Sunday, 3 October 2010
Once we'd registered for the event, collected our name badges, note cards and pens, we headed towards the other side of the room, ready to place our order for a couple of much needed drinks. A few minutes later, I sat alone across the bar, taking a sip from my mojito whilst eyeing up my friend's raspberry flavoured cocktail and contemplating what my next drink should be. As the door by my side opened, letting in a cool breeze from the evening outside, I looked up and saw a tall, dark haired guy walk in. He looked at me and smiled before making his way over to where I sat. "Hi." I said, returning his smile. "Hi." He replied. "So, do you come here often?" I tried to keep a straight face, but I couldn't help but laugh. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised to bump into an old friend at one of these events - it was bound to happen some time! On the plus side, at least we both knew that there was going to be at least one normal person sitting on the opposite side of the table. We talked a little about the strangeness of such nights and joked about the kind of conversations we would have. I suggested I try to start off my 'dates' by asking where I would be taken on our honeymoon and he was planning to tell each girl that he trained dolphins for a living. Soon enough, an announcement was made and we were all asked to take our seats. My (girl) friend and I moved to the end of the room and made ourselves comfortable - a quick scan of the male daters gave me a feeling that it was going to be a long night - no matter how open minded I planned to be!
The first dater that I sat across was a surgeon. This is the first thing that he told me and I instantly found myself comparing him to Grey's Anatomy's McDreamy - no comparison, but I was still quite impressed. A surgeon - that's pretty hot. He then went on to tell me that he was too busy for a relationship, but he felt as though it was time he found himself a wife and started a family. I nodded as he spoke and slightly cursed myself for thinking this time would be better than the last. The bell finally rang and as he moved from my table to the next, I looked at my friend and quietly wished her good luck.
Thankfully the few daters that followed weren't all bad. Some were quite interesting, some funny and some a little too friendly. As the bell rang twice, indicating that we were half way through the night, we found ourselves talking to the one of the last guys that we met. He seemed quite nice and conversation seemed to be flowing well. That was until, in what I believe was a slightly drunken state, he managed to tip his glass and pour beer all over my friend's lap. Needless to say, neither of us were very impressed as he didn't even apologise and walked away, head down in shame, to the other side of the room.
During the second half of the night, things seemed to pick up a little. Putting aside the guy who went on about the difficulties of finding a vegetarian girl, the guy who looked at me in disgust when I admitted that my red coloured drink did have alcohol in it (why would it not?!) and the man (I say man because I'm sure he passed the age limit of 35 and realistically was reaching 50) who tried to hold my hand, there were a couple of potentially interesting blokes. One that took my eye in particular was someone who looked strangely familiar to me. I guess the problem with meeting people on a night out, being introduced to half the Indian population and being distantly related to the other half, makes it a bit difficult not bumping into people I feel as though I've seen before. Luckily I wasn't going completely mad and he said the same thing to me. We spent a couple of seconds trying to figure out where we knew each other from, but with not much luck, we ended up spending the remaining two minutes talking about nothing in particular and I found myself giggling like a little school girl - I think I had just met my first and only 'tick worthy' guy of the evening.
At the end of the night, after handing in our note cards and pens, I walked up to my friend and looked at him questionably. "So.." I said. "What's my competition like?"
Okay, so this is the point where my aforementioned friend was supposed to supply me with interesting and funny stories about all the single girls he 'dated' that night. I probably should've managed my expectations because instead of humourous little tales, the only thing I got was empty promises that he would deliver and the confirmation that boys lie.
All I do know is that whilst scanning the room to check out the competition, I definitely think that today's boys should count their blessings - because there are a hellava lot of hot single girls out there ready to be swept off their feet! Right girls?!
Thursday, 29 April 2010
As I get to a stage in my life where many of my friends are getting married and having babies, or where I find out that the boy I wasted a lot of my time fancying in previous years is engaged, I hear myself repeating the cliched sayings in my head which all single girls are probably familiar with; 'trust in fate', 'the perfect man is out there', 'if it's meant to be, it will be', 'good things come to those who wait', 'it's naseeb' etc.
