Renaissance Man

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Perky looks thoughtful. ‘Remind me again what your type is?’

I glance over in the direction of her best friend’s boyfriend.


Two hours earlier…

I enter the room and immediately fall into conversation with a charming Frenchman. Ten minutes later, a girl I recognise appears at his elbow. We exchange festive greetings then, gesturing towards Charming Frenchman, I say:

‘Have you met?’

She smiles, not unkindly. ‘Yes, we’re together.’

I resist the urge to grab the nearest bag of Kettle Chips and walk away.


Three glasses of mulled wine later, I’m standing opposite Perky asking if there’s anyone – anyone – she could set me up with.

‘Remind me again what your type is?’ she says.

‘Umm… the thing is, if I describe my type, I’ll just be describing the last guy I dated.’

But one.

‘That’s fine. Obviously that’s your type.’

Yes, but as my beloved mother has pointed out on numerous occasions, it’s probably not very realistic.

‘Hmm OK,’ I say, ‘well, the most important thing is that they’re very clever. And funny – we need to have the same sense of humour.’

‘OK, what about height?’

‘Not that bothered.’

‘But you wouldn’t want someone shorter than you?’

‘I don’t really mind. The last few guys I’ve dated have been the same height as me and that’s been fine.’

‘OK but you’re quite tall.’

‘Yeah I guess.’ I think for a moment. ‘Also… I’ve got a weakness for scientists who are also interested in the arts. So, a polymath. Basically,’ I laugh, ‘I want Leonardo Da Vinci, but alive.’

And straight. And fractionally taller.

CC Image courtesy of Jeffrey Beall on Flickr

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Desperate Measures

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CC Image courtesy of le vent le cri on FlickrYou might have noticed a slight drop in output recently. There are a few reasons for this:

1. I’m working every hour God sends in my new role so I have less time to write.

2. It’s tricky to meet people when you’re chained to your desk.

3. (and this is perhaps the most surprising) My threshold for what is blog-worthy appears to have changed. I have a draft folder full of silly stories about the time Tristan made a heart shape between his fingers at me across the office; or the time Karl suggested accompanying me to an art show only for his enthusiasm to cool when I told him the ticket price; or the time I unexpectedly found myself on a date – my brother‘s.


Tuesday night, I’m sitting in a pub somewhere in the West End with Ryan, Gus and Tristan. We’ve escaped ‘official’ work drinks. That is, I thought we all just happened to be leaving at the same time, but once out on the pavement, Tristan claps his hands together.

‘Now the fun can begin!’

Which means a pub, pints and Ryan asking the group at the neighbouring table if they know any single men he can go out with.

‘And,’ he points at me, ‘do you know any single men Anna can go out with?’

I break off laughing just long enough to request that they be straight.


‘We should make a bet,’ Ryan says en route to the station, ‘to see who can get a date first.’

‘What are we going to bet?’

Ryan is famously tight and I’m not exactly Mother Theresa.

‘A cappuccino?’

‘You’re on.’

CC Image courtesy of son of a bike on Flickr

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Blushing Boy

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CC Image courtesy of T.Kiya on FlickrI take Freddie aside with the intention of asking him if the dashing Sebastian is gay.  We drift towards the exit.  I’m still trying to form the question when we draw level with a slim young man with tightly curling hair and a pink complexion.  I’d seen him looking at me a couple of times in the course of the evening, but had thought nothing of it.  Freddie introduces him as Nick.  At the same moment, Sam comes over.

It’s an awkward foursome.  I’m trying too hard (standard); Nick is blushing for England (I soon learn, also standard); Freddie is addressing Sam as Sam (not his real name); Sam is looking confused.  I’m trying to get Freddie to shut up.  Nick is now also looking confused, probably by the fact that Sam appears not to know his own name.  In the midst of this, I learn that Nick is doing a PhD at Oxford.

‘Oh,’ I say, ‘which college?’

He tells me.  It’s round the corner from where I was; I say as much.

‘What’s the PhD in?’

Trying too hard.

He blushes for no ostensible reason.  ‘Theology.’    

‘Oh!  I had a couple of really good friends who read Theology.’

So?  And anyway, it was one friend, Claire, and it was a BA and, still, so?

He smiles politely.  He does everything politely, including asking what my degree was in.  We’re nearly at the exit.  Conversation turns to the upcoming ball.  He’s going to it.

