Life is what you make it. I recently moved from a quiet town in the country to chase my big city dreams. Nothing ever goes smoothly, nothing is ever what it seems, but everyday I am getting closer. I am yet another slightly less-than-average girl trying to find her way in London, and in life.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

London, love, and Mr Essex.

I've been single for a while now, and recently decided to change that. Mainly because I'm new to London and want to meet new people, and also because I do generally miss having someone who's there for me (this realisation came as quite a shock as I'm fiercely stubborn, independent and will refuse to admit that I need anyone). So, I'm not a very sentimental or emotionally attached person, so I do find it hard to find people that I actually can put up with and don't overwhelm or smother me.

Anyway, before I go into a longwinded rant about my annoying personality traits and how no one can love me because I don't let them, let's get to the point. Within a few weeks at work I was being bombarded with date stories from colleagues who had become Tinder-stalkers and I was jealous. I'd never been on a date, unless I was already going out with the guy.

I started up a very ill advised relationship with a colleague within a few weeks of joining - let's call him Mr V. He had a fairly significant drug habit and had thus developed a few...performance issues. You can figure that out. We started hanging out and it quickly turned into a romantic relationship because I was bored and lonely and enjoyed the company and the attention. Then I realised most of the time the thought of being with him annoyed me. Not a good foundation to a relationship.

Thankfully though, he left and moved back home. No I don't feel awful saying that because I've come to accept that I'm not a nice person and I'm okay with it. So whilst I was quietly rejoicing at his departure because things were getting far too serious and it wasn't fair to anyone, when he actually left I started to get lonely and realised he was the only real friend that I'd had. We still talk, and I don't regret anything, but I'm just going to class that as a brief blip in my settling-in phase that we don't talk about again.

Anyway, I decided to give online dating a try, and my flat mates friend recommended OkCupid. My first date was nerve wrecking because it was so different for me. I got hammered and don't remember much apart from throwing up at home and going to work with a banging headache the next day.

With the next guy, I had quite high hopes. We'd been speaking for a few weeks before we met as he'd been travelling (we now refer to him as China guy), we had a 90%+ match rating (the match questions are sooo fun) and he was pretty cute. We met at a lovely pub in South Kensington straight after work, but as soon as I arrived I remember thinking 'oh I hope that's not him, why do I pick such weirdo's? Surely I'm more attractive than that.' Turns out it was him. He was also pretty arrogant, distant and in love with himself. I was so bored on our first date I decided to order some coke to keep me going. Now, looking back, this was not a match made in heaven. I told my flatmate when I got home that he was boring and I didn't like him, but he was better than no one. We met 3 times, each time I relied on something to get me through. He was blatantly not interested either, he never made the effort to message me and just didn't make much of an effort in any respect. Eventually both of us just gave up the ghost and stopped messaging each other; I was annoyed at the time because I didn't have anyone else. Now a few months later I'm sick of the thought of him.

I've been on a few dates in the meantime that were very nondescript but a pleasant enough few hours out of my life. They all messaged me and I didn't reply (one messaged me 20 times, and I certainly didn't reply).

Then I met Mr Essex.

For any Londoners reading, you will know that Gordon's Wine Bar is like Londons worst kept secret. It's the oldest wine bar in London, set in an underground cellar and it is always rammed. We met on a Wednesday night. He was tall, well educated and had that geek chic thing going on. 3 bottles of wine, lots of laughs and some blatant flirting later, I was in love. I went home with a fuzzy haze, thinking I'd finally found a good one.

Then I didn't hear anything.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday - nothing.

I was so confused. I thought we'd had a great time, we had chemistry and I'd been witty and charming and generally wonderful. What had gone wrong? Maybe he was playing it cool, maybe he didn't want to seem too keen. So after extreme google-ing ("what to do after a first date?", "should a girl message a guy first?", "why has he not messaged me?") I decided to get in touch. I sent him a very nice, happy noncommittal message saying it was nice to meet him and that I'd like to go out again.

Two weeks later, I've still not heard. In order to protect my pride, I'm saying he got hit by a bus.

It was the first time in my life anything like that had ever happened to me. I've never been clingy or needy or paranoid about whether someone likes me, I've always just been me and got what I wanted. If I like someone, they like me. I make sure of it. So this threw a massive spanner in the works, I didn't think it was possible for someone just to not like me. What the hell had happened? I always call the shots, I decide if we're going to be friends, not talk again, or if it will turn into something more. No one else has ever made that decision for me before, and I'd got into the habit of thinking it would never happen. What do you do when your entire perspective of yourself changes? How do you pick yourself up and carry on when you realise that, actually, you don't control your own life? I was stumped. It became much less about Mr Essex, and much more about my fundamental being and beliefs. I still don't know the answer, and I've not met anyone from OkCupid since. Maybe it's the reality check I needed, forced me to get my head out of my arse and stop thinking I could do anything and get anything. Because I can't. And neither can anyone. And that's probably the hardest lesson I've learnt to date.

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