Someone very sexy once told me, ‘Journalism is a sexy profession’.
Indeed, it is.
We interview good looking people, we drink expensive champagne, we get to stay ‘two nights and three days’ in luxurious island resorts and we get it all for free. Sexy (and smug) on all grounds, damn straight!
While it’s bursting off its seams with sexiness, there’s also a very dangerous side to journalism that very few are aware of. Well, apart from all the sleepless nights from unforgiving deadlines that make them crazy delirious, there’s another alarming factor.
There are many reasons why journalists make the best partner one can ever have; but there are also reasons why they can be your absolute nightmare. Taking optimism by its balls, I’m here to talk you through – and warn you – of the latter.
- They will make money off your life: Not the gold digger way, absolutely not. Sure they earn peanuts for 70-hour working weeks, but they’ll never date you for the money. If you do end up with someone who doesn’t write about finance or sports all day, aspects of your life will appear in a newspaper, magazine or website. Your height, profession or skin colour might be altered, otherwise it’s you. And on most occasions, you won’t be asked for permission, because they will counteract your argument by calling their article a piece of ‘fictional’ writing that’s ‘inspired by real events’. What, you think Bridget Jones was all pulled out of a donkey’s arse? Don’t stress though, this just means you are interesting enough to have left an impact in their life – congratulations!
- Deadlines > Sex: One pays and the other doesn’t (unless you’re Belle de Jour), need I say more? Pulling an all-nighter for a hot date with MS Word and an avalanche of scribbled paperwork is much more lucrative than a sweaty session on your black satin sheets. Because someone needs to pay for those sheets, and that free bottle of Moët from a press event, sitting on the kitchen cabinet will definitely not do that. Sorry, but not sorry.
- They are ridiculously observant: They know when you’re lying, when you’re speaking from your heart and when you’re goddam bored. They’re trained to sense the tone of an interviewee through the phone – they’re like guard dogs at an airport – so never think you’ve said or done something that’s gone under the table. Chances are, it’ll come back to haunt you about four months and 18 days later, with a proper reference to the original scenario. Plus, some journos even come with photographic memory – that’s a whole new level of freak show!
- They will remember your words: Whether you say it in writing or over the phone, journos don’t forget words. They will remember whatever you say – in lust or disgust – and remind you of it. They are programmed to remember events and interviews, so to do follow-up stories, and they are fast-learners (hence amazing at their job), so be careful with what comes out of your mouth around these fellas. And while you’re at it, know that they can manipulate the thesaurus a little too well; they will say words that mean one thing on face value and a crazy level of WTF when really read into.
- They will correct your grammar and spellings, all the time: A snobby trait that is really difficult to let go of – journalists are trained writers and English language is part of their DNA. Ensure your punctuations and spellings are under a vigil eye when you text or email them, because they will pick it within seconds, and won’t be afraid to correct you. On the flip side, they will be the first ones to notice if your vocabulary is better than theirs, and just quietly, that’s a big turn-on!
- They are social media addicts: Just like your spreadsheet dramas at midnight, being constantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is part of their job. Being a ‘social media expert’ does not equal ‘liking’ Mean Girls memes on Facebook (don’t ever say that to them, for the sake of your pretty nose). This job is rather tedious and stressful. If you don’t understand terms like SEO, boost post, organic reach and retweets – it’s best you stay shut, or walk away.
- They will be picky with the bar or restaurant you choose: Journos are a little bit smug when it comes to where you take them out, especially if you end up with a lifestyle or travel journalist. If you take them for a kebab at that corner shop or Starbucks for a coffee date (eeeek!), forget about date #2. You don’t have to go all Michelin star on them, but show that you made an effort in researching the venue; a quick search on Time Out is all they ask.
- They need their me-time: Due to all the small-talk with colleagues and clients at work events, journalists are suckers for moments of isolations. That much-needed time to clear their headspace and filter the army of thoughts doing the dance of agony. When they come back to the ‘real’ world, they want to be left alone, preferably by the beach or a lake, sans any technological device. This is their time to recharge and come back with more story ideas and intellectually stimulating conversations. No amount of cuddles or spooning can replace this.
If you can handle all this, in addition to the stained cups of tea, half-eaten pieces of toast, a big pile of books and magazines on their bedside table and more bad-hair days than good, then… call me!
Ha ha. Totally kidding.
Go find yourself a journalist; it’s a sexy profession aka they are sexy. A jackpot is staring at you in the face.
London Underground, where you are destined to either lose your wallet, your sanity or a heartbeat.
Millions of Londoners use this mode of public transport on a daily basis; while its day job is to help people commute, this fast, well-connected and foul-smelling service also plays cupid ever so often.
She sprinted towards the closing doors at a torturous pre-dawn hour.
Beep Beep Beep. Mind the Gap. Beep Beep Beep.
