if one falls off the radar or blows me off or turns out to be a massive Meatloaf fan, I can easily forget about him and move on.

But somehow it’s not turning out that way. Instead, I find myself wanting to blow ALL of them off. Triathlete’s text messages are too banal, the Sailor is probably teetotal, the dapper Film Buff is too short for me to wear my new witchy boots around… and so on and so on. Faced with the prospect of dating four men at once, I kind of just want to cancel all upcoming dates and devote myself to running more, reading all the books I never get the chance to read and finally giving myself a proper facial.

I know this seems like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth (and spitting straight into it) and I’m sure the inertia will pass once I feel a little zing with one (or more) of them. And in terms of the experiment, it has been a resounding success. I absolutely loved this book – the author is sharp, witty and completely uncompromising about what women should expect (and what they must demand) from men. Women aren’t encouraged to pander to men or make them the central focus of their lives. The point of having a love affair isn’t to find a husband; it’s to have a bit of fun and test out your powers of persuasion. It’s all strangely empowering.

But alas, September is now truly underway and so I’ve got to leave the Technique behind and try something new. This month, it’s Sex and the Single Girl by legendary former Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown. It caused massive waves when first published in 1962 and is regarded as one of the first books to acknowledge that single women have certain… ahem… needs.

I think it’ll suit me just fine.

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Falling from new heights

In the spirit of embracing new things and creating a more exciting and glamorous Flapper-esque lifestyle for myself, I agreed to do a flying trapeze class on Monday.

I was meant to stay in on Sunday night and read something edifying and clean my flat, but instead my flatmate and I went out and drank the whole of Shoreditch dry. We were on a kamikaze mission that ended with us stumbling home at 2am whilst eating Twix bars and ranting loudly about the lack of attractive men in our area. So I wasn’t exactly in the best state of mind for swinging.

The trapeze was set up in a corner of Regent’s Park. It was much, much taller than I’d expected and the safety net lacked sides. I could already envision myself pinging off it and being impaled on the nearby fence. My friend squeezed my hand and let out a little squeal of excitement laced with terror. I’m fairly sure my face was the colour of paste.

The instructors demonstrated what we were meant to do in what I can only describe as a nonchalant manner:

“So you just flip your knees over the bar and let go with your hands so you’re swinging upside down. And to dismount, you’ll just do three quick kicks and flip off onto the net below.”

As my head was filled with marshmallow, my ability to pay attention and follow directions was pretty much nil. Still, as people started launching themselves off the platform and swinging about gleefully, I felt quietly confident.

“My upper-body strength isn’t bad these days! I could possibly be described as lithe! I used to excel on the swingset as a child! This will be fine.”

As I started to ascend the rickety ladder to the platform twenty-five feet above the ground, I suddenly remembered something: I’m scared of heights. By the time I got to the top and the two instructors strapped me into the harness, I was shaking like a leaf. I gripped the bar with sweaty palms and leaned out over the net 20 feet below (which, from that height, was looking surprisingly flimsy).

“Ready? Go!”

I leapt out into thin air and immediately plummeted to the ground. The trapeze didn’t even make a cameo appearance; it was more a walking-of-the-plank than a display of aerial gymnastics. I even managed to skin my toe on the net as I fell (surely I am the first person to skin a toe on a trapeze, which I suppose is an accomplishment of sorts). On my second go, I managed to hang on for an even shorter amount of time and landed on the net in the splits. After that performance, I decided on early retirement.

To add insult to (minor) injury, everyone else was flying through the air with the greatest of bloody ease. Even my friend, after a disastrous first go in which she launched herself across the net like she’d been fired from a trebuchet, was beginning to get the hang of it.

So it looks like I’m going to have to cross “trapeze artist” off my list of enticing Vaudeville-era skills. Very dispiriting.

Certainly not me.


I wonder if I could still wear the costume…

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Just a jealous guy…

Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. – it was a long weekend and I essentially declared war on my liver for three days.

