When It’s Time To Let A Friendship Go.

Earlier this week I met a friend for coffee, someone I’ve known for 20 years, and after we’d said our goodbyes I decided there and then that I was probably never going to see her again as I realised that actually, she wasn’t much of a friend anymore and hadn’t been for a while.

Friendships (like any relationship) need working on sometimes and I’m probably as guilty as everyone else when I haven’t put the effort in now and then or put someone off as I can’t be bothered meeting up that particular day but I like to think I can be relied on when needed, especially when a friend is going through a hard time and let me tell you, it’s never the ones you think will have your back when the chips are down, there’s always one or two surprises. Friendships come and go, but a small amount of people will be in your life forever and we’re all lucky if we have those friends we can rely on but it’s not all plain sailing. Like I said I’ve know “C” a long time, we’ve had a couple of holidays together and what I liked about her was that she was always up for a laugh, always the centre of attention and up for anything.

So with hindsight, I should have seen this coming.

A few years ago I had to start a new life and part of getting on with it was dating, which is when I started a blog which led to writing for Metro for a year as an older dater and while most people were supportive there was radio silence from C. Not the end of the world of course, so I expected to hear from her when I’d been on First Dates, as obviously I’d told EVERYBODY but again, not a peep from C so I gave it 3 weeks then I text her asking had she seen it and she said she had and she didn’t like it and the reason she hadn’t been in touch was she’d been busy. A little alarm bell started ringing, surely not? I let it go as an episode of Rip Off Britain was coming up a few weeks later where I was to be talking about single supplements on holidays and she said she would definitely be watching. No she never got around to it and that’s when I realised she didn’t like the attention I was getting so I stopped telling her about anything good that was happening in my life as I knew she wouldn’t like it. Our phone calls and texts were dwindling and I was starting to come away from every meet up thinking what a waste of time it all seemed as I was having to censor everything I was telling her but I also knew that to our mutual friends she seemed really supportive so no one but me knew the truth. To be honest I stopped looking forward to seeing her but when I found myself in her neck of the woods earlier this week I text her and asked her was she around and did she fancy meeting up for coffee, to which she replied yes she was.

The last time I’d seen C was back in January when I’d just started Slimming World and since then I’ve lost 2 and a half stone so obviously I thought this would be the first thing that she’d notice but apparently not. I was sat there in clothes 3 sizes smaller than usual and she didn’t say one word. Not one. I of course didn’t mention it as it was another positive in my life so I came away thinking what is the actual point? I don’t give up on friendships lightly but if that particular friend isn’t being supportive then I don’t need them in my life, we all go through phases in some of our friendships where we wonder sometimes is it worth it but for me it’s time to let this friendship go. We all deserve friends who support us in all the good stuff and the bad stuff, who defend us, who want the best for us, who offer a shoulder to cry on and also tell us when we’re out of order, nothing less will do.

Now someone pass me that lettuce leaf.

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It’s That Time Of Year.

I’m not a fan of looking back, it reminds me that I could have probably handled a couple of situations better than I did, and it’s too late to change that now, but having said that it’s also nice to see all the good things that have happened in the past year so I’m going to concentrate on remembering all those as we wait to welcome in a new year.

  1. Back in January I moved into my lovely new place which is unofficially known as “Goddess Gardens.” At the start I didn’t have much but by the end of the year it’s not looking too bad if I say so myself.
  2. I didn’t realise how many radio interviews I’d actually done over the past year, usually about online dating of which I know a lot about unfortunately.
  3. In May someone on Twitter let me know there was a picture of me in Heat magazine. After an awful few minutes of hoping it wasn’t one of me stuffing my face with a sausage roll while sat in the smoking section outside of where I work, I was relieved to see it was a promo shot of Channel 4’s First Dates.
  4. Back in the summer I went on a really good date, was looking forward to a second date but on the day my date decided (after a lot of indecisiveness) to leave it until the week after. I think he might have double booked to be honest and couldn’t decide who to go for on the day but the fact I have met someone half decent has given me hope. And no, I didn’t meet him again, we had a date, he changed his mind a couple of hours before we were due to meet. Game over.
  5. In September when Hugh Hefner died I was invited to be a guest on the Dr. Pam Spurr show on Talk Radio talking about being a bunny back in the day. One of the questions she asked me did make me smile though, “So, did you and the other girls ever get excited thinking Hugh might walk in the club any minute?” The guy lived in America for god’s sake so I answered truthfully. “Not in Manchester Pam, no.”
  6. In October I went on a blind date for a national newspaper, all expenses paid for at the restaurant of my choice. After listening to Colin telling me the most outrageous things that apparently he never tells anyone, (why me Colin?) we left the restaurant to walk to the train station/bus stop.  I’d already warned him about trying to grope me outside the restaurant, but unfortunately he didn’t listen. Grappling with a 64 yr old at Piccadilly Gardens bus stop in Manchester isn’t my idea of how a date ends, so there was no second date for Colin.

