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I get dumped – for NOT being unfaithful

2 Sep

“I’ve been kind of dreading this call,” he said.

I groaned. But hadn’t I seen it coming? Hadn’t I been mentally rehearsing my break-up speech on the 12-hour flight home from Sri Lanka only a day earlier? Had I bought him a sweet but inexpensive souvenir gift that I could easily palm off on somebody else just in case we split up? Hadn’t I spilled my guts out to my friends on holiday about how his jealous streak was out of control, Continue reading

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Pablo

26 May

When I moved to Leeds for an awful PR job some years ago, knowing hardly anyone there and being single to boot, I signed up to Guardian Soulmates. I thought it might be a good way to meet new people, find out where the good hang-outs where and maybe even find the man of my dreams. Instead I found Pablo.

Pablo was a mix of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. He was 32 – five years older than I was at the time – spoke three languages and owned his own home. In his profile picture he was sitting on a beach in a yellow t-shirt, brown-eyed and olive-skinned with an athletic physic and beautiful dark hair long enough to just graze his shoulders. In fact there was just one thing wrong with Pablo: everything on his dating profile was a complete lie.

We spoke a couple of times on the phone before arranging to meet for a drink. So charmed was I by Pablo that I spent longer than usual arranging my hair and picking an outfit, and arrived at our agreed location ten minutes late.

Scanning the bar, I was relieved to find he was also running late as he hadn’t arrived yet either. The bar was in fact empty except for the overweight man with the scruffy hair sitting at the end of the bar. The same man that was now standing to greet me with a sweaty kiss on each cheek.

Real Pablo was not only much paunchier than Pablo-of-the-Internet – and in possession of more chins – but, it later transpired, he was also ten years older (though I could probably have guessed from his hairline). I decided to stay for one drink then make my excuses, yet when he returned from the bar with a bottle of Pino Grigio instead of the small glass I’d asked for, I was too polite to tell him to shove it. I batted off his cringey attempts at flattery and flirtation for A WHOLE HOUR before attempting to take my leave, protesting that I had an early start for work the next day.

“That’s a bit of a brush-off,” he said, a whine creeping into his voice. “I’ve come all the way from Manchester to see you, can’t you at least stay for one more drink?”

I still don’t know how he cajoled me into it, but I agreed to one last glass of wine. However, when he came back from the bar with yet another bottle, I knew it was time to stop playing nice.

“I’m just popping out for a ciggie,” he said (despite the fact that Pablo-of-the-Internet was a non-smoker). “Want to join me?”

“No thanks.” You lying greasy-haired toe-rag. I smiled sweetly, then as soon as he’d disappeared into the beer garden, I grabbed my bag, ran out the front door and jumped into the nearest taxi.

A rash of inconvenience

26 Dec

There are many good places to be on Boxing Day, but the waiting room of the NHS walk-in centre in Dudley is not one of them. However, I have to get this rash sorted before my New Year Amsterdam shagfest with Tom, the architecture student I met in a bar three weeks ago. Yes, he’s a student and at 25 he’s three years younger than me but he also makes me laugh, has great taste in music and is gorgeous in a dark-haired, slightly-bearded Northern sort of way.

The rash reared its ugly head(s) shortly before Christmas and at first I simply shrugged it off and hoped it would go away, as I do with most things I dislike – there not being enough time to even consider a doctor’s appointment in the December rush at work anyway. But then the crop of small, red, slightly raised blotches started to spread across my torso and back and boobs and thighs, causing me to think it might be impetigo. A friend had this once and it spread all up his neck to his face, which turned scaly and blistered like something off Star Trek. So of course I panicked, and shoved all my clothes and underwear and towels and bed sheets into a hot wash before showering every inch of myself and covering the rash with sticking plasters (two boxes of them).

But when I arrived home for Christmas my mum told me it most definitely wasn’t impetigo and my sister said it looked very similar to something she had a couple of years ago, which turned out to be a form of psoriasis (temporary, although it did last for three months). And so it is that I find myself in a crowded room surrounded by women in velour tracksuits clutching screaming babies with names like Tyler and Skye while Punjabi men frown at their hands folded solemnly in the laps of their kurtas. The two-hour wait stretches before of me like an extended special of Jeremy Kyle.

Unexplained skin irritations aside, there’s much to be done in preparation for said mini-break. As well as the usual money to change, airport transfers etc. etc. there’s new underwear to buy, a Christmas belly to vamoose! and – last but not least – the battle of keeping body hair under control for a full week. Sadly the IPL I’ve been having on my underarms and bikini line hasn’t worked its magic yet – must book wax.

An hour and a half later, after I’d bared my splotchy belly at him, the really-quite-cute doctor confirmed it was probably a mild form of psoriasis, probably triggered by stress.
“Do you ever suffer from stress?” he asked.
“Er, work has been pretty busy recently,” I told him, trying to remember the last time I took a day off.
He prescribed me a steroid gel to be used daily and recommended I try to relax more.
Relax? I’m editor of a daily news website. Stress is part of my job description.

Ten foods to avoid on a first date

21 Dec Ten food to avoid on a first date - Spaghetti

Ten food to avoid on a first date - Spaghetti
1) Spaghetti Yummy yes, but also with the unfortunate propensity to whip sauce all around your mush. Unless you’re sure you can re-create that scene in Lady and the Tramp, steer clear.

2) Edamame beans A date once ordered these and I didn’t realise you had to remove the hard outer shell before eating. Cue me chewing for an absolute eternity before excusing myself to go to the bathroom and empty my mouth.

3) Garlic bread Garlic breath = bad.

4) Vindaloo Ditto curry breath. Not to mention potential curry-bum the next day if you end up staying over…

5) Sea bream (or any bony fish) I once ordered this in a posh restaurant on a first date, and spent the rest of the evening trying to look interested in what my beau was saying while picking fish bones out from between my teeth. Not a good look.

6) A sharing platter …to scoff the whole lot yourself.

7) Veal A controversial option for some (due to the issue of veal crates and other farming industry practices). Unless you know where your date stands on the slaughter of baby cows, this menu choice might be a tough one to swallow.

8) Chipirones en su tinta (Squid in its ink) The ink is supposed to intensify the flavour, but have you seen what the stuff does to your teeth?

9) Soup JNVS (Just Not Very Sexy)

10) Salad You want him to think you’ve got some personality, dontcha?

(Image via Flickr courtesy of gotosira)

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