I've always said that I will never (never, ever, ever, ever) settle for someone where I'm not 100% sure that they're the one for me. I know that this is a difficult concept for some of the older generation in my family to come to terms with, after all, only a handful of my aunts and uncles can truly say there were in love when they married, but it's something that I feel very strongly about. Like most girls, I have an idea of the 'perfect man' for me - I know what he'll look like, I know what he'll wear, and the kind of things that he would say. I have a mental checklist every time I meet a guy - even if it's someone I've known for all of five seconds, I'll be judging them against this checklist that I've spent years creating.
During a conversation with a recently married friend, I was taught something, or perhaps made to realise something, which really stuck with me. My friend told me that like me, she had a checklist that she would run through in her head every time she met a guy. No one she met would come close to perfect - they would be too short, they would smoke, they would be too work-orientated and so on. As soon as a guy said or did something she didn't like, she would rule them out. As she talked, all this sounded extremely familiar. I was exactly the same as her. I admit, creating this image of my perfect man has, as a result, made me really closed minded to anyone who doesn't match my extremely specific criteria. When I asked whether her husband checked all her boxes, she laughed and said no. She told me that there were many he didn't check - he may not be the man that she had imagined all those years, but she was completely in love with him and knew he was the one.
That night, I spent a lot of time thinking. I refuse to admit that my mother was right when she said that I should settle for Mr. Less than perfect, but the older and wiser me has certainly realised that though there is a very blurry line between settling and compromising, there is a difference.
As I think about my checklist and some of the guys that I have met, I wonder whether at times I am a bit too harsh. To me, there are definitely things that are complete deal breakers, but there are also some things which I could let go - to an extent of course. With this new found thinking of mine, I have found that I am being a bit less critical of the guys that I meet. When I recently received a text from a potential suitor with numerous abbreviations, instead of sighing and wondering why people have no respect for the English language, I admit that I amused myself (and did this with a smile on my face) by responding with similar text slang. To some, this won't seem like a big deal, but for me it was a big step in adjusting to a new way of thinking.
And so, the next time I meet someone - whether it be through a family introduction, at a single's event, or just whilst out and about - I will remember to be more open minded. The perfect guy that I've spent so many years creating in my head probably doesn't exist, but I guess with some more searching and a little compromising, he'll be close. And of course, once I've found him, with a lot of moulding, a little bullying and constant nagging, he'll be as good as perfect!
Friday, 18 December 2009
The Boy With The Very Straight Hair
With a perfectly made mojito in our hands, we stood by a small table taking in the crowd when we were approached by two guys holding keys. We made a little small talk before they asked for our padlocks. When one of the guys (one with peculiarly straight hair) managed to unlock mine, we both looked at each other excitedly. This meant raffle tickets (for getting a match) and also a new padlock and key for each of us. I learnt that his name was 'G' (am not quite sure what it was short for) and as we continued to talk for a little longer, I noticed that he would never look at me directly. He seemed to have this habit of looking to the right so all I could really see was the side of his face. He then asked me how old I thought he was and when I guessed a younger age, he told me that people always think that and explained how he is proud of his youthful skin and boyish look. I nodded my head and listened to him go through various occasions where he had been ID'd at bars and in shops. At this point, I was losing interest and looked around the room for an escape route. When I said that I had to get back to my friend, he looked directly at me and said, "So what's your number then?" My response was a light hearted comment about not giving my number out to strangers, and I picked up my glass to make a move. He told me to stop playing games and asked for my number a second time, to which again, I refused. "Well, I bet I don't even remember your name", he said and started to walk away. He then turned around and 'guessed' my name correctly. I nodded my head, slightly confused and said, "And what was your name? F..H..", "Yeah that's right", he replied "My name's GHD", he continued, and then ran a hand through his very straight hair smugly. I turned away and walked to the bar - time for another drink I think.
