10 Signs You’re Nearly 30

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  1. You’re 29.
  2. You go on a date with a guy you met in a club. He’s 25 and, when you reveal your age, he says, ‘Well done.’
  3. You start wondering about felt tip pen as a viable, affordable fix for prominent grey hairs.
  4. You decide it’s now or never with giving the dream career a shot. Hell, there has to be an upside to not having a joint mortgage!
  5. You go to parties and are the token single person there, fielding questions like, ‘What do you think of Tinder?
  6. So you embrace it, cast aside your inner Charlotte, and sleep around.
  7. When that doesn’t prove to be fun (bad sex and, oh, bad sex), you go back to focusing on that dream career.
  8. Which proves to be a nightmare, so you get to wondering if children are really that bad.
  9. And decide they are.
  10. Maybe New Zealand is calling. There’s Tinder in New Zealand, right?

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Faking It

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CC Image courtesy of Chesi - Fotos CC on FlickrTuesday, there’s a departmental meeting, most of which I spend thinking, ‘I don’t even care, I should be working in the FILM INDUSTRY.’

Leaving the room I draw level with The Man for Whom I Baked. He’s tall, slender, beautifully turned out and – and this is the real reason I love him – he always looks happy to see me. I worry that one day his illusions will be shattered and he’ll see me for who I really am, someone who spent a week in Berlin and didn’t visit a single museum or art gallery OUT OF CHOICE. Conversations with him are like an Oxford interview, or an episode of Faking It.

‘How are you?’ he says, looking into the distance before snapping his head round to meet my eye. It’s sexier than it sounds.

‘Yeah, fine thanks. What did you think?’

It’s too soon, like a diner asking his companion for thoughts on the restaurant before they’re out the door. And this man’s an aesthete; my clumsiness must grate. He looks round at the sea of colleagues, perhaps scouting for eavesdroppers or passing time until it’s safe to speak. He answers in a low voice then says again:

‘No but really, how are you?’

Six months I’ve been in my role and this is a first. Family and friends have shown an interest of course and when things got really bad threatened to airlift me out of the office, but this is the first time I’ve been asked by someone on the inside. Someone who knows what I’m up against, who knows the system. Someone who looks a bit like Tobias Menzies.

‘Yeah… OK.’

‘We should have coffee sometime and you can tell me how it’s going.’ He’s back to staring into the distance.

*

I’m plating up flapjacks for Tristan and Co. in the kitchen when Tobias walks in.

‘Would you like one?’ 

‘Thanks,’ he says. ‘How are you?’

‘Stressed.’

‘Stressed? What about?’

I tell him.

‘Is there anything I can do to help?’

That helps – just asking. Where’s that line from? Almost certainly Sex and the City given the breadth of my cultural references. Something else this man doesn’t need to know.

CC Image courtesy of El-AMD Photos on Flickr

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Perfect Strangers

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CC Image courtesy of ketrin1407 on FlickrMatthew’s reply is, of course, perfect.  He would have loved to have come, but can’t because of a clash (family commitments, aw).  He would however love to meet up.

Of all the men I contact, he’s the only one to say this.  Nice Guy and Swiss National are non-committal in a ‘thanks and have a nice life’ kind of a way.  Benedict being Benedict is effusive in his regrets…

He begins by suggesting I drop by where he works for a drink on the way home, then tells me he’s just moved to my neighbourhood so we must meet up soon, and sends me his mobile number for ease of contact. Coming from any other man, this medley of attentions would have had me dancing naked down Oxford Street.  But Benedict, like I said, is Benedict, and in Narnia they do things differently.

 

I don’t reply to Matthew’s message until my birthday a.k.a. The Apocalypse has been and gone.  The balance of my mind has been restored, and I’m probably a little bit more cynical about love stuff than I was twenty-four hours before.

 

There’s a scene in Sex & The City, where Carrie is running to a first date.  She bumps into her ex on the sidewalk.

‘I had a baby!’ he says.

‘I have a date!’

Awkward.

Small talk ensues.

‘Good to see you,’ she says, looking up at him.

‘You too.  We should get together and have coffee sometime, and catch up.’

‘Yeah, great!  OK we’ll do that.’

As Carrie walks away, the voiceover comes in: there is the type of date you can’t wait to keep, and the type of date you both know you’ll never keep.

 

Part of me – the cynical, pessimistic part that’s big on self-preservation – reckons that ‘meeting up’ with Matthew is like Aidan and Carrie’s coffee: it will never happen.  And with that in mind, I reply, saying it would be great to catch up, perhaps one night after work, and to let me know when would be good for him.

CC Image courtesy of Daremoshiranai on Flickr

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Negative Feedback

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CC Image courtesy of dylans mom on Flickr‘What do you reckon?’

My mother reckons go for it.  Of course she does; my mother would have replied to Daniel’s text – she said as much.

‘But… I dunno.  It’s just – I know loads of people do it, but, it just seems… a bit desperate.’

‘But if you think you’ve met everyone you’re going to meet through the usual channels…’

Reeling and, well, reeling.  And now tango classes, which I’m doing with Milonga, of all people.

‘… then why not?  You might meet someone.’

That’s what I’m afraid of.

‘But…’

I am negativity central today.

‘… I’d only be doing it because I was being paid, so I’d feel like a bit of a fraud.’

‘Better to do it because you’re being paid and then writing about it, than doing it because you’re desperate!’

Can we stop saying desperate?!

‘But… I can’t be bothered with it!  I have a life, y’know?!  I have things in my diary.’

I’ve surpassed myself on the lame excuses front.  My mother doesn’t bother replying.

‘And…’

The ace up my sleeve.

‘… I do meet people I like, it’s just, it’s not mutual!  I don’t need to meet more people I like who don’t like me back!’

Viable Prospect springs to mind, though I haven’t actually met him…

‘But you might meet someone who does like you back!’

… and Matthew.

There it is: the Big, as Carrie Bradshaw might say, reason for doing online dating.  Today’s the first day I haven’t listened to the songs we danced to, or edited posts about him which are clearly never going to work because they hang on something pathetic, like a Facebook add.

‘Hmm…’

I weave through the crowd, processing faces.

No, no, no…

It’s like Tinder.

… no, no… 

Or online dating.

… not a patch on Ma–

I dismiss the thought.

‘… I might do it.’

CC Image courtesy of quicheisinsane on Flickr