Episode 2.25 – The feeling

I’ve been trying to put into words what I’m looking for. Not a shopping list of must-haves or non-negotiables.  Or the details of a meet-cute.  In this seemingly infinite search for the one, I look to share this… certain feeling with somebody. A mix of comfort, acceptance, serenity, and happiness. Much like these songs.

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Episode 2 – The Tall One

After some Uber maths (I shall explain in a bit), I finally signed up to match.com. I was contemplating about it for weeks after a bit of non-activity on my eHarmony account. A good friend pointed this out. My subscription to match.com is equivalent to a few Uber trips which I’ve made a habit of treating myself to.

A week into using match.com, I found The Tall One. Or I guess The Tall One found me. Browsing through his photos, I have to admit he seemed good looking. With David Tennant-esque qualities. His profile didn’t say much about him. It just said he’s a 36 year old student.

So a few winks here and there we proceeded to setting up a coffee date in Richmond. I asked for his surname, just so I had the complete deets for my wing woman. I knew little about this guy (he seemed sweet and good natured over whatsapp). Unlike the CD/DVD collector, he and I didn’t exchange emails for weeks. So I did what any normal person living in this age of technology would do– check out his online footprint. His Facebook account seemed to indicate he likes Asian women and cars. His Linked in account didn’t really give me much. I figured maybe he’s one of them types who doesn’t keep their online résumé up-to-date (I know my super experienced boss doesn’t).

Anyway, Saturday came and I met him by the Richmond train station. He was sat in one of the benches. I wasn’t sure if it was him. So! Here are the things I noticed when he finally stood up and approached me (in order)…
(1) He was tall. All six feet and 2 inches of him towered over me.
(2) He was quite slim
(3) … And when he opened his mouth to speak… Wait a minute. Was that….was that a gold tooth I just saw?! Ermmmm…. Affirmative. A gold tooth indeed! Very visible when he spoke. Ah hah. That explains all the tight lipped pictures.

It was a bit awkward in the beginning, but we managed to settle in a cafe to chat for a bit. Then we walked towards the river, and that was gorgeous! I wondered why I never got around to discovering Richmond. It’s so nice!! I was making mental notes to myself to take friends next time.

Anyway, back to the Tall One. If I’m being completely honest, The conversations weren’t stellar. It was mostly me asking questions. He’s finishing his degree, but he’s in construction. He’s unemployed at the moment. He hasn’t travelled much, but would like to. I have to say though. He was sweet and considerate. He asked me to send him a message, just so he knew I got home safe (Points for that!). He paid me a few nice compliments. A bit of a sweet talker I guess. In the end, I was actually relieved when the date was over, and I was on my way home.

I texted my wing woman to tell her about my date: “He’s got a gold tooth, and he’s unemployed.” Her response, “Heredero? Pirata?” Hehe. I laughed. Mean Girls mode ON!

The truth is, I didn’t really feel a connection, nor was I stimulated, which I now realise is pretty important to me. Plus being employed. Plus the absence of anything metallic in his pearly whites.

He’s asked me out again and my friends have urged me to give him a second chance, but not be too selective. So what the hey. Let’s give Jack Sparrow another chance.

Episode 1.5 – The excited sibling

If there are two people equally excited about about my debut in the London dating scene, they’d have to be my brothers. They’re thousands of miles away, but technology has kept us up-to-date with each others’ lives.
So throughout my Initial foray into the dating thing, my brothers have asked me a few interesting questions, revealing some of the cultural differences between here and there (back home).

So, did he bring you home?

Chivalry scores huge points back home, and most of the time, he who treats the date like a lady, scores big.   (Though thinking about this now… Isn’t this universal?) This includes being thoughtful about the other’s safety, hence the expectation of walking you to your door, or giving you a ride home.
Right. I’m all up for thoughtfulness yo! And although I know his favourite film of all time, Mr. Date was still a complete stranger. My residential address is reserved for date 5 or 6. This diff In expectation goes back to the tight circle of connections back home. A six degrees of separation by way or Kevin Bacon kind of thing.  You know at the onset that the guy you meet isn’t a psycho killer.  And if he turned out to be one, your friend, cousin, or whoever made the intros, will never hear the end of it.

