Sunday, 23 December 2012

Who's kissing who under the mistletoe?

ust one working day left before Father Christmas arrives, which probably means the office Christmas party is long gone.

There will be whole workforces abuzz with who kissed who, who had too much Christmas cheer and, in very rare cases, the odd sacking!

Teenagers and young adults will be desperate to ensure they are out and about on Christmas Eve, even if they don’t want to be because THAT’S what their peer group are doing.

Remember those days? It was the end of the world if you were scrambling around for something to do on Christmas Eve night looking for THE ONE or someone near to it.

You were deemed a SADDO, if only in your own eyes, if you had to spend the evening watching the box with mum and dad.

This Christmas Eve I’ll probably be making sure Santa and his Reindeer are catered for with a mince pie and carrot and maybe playing a board game with Mr Right, as he likes to call himself.

But he’s not so keen on Scrabble as I always thrash him! Later on I’ll probably be peeling spuds. How glamorous!

If you are single and loving it, there are so many exciting ways to meet people these days. I know many people who made their own luck and met online, through speed dating or singles events and no doubt you do, too.

In the past, the small personal ads in the newspaper had such a stigma attached to them, probably because they were called the “lonely hearts” ads. Talk about labelling people!

But if you wanted to meet Mr or Mrs Right your options were limited. If you knew you were unlikely to meet them at work and either too past it to go to clubs and pubs or just didn’t have the single friends who wanted to go with you, “lonely hearts” was your only avenue.

You had to be brave AND committed, to put yourself out there. Oh, the blind dates! I’ll bet we’ve all got those blind-date nightmare stories to tell. Let me reveal one of mine. To use text-message shorthand, it’s a LOL story (that’s Laugh Out Loud to the uninitiated).

I’d arranged to meet “Brian” in a bar/cafe in a trendy part of Soho in London’s West End. It was during the day and as I walked in slightly nervous there was muted chart music filling the room.

The front doors were open and it was a lovely summer’s day and you could hear the odd car drive past in Old Compton Street. A lovely smell of coffee wafted under my nose as I step boldly into the room.

And there he was... sitting at a table on his own. Not bad, I thought. I ventured up to him, leaned over the table and said: “Are you Brian?”

He looked up with a bit of a shocked, quizzical expression on his face and said: “Pardon.”

My courage was rapidly diminishing but nevertheless, I tried again. A little louder: “Are you Brian?”

He responded rather incredulously: “Am I buying?”

Imagine a big rubber band attached to my back. Well someone yanked it with such force I was propelled over to another table.

As I backed off I muttered: “No, it obviously isn’t you.”

But my humiliation wasn’t over. His face softened into a knowing look and he grinned as he said: “Is it a blind date?”

I had gone a scary shade of crimson and my nose grew a foot long as I denied it. I quickly moved to the bar and started to order a drink. Seconds later, the real Brian was at my side and my afternoon took a further dive.

I once read that people take just two minutes from meeting someone to assess whether a person is partner material. It took a full two seconds for me to make my assessment. A big fat NO.

However, I was committed. I sat down and we each had a drink. Meanwhile, I plotted how I was going to make my escape. Nothing was coming to mind.

As I drained the drink from the bottom of my glass, Brian was off his bar stool announcing he was going to buy me another.

Inside my head I was screaming NOOoooooooooo! Hurriedly, I said the first thing that came into my head: “I can’t stay for another one. I’ve got to, um, do my accounts!”

I might as well have said I had to go home to wash my hair. But he was having none of it. “Oh, I’ll go to the station with you.”

Half an hour later, after an excruciating walk followed by a Tube ride, I was relieved to say we parted. Forever!

If you are single, good luck and above all have fun under the mistletoe. Happy Christmas to everyone and hey Prestopeople. And if you, too, have an entertaining blind-date story, do tell.

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