With the newspaper stained with her lukewarm hazelnut latte and an outfit too bulky to move in, she questioned why she’d chosen London to serve as the geographic location for the next chapter of her life. Wearing clothes in this city is equivalent to partaking in Sumo wrestling with a ski gear on. This morning’s Alexander McQueen leather jacket was now kissed with little droplets of soy milk too. Brilliant!
She flipped the now-caffeinated pages of Metro to her favourite section of the newspaper; ‘Virgo’ read: “There may be an unexpected turn of events today; either at work or social life. Look for signs and you’ll find the key to what looks like a happily ever after”.
She sighed. Another rubbish vague reading; no one is as good as Susan Miller.
**Next station is Notting Hill Gate. Mind the gap.**
The doors opened. He walked in with a beaming smile and her heart, subsequently, stopped beating.
Roughly 5″9, late-20s, deep brown eyes, great hair, perfect teeth, professionally dressed, well-cut suit, (thick) woollen tie, the shirt inside looked ironed, pants complemented the arse, polished Italian leather shoes.
The New Yorker and WSJ tucked in his lush laptop bag. All Apple devices in hand. A pair of Tom Ford reading glasses also peeping from his coat’s pocket.
A man with style, intellect and good taste, who isn’t afraid to smile at strangers pre-sunrise. Perfect doesn’t do justice.
She couldn’t stop staring at this human form of perfection. He noticed the stare and looked in her direction. Their eyes met, his smile grew a little wider and her lips bended the right way too. Those seductive eyes, that mischievous grin and that intriguing look made her want to rip his clothes off his, what seemed a looked-after, body. This was getting all too much for 6:54am.
She felt her cheeks turning beetroot red. “Must go holidaying with him to Croatia, this summer. Or maybe even Spain. Spain would be able to handle his sexiness. The kids should get his hair, and nose, that would be nice,” she thought.
His lips quivered and her lashes fluttered; it was lust at first sight. They maintained the stare long enough; he undressed her with his almond-shaped eyes and she let him. No grumpy school teacher or an underslept banker on that train could stop this ongoing eye seduction in carriage #3 of the Central Line.
**Next station is Queensway. Mind the gap.**
Newspapers ruffled, footsteps stomped around, commuters shuffled and the eye contact was lost. While she came to terms with the idea of how this beautiful being just took her ‘meh’ morning away, he took the leap out of the train. She looked up in his direction for an approval but he was gone.
Her eyes danced around the compartment, only to find no recipient on the other end.
She couldn’t stop thinking about that smile. It was shameful as to just how much importance she was giving to this nobody whose face made her heart sing like Norah Jones. She thought of how beautiful that crimpson-hued tie looked against his olive skin. His smile, oh that smile, she wondered how many hearts has it broken? Falling in love with strangers was her weakness, and she had let it happen once again. Will she ever learn to cocoon her heart? Surely a person gets a certain number of blind loves per lifetime, and this well-dressed-Notting-Hill bloke had, ‘in an unexpected turn of events’ ticked off another one for her.
Damn that horoscope. She had to track him down and have him in her life (or even her bed).
With a deep red lipstick nestled on her lips, freshly blow-dried hair bouncing behind her and a napkin, scribbled with her name and number, in hand, she hopped on the train.
Hopeful. Vulnerable. Happy.
Virgo said something insignificant about money and loan matters. She ignored it. Her eyes scanned through the page of the tabloid and there it was – in the ‘Rush Hour Crush‘ section, a declaration of lust, for Leah:
“To the lady in the McQueen leather jacket on the Central line at 6.50am; Starbucks cup said ‘Leah’, you look like Kim Kardashian. We had a moment. I want to bound you, to me. Coffee with your Kanye?“
“Coffee with your Kanye”, she re-read. ”A man with that face… that smile, that sense of style, calls himself ‘Kanye’.”
Stunned, disappointed and angry, Leah wiped her red pout with the napkin, tied her hair into a ponytail and typed into Google – How to not look like Kim Kardashian.
Unless you’re living under a rock or madly in love, you’d know what Tinder is. Or how the cool ones like to say, being Tinderized means.
For those completely unaware, Tinder is a dating app for your phone that is precisely the straight version of Grindr. Now imagine if Match.com and Candy Crush had a baby, with hotornot.com as the surrogate mum… that little rascal would be Tinder. What it does is, it picks up your location, takes information from your Facebook page (without spamming on the social networking site), creates a Tinder profile for you and then pulls together potential ‘matches’ from around you, based on your interests, mutual friends and ‘likes’ on Facebook.