Did he pay for your dinner?

My cousin, mom to her Pinoy-Brit teenage son, frequently reminds him that he is not obligated to pay for his date’s meal. Other people have shared that sometimes the guy pays for their meal, and other times they’d split it. Back home, generosity scores big points too, and footing the bill is not perceived as a feminist offence. Do You know that expression ‘best food forward’? I think that’s part of it too.

Anyway, I told my bro that I was quick to draw out my wallet and I ended up paying for coffee. And we split the bill even for the second date. My bro sounded disappointed.

In hindsight though, it would have been great if he did pay! Even just for coffee!
Did you guys take a selfie?! Can I see?!

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when someone asked me this. I would love to meet a guy where our connection is instantaneous. Someone who wouldn’t shy away or be presumptuous about a selfie done in jest. That would be the day. Unfortunately the truth of the matter is most men are not like that, here there and everywhere! Couple selfies are meant for when two people are comfy enough with each other to proclaim in social media speak that they are seeing each other, or that things are friendly and platonic enough for the photo to have zero meaning.

(After coffee date 1) can you actually picture him as someone who you can introduce to us?!

Oh bless my brother for thinking in leaps and bounds. I reminded him that I was going with the flow and didn’t want to even think about him that way.  Sure, that small voice popped in my head, but it was quickly silenced by the stern reminder about not overthinking things.

Though mostly amusing, their questions fill my heart with joy, really. I can feel how my siblings want this for me. How they wish for me to find love, just as bad as I want myself. And it’s not in a condescending or pitying way. They’re one of the few people who I know genuinely root for me finding my Mark Darcy.

Episode 1 – the cd and DVD collector

I signed up with eHarmony because I thought their scientific approach to matching sounds solid.  Though it’s been a few months since I registered and actively participated in their communication process, matches have bore little fruit. Until about two months ago when I started corresponding with two guys, one more engaging than the other.

I admit I looked forward to receiving emails from him. And so I went on my first coffee date meet up. I was not as nervous as I thought. He seemed more nervous than I was. It was ok. It wasn’t too bad. I was quick and ended up paying for both our coffees. He wanted to carry on talking, but I left nearly 2 hrs after we started chatting. I didn’t really feel that instant chemistry. But I didn’t disqualify him. He asked me out again to see a movie. Which turned out to be a nice evening all in all. I was comfy. Felt totally like myself, even sharing a tiny scary fact about my huge family back home.  He revealed how old fashioned he was. For someone 6 years my junior,  i was surprised to find that he was still collected CDs and DVDs, and had not tried Netflix. Not that it was a deal breaker or anything!! (Look at me, the techie snob). It was just interesting.  He was a nice guy. Family oriented.  Not bad looking either. Though he reminds me of my cousin in LA.  Dinner and movie was fine. It was all fine. Just fine, really. Which perhaps is a clear indication of the absence of chemistry.

My whatsapp message to my friend about the movie date:
It was fine. I was more relaxed thanks to cocktails! I have to say I’m at ease with him, which might mean that the chemistry isn’t as much as I hope. Conversations were ok.  I think I scared him off with my-huge-family comes over my home during Christmas story. He kinda reminds me of British food. I bit bland, but ok.

So, what did I learn about myself:
– Though I’m far less techie than my brilliant engineer co-workers. I might be a techno snob. Who knew?
– I was pretty burnt the last time (pseudo-relationship wise), in terms of sharing  chunks of your life with somebody. All that time, all those emotions, with a pffffffft ending. I now tend to protect myself.

What I learned about dating
– Chemistry. Either it’s there or it isn’t.
– I need to keep my lady-in-charge personality at bay during the first few meet ups. Assertiveness apparently isn’t a quick hook.