One of the skirmishes involved the Triathlete.

So we were meant to go out on Saturday night – I’d even booked a bloody table at a semi-pretentious cocktail bar – but at 11am on the day, I received a text saying he couldn’t get out of the party he was going to cancel on in order to go out with me, Could we reschedule?


I replied as per the book – petulantly.

“That’s such a shame as I was so looking forward to seeing you. Well, am now all booked up through next weekend so rescheduling may be tricky…”

I proceeded to go for an extremely long and pleasant run, eat a muffin, and make plans to see my friend Toffee instead.

Seven hours after my response (SEVEN HOURS?) Triathlete replied saying he was gutted because he was ”really keen” to see me (where had all this keenness been over the past month? Where?). He then proceeded to say he could probably get out of this party early and could meet me afterwards. I explained that I had now made plans to have a drink with a friend but he was welcome to join us.

This was actually perfect. The book encourages you to see your suitor in group situations so he can watch you shine in all your socially-adept glory (or, in my case, watch me drink a whole lot of Jack Daniels with my extremely lovely and shinier-than-me friend).

Toffee and I went to my favourite neighborhood shithole where we proceeded to hide ourselves away at a back table and pour red wine down our throats like it was going out of style. When Triathlete joined us, we were onto action point three of Solving All the World’s Problems. Pleasantries were exchanged. Within minutes of him sitting down, an extremely pilled-up fellow came up to the table and asked if we’d like to hear a poem he’d wrote.

“Sure!” Toffee and I chorused. Triathlete nodded imperceptibly.

The pilled-up man proceeded to regale us with several (surprisingly rather good) poems. And then a Billy Connolly impersonation. And then a couple of tricks with his trilby.

Forty-five minutes passed.

At one point, the pilled-up man asked the Triathlete which one of us he was with and he gestured towards me with his thumb.

“That one.”

Yep! That one indeed.

And then something rather strange happened. It’s fair to say that it was extremely obvious to anyone NOT on a massive amount of drugs that the pilled-up man would make a rather unsuitable suitor but the more he talked, the more proprietary Triathlete became over me. At one point, he leaned over and, nodding towards pilled-up man, said, “I’m going to have to pretend that you’re my girlfriend.” Seriously dude? I can assure you that the pilled-up man certainly wasn’t making any overtures towards me; he was too busy gurning his face off.  But suddenly, the chivalrous, complimentary Triathlete from last month returned with a vengeance. There was hand holding and admiring glances and more compliments than I could shake a stick at. Poor Toffee was left to field the pilled-up man largely on her own because I was too busy saying thank you and being distracted by the hand on my thigh.

So apparently book’s theory that you can (and should!) incite jealousy in your suitor just by looking at another man (or, in this case, by politely listening to his drug-fuelled poetry) is spot on.

I’ve got to hand it to the guy – I essentially invited him to gatecrash a girls’ night in the dirtiest bar in London and proceeded to get blindingly drunk and befriend a crazed drug fiend and he handled the whole thing with relative aplomb. And I forced him to meet flatmate in the morning and he was lovely and charming (and managed to hide his disgust and despair when surveying the state of our flat).

Let’s just see if it takes him another month to get a burst of chivalry.

Ah, and I know it’s 1st September and therefore should be rules change day but as I started late with this book due to the parental visit, I’m going to extend The Technique until the end of the week. But I’ve got the next book all picked out and I think it’s going to be a doozy…

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In preparation for next week’s dates (the Triathlete on Saturday and a charming sailing-enthusiast on Wednesday) I was flipping through the Technique and this line caught my eye:

“Let your relations with men leave memories of seething fury and hatred rather than embarrassment.”

It got me thinking about my past, er, relations with men and what sort of memories I left in my wake. I’ve got to say, I think they’re mainly embarrassment. Or bemusement. Or concern for my mental health. But seething fury and hatred? Man, I wish. I think I’ve only really accomplished that a handful of times.

