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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Too Cool For School

So a brand new themed bar/restaurant has opened in Manchester and judging by the pics and videos I’ve seen, it looks amazing. With lots going on which includes aerial dancers that will pour the champagne into your glass from above, cocktails being served with a burning £20 note, not to mention a catwalk, and with even the waiting staff doing some sort of a performance, the Menagerie is set to be the next place to be seen in. I can’t wait to see it but it would seem my invitation to the opening night didn’t get lost in the post, I’m just not enough of a Z lister to make the cut even though I can be as pretentious as the rest of the people who this place will undoubtedly attract.

It all started with going to the local youth club where most of the kids on the estate ended up going on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. A place that had a record player playing vinyl records of whatever was in the charts, with all the girls showing off their moves on the dance floor in the latest outfit bought by the money they’d earned babysitting. The boys of course were in groups either playing pool or darts, or stood around watching the girls, and if they liked one of them then maybe he’d buy her a soft drink and a packet of crisps out of the money he earned doing his paper round. From the youth club, it progressed to the under 18’s disco which was a whole different ball game. Now you’re meeting a lot of new people in a much bigger venue and there was a lot of competition between the girls to impress the lads who were allowed upstairs to drink alcohol from the bar. By now, the outfits you were buying weren’t from the local market but from decent shops in town, usually trying to buy something no one else had to stand out from the crowd. This is probably around the time you try to get served in pubs, or sit in a corner and send the lad who looks old enough to get served who ends up buying drinks for everyone, no one asked for ID in those days, more like the question “What’s your date of birth?”  with the drink of choice being half a cider and blackcurrant or half a lager and lime.

By the time you’re 17/18 is around the time when you decide if you’re happy to stay in your home town going out to the handful of bars/clubs available every week or maybe see what the nearest big city has to offer. There’s always been pretentious bars in Manchester and the boyfriend I had at the time took me to probably all of them, and I loved it so much that there was no turning back for me. Standing there, looking fab, being seen, pretending that you’re somebody while all the time people watching to see if you recognise anyone. Paying far too much for your drinks and noticing that not many people actually laugh or have fun as they’re too busy being fabulous dahling. But these aren’t the best nights.

The best nights are in the dives where they play the best music, drinks are cheap, and you can really let your hair down. Where you end up going home with a cigarette burn in your dress, lipstick smudged all over your face where you’ve been kissing random guys, and one shoe missing. Where your feet hurt because you’ve been dancing all night, holding a bottle of beer because they don’t do fancy cocktails. Where you’ve ended up chatting with people who you would never usually meet in the places you go to, who actually have a tale to tell. Where you’ve had such a good time if only you could remember it. These are the best nights.

But I am looking forward to seeing this new fabulous place, but I won’t be going at the weekend, I’m certainly not going to risk anyone thinking I’ve got lost on the way to bingo. No, I’ll be going on my day off, sometime in the afternoon when I won’t feel out of place, when it’s quieter and the fabulous attention seeking people aren’t there. Yes I won’t be seeing the theatrical performance put on at the weekends but I can still appreciate the surroundings and if anyone is there at the same time and wants to buy a fabulous former “it” girl a drink, I’ll have a white wine spritzer with soda thank you.

Cheers.

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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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