So say you ‘like’ Alicia Keys, David Beckham and Grumpy Cat’s pages on Facebook and a certain ‘Simon’ who is located 6km away also happens to like those pages, Tinder will very skilfully ‘match’ you two. (Oh, how romantic, I think I need a second, sniff.) Then the fate of your future as Mrs. Simon you-won’t-know-his-last-name lies in the fact that you either swipe right with your thumb as a seal of ‘approval’ or left for a ‘rejection’. And this decision of which direction to let your thumb sway is solely based on four photographs and maybe, if you’re lucky, a little insight into his personality in the ‘about me’ section on the app. And after all this pining and drama, if with Papa Candy Crush‘s blessing, he also swipes ‘right’ on your profile, then Tinder’s job is done. Promotion guaranteed! You can now go chat up Simon, booze with him, play with him, run off to Vegas and have mini-Simons. Hurrah!
This ridiculously vain and narcissistic match-making app has, apparently, created 500 million matches globally since 2010 – and that’s a shit ton of dates, if you ask me. I mean, how more unromantic, creepy, superficial and contrived do you have to be to get a vain approval from a stranger’s thumb. Surely, i’m better than what a fat thumb thinks of me. Or a skinny thumb, for that matter. Let’s not get personal here. Another sad thing is, think of all the mutual friends, bars, gyms and hobby classes that have now lost their jobs due to this new matchmaker in town. Oh, I feel for you Bar 100, the one on the corner of Creepy Avenue and Desperado Lane; times must be tough for you.
Now, from my criticism so far, a monkey could have guessed that I’m not a fan of Tinder. Overall, I’m very anti online dating – and I have my reasons, not worth sharing, for that. However, after a close friend gave me a little teaser of it over Skype (all the way from Bondi, with surfer boys on display), plus my added desire to find a man-heater in freeeezing London, I caved in.
Brace yourself for what’s to follow.
My profile had four very tame, professional photos handpicked from my Facebook page and my ‘about me’ was short, simple and brutally honest: ‘Journalist who is either giggling or eating cake right now.‘ I was on it for about 15 minutes, this morning, giving my thumb a one-way workout to Bey’s classic – to the left, to the left. I soon got bored of rejecting and creeped out at the idea of finding out who my neighbours were; I logged off. A few hours later – *ping* – I had three messages on Facebook from absolute strangers… asking me out.
Call it the unfortunate uniqueness of my name in London or seriously praiseworthy stalking skills of these men, but somehow, they found my Facebook profile (that, according to Tinder, are kept private) and messaged me with a proposition. But of course, I come with proof; I’m a good journo – see the photo below with all three messages.
Now, before you choke with laughter, like I did, let’s just talk about this for a second.
Is Tinder really what we do in real life, but on a microcosmic level? Do we really file people away in our mental folders on the basis of how attractive or unattractive they are in a split second? Their personalities, sense of humour, intellectual level, grammar (!!!) all just sit idle until date #2, or ever? What if I find someone on there who is less than a mile away? He could be watching me? Like Patrick-Bateman-type watching me? How are social security policies of any country allowing this?
Leave aside how they found me, the sheer coincidence of it all, or just my bad luck, I’m going to break it down – these three men today would have messaged me on the basis of the following:
- I like her photos. Message.
- Boy, she eats cake! Message.
- She’s a journalist. It’s a sexy profession. Message.
- She laughs = could be mental, could be dumb. Dumb is good. Message.
- She can laugh and eat at the same time? Dream girl. Message.
- I’m just a man slut who has a PhD in online stalking. Message.
What was to follow was obvious…
Now I need some cake, please.
(…and exactly like the way you see it in the movies and/or read in English literature.)
OK. So. Let’s talk about how I fell in love.
It happened on my annual solo Christmas trip in 2013. If you’re special enough in my life, you’d know how much of a love-cynic I am. I’ve never fallen in it, I don’t understand it and, dare I say, I don’t quite believe in it. Rom-coms make me giggle, but leave me gagging; I’d rather watch Bruce Willis blow up Russian terrorists. So it’s fair to say that when this looming trip to Paris – the city of love – came around, I was nervous of what part of me it might awaken. Yikes! But, when it happened… swoon dot com, indeed.
Paris is like a painting come to life, it makes you want to believe in love – especially if you’re me. Well, you can’t be me, but if you’re like me, get it? The low-lit street setting, the sparkle in the sky, the jazz echoing in the air: all of it can’t help but scream for you to love somebody. It’s like the city doesn’t understand any other emotion. And rightfully so, I fell deeply and madly in love with this intangible thing that’s known to engulf almost every living being that sets foot on its cobbled streets. So did I, fall crazily in love for Paris’ architecture, its snobby culture, its sophisticated monologue, its carbohydrates and sugar (sorry, PT), and its stylish inhabitants, starting from my co-passenger on the Eurostar, a French model. Calm down, boys.