The Boy Who Just Wanted to Have Fun
Whilst scanning the room for potentials, I noticed a rather good looking guy standing at the side of the dance floor. He was in a smart black shirt and jeans and was talking to a shorter, dark haired guy in a similar outfit. I turned away to talk to my friend, but before I could say anything, we heard the beginning of the next song, and excitedly made our way to the dance floor. As we stopped to let someone else pass, I looked up and found myself standing by his side. He looked at me and smiled. By this point, I'd had enough cocktails to boost my confidence, and the usual side effect of verbal diarrhea was fighting its way through. I returned his smile and asked him if he was having a good time tonight. "No." He replied, wiping the smile off my face. "I'm pissed off...I thought there would be an equal number of girls and guys, but there are no girls here." He said angrily. I looked around the room, and for the first time, I noticed that he was right. There were definitely more guys in the bar than girls - something which seldom happens. "I've been single for three months you know." He continued. "Oh, okay.." I replied, quite unsure what else to say. "Why did you break up?" I asked, not really expecting a response. "She wanted to get married..but I didn't want that." He answered. "Oh, okay.." I repeated slowly. I wasn't quite sure whether I should walk away before he started volunteering any more information about his personal life, but I couldn't resist pointing out that the majority of the girls he'd find here were probably looking for some sort of long term relationship or commitment. "Well, I just want to have a bit of fun," he sulked. "What's so wrong with that?" He said, before he drank the last drop of his Stella and walked towards a girl dancing provocatively in a t-shirt sized dress.
The Boy Who Didn't Believe
After much dancing, we stood at the bar, waiting to place our order for much needed refreshments. "Hi." The guy standing next to me said. "Hi." I replied with a smile. He introduced himself to me and then looked at me inquisitively. "Are you Indian?" He asked. "Yes," I replied. I was quite used to being asked this question so wasn't particularly offended, though I was slightly put off by the way he continued to stare at me. "Even if you weren't, it doesn't really matter - so you can tell me if you're not. You see I don't believe in religion or castes or anything. I think it's all about the person. I mean if I liked you and you liked me and you weren't Indian, then we could still be together - it wouldn't really matter." He went on. "So do you want to dance?" He asked, placing a hand on my elbow as if to lead me onto the dance floor. "I'm just going to get a drink." I said, moving my elbow and taking a step closer to the bar top. "Don't you want to dance with me?" He asked intensely. I apologised and explained again that I wanted a drink. "Maybe I'll find you on the dance floor later." I suggested half heartedly. "Whatever," he replied. "I bet you're not even Indian." He said bitterly and walked away as I stood at the bar, slightly baffled.
At the end of the night, as we collected our coats, and put on our beloved folding shoes (perhaps the best invention ever made by man), we discussed the night's events and found ourselves laughing at some of the lines, conversations and unique dance moves we'd been surrounded by in the last five hours. Perhaps neither of us had met our prince charming on the night, but for the first time in a while, I really enjoyed living a night on the town as a single girl out to party.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Most recently, a couple of friends and I went to an Asian speed dating event in the City. Whilst on our way to the venue, we took a little detour to a small, secluded bar, where we shared a bottle of rose - a little dutch courage was much needed. An hour of chit chat and an empty bottle of wine later, we made the short walk to the next bar, not quite sure what to expect for the rest of the night. What the three of us definitely didn't expect was an almost empty area with approximately eight guys, one of whom wasn't even Asian. In an attempt not to let the lack of daters discourage us, we walked towards the host with a smile on our face and an appreciation for the wine that had already taken effect. Once we'd registered and stood by the bar with cocktails in hand, we looked around the room nervously. Let the speed dating commence...
I was pleasantly surprised when the only good looking guy out of the group came and sat opposite me as we were told to sit at our numbered tables. After introducing ourselves to each other, we had a brief conversation about what we do and quickly moved on to more interesting topics, like travelling and our mutual desire to attempt spontaneous holidays, but the need to plan every minute detail taking over. The three minutes originally allocated to each date soon seemed to pass and I realised the organiser must be extending the time due to the shortage of attendees - thankfully, in this case, that wasn't a bad thing and continued to talk at ease. As the bell rang, indicating that our 'date' was over, he gave me a smile and moved on to the next table.