So here we are, it’s that time of year where we all reflect on whether it’s been a good year or not. For me it wasn’t all good, some bad stuff happened but I’m going to focus on the positives and hoping next year will be even better.

Hope it’s a good one for everyone.

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The Blind Date.

A few weeks ago I went to a fabulous restaurant for dinner on a blind date paid for by a national newspaper. Both of us had been matched by someone who was running a feature about older daters and of course I was looking forward to it, as anyone who has agreed to go on a blind date must have something about them already.

A photographer came round to my place 2 hours early and had patiently been waiting for me to get home so he could set up, but he then had to wait for me to get ready. The dress code is quite strict with photographs especially where colour is concerned so the outfit I’d originally planned to wear for the photos was considered to be too dark. White was also a non starter as were certain patterns so the end result was probably the only outfit we could use,(didn’t wear it on the date though) so luckily it turned out alright.

It’s always strange meeting someone on a blind date but I like the fact I don’t know anything about them, there’s been no interaction so I have no expectations. Colin was the perfect gentleman, was easy to get on with and had plenty to say, although that didn’t seem to stop him drinking most of the wine. He told me a couple of things that made me think he was  probably not for me but he was in fact good company but it wasn’t long before he made it quite clear that he liked me, and I mean REALLY liked me, so much so that after telling him I was off to Ibiza on holiday that coming weekend he said that he could probably come out there himself and where was it I was staying? After laughing it off and saying he was joking (he so wasn’t) he decided to try and show off by talking Spanish to the Italian waiters who obviously couldn’t understand him. On that note we left the restaurant and made our way to Piccadilly Gardens.

Once outside Colin tried to link me, then he was rubbing my back, pawing at me and generally trying to pull me close to him until I told him to stop it. Once we got to my bus stop he insisted on staying with me until the bus came and thought it would be an opportunity to pull me close to him even though he says in his interview he knew I was uncomfortable with it. He gave me his number (no intention of using it) and that was that. The journalist doing the feature rang both of us to ask how we got on a couple of days later and she mentioned that Colin had said I hadn’t been in touch.

Two days and Colin said I hadn’t been in touch.

I told her all about the date and about how he was way too keen and how off putting it is and she agreed before saying “Why don’t you just text him to thank him for the date?” But I did that on the night, he knows, I don’t want to encourage him, I know EXACTLY what will happen. “To be polite”, she said. Hang on a minute, I’ve done my bit, I’ve been polite enough putting up with everything that happened on the way back to the bus stop, Colin’s had a good night let’s just leave it. “Just be polite” so I messaged him.

What a mistake that was.

I was bombarded with messages every day while I was on holiday, I didn’t even reply to most of them but that didn’t stop him. He wanted to know which hotel I was in, he could come over and stay, (this is the problem with retired guys too much time on their hands) we were going to have such a good time, apparently. This after just ONE DATE. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, I’ve been on enough dates to know when something’s not right. Because I didn’t reply the messages stopped apart from Thursday mornings when I’d get told who was in this week’s feature of Blind Date in the paper.

Until today.

Today it was our turn to be in the paper with our blind date and I think some clarification is needed to explain the difference between a “good date” and a “good date” where you want to see someone again.

1, I didn’t fancy him, if I did that would have gone a long way to wanting to see him again.

2. The fact you have something in common doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere. In our case our common interest (apparently) was the fact he lived in Spain doing dodgy dealings and I lived in Gibraltar at a completely different time drinking too much vodka that put me off for life. Enough to ride off into the sunset?

3. Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be as picky. I’m still working, most guys I date are retired which means that they will be sulking as I don’t have the time they need to be at their beck and call and even though they’ll all say they love the fact I have my own life they don’t like it at all.

4. People can lose their confidence when it comes to dating and I understand that, being too keen can mean they’ve forgotten what the rules are and if that’s the case then it’s fine, but don’t push it when someone says “No” that’s just being an idiot.

5. When you’ve been dating a while you’ve been on enough dates to know the difference between a “good date”and one that means you can’t wait to see them again. How many people do you see on First Dates who after the date say they want to see each other again but then don’t?

