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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Anything For Nothing

As this week in work has been more chaotic than usual due to the 25% off clothing promotion, it makes me realise that anything that’s on offer, or even worse free, actually brings out the worst in people. I’ve worked in retail a long time, usually in ladies fashion and have only worked in a supermarket for the past 5 years but have watched as seemingly level headed people become selfish and demanding once they think they’re having something for nothing. You only have to see how people are when they see a stand set up in a supermarket with little samples on, depending on what’s on offer means that maybe they don’t have to feed the kids that night if they go back enough times for a freebie.

Working in retail over the years I’ve seen some things, not all people react in the same way to freebies, offers and promotions, but quite a few show the same behaviour. For some reason all logic and reason goes out of the window and some people seem to think they have a sense of entitlement, demanding that they have a particular item at a much lower price because there’s a speck of dust on it, a button missing, or even the wrong colour.

I’ve seen people clear a shelf of a sale item and then ask “Is there any more in the back?”

I’ve seen people make an actual complaint because there wasn’t a particular size they wanted on the sale rail and what was my name again?

I’ve had someone who, not being happy with the colour of a free belt, ask would I phone the Trafford centre on a Saturday afternoon where there was another store and ask them to check if they have the colour she wanted.

I’ve had a total stranger ask me if I would use my discount to help them buy their wife a new coat.

I’ve had someone complain that they’re not happy with the quality of a pair of free flip flops.

But it’s not only retail.  Years ago I had a part time job in a pub restaurant as well as a full time job (initially to pay for a holiday abroad with the kids) and it would seem that restaurants have the same problem. If you complain enough about the food/service/drinks then you are likely to get some money knocked off your bill with maybe a voucher for a free meal if you really kick off.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve ordered a meal  with a different sauce that you’re used to and decide you don’t like it.

Doesn’t matter if a rowdy table are abusive to the waiting staff and decide in their drunken state that actually they’re not paying the bill.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve told the waiter/waitress that you want your steak well done and remembered too late that you like it medium.

Doesn’t matter if your ex is in the same restaurant as you with his/her new partner.

Doesn’t matter that you don’t like the peas with your fish and chips.

It really doesn’t matter because apparently all these (and more) are valid reasons to kick off and dispute the amount you’ve been charged because people know if they complain loud enough, stamp their feet and throw a tantrum they will get what they want which is usually free drinks and a promise for a free meal any time they want. But that says more about that particular customer than the product on offer but it doesn’t change anything because sadly, it’s a sign of the times.

Now please can someone pass me the wine.

 

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Watching From The Sidelines.

Well what a week it’s been on Twitter with all the drama about the blogging community, how other bloggers are to each other, he said she said, and after reading a couple of interesting posts about it, here’s what I’ve noticed on good old Twitter.

You won’t know me. I don’t go to any bloggers conventions, or promote any brands. I’m not a beauty blogger, mummy blogger or travel blogger.  I don’t go out in restaurants and write a review about the food, or get invited to openings of the latest place to be seen in, or any event for that matter. I don’t have thousands of followers on my social platforms so no brand  would be interested in collaborating with me to promote anything. I started as a dating blogger and my blog has evolved into writing about my life really, (as well as dates) but as I’m an older blogger I probably don’t “do as well” as all the other younger bloggers, and that’s fine by me.

My blog got me a job writing for Metro for a year, an appearance on Channel 4 First Dates and a double page spread in an issue of Woman magazine earlier this year, featured on Rip Off Britain, a regular spot on a local TV station ( where I talk about stuff I don’t know much about) and hopefully a repeat performance on BBC Radio Manchester. As well as dating I’ll blog about what I’ve done in my life, emigrating to Australia, living in Gibraltar in my early twenties, and about working for Playboy. All boring stuff for younger bloggers to read, but again that’s fine by me as I like to people watch and Twitter is great for that. Which is why I can see exactly what’s been going on.

I myself am following a couple of bloggers who’ve started climbing higher with lots more followers and if I interact at all with them now, I’ll get a “like” instead of a reply. It must be hard trying to reply to lots of people who make a comment on something you’ve tweeted, but a lot of the time that isn’t the case, there might be myself and one or two others. I’ve followed  a few girls who promote a certain brand of clothing I like but have unfollowed when there has been zero response from them. I’ve had to unfollow a couple of girls who’ve had a TV appearance and not even had the decency to “like” a comment I’ve tweeted to them where at one time we were always chatting in DMs. It would seem that there’s nothing like having a load of followers to turn a girl’s head. I can’t speak about what goes on at events as I don’t go, but I would imagine it’s very competitive between everyone, hoping that certain brands will choose a particular blogger to work with.  But I will say this.