Whilst I did hope for a certain ‘Raj’ to sit next to me on the Eurostar and unsolicitedly teach me all that I needed to know about love and lingerie [if you're Indian, you'd understand this DDLJ reference; tough luck if you aren't.], but instead I had a French model accompany me for the two hour train journey. Tres bien! More beautiful than words can describe, this babe of a woman was generous enough to draw up a custom-itinerary for me. But it were really her departing words that stuck by me, “We’re not as rude as we’re made out to be, if you ever get lost, ask a Parisian on the street and they will help you, Don’t follow the cliche”. And so began my love affair with the city and its people. Right from the 86-year old florist who gave me a bunch of roses for free at the Sunday market, to the bouncer of a club who offered me his entire packet of hot French Fries while I waited an hour outside for my friends to join me. Yes, there’s a pattern of freebies from men here, but let’s not focus on that. Point is, French people are too lovely, and you shouldn’t go by the cliche of it being otherwise.
There’s so much uninhibited happiness floating in this city, that even I couldn’t digest it all, and that’s saying something because if you’ve met me in person, you’d know my capacity to giggle and smile. The mystery behind all this glee proved itself to me when I decided to take a series of photographs around the city, based on my five (or less) minute chats with the humans around. Not dogs, just humans. My conversations with these strangers were mostly in broken English, some even silences, but comprehensive enough to tell you a story. And God, I love a good story. The album titled Parisian Stories can be found at this link - click through, it’ll make you smile, I promise you that.
You will not be treated as a tourist here if you don’t want to be, especially if you’re travelling alone. However, it’s easy to be that awful tourist in Paris who lines up for hours at the Louvre to get a glimpse of Mona Lisa. It’s also easy to spend an entire day narrated exclusively by Lonely Planet and then head back to the hotel lobby at sundown to eat a boring ‘fish-of-the-day’ meal from the buffet. What’s challenging is to come to this city and treat it like you own it. Don’t walk around Paris with a backpack, sneakers and a paper map – because apart from looking like a wanker, it’s not how you will fall in love with Paris. If you really want to love Paris, don’t follow guide books, s’il vous plait! They’re horrid for asking you to line up at Notre Dame for hours. Don’t get carried away by boat tours at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, or let a man sketch you at the top of Montmartre. The only aspects in which you can be a cliche is when you wrap a scarf around your neck (if you’re a man reading this, good luck nailing the perfect wrap – no one wears a scarf better than French men. No one! ), light up a cigarette, dab a brightly-hued lipstick on your pucker and start walking. Be a cliche in having croissant for breakfast, macaron for lunch and Nutella crepe for dinner, every single day; let your tastebuds have a party and allow your metabolism to go take a hike.
In theory, Paris is every bit of a cliche it’s made out to be, be it in a Woody Allen movie or an Audrey Hepburn quote. But it’s really how you decide to let it unveil itself to you. If Paris was a girl, she’d be one donned in a lavender pink tulle dress, gliding along the isolated pebbled path by river Seine, barefoot, under a shower of shooting stars. She’d be that magical. No matter how anti-romance you are, don’t let its fairytale deter you, because this city has the power to make you understand ‘love’, and not like the way lovers do. Let the beauty of this city embrace you just like a marshmallow enveloped in the silkiness of a warm cup of hot chocolate and dance to the percussions of its breeze.
Go, fall in love.
Have you ever been denied entry to a night club for “not looking gay”?
I have. Ha.
Let me tell you the story… promise, it’s fun.
My latest discovery in my new hometown is that, Monday nights mean nothing in London. Nothing at all. You will find just as many people going for after-work drinks on a Monday night as on a Friday. The city is crying out your name to claim your next hangover at the nearest pub.
… so I did.
Last night, I went out with a few girl friends, as we decided to celebrate the joys of the holiday season and end-of-university-term. You see, after all the sleepless nights and hours spent on Photoshop, we figured it was our birth right to treat ourselves to a few cocktails. While the night was still young and we were five-too-many cocktails down, each, we ventured to a gay bar in Soho for a little boogie.
Now, the thing with gay bars is that they are bloody fun. Surely you’ve been to one? For those who haven’t – the music in gay bars takes you back to the ’90s, you’re surrounded by amazing dancers and there are no inhibitions on the dance floor. It’s like dancing in your living room with your best friends, except you’re in heels and a skanky dress.
With that in mind, and everyone’s wish to dance to Nicki Minaj, we went to G-A-Y (which Google tells me is UK’s number one gay bar). The bouncer checked all the girls’ IDs, looked at me and said,
“I can’t let you in, you don’t look gay”. I repeat, “you don’t look gay”.
How does anyone look gay? Does it require for the person to have a tattoo of a penis/vagina inside a love heart on their face? Is there a club or a society that authorises someone’s homosexuality? No seriously, I want to know what he meant by that?
Now, I love me a good sausage, hence, i’m one hundred percent not gay. But how does that make me a threat in a gay bar, on a Monday night? Did I seem of the potential to pounce every dude inside the club? Or maybe they were recruiting lesbians-only for the single ladies inside? I actually don’t know because I WAS DENIED ENTRY.
Thanks to the double-tequila shot that was having a party in my brain, I didn’t punch his eyeballs out with an argument. But again, WTF!