As soon as he sat down opposite me, I couldn't help but return his cheerful smile. I noticed the Indian accent when he introduced himself, and though this would usually be quite a turn off for me, I found myself enjoying listening to him speak. Perhaps this had something to do with my new found love for India following my recent trip out there. We spoke about the differences between life in the East and West and when I mentioned my desire to spend more time in Mumbai, his face instantly lightened up. "Right, that's it. Let's do this now - what's your number?" he said in his distinct accent, his smile even bigger than when he first sat down. I was a bit taken back and was about to tell him that I wasn't going to give him my phone number, when I realised he meant my 'date' number instead. When he saw the 2 on my card, he noted this down and wiggled his head in excitement, just a few seconds before the bell rang again.
Another speed date later, the bell rang twice, indicating a short break for some canapes and a trip to the bar before the next round of dates. Whilst making our way through a bowl of chips, we were approached by the host who came to ask if we were having a good time. "Yes," we replied, and then followed this with a lighthearted remark on the lack of attendance. Fortunately he didn't take us too seriously and as we continued with our alcholol led teasing about the night's crowd, we managed to convince him to buy us a round of drinks to compensate for the poor turnout. Whilst at the bar, we learned that he was single himself and it made me contemplate the advantages of organising an event like this - afterall, at the end of the night, he's the one who's going to have all our numbers and he didn't even have to go through any awkward dates. Quite a clever idea actually..
For reasons unknown, I've always found myself drawn to the non-Asians in a group and tonight was no different. With an odd number of girls and guys, I was left date-less during one round and was soon joined by a friend of the organiser. I don't quite remember what we talked about now, but I do remember laughing quite a bit during the date. Perhaps because there was less pressure on either side and thus the conversation was more friendly banter than a question and answer session where each was judging the other. In hindsight, I would've preferred another ten minutes with him, than the date that was to follow.
The One Who Wouldn't Leave
"Ask me anything you want", was his opening line. He then quickly introduced himself and looked at me expectantly. "Ask me a question then", he repeated. Not one to usually be lost for words, I struggled to come up with a question and for the first time, I was grateful for the card we were asked to fill out at the beginning of the night. Along with our name and a few other details about ourselves, we had to list what one item we would take with us if we were on a desert island. My item was a book - an original answer in comparison to almost everyone else's choice of a satellite phone. "What's your item?" I asked, expecting the same answer as I had been getting all night. "A book", he replied. "Me too!" I said excitedly, and rather surprised. He then went on to explain his love for spiritual books and his most recent read which had helped him to understand why he was here on this earth. When he finally stopped talking, he looked at me and smiled again, "Ask me another question", he said. This went on for another six minutes and when the bell finally rang for the last time that night, I sighed in relief. Unfortunately, "Mr. Ask me a Question" had no intention of moving from his seat and continued to explain to me what sort of oil and gas projects his company was currently working on. It wasn't until after I stood up and picked up my drink, that he finally quietened down.
At the end of the night, I realised that I hadn't actually ticked any boxes and quickly replayed the evening's dates. There were some that had left no lasting impression on me, and so were forgotten as soon as our time was up, but others which I clearly remembered - for good reasons and bad! I looked at the card in my hand and checked a couple of boxes decidedly- we'll just have to wait and see if the feeling was mutual...
Thursday, 22 October 2009
I think about this one morning as I go through my text messages on the tube to work. It's a rare occasion when I don't have a book to read and I find this keeps me entertained for the journey. I come across the text I received from last month's coffee date and feel a slight pang of guilt. I didn't mean to be rude, but I'm always a little confused about what to do in situations like this;
A week after our date, I received a text from him - he asked how I was and whether I fancied meeting up again. I was quite surprised when the text came through - I assumed the short date and lack of communication instantly after was a mutual understanding of disinterest. I waited a couple of days to reply - not because I was trying to 'play it cool' (those that know me, will know that this isn't something I do particularly well!), but because I wasn't sure how to respond. I didn't want to be rude or ignore the text, and wondered whether it would be best to just say 'thanks, but no thanks'. Although I've been in this situation a few times now, I still struggle with the decision. Fortunately he sent the text during the start of navratri and a week before I was due to go on holiday. This meant I was able to explain that I was quite busy for the next few weeks and would maybe give him a call when I got back. I thought my text was quite a polite one and didn't actually commit me to contacting him on my return. I also thought adding the 'maybe' would be the subtle hint to show I wasn't particularly keen - which is why I was again, a little surprised to receive a reply less than an hour later, telling me to have a good holiday and ending with a 'see you when you're back'. Not quite the result I had expected.