To all the dating bloggers in their 20’s/30’s there is only one Carrie Bradshaw and Bridget Jones. Don’t try to emulate them, be yourself.

To all the mummy bloggers out there, how the hell do you find the time to blog about what Archie/Felicity had for tea? Or which nappies to use/ clothes to buy/wipes to use. Maybe if Twitter had been around when my kids were small I wouldn’t have been giving them burnt Findus crispy pancakes with spaghetti hoops. Maybe.

To all  the food/drink reviewers, do you find that you have to starve yourselves all day? I’ll be honest, I’d get fed up with having to go out nine nights a week but I suppose it saves on food bills.

To all the bloggers in their thirties who write about embracing your age and you can’t wait until you’re in your 50’s as it’s going to be great, SHUT UP. You don’t have a clue what it’s like and yes, even you will be invisible.

To all the bloggers who have set themselves up as a self proclaimed inspiration for other women and say you can have it all. Having a part time job, 2.4 children, a husband and a home to look after does not make you a role model.

To all the beauty bloggers, I actually like you. I might not be up for trying out a lot of the products but now and again something will catch my eye that I think I must have. If Nivea are up for collaborating with a woman who has used their product for years I’m your woman.

I have found that there are cliques anywhere that there is a group of people, and Twitter is no exception but as someone who is watching from the sidelines whenever I see someone is getting too big for their boots I will give them a couple of chances then it’s delete and move on,  no exceptions, there is no excuse for bad manners. Funnily enough it seems to be when they hit the 6000 followers mark, when the diva behaviour seems to start. We all have egos as we’re bloggers, but let’s just remember ladies this is supposed to be fun.

Now someone pass me the wine.

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Memoirs Of A Playboy Bunny Part Two.

Right, so where were we? Having been given three costumes to put in my locker it was time to learn the job, and as I was to be working on both reception and the restaurant I would be learning how to do the famous “bunny dip.” This would involve carrying a tray of drinks with one hand, above shoulder level, and once reaching the table leaning  backwards but facing away from the table to pick each drink up and somehow twist around to place it on the table without spilling it all over someone. This took time to learn but it’s not something you ever feel really comfortable with doing as you were always thinking that today would be the day it all went wrong. Another hazard of the job was the bunny tail. Held on with press studs I sometimes lost my tail when I was trying to squeeze between tables, I’d go one way and my tail would go another, but there was always someone willing to put it back on for me as you can imagine.

The restaurant I worked in attracted a lot of business men who were members of the club, they would bring clients there hoping to impress (and it never failed) as the food was great and would usually leave a generous tip when they paid for their meal but as it was going to be shared with every single person that worked there, as well as being taxed on, it was highly unlikely you would ever see much of it. The same thing happened in every bar and in the casino, so no matter if you were given a tip everyone had to hand them in.Wearing the costume I was wearing meant there was really no place to put them so it was a case of handing them in, and hoping that it was a good month so that everyone else working there had also done well with tips.

I always worked on reception on Saturday nights, the night when a lot of the members would bring their wives as there was always a good act on in the main entertainment room, then a lot of people would make their way downstairs to the casino for a flutter, a good night out apparently. The guys who were members of the club usually treated the girls with respect, some were professional gamblers so to be honest, you were just part of the furniture to them as they were there to try and make money, it was always the visitors/guests who were the problem who sometimes tried to over step the mark but a word in their ear by a manager would usually calm things down. The thing with Saturday nights though, it was the women who were brought in as guests who were the problem. As their husband/partner/boyfriend signed them in you could see them really eyeing you up, but you had to bite your tongue because it wasn’t your place to tell them that don’t worry, you’re really not interested in someone who spends all their money (and probably yours) gambling.

I rarely worked in the casino, I helped out a few times serving drinks but I find it weird that there’s never any windows or clocks, a foolproof way to make gamblers lose track of time so that they always try one more time to get their money back. But I did see a guy lose an awful lot of money once which resulted in him losing his restaurant in Chinatown. At the time I worked there it was the early 80’s, so the casino seemed to attract a lot of young  guys who had come over from the Arab states, who were here for an education but had more money than they knew what to do with.  They all had the flash cars but as none of were allowed to accept a lift home from anyone (instant dismissal) it was always the bus for me. The club was situated on Canal Street Manchester which is now the infamous gay village, but at that time there were only a couple of gay bars, which are still there, so it wasn’t too far from the bus station to get the bus home when I finished at 4am. The annoying bit was waiting for two hours before the first bus of the day arrived at 6am, you can imagine the drunks and undesirables hanging around at that time.

Another time, another place, another life.

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