This morning, I was trying to give a term to this discrimination and all I could come up with was – reverse homophobia. It’s the fear of a straight, single girl in a gay club.
I have to admit though, I’m a serious hater of homophobics. Hater! I never boil up until I meet someone who disses homosexuality and people’s right to love; the inner-Lara-Croft in me comes roaring out. Who makes these rules of who someone should love? Why does the society care if a man wants to wake up next to another man? It’s nobody’s business, really. So, this situation from last night made me a little happy that, for a change, straight people were being discriminated. But in this case, selfishly, I was being discriminated and that’s not OK.
Tell me Mr. Bouncer, how does me being straight ruin the anarchy of your club? No, please enlighten me, how are gay and lesbians meant to ‘look’? Is there a stereotype that we’re following here where certain attires, hairstyles and make-up techniques legitimates somebody’s choices in sexuality? With that in mind, only women in pants, a button-down shirt and cropped hair should be allowed to be tagged as lesbian, and a man with a pre-puberty voice, an amazing hairline and chinos should call himself gay. How about you take your conventional-thinking head out of your arse every now and then, Mr. Bouncer?
Damn you, seriously.
The only stereotype you should be allowed to have for a gay bar is rapping to Super Bass and doing the Single Ladies routine with a cute, topless gay dude who has a bow-tie around his neck.
My heart is broken. Thanks for shattering my dancing and singing dreams, you little shit.
I want to apologise to all the ladies in advance… this isn’t really aimed at you, but it kinda is. I know one too many girlfriends of mine who have gone through this stage in their relationship, and to be really honest, I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t. No, I’m no guru in relationships, anything but, however I really think I have seen enough of my girlfriends go through this, which enables me to talk about it with some credibility.
Also, another little disclaimer, I apologise for the blunt, but truthful language you’re about to read, but it must be done and I want to take charge (sorry Dad, you can stop reading now).
So here goes…
Women of the universe, stop being so goddamn needy in your relationship/s. What the hell are you doing? Have you heard of this mate called self-esteem? And his cousin that goes by the name of self-respect? What about pride? No? What are you doing? Get to know these fellas, even before you get to know your lad, and if you’re single, then befriend these guys before you start repelling men with your ridiculous behaviour.
No, it’s not OK to ask for the attention of a man who called you a ‘fat cow’, right before sleeping with you. It’s also not OK to drunk text him when there was no interest shown in you at Jade’s party*. And while we’re at it, let me give you some wisdom, if a man is into you, you will know it, deep down in your heart. He will climb over bridges to have you in his life, only if he really wanted you. Stop being a douchebag and chasing him like you have no self-respect left. I’m not promoting that only men must chase and that conventional rubbish, but if you see a red flag go up from the other end, stop pursuing, is all I’m saying.
Dating, these days, has truly gone from ‘lust at first sight’ to ‘let’s have six babies, two puppies and ten kittens’. The strategies and tactics of dating have dramatically changed, because no longer do couples just want to be together. They want to keep thinking about ‘what’s next’ on their cards.
And even before you get to this stage, women are pleading guilty for being stupidly repellent towards the male species, all courtesy of their actions. Go girlfriend!
This is when I tell you how not to have a man run for the hills when you feel he might be showing the slightest bit of interest in you. Oh, and feel free to correct or challenge me in the comments below.
1) Stop drunk texting: When under the influence of alcohol and a serious chemical imbalance in the brain and blood system, step away from your phone. Number one rule of dating and life, really. Your grammar will be horrible, your ability to construct a comprehendible sentence will take a long leap out the window and you will embarrass yourself, full stop. Oh hold on, there are more benefits to this – when you wake up in the morning and innocently decide to browse your phone, you will scream, sigh, yell and wail in trauma, whilst the guy sits there and mocks at your existence. Long live alcohol.
2) Don’t talk about your obsession with food, fitness or the lack of either: Majorly guilty of this one, but the truth is this – men love their food. It’s difficult to believe that someone could fall so deeply in love with a piece of meat on their plate, but they do. When you start talking about how much you don’t like certain food, or have issues with your diet, they really don’t give a rat’s arse and it’s a major turn-off for the dude. Some of my best friends and I have gone through a crazy emotional journey with eating and fitness, so I completely get where you’re coming from, but I’ve also learnt that you don’t need to justify your actions to anyone. And I mean, anyone! It’s your body, love the living life out of it and don’t give out any explanations in return.
3) Current Affair knowledge = zero: All your energy is put into being the most beautiful girl in the room, when you could have opened the newspaper and read about what’s happening in Egypt. I’m not anti-grooming at all, in fact, being a beauty journalist I’m all up for it. If a little extra concealer can make you smile and be a little more confident, go to town with it, girl! But, don’t use that as your only powerful tool. Men love intelligence. If you have a kick-arse personality, they will see that much before they see that green eyeliner on your eyelid. Physical beauty and prettiness is not what values a woman’s worth – it’s her mind that’s sexier. Give your mind a workout by understanding what’s happening in the world around you, because once the makeup is out and the prettiness fades, show will be over.