The other night I had a dream about a guy I’d known when I was in high school (and when I say known I mean “was completely infatuated with for the whole of my last year in high school and sporadically hooked up with when I went to college”). He was a bit of a dreamer and spoke in an appealing Southern drawl despite having grown up in Massachusetts. I spent the good part of a year trying to convince him that I was perfect for him (this pretty much consisted of me flirting outrageously with him and anyone remotely in his vicinity) but I could never quite catch his attention – he was always having his head turned by a sylph-like blonde or a Ginsburg line or… oh, I don’t know, a piece of lint on the carpet. All of which is very dispiriting for an eighteen year old girl who’s doing her best Betty Grable act.

Looking back, I can see that this has been a central theme in my life. Girl falls for Dreamy Absentminded Boy. Girl tries best femme fatale act on Boy. Boy is mildly bemused by Girl but is immediately distracted by small dog, falling leaf or own feet. None of which is conducive to inciting memories of seething fury and hatred.

There was the Dylan-obsessed grad student who used to leave message after message on my answerphone when I was at work (always leaving his full name) but who could almost never be bothered to turn up on the night. The curly-haired lawyer who frequented the same coffee shop as me and would implore me to take cigarette breaks with him every 25 minutes but who never tried to make a move, despite my frequent and overt hints. The professor who referred to me as his wife to strangers and who insisted on my help when buying clothes but who freaked out when we finally kissed. 

How am I supposed to incite feelings of rage and jealousy when I keep falling for men who can’t remember where they live half the time? There should be a dating book written solely for the purpose of capturing the attention of these people (though I expect it involves being all hazy-eyed and elfin, wearing many layers of floaty chiffon and staring purposefully at dandelions. And I just can’t get down with that).

I think maybe I should focus on finding a mouthpiece with a fat anchor to do my barney-muggin with. These pillowcases aren’t getting me anywhere.

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Butt me.

Look what best friend found!

A flapper’s dictionary!

It’s pretty much the best thing ever.

In order to fully immerse myself in the 1920s mentality, I’m going to try to work at least one of these words into conversation every day. It’ll be like that time I tried to start a comeback for the phrase “rad to the power of awesome” only hopefully more successful.

I particularly like Whiskbroom. Also, I’m going to try to convince my flatmate that we should throw a Petting Party. Who doesn’t like a social event devoted to hugging? Only Appleknockers and Brush-apes, that’s who.

In other news, I have an extremely belated experiment result to share. I was out to dinner the other night with the friend who set me up with my very first Rules date, Latin Banker. If you’ll recall, the actual date went well but the evening fizzled when we tried to find a cab home and ended up wandering the streets of Fitzrovia like a couple of vagabonds for a half hour. And then I never heard from him again. I was convinced that he thought I was a money-grubbing shrew and hated me, but here’s what he actually said:

“I thought she was great and I really fancied her but it was obvious that she wasn’t the least bit interested in me so I didn’t bother pursuing it.”

SO! Doing the whole “I’m completely indifferent to you” routine as required by The Rules actually backfired in this case as it prompted the logical response (i.e. thinking I was completely indifferent and therefore not bothering) rather than the desired response (i.e. thinking I was playing hard to get and redoubling his efforts). It’s a bit of a shame as I thought Latin Banker was rather sweet.

Thank god The Rules are over – I’m so much better at being a biscuit.

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The evil eye

No date to report on, I’m afraid – Triathlete couldn’t make Sunday in the end (there was mention of a business trip to Geneva Monday morning but I suspect he was just unhappy about having been allocated such a poor day of the week) so now we’ve rescheduled for next Saturday. I’m trying to work up something other than what I can only describe as ennui but am failing thus far.

The flirting project has gotten slightly out of control – I can’t seem to stop making eyes with everyone. As I wandered around Soho with my friend Tall Boy today I realized that he was watching me with hawk-eyed suspicion.

