I was stood up twice this weekend. Once by my newish friend, the TV presenter; secondly by Jonny, the 26-year-old. On Monday he admitted he had cold feet, ‘I will have to – as much as I don’t want to – let you move forward without me, as it would not be fair on you.’ Purlease. My response was to let him know he needn’t try to call me as, ‘I will be busy. The first reserve will be taking me out for Champagne and dinner at Roka,’ to which he responded, ‘I want to see you again, but maybe my actions have ruined that.’
This was one confused guy; at lunchtime he didn’t want a long-term relationship but by the end of the workday he wanted a family and kids (probably on the basis that I’d previously mentioned I don’t want any children). My dating life was becoming like Groundhog day. I’m tempted to insert the misfortunes with the Lawyer here and swap his name for Jonny’s…
‘You mix in high society circles.’
‘You haven’t even met any of my friends,’ I despaired.
‘But I just know from your conversation. I’m a country boy [he actually lives in a commuter town and has a good city career] and you’re a city girl,’ followed by the killer line, ‘I’ll admit it’s partly fear. I can’t live up to your past experiences.’ I’d had enough by this point. I’d managed to save his initial chat-up line when we met on the train a month previously, but there was no rescuing his dropping me. ‘Well perhaps that’s because the only men who make the effort are rich,’ I retorted.
The Gentleman came to my rescue. ‘You need immediate attention; a soothing, sympathetic ear and male company who will claw back some semblance of respect for the mighty institution that is masculinity. One emergency gentleman will be dispatched this evening to a location of your choosing where he will accompany you to one of the following:
1. Roka, Nobu or somewhere equally difficult to get a table at short notice
3. The Connaught
4. Boat on the Serpentine and a bottle of Champagne
Or your choice.
Please advise, The Gentleman.’
I finally settled for familiar, trusted territory: E&O. ‘Tonight the Gentleman will be trying a Mekong Mule and for WLG, the Happy Ending (Sagatiba Cachaca, fresh lime and passion fruit built over ice and topped with Champagne). He and the cocktails were ready for my arrival.
‘The problem is that you have high standards, but we are living in Primark times,’ he said. ‘I’m going to take on the challenge of finding a suitable man for you.’ But I’d had enough of dating and what else could I do to get over yet another disappointment.
‘Run double your normal distance round Hyde Park and perhaps take up riding in Hyde Park, too.’ I liked his idea. ‘But maybe I just like the idea of you in jodhpurs,’ he added cheekily.
The next day I told Liz my latest news adding, ‘That’s it. I’m not going on any more dates for a year.’ Ever the voice of reason she replied, ‘Maybe just give it a rest for a couple of weeks.’