6. Chemistry. End of.

I had a nice time, we had a good date but it wasn’t enough, just couldn’t see myself with him no matter how hard I tried and a goddess won’t settle for second best. To add insult to injury after I’d been on the blind date when I got off the bus near home I crossed  the road, tripped, and fell head first along the pavement which resulted in a damaged knee ligament.

No Colin. you weren’t worth that.

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7 Random Facts About Me.

In response to a challenge that some of the ladies on Twitter were up for I jumped on this but as it’s only 7 facts there will be another post that will include a lot more.

1 Australia.

When I was married (long time ago) with a 2 yr old son and expecting my second child my ex husband was offered a job in Australia, and after thinking about it we decided to go with no intention of coming back. So off he went to start the job and I was left to sell the house while waiting for him to come back a couple of weeks before I was due to give birth. All went well and when my daughter was 3 months old we all travelled as a family to Australia to start a new life. I wish I could say that I loved it but I found it hard. Not so much looking after a new baby and a toddler but what Australia had to offer in the way of insects, spiders and anything else that walked swam or flew. We had actually bought a house in Melbourne but after 2 years we called it a day and came back to Manchester but I have absolutely no regrets, it just wasn’t for me.

2 Was once offered a part in a porn film.

When I was 23 I went to live in Gibraltar as it really is England in the sun and I loved it. I stayed a year working in a bar in a hotel and then eventually working in a bar /restaurant on the marina which I loved. One day I was followed down the street by a German guy who said he was a film director and wanted me in his next film. After explaining that I wasn’t an actress he said it didn’t matter but he stalked me for a few days begging me to be in this film. One evening while out with friends I was telling them this story and one of the guys said that he actually knew about him and that he was a porn film director. Looks like I missed a chance there then!

3. How I became a blogger.

Anyone who reads my blog will know how this started. Just over 5 years ago I should have been moving back to Gibraltar, long story short I ended up in Salford where I’ve had to stat a new life and part of that was online dating. Some of the dates were that bad ( we can all relate) that I started a blog about it. This led to writing for Metro for a year, being featured in Woman magazine and a few radio interviews. It also brings me to…

4. First Dates.

I absolutely love First Dates on Channel 4 and have watched it from the very first episode. Believe it or not Fred didn’t actually join First Dates until series 3 and I appeared on an episode as a main dater in series 4 and LOVED it! It was a long day though as I’d travelled from Manchester and as soon as I went to get changed I realised that I’d left part of my outfit including shoes, behind. Gutted. The production team really do want to match you with someone and a lot of work goes into it behind the scenes and luckily my date was everything I wanted in a guy, on paper. I had a great time even though he forgot my name and I answered, “Goddess”, but even though I knew he wasn’t into me  I could have lied at the end when they ask if you want to see each other again, which people seem to do every week. That was a great day, no regrets there.

5. Someone stole my profile once on POF.

When I first started online dating I wrote (even though I say it myself) a cracking profile. It took me ages to do it as I wanted to stand out and it wasn’t long before some lazy git stole it for himself and tweaked it so it was about him. Didn’t take my pics obviously but he sent me a message asking could he use the profile and I said of course not write your own!  Next thing he sent me a pic of his new profile which was mine and said “What do you think?” I reported it but nothing happened and now and again check to see if he’s still using it and after all this time he still is as he hasn’t got the brain cells to write another one.

6. I had the biggest baby in the hospital.

My first child was a boy and as I got bigger I wasn’t really that worried about it (having got good child bearing hips apparently) until nearer the end when the scans showed that actually, this was going to be a big baby. I won’t bore you with details but when he was born he weighed 10lb 13 oz. I can actually hear everyone’s intake of breath when they read this, but yes he was that big. Every single item of clothing had to go back and swapped for bigger sizes and he looked like he was already 3 months old. Thank god for caesarean section that’s all I can say.

7. Playboy.

When I came back from Gibraltar I got a job at the Playboy club in Manchester in the early 80’s and I absolutely loved that costume. Memoirs of a Playboy Bunny Part One is by far the most popular post on my blog and when Hugh Hefner died a few weeks ago I was asked to be a guest on Talk Radio on Dr Pam purr’s show on Saturday night. My one regret is that I don’t have a photo of me wearing that costume, but there it is.

So that’s it, my 7 random facts about me, hope you enjoyed them.

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Dating Is Exhausting

So Valentine’s Day has been and gone and I’m still single, just like I am the rest of the year. In a way I feel sorry for all the couples who feel under pressure to declare their love for each other on a particular day of the year, I would like to think I’d get flowers, chocolates and taken out for a romantic meal any old day of the week instead of being in a restaurant on February 14th with all the other couples trying to prove to the world how happy they are. But hey, I’m single, what the hell do I know?