4) The level of qualitative conversation is lower than ground zero: Small talk is the biggest mood killer, especially when done on a date or first meeting. If you can’t have a conversation with a guy that goes beyond what shoes you last purchased or how Taylor Swift is like-totes-ohemgee-your-like-favs, then expect an automatic rejection. Unless, of course, the guy just wants you for a shag, then he’ll deal with this superficial banter. But for a real connection, you need to tuck away your defences and be vulnerable. Share stories that hold a meaning in your life, ask questions and listen to him talk. Give a little, and ask a lot.
5) Have your own life: Don’t have your life revolve around someone you met a month ago, because you’ve lived with yourself for a longer period of time, and he’s just entered your life. You can’t give him that much power and importance to direct your life. Live your own life with your own friends, career, dinner parties and coffee dates, and if a man fits in this equation – great. Otherwise, love yourself before you let a man love you.
6) The ‘where are we heading’ conversation: You’ve seen each other four times this week, things are getting a little frisky, you smile at the thought of him and the conversations are on an intellectual fire – agreed, you have all the ingredients for a potential va-va-voom! But don’t feel the innate need to get a word of commitment from him after a month of dating. Too fast. The minute you start to label relationships and tag them in a colour-coordinated manner in a mental file, things start to go wrong. That ‘talk’ is what men run away from, and quite frankly, so should you. Live in the moment, my friend, take in what you have now and see where this takes you. No one cares if your Facebook relationship status is updated or not. Who says you have be married by 30 and have two juniors by 35, show me, who’s made this rule?
7) Don’t be an insecure diva: Men are repelled by women and their neediness because it shows how insecure you are. You have no confidence in your own being, there’s no notion of self-worth and definitely no self-love. If he’s out with the boys, don’t piss him off with constant messaging or stalking his Facebook and Instagram feed. And if he hasn’t texted you back after the first date, take a breather. Don’t keep going back to someone who was never yours.
Point is, love yourself, ladies. You should be your own favourite person. Don’t let a man ruin that for you.
*I don’t know who Jade is, sorry!
Dating is a tough game. I say ‘game’, because well, it is a bloody game. Winners take their prize home and losers walk the solo path back. There are some (stupid) set of rules that women like to follow, while men like to carry the douchebag flag with them for the entire match.
Hollywood has spoilt us. We wish dating to be like the one we see in soppy rom-coms with Bruno Mars singing in the background like a girl. Like that Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake movie; their ‘dates’ looked easy, ridiculously sexy, stereotypically romantic and they came with a soundtrack by Kriss Kross, ummm, amazing!
In real life, dating is a whole new world of messed up. It takes up too much time, more money than anticipated, it involves an army of mind games that neither party can solve and then to top it all with whipped cream, dating gets splattered with technology. Oh, the joys of Google!
I mean, look what happened to Lucy.
Lucy who, you ask? A fictional mate of mine who is desperate to tell you her story:
Last Friday night, Lucy went for after-work drinks to a mega-cool bar in East London. As she painted her pout with a tint of red, a shade unattainable with her glass of wine, she spotted a devilishly handsome man smirking at her. This was not what she expected attractive guys to do. Embarrassed she was, with her attempt to groom in a public space, but she let it go. Maybe he thought it was sexy, she convinced herself.
George walked up to her and introduced himself. They had the longest banter on life, love, relationships and their favourite jazz musicians. In her mind, he was a catch and the physical chemistry was uncontrollable. This rather old-fashioned way of meeting – tipsy, giggly and flirty at a bar – danced its way into the night. At about 3am, they eventually parted ways, but with each other’s numbers in their contact list, and a little trace of her lip tint on him. Obviously.
In a true Gen-Y format, it didn’t take Lucy long to ruin her chances to properly date George. Why? Because she let modern love attack her; she took the new-fashioned route and Googled him the minute she sat in the cab back home.
But really, how many of us do that? It’s like meeting someone and asking them to tell you everything that you already know about them. From the last tweet to One Direction (ew!) to what breakfast was, technology has a dirty file of all our pasts saved.
Sometimes, when you Google someone, you don’t quite get anything. Maybe a name twin on the other side of the world or a LinkedIn account that you are forced to not click on with the fear of them finding out that you stalked them. You hear me? I’ve done this about four hundred and sixty eight times only.
But then there are times when you hit a jackpot. A bloody good one where you find out all the geeky history of the lad, along with his career highs and lows. You know about his cousin sister who lives in Hong Kong, how he had a really bad breakup two years ago because there’s evidence of it on his badly-designed Tumblr page, and then his semi-attempt to run the half marathon. Entirely dependant on who you’re stalking, but there is a huge possibility of you getting majorly turned on or off within minutes of typing their name into Google.