“I saw what you did in there,” he said as I collected my salad box from the kindly counter man. “I saw the look in that poor man’s eyes.”

“What?” I said, clutching the over-full container.

Later, when waiting for the lift, a couple of moving men pushed past us carrying a large desk.

“You’re incorrigible,” he said, shaking his head.

“What?! I didn’t even look at them!”

“Well, it seemed like you made eyes at that guy. At least I think he thought you were making eyes.

“You’re being paranoid,” I said, flicking a quick glance at the movers.

But he had a point – it’s like I’ve got flirting Tourette’s. And, unsurprisingly, sometimes it goes a bit awry.

The other night I was on my way home from a friend’s house and found myself chatting with a former sheep farmer from New Zealand whilst waiting at the bus stop. I was exhausted, he wasn’t attractive, and yet there I was, dutifully making small talk with this man rather than studiously avoiding eye contact and listening to my ipod.

“Ah,” I thought. “It’s harmless! Besides, these are the sort of random conversations that enhance the intricate quilt of life.”

When his bus pulled up, he asked for my number. I dithered in what I hoped was a clear “I’m not interested but am too polite to come out and say it” sort of way, but instead he took the dithering as “she’s interested but is just being a bit coy.” Amidst the dithering, the bus had pulled away without him.


My bus came fairly soon after and, despite the fact that it was heading in a completely different direction than his original bus, on he got.

“Isn’t this the wrong way for you?” I asked.

“I work for the transport system,” he replied matter-of-factly. “I can get home from anywhere in London.”

This seemed like flawed logic – surely the fact that he worked for London transport didn’t mean he had some sort of magical control over the bus system. In fact, I think you’ll find most people can get home from anywhere in London at any time of night – that is the sole purpose of said transport system.

So on we chatted, soldiering through a pointless debate on North vs South London (with him slipping in a vaguely racist comment about the Irish in an attempt to convince me that North was inferior to South) and at one point he referred to us being in the same generation despite the fact that he was CLEARLY a good 10 years older than me (unless those years herding sheep had really taken a toll on him).

“Yep,” I thought. “This is my life right now. Sitting on a bus and being mildly insulted by a racist former sheep farmer. How do I manage to get myself into these situations? These conversations are not what make up the rich tapestry of life; these are the conversations that make me want to swallow my own head.”

After an interminable journey, we finally arrived at my stop. I skipped off the bus and did what I should have done from the beginning – put my ipod in, put on my best scowl and stomped off home.

A lesson learned: it’s best to turn off your engine whilst idling at a bus stop.

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Tuesday night I decided to pick a fight with the Triathlete.

Well, not a fight as such, but I did decide he needed a bit of a slap with a kid leather glove or a tumbler of gin tossed in his face or whatever it was that women did to show their displeasure in the 1920s. Bust a Charleston on his ass? Tempting…

Anyway, since his text on Sunday suggesting a drink “soon” and my positive response, I had heard nothing. My flatmate and I have had many discussions about what exactly “soon” means in the world of men and have yet to come up with a conclusive answer – as far as we can tell, it’s somewhere between “tomorrow” and “before the earth completes its rotation of the sun.”

I consulted the book. Now, there are strict instructions about how to deal with a man’s waning interest: you’re meant to completely ignore them and then when they do wise up and throw themselves prostrate at your door you’re meant to treat them with utter scorn. But I don’t think Triathlete’s interest is waning as such. I just think he’s being a bit useless. And for this, the book has a completely different suggestion:

“Lay your cards down petulantly, not soulfully, in something after this fashion: ‘Well, there seems to be no pleasing you today! I have been as pleasant as I could, but you are apparently determined to be dull, so I shall go and spent my time in more responsive company. Let us meet again when you feel more amiable!’”

I consulted with best friend.

“I think I’m going to send a text along those lines to give him a bit of a prod. What should I say?”

“I think you should send that little paragraph verbatim.”