What I do know is that a couple of weeks ago I was getting a couple of dates lined up with a couple of guys who seemed to be just what I was looking for. One of the guys was a bit younger than me (bonus) and he seemed really keen, a lot of texting, couple of phone calls and because all us single people like to make sure we have busy lives we arranged to meet a few days later. The day arrived when we were due to meet and as I hadn’t heard from him I didn’t get ready. Later that evening I had a text saying “Sorry, been really busy with my daughter, can’t make tonight.”  No I wasn’t impressed to say the least, because since the day we’d last spoken to arrange the date there had been no contact at all. I’d text him a couple of times and he’d replied but nothing like it had been so I was a bit confused.

Confused but bloody fuming.

The same thing happened with guy number 2, really keen and once we’d arranged a date all contact ceased, radio silence, nothing but apparently he’d been “too busy”.  I for one like to keep the communication going because I’ve been here too many times when just before I’m about to meet a guy he’s text (too scared to phone) to say he’s met someone else. Let’s be realistic here, we all keep our options open and I still chat to other guys when I’ve arranged a date with someone so it doesn’t surprise me if they do the same but I do think it doesn’t help if all communication/banter stops before you meet as guys are easily distracted by bright shiny things half undressed so I say keep talking.  Having said that, guy number 1 had the audacity to text me on the morning of February 14th to ask was I free that evening? Not for you love, no.

Dating is exhausting no matter what age you are, but it really is different when you’re older as everyone is bitter and cynical. I’ve heard too many stories of an ex wife/partner who took all the money/cheated and now these guys are really wary and I’m sure some women must have the same story. They tell you that they can have their ex back any time they want, even though that ex has been married to someone else for 20 years.  They tell you that their kids prefer them (as though it’s a competition) and they tell you that no, they don’t really want to find someone but they’re under pressure from the kids but they wouldn’t mind someone to go on holiday with. They tell you that they’d prefer you to be thinner, taller/shorter and with a different colour of hair. I could say the same as I’m sat across some bald fat misogynist who still doesn’t realise we’ve entered the 21st century. Dating is exhausting, time consuming and soul destroying, You have to keep hoping that you’re going to meet someone who you just click with, someone who you want to spend more and more time with, and who feels the same about you.

And don’t even get me started on the guys who slide into your DM’s on twitter asking for “fun and cheeky stories.”

Maybe I’ve reached the limit of stones unturned.

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The First Date Of The Year

There’s a reason I only meet for coffee on dates, and today was a reminder of why I do it. It’s not always possible of course for one reason or another, but I’ve learned that for me, meeting for coffee is the best way purely because you can put a time limit on it if it’s not going well.

As a seasoned dater it’s easy to become jaded, I’ve been on so many dates now that it’s hard to get excited any more but last weekend I was given some good advice. Last Saturday I moved into my new place and later in the evening after everyone had gone (and there was nothing on tv on Saturday night) I decided to listen to the London radio station Talk Radio as Dr Pam Spurr was on and she was going to be talking about online dating. Now I’ve been dating a while, I know what to do, where to go to meet people, how to keep safe but I was curious to see if an expert could give me some advice that I hadn’t heard before. It had been a long day, I was tired, had one glass of wine too many and thought it would be a good idea to ring the radio station. Within 5 minutes they rang me back and I was on air listening to the fabulous Dr Pam asking me various questions about dating apps ( dating apps? You’re joking aren’t you? Older men like to stick to what they know so let’s just stay with the usual shall we, over 4000 dating apps and I’m only on 3 or 4 of them because there’s no point when guys my age won’t be using them) and do I go anywhere to try and meet guys? After answering the usual questions I was then given what I consider to be good advice.  “Always turn up for your date expecting to enjoy it and have a good time as your body language will give you away,” and that is true. It’s easy to turn up not expecting much when your last couple of dates were rubbish, so if that’s what you expect then that is probably what will happen. So with that in mind I was really looking forward to meeting the first date of the year today “D”.

We had originally agreed to meet in the evening but I changed it last minute to just a coffee date in the afternoon.

Thank god I did.