It's been a few weeks since I've been back now and I still haven't got in touch, hence the guilt pang. In my defence, compared to some of the ways that I've been 'turned down' I think I was quite nice. I remember one guy that I met told his mother that I was too short for him. When I was told this, all I could do was laugh at the irony of it. He was the first guy I'd met in this way, and quite liked, and I imagine this wasn't the real reason for his disinterest. After all, I'm not that short and he wasn't particularly tall himself - so why he chose to blame my height will always be a bit of a mystery to me. I would've preferred it if he was honest and just say he didn't fancy me.
I guess I should be grateful that at least he wasn't attacking my personality - that would've hurt more. Like when I once got told by a guy during an online argument that I was 'too sarcastic to the point that it was annoying', just before he blocked me on msn messenger and then spent the majority of my final year at uni ignoring me. Yes, I may laugh about it now and as I write this, I have a smile on my face as I reminisce. But at the time, it wasn't funny - and I admit, I did shed a tear (or few) at his words. I've been told many times that my sarcasm would get me into trouble one day and maybe it did mean that I lost out on his friendship. It took me a while to realise that I wouldn't want to have a friend who didn't understand me or appreciate my sarcasm so I guess I was better off in the long run. Eventually he came running back and tried to befriend me again, but by then it was too late.
Most recently, a potential suitor's mother decided that I wasn't good enough for her son because I eat meat - which is quite ironic because my family have a tendency to frown upon vegetarianism, especially my brother. As he's mentioned numerous times before, he's not particularly keen on having a man-to-man talk with his future brother-in-law over a plate of chilli paneer at Sakonis. Nope, in his world, there are some situations where only a kebab will suffice.
And so, here I am - to some I may be a short, sarcastic, carnivore, but I'm hoping it's just a matter of time that I find someone who appreciates my slight quirkiness, understands my sarcasm and who doesn't think my 62 inches isn't enough for him..
Thursday, 17 September 2009
It's for this reason that I was actually looking forward to the evening's date. I was determined to start creating the exciting life that I had envisaged and even a busy day at work, with the rain attacking the streets of London, wasn't going to discourage me.
Fortunately, the skies cleared by the time I left the office and as I made my way towards the station, I received a text from him to say he was already there. Now I love living in London, but with my non-existent sense of direction, it's sometimes not the best place for me to be. In my defence, we have almost 300 tube stations and with several exits for each, it isn't always easy to know which one you're supposed to be at. This is why we spent approximately 10 minutes trying to find each other first.
Whilst on the phone to him, walking towards the exit that I hoped he was waiting at, I saw the back of a tall, smartly dressed dress guy on the phone in front of me. Though it's pretty difficult to tell what someone looks like from the back of their head, I caught a glimpse of the side of his face and smiled. I reverted my attention back to the phone, and asked my date if he was standing right outside the station, hoping that he would say yes and the potentially good looking guy in front of me would turn around. Kind of, was his response, before telling me that he was standing at the exit by Starbucks. I looked around me and sadly there was no coffee shop in sight.
I continued to walk further, cursing my heels and longing for my flat shoes, until I spotted the Starbucks. It's at this point that I wondered what it would be like to see your blind date, be disappointed, and then walk away. Personally I don't think I could ever do that to anyone, and I hope that it never happens to me, but there have been times where either one, or perhaps even both, of us probably wished we had. Luckily, this wasn't one of those times. I saw him walk up to me and he looked quite friendly. Though I wasn't attracted to him, he gave me a big smile - one which was difficult not to return.
I tend to prefer going to a bar during these post work dates, but due to the miserable British weather, we both opted for the warmth of a coffee instead. I ordered a skinny latte and said thank you after he'd paid for the drinks. I did spend about a second wondering whether he would think I was one of these weight-obsessed girls just before I ordered my coffee, but I wasn't quite prepared to change a long-term habit for someone I'd just met.