She was right – he already thinks I’m insane and I already think he’s an asshole, so what did I have to lose? And anyway, what’s the point of following a 1920s guide if you don’t get to be all 1920s-ish about things? So I sent him a slightly modified version:

“Well, I have been as pleasant as I could, but you are apparently determined to be dull, so I shall go and spent my time in more responsive company. Give me a call when you feel more amiable!”

Best friend and I took odds on whether or not I’d hear from him again (I was 70:30 against, she was 70:30 for).

Five minutes later, a text flashed up on my mobile:

“Sorry? Come on, you don’t always reply straight away. Sorry, I’m still at work and about to go bowling, which I’m rubbish at. What are you up to? X”

So far, so good. According to the book, I wasn’t meant to forgive him straight away but was still meant to be charming and airy and flattering. So I sent this:

“My response time is neither here nor there [once you start talking all 1920s-ish it’s hard to stop]. I’m out for drinks tonight with a friend [a lie – I went for a run and then went home and ate crackers in front of the TV]. Have fun tonight – I’m sure you’re a brilliant bowler [I don’t think that’s exactly the sort of flattery the book had in mind, but I had to work with what I was given].”

He then proceeded to text me throughout the evening and we eventually agreed that he could buy me a drink on Sunday.

So, success! I am going to use that line ALL THE TIME. I’m actually regretting that I’ve already used it on Triathlete because it’s just so bloody brilliant.

As for my flirting project, so far I’ve made lots of pleasing eye contact on the tube, been given a free cupcake from the friendly bakery man at Waitrose and received a much-fuller-than-usual salad box from the vegan lunch place around the corner. More than anything, though, it’s making every day life just a little bit more interesting. And I’m sure I’m saving myself from future frown lines by ditching myMean City Face for a while.

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A brief aside

I’ve decided to switch dating websites as the one I was using had been filling me with increasing and near-constant anxiety. Every morning I approached my hotmail account with heavy dread, steeling myself for whatever fresh hell awaited me. Don’t get me wrong – I scored a few dates off of it and there were definitely some attractive and normal-seeming people on there, but on the whole it inspired a lot of guilt and self-loathing. All these people sending out these pointless emails that I would have to ignore and delete! And the winks! Oh, god, the winks! I have an intense aversion to emoticons of any sort and so rocking up to my hotmail and finding 37 new winks from men with names like “cheekychappy” and “someonelikeu” honestly made me a tad suicidal (or homicidal).

So, before I began fashioning a noose for myself, I thought it best to try something different. Something without winks. I decided on a site that relies on friend recommendations so I asked my oldest and closest friend to write a little piece saying how fabulous and supremely datable I am. This is what she came up with (verbatim):

“She reads, drinks, and smokes a lot. She excels at the following activities: having fun, making sure her companions are having fun, eating baguettes, being clever, and rebuffing her lesbian best friend enough times that said bf just signed her up on this damn website already.

As a child, she rode a very fat horse named Jason, played defense in football, kick-boxed on a regular basis, and got in trouble in parochial school for reading Candide at mass. When you meet her, only the football bit will surprise you.”

Have you ever seen a more deranged picture painted of someone? Okay, so it’s all true (except for the baguette-eating part – she was clearly thinking back on younger days when she and I would go to the grocery store with the express purpose of purchasing and consuming whole cakes) but surely this is the sort of anecdotal information one gleans on the 7th or 8th date and not the stuff that lures them in the first place. It makes me sound like an angry, drunken recluse; the image it most conjures up in my mind is that of Ignatius J Reilly from The Confederacy of Dunces and, unless memory fails me, he wasn’t exactly beating the chicks off with a stick. All this from my best friend who I love dearly and who, if I were lucky enough to be a lesbian, I would desperately try to woo and marry! Jesus.

I’ve decided to give the task to someone else. Someone who knows me less well and will focus on my light and airy charm rather than my penchant for baked goods and whisky.

I think it’s going to be a tough search but all applicants are welcome.

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