It was easy to spot him as thankfully he looked like his photos (always a bonus) although he was shorter than I expected and from the minute we sat down until he got a red card from me an hour later I think I only spoke a handful of times. I had a full hour of him telling me about every confrontation he’s ever had in work, about his ex wife stashing away money that he knew nothing about, his daughter’s problems with her ex boyfriend, his daughter’s current boyfriend and the problems she has with her future in-laws, the problems of all of his ex wife’s boyfriends thinking he’s a threat ” Because I can get her back any time I choose to.”  and to top it all while we were sat there he answered phone calls from two different people. I could feel the will to live slowly but surely slipping away. As we walked out of the place he said “I enjoyed that” and I’m sure he did, I of course couldn’t say the same.

What can I say? I tried Pam, I really did.

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Got Good Friends? Hang on to Them.

It’s been a month since my episode was seen on First Dates, and like any major event in life you will find that people’s reaction vary, good or bad, and this is what I found happened in the days following that programme.

Obviously some people at work had been told about it (I was on the opening credits for a while so it was no big secret) and I am lucky to have some great friends at work who were going to watch it, even though they’ve  never actually watched an episode before which meant a lot to me. On the actual night I drank far too much wine as I was really nervous about how Twitter would react, as we all know it can be cruel, and having been advised not to read any comments I kept off it. It is also really weird to see yourself on TV, and anyone who read my blog about when I actually went on my date will know I wasn’t happy with my appearance, but that was totally my fault. So, what happened after?

About a week after the episode had been shown  people started to come up to me and ask “Were you on First Dates?” and then stand and stare expectantly which threw me a bit as I wasn’t sure what to do, but everyone was really nice and more or less said the same things every time. Luckily Twitter had been kind (relief!) and friends at work were really lovely about it but it was also quite amusing to see how some people reacted. One or two who you never have a conversation with, suddenly became your best mate for two minutes as they wanted to know everything about what happens on the show (as if I’d tell them) before they went telling their mates. Some people who never said anything publicly when we were all in conversation talking about it, came and asked questions when I was on my own, one or two waited to see how everyone else reacted before saying anything, and you’ll always get the ones who’d rather choke on their own vomit before they’ll say anything at all, which is fine.

Unfortunately you will also get one or two long standing friends who while saying they support you, when it came down to it actually didn’t, which although was a bit upsetting at the time, came as no surprise.

I did of course have the support of people who were there from the absolute start, the ones who were cheering from the sidelines from the very first audition, the ones who responded to frantic phone calls from me when I was getting nervous and having second thoughts, the ones who met me at a minute’s notice to lend me a valuable item of clothing, and of course a couple of work mates who were there all the way who were so supportive and for that I’ll always be grateful.

People don’t always respond or react in the way you expected, but some will exceed all expectations and make you realise that actually, you have some really good friends, make sure you hang on to them.

 

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So I’ve Been On First Dates

We all watch it, especially all us single people who put ourselves out there in the minefield of today’s idea of dating. First Dates on Channel 4 is the popular equivalent to the old Cilla Black programme Blind Date because it really is a blind date. None of the daters know anything at all about who they are about to meet, which puts the pressure on straight away. At least you have some idea of what you’re dealing with when you’ve made an initial connection online. The production team though are on a mission to find you a perfect match (or as near as they can get) which means a long in-depth interview about likes/dislikes/values/ all designed to help in finding your date before you meet in the famous restaurant. And then it’s all up to you.

Everyone loves a love story and it’s nice to see when a couple get on and maybe see each other again, but even if that’s not the case for everyone, you’ll always have some sort of connection with your date as you’ve both shared a unique experience (along with however many viewers). I for one loved the whole process, I loved going to London, meeting everyone and of course on the day itself I couldn’t wait to get into the restaurant to meet my date as I was curious to see who they would match me with. Everyone involved with the show is lovely, helpful and there’s always someone you can phone for whatever reason. The food is good and of course the French fox Fred is even more stunning in real life while the rest of the staff can’t do enough for you. What I will say though is this, here are a few tips of what not to do should you ever find yourself on the programme.

1.Ladies. Don’t have a radical new hairstyle the day before. I had half my hair cut off and of course it didn’t play nice on the day.

2.Try and make sure that it’s not one of the hottest days of the year as that, combined with stress and the ridiculously hot lights in the post date interview will make you look like someone’s thrown water onto your face.

3.This is the most important. DO NOT leave your brand new shoes on the bed and realise when you’re getting changed that you’ll have to go with outfit B which may as well be Z.

Having said that,the most important thing is just to enjoy the experience. Everybody is hoping that you’ll have a good time, you’ve done the hard bit you’ve got there. and hopefully you can ignore all the people who’ll have so many negative things to say about how you look/dress/speak .You know the ones, the people who are sat at home, on the sofa watching you, who don’t have the actual guts to do it themselves. I know who I’d rather be…

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