‘Me too.’

Then we’ll see each other there.

‘Nice to meet you,’ I say, smiling.

‘You too,’ he says, blushing once again.

And that’s how we met.

CC Image courtesy of ludwig van standard stamp on Flickr

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2013: The High (and Low) Lights

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CC Image courtesy of hoangnt on FlickrFor me, the best part of blogging, aside from writing the wretched stuff, is hearing that someone enjoyed a post.  So today, because I figured I deserve a holiday, I’m posting the best bits of 2013 according to you, my beloved (and for many of you I mean that quite literally – be worried) readers.


First up is Bright Star, a favourite of James’, in which I explain to Toby why I like Joe’s flatmate

‘He’s funny,’ I say.

Or rather he thinks I’m funny, which is much more important.

A grilling from Sandwich comes a close second.

‘I thought you were great friends.’

He actually said great chums, but it wouldn’t do to alienate readers.


Glossing over the surprised tone with which he said it, Flatmate pronounced No Sex and the City to be ‘quite witty’:

‘He doesn’t believe in sex before marriage,’ I say.

‘Oh God.’

‘He’s kinda the problem.’

CC Image courtesy of knowhimonline on Flickr

New Initiative made Lucy laugh out loud, twice:

Beatrice is Tinder-happy…

When they can spell, even if not attractive, I continyue writing.’

And learning to spell, presumably.

… whilst MBE is feeling increasingly cynical about the whole thing.

I’m bored of openers like ‘How are you?’ (bored), ‘Any exciting plans for the weekend?’ (no, I prefer boring plans), ‘what are up to this evening?’ (I’m not going to sleep with you just because we live three miles apart) – and the rest.


A compliment from my harshest critic always makes my day.  My mother’s top 3 for the year:

Story of My Life, in which Beatrice and I join stalking forces.

Flatmate gives me a dose of reality On The Couch.


Love Poetry, in which I fancy a gay man.  Like you’ve never done the same thing.


So there you have it.  Written (fittingly) proof that this writer is neurotic, needy, insecure, and in dire need of validation and praise.  And that’s just the writing.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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(Continued from In Da Club)CC Image courtesy of Kotomi_ on Flickr

In the course of the next year, we exchanged the odd message: a house-warming invite here, a dinner party invite there, a request for a (gay) mutual friend’s phone number.  (Yes, that came from me, and was totally legit.) 


When he entered the church (bear with) on Saturday evening, I felt… a little awkward.  He was still, in my eyes, the softly-spoken literature student who had turned down my invitation to the cinema – and drinks.  And we still got on like a house on fire. 


The reeling comes to an end.

‘What are your plans now?’ he says.

Presume he doesn’t mean ‘in life’, cos that’s anyone’s guess.

‘Errr probably heading home.  You?’

‘A friend’s having a barbecue I might go to in Clapham.’

Not far from me, and he knows it. 

Somebody puts on funk music and people start dancing around the room.  I’m waltzing solo (obv); Nice Guy is doing the moonwalk with a sprinkling of robot.  Occasionally we cross paths, but mostly everyone is dancing apart, lost in their own little worlds.  It’s surreal and wonderful. 

CC Image courtesy of yoondo on Flickr He dons his jacket and comes over to me.

‘Are you heading home then?’ he says.


‘How do you get there?’

‘Err bus?’

‘Do you mind if I keep you company?’

‘No, that would be nice.  I just need to change my shoes.’

When I get back, a girl is standing with him.

‘I’m joining you!’ she says.

Nice Guy is poker-faced.  We set off.

‘Let’s get a cab,’ she says, as we cross the park.

He catches my eye.  ‘The bus is fine.’

‘Yeah,’ I say, ‘I’m cool with the bus.’

‘Well,’ she says, ‘I’ll pay for a cab to Clapham so you might as well get in it.’


En route, she asks about the barbecue. 

‘You can come along,’ he says to us.

She’s keen.  I shrug.  ‘Yeah, OK.’ 


We arrive just as people are leaving for the club.  The other girl decides to call it a night.

Nice Guy puts a hand on my back.  ‘You’ll stay?’

I’m not a big fan of clubbing.  I don’t know anyone there except Nice Guy.  I have to be at work in ten hours’ time.  And experience has taught me that staying out because of one guy, however nice, tends to end in heartache and tears. 

‘Yeah, why not?’

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