We, the spoilt children of Generation Y, have issues. You swirl around the dating scene with a frown and then Google potential dates, do background checks and in the process become ridiculously unromantic. What’s left to discover? You follow each other’s Spotify playlists and then go ahead to track them on GoodReads. You’ve connected on LinkedIn and are in each other’s Google+ circle too. This is after you’ve already found them on iMessage, Facetime, Whatsapp, Viber, Instagram, Skype, Twitter and Facebook. Phew, just writing that was exhausting.
The main problem with dating in 2013 (amongst so many others) is the fear of anonymity. While everyone wants to be a somebody in their social circuit, they aim to be a nobody too. They don’t want their online presence to dampen their future relationships, but also don’t want their name twin to steal their thunder. This urge for attention and the lack of is the biggest oxymoron faced by our generation. And sadly, we’re way too deep in its mess to be able to crawl out. At least, I am.
What we can do, however, is calm the hell down. If you start seeing someone, maybe choose three out of the 8374920 platforms to research aka stalk them. Because if you continue at this rate, you’re less likely to find a Kardashian-esque sex tape, and more likely to be a dog-lady for the rest of your life (sorry, I’m not a cat person).
Even though ‘Prince Charming’ was a sexist knob, remember this – “Cinderella did not Facebook stalk Prince Charming“.
Amen. Rant over.
Some people call it busy. Some call it beautiful. Some call it smug-central. Oh whatever, you’re not moving here to be comfortable and humble. You’re moving here because it’s LONDON BABY.
If you’re moving here in your 20s, then be prepared to add on to the pile of mess that makes up for this city. Feel the excitement, do something that scares you everyday and be part of the magic – because, really, there’s no other way to make the most out of London.
Remember, everyone *wants* to move here… but you just did.
Here are my ten tips for newcomers to the city (coming from my credibility of moving here a month and five days ago, errr!)
- You will have more liquid dinners than what should be allowed: Call it a lifestyle change or a quick way to shed kilos or stupidity, you will eat very little in this city. All the socialising and lack of enough funds will force you to choose wine over food (duh!). Locally, it’s called being smart about your money, prioritising what’s more important and being on a perpetual liquid diet. Take that, Miranda Kerr!
- You will feel out of place and at home within the first five days of moving here: It’s a big city, so big that it will leave you feeling lost and intimidated on more occasions than one. You will make new friends, but still feel like you don’t have any. You will find your favourite barista, but would never get him to learn your name. You will ultimately figure out where and how to get to places, but still feel left out in one of the greatest cities in the world. You will crave a familiar hug and yet be able to talk to a stranger on the tube for half hour. It’s a contradictory city, I tell you that, and you’ll learn to love it for its irony sooner than you’d think.
- You will start hating on tourists, no matter how new you are to the city: Try walking around Oxford Street when you’re late for a meeting and watch how inexcusably and shamelessly swear words come out of your mouth. Tourists crawl around every major street in London, and there’s nothing worse than being stuck behind them when you’re in a rush to get shit done. You will hate them, hate them so hard. I still haven’t been to see Spencer in Chelsea with the scare of it all, can you imagine the terror of it all!
- Say goodbye to your gorgeous heels: London’s cobbled streets hate stilettos. Fact. They are little Louboutin and Choo-loving monsters who will munch all the pretty heels you have and not even burp after. This city only likes wedges or wellies; so don’t even attempt to wear your favourite pair around. Also, if they don’t get stuck on a pretty street in Covent Garden, you will ultimately get a serious frost bite and die. It’s really a win-win situation for those rascals.
- You will cry at some point: Not trying to depress you in the middle of a serious and important piece, but this is true. There are going to be some tough days, some moments when you’d just want to jump into Thames. Kidding! Have you seen the state of that water, it’s filthy! Why would anyone consider that? But in all honesty, this city is mad. As much as you’d want to swim up and absorb everything happening around you, you won’t be able to deal with its marvellous diversity and overwhelm. There will come a day when the gloominess will go away, and perhaps even a delicious man will smile at you. That’s when you’ll smile at your luck for being able to call this ‘home’. But, I’m warning you, there will be tears.
- Public transport comes to a stand still at midnight: This isn’t Sydney where trains and buses run till about 4am. Tubes stop at midnight and night buses are for specific routes only. If you’re planning on having a big night, take a sleeping bag with you or find yourself a couch in the zone 1 to crash on (cheaper cab ride). And while you’re at this, remember not to swear at black cab drivers, they will ask you to get off in the middle of the road. Bastards!
- Be the biggest social butterfly that you can be: Be shameless and over-the-top happy when you meet new people. Try to be everyone’s friends otherwise this city will suck you into lonesome depression. It’s very easy to make a lot of friends here and equally easy to not make any. Be shameless, talkative, happy and RSVP ‘yes’ to every invitation that swings past you. Do apologise to your bank account before moving here, yeah?