It was actually quite nice to just sit back on the single sofas and talk. My busy day in the office working (contrary to popular belief, I do actually do some work) meant that I didn't have much time to participate in the usual banter amongst my colleagues. For this reason, I found myself with a lot to say, and instead of any awkward silences, there were several occasions where we both started talking at once. Whenever this happened, he instantly stopped and gestured for me to continue with what I was saying. Our conversation varied as the minutes passed and I noticed we were both coming to an end to our coffees. Though I was having a good time, I wasn't particularly keen on continuing our date and wondered whether he felt the same. Before either of us could comment on our empty cups, we were approached by the waiter who told us they were closing. I stood up and picked up my jacket and we both walked towards the door. I asked how he was getting home and although I already knew the answer, I thought this saved us the awkward conversation of trying to decide whether to continue our date or not. As we parted by the station, I told him it was nice to meet him - a line which I usually try to avoid, though this time I genuinely did mean it. It was nice to meet him, just not nice enough to meet him again.
Whilst making the 40 minute journey home, I began to re-think the post work coffee date. Though a drink is much needed at a time like this, the advantage of going for coffee is the 7pm closing time. The dilemma of wondering whether one drink is too short is taken away. Instead, you're given a chance to end the date early after being asked to leave the venue. There's always the possibility of a successful date, in which case it can be continued at bar or even dinner, but having to leave the place you're already at, is the perfect 'get out of jail' (or more accurately, 'get out of bad date') card. I wondered why nobody had told me this before and I feel obliged to share this with all the single ladies out there. The beauty of a coffee is that it generally takes longer to drink than a cold beverage and so doesn't seem as though you're actually rushing the date to its end. From now, I think it's going to be skinny lattes all the way for me. Unless of course, I see those fireworks when our eyes meet for the first time.
When I got home, I relayed the basic details to my parents and told them that unfortunately I had not just met their future son in law. My mother, like all mothers, wants the best for me and believes that whoever I end up with should treat me well and care for me from day one. This is why she always asks whether my dates care enough to know if I got home okay. I believe that asking a girl to text you when she gets home is the perfect, subtle way of showing that you're interested and would like to keep in touch. When I told my mother that he didn't do this and that neither of us seemed particularly interested in the other, she simply shook her head and mumbled, "aaj kal na chokra..." I completely agree.
Monday, 14 September 2009
It's for this reason that I try not to expect too much in the bachelors that I'm set up with. With low expections, it's harder to be disappointed. Perhaps not the best attitude to have, but it works for me, and it's the attitude I'll take with me on my next date.
I find myself going through a range of feelings before I put myself through one of these 'blind dates'. I get a bit scared because I don't want to make a fool out of myself - something which isn't particularly rare. I get nervous like I would for any date, and then I find myself looking forward to it at times. After all, it's another chance for me to talk about myself - how can that ever be a bad thing? And of course, listen a bit as well. Hopefully more so than last time.
In advance of a date sometime last year, I tried to explain this to a friend - these were the days when I refused to acknowledge my so called outings as dates and was determined they be labelled 'meetings'. I told my friend that I was nervous, yet not at the same time and asked if that made sense. Her response was to explain to me that I was nervous because I was going on a date, and not nervous because it was a meeting. I remember laughing to myself when she emailed me this and her comment still makes me smile.
And so, before I meet the next one later this week, I try not to think about it too much. I ignore the fact that his texts don't always make sense, and instead appreciate the lack of abbreviations used. Some may call me anal (okay, a lot may call me anal), but I'm quite particular with the language used in messages and just don't see why people can't text in proper English. We've decided to meet in town and though I was extremely tempted to ask him whether he drinks, I stopped myself. I don't think my mother would be very pleased with me if that's the reason I gave for not meeting up with him. I guess I'll just have to wait a few days to find out for myself. In the meantime, I've got to try to recall our conversation and remember what he does for a living - perhaps I'll play it by chance and ask him how his job in Accounting or IT is - surely one of those will be close enough...