Episode 0.5 – the wise friend

Just as girls do, I told my friend about the dining incident. She was once a London dating novice, and she imparted with me some valuable advice about this whole dating-a-stranger thing.  I’m an extrovert and I’m generally friendly, but I realised now much of a dating retard I am!  So if you are new to dating like I am, here are a few tips:
1.  Have a wing woman/man – let someone know if you’re meeting a stranger. Share details. When and where you’re meeting.  Just so someone knows where you are, in case your Dad’s worst ‘Taken’ nightmare comes to fruition.

2.  Keep the initial meeting short and in a neutral location. Not over two hours. Not close to where you live

3. Just go with the flow. No overthinking. No analysing. No daydreaming of ten years down the line. Live in the moment.

4.  Make emotional divestments sparingly. Over-sharing will scare them prospects away.

5. Just do it! Even simply for the experience. Having second thoughts about setting up your online account? Bothered about what others will think? Shove all those doubts away.  Get on with it.

6. Nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work out,  if sparks don’t fly, he will have zero connections to your circles anyway. Life will go on without him. And a failed prospect means you’re one step closer to finally meeting the one.

Episode 0 – the solo diner

About a year ago, I had dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. And when I say nearby, I mean it’s super duper close. A 2 minute walk from my flat.”Table for one,” I requested. I come to this resto often enough for the moustached Italian waiter to remember me and be extra cordial.   I was midway through my lovely spaghetti and lobster dinner when I noticed another solo diner. He wasn’t bad looking. Maybe my age.  He was pondering about dessert when I asked for the bill.  I glanced sideways and I met his glance.  We smiled briefly and he struck a conversation. Small talk really. Being a novice at this meeting strangers thing, I casually mention that I live close by. That street over there, I mentioned. What. An. Idiot. He invited me to his table, asking if I wanted to carry on chatting. The waiter held back giving me the bill, smiling knowingly.  At that point, my idiocy sunk in and I hurriedly said I need to go. The waiter handed me the bill and I was outta there. I walked home (the full two minutes), smiling to myself, flattered, but also smacking myself in the head for blabbing.

Right. Lesson number one. Do not give your address away like free samples!

Prologue

I am a 35-year-old dating newbie. There. I said it. No shame in admitting it.  Back home, dating is something not the general population does. You meet new people at work, school, through friendly introductions. If you agree to go on on a date as a setup, it’s likely to be with someone who somebody’s vouched for. Going out with a total stranger, with no connections to your work, school, or family circles, is not very common.

My own experiences at love haven’t been great.  A series of short-lived what ifs with guys who surprisingly have the same name. The last one is right out of Will and Grace. Four years of ‘Are we?’ ‘Arent we?’ ‘What are we?’s. Ambiguity was having field day.

And so, together with career changing/better life intentions, I decided to move to the UK. To be honest, all those Richard Curtis movies and Jane Austen film adaptations  most certainly painted a rosy picture that my witty, ideal man is out here. Probably working in a travel bookshop or brooding with his side burns in some 15th century estate.

Four years on, now with a masters degree, some savings in my pocket , amazing travel experiences, the joys of independent living, and old/new friendships , here I am. With the same Facebook status. Unchanged. Single. Most of my good friends have tied the knot, now nursing their beautfiful babies. I’ve hosted a few bridal showers and baby showers. Sincerely very happy for my friends. Just wondering when my waiting for the one will be done (quoting Carrie Bradshaw. SATC SE06012).

Right. Cute prospects in the workplace ? Ermm, they were nice yeah. But mostly young lads who love going to the pub, exchanging banter, talking football, gawking and hitting on girls. The older ones are married and with families.

Ok. How about friends and friendly intros? Hmm seems like this circle is dominated by married females.

So let’s try this online dating thing. Set up my profile.  Check. Begrudgingly pay for the fees to communicate with other people. Fine. Browse through matches. Smile, wink, nudge people.

Let the online dating games begin.