- Don’t eat out at Soho, unless it’s a date: Excuse the sexism, but unless you’ve been asked out on a date from the Sheikh of UAE who owns yachts, don’t act all lush and eat out at Soho. You will be broke for the rest of your life and probably won’t be able to afford a cup of tea, even. Soho is in inner-London, home to some of the city’s poshest and most delicious restaurants and bars. Enough said.
- There are 8 million people in this city, but it will still be difficult to find the love of your life: All your best friends are either in long-term happy relationships, or engaged, or married or with a child. You are ridiculously single. Yes, noted, I hear you. Don’t move to London thinking you will find love here, because, really, there are more chances of you winning a lottery here, than finding a man. Exhibit A: I won 2 quid from a scratchy last week. Woo! Oh, unless you want to get into online dating in the UK or send your application to Dinner Date on Channel 4. You just won’t get my sympathy for any of these, soz!
- You will spend majority of your weekend mornings in bed, not at Portobello markets: You would want to spend Saturday and Sunday mornings at a local organic fruit and flower market, but in reality, you will be in bed pleading for the world to stop spinning courtesy the wine from the night before. Actually, if you’re like me you’d do this, on average, five mornings a week. Another hot tip, don’t go to Notting Hill with an expectation to meet your Hugh Grant; it will not happen, you will leave in tears, deal with it!
The clock ticked to 7 p.m. and all she could think of was the wine list at her favourite bar in the city. The grapes were calling her name, so much so, that she didn’t even want to paint her pucker with a tint of red. The overdose of wine would give her the perfect fire engine pout.
Dior’s finest was flickered on the lashes, Nars’ opulent powder was brushed across the cheeks and a dab of beetroot was pressed against the top of the eyelids.
It was finally time to kick the boots off and put on her shoes with the extra ladder. Well, she needed the height; she needed it to stand out from the sea of body-con-clad-silicon-boobed women. No, not in just a ‘look at me! look at me!’ way, but more so in a ‘I need this to have anyone come talk to me’ way.
This is probably the right time to mention this, but she wasn’t an overly spectacular-looking girl. She had some sort of sharp features, but they never stood out amidst her blonde bombshell girlfriends. You could call her ‘cute’, ‘chirpy’ or even ‘animated’, but you wouldn’t call her ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’. She didn’t have the body of a pornstar, neither did she have the voice of an angel, but she sure had the mind and personality of a rockstar. She could hold a conversation of high intellect with enough wit, charm and humour to leave the other person speechless. So proud of it, that she almost relied on this very trait of hers, because this is what made her so special and stand out from all the fake tanned carrot legs around her.
But her lack of physical affluence killed the attraction.
No measurement of heels, be it the most expensive pair of Steve Maddens or Alexander Wangs, could solve the case of rejection.
She was born with it… and she was going to leave the world with it. With or without the gaze of a plus one.
Pssst you, stop whatever you’re doing. I need your unadulterated attention for this one.
It’s almost ridiculous how superficial I’m about to get, but you know what, it’s well worth it. We’re about to do an analysis on the situation of men in London.
This species of dude is traditionally known for their pronunciations, sophistication and old-fashioned charm, around the world. That’s the impression I came to this city with. I was specifically told that London men just know how to treat a woman. They will hold the door open for you, they will offer to lift your heavy bags, they will laugh with you and then self-depricatingly laugh at themselves, they will give you their coat when you’re cold (which you will be all year round) and they will dress ridiculously well. And after my month-long stay here, I’ve now come to terms with what I’ve been missing for all my adult life.
I do have to say though, when I say London men, I don’t just mean British men, but men, in general, who reside here. It’s like they are given a code of conduct before moving to this city. In the last four weeks, I’ve met Australian, Indian, American and Italian men – all in London – and I tell you what, they are a changed species here. This two thousand year old city must cast a supernatural spell or something.
The mannerisms of the male in London is much to do with the way they treat women. Whether he’s tattooed or pierced, he will compliment you just like a man in a suit would. Call me a sucker, but even when my fruit seller on High Holborn yells out cheers darlin’ through his broken-toothed smile, it makes me giggle. I’m starting to feel that all this could be an aftermath of all the lining up they do here. Men here spend just as much time on their hair as they do in queues. Stand at Oxford Circus tube station around 6pm on a weekday and you’ll know what I mean; elbows are in, heads are down and gorgeousness is in place.
London men dress like a man should dress; sharp, suited and stupidly handsome. It could be the perfect hair, or the tease of the unknowing architecture of the body beneath all those layers, whatever it is, it’s goddam sexy. They understand the difference between pea coats, duffles, parcas and trenches. They are the masters of pocket squares and sock-less shoes. Suits on men look a million times better here than anywhere else in the world. Even on their worst day, they look the best.
Imagine the fireworks when these mannerisms transcend to the bedroom… ooh la la.