The sound of birds and the sun shining though my wooden shutter blinds made me begrudgingly open my eyes. Through the small slats, I could see the canal outside reflecting the early morning sun, it was shrouded by greenery and looked just beautiful. I lifted my head and realised my present mood did not reflect the picturesque view outside. As I rolled over on my bed I and was starkly reminded of the reality of the day and how much my life had changed, as well as the painful hangover that I was seemingly catching on a regular basis.
I took in a deep breath of the morning air and tried to gather my thoughts. My mind, no matter how hard I tried, always reverted back to how much my life had changed. 6 months ago had looked so different. My ex and I had what would be perceived as a perfect life. We had a beautiful home, travelled on amazing holidays and I have no doubt we could have quite easily continued this way until we were clogging your newsfeed with pictures of our baby too.
Fortunately, my brain and gut, in the last 12 months of our relationship had made me realise that this man and the fairytale was not the real deal (don’t believe everything you see on Instagram folks) Now, after saving the world from one less Gollum (sorry baby) in peoples newfeeds I needed to start the process of building my new life.
I considered my current situation and contemplated the enormity of the task ahead, I knew today would be tough and would consist of tasks I could have never imagined myself doing. The most daunting part of the day replayed in my mind over and over; driving a transit van. For some, this would be a remedial task, but given my driving skills are somewhat to be desired and by this I mean fall somewhere between my 83 year old Grandmother’s parallel parking skills and Muhammed (your local Uber driver) awareness for speed and safety; I felt a huge concern for me my five whole boxes of worldly possessions and the population of London that day.
Unexpectedly, my phone beeped jolting me out of my day dream. It was a whats app from Matt.
I’m going to break here to give you some context around Matt. Matt was the first guy I had dated after breaking up with my long term partner. Matt and I had met through an old employer, where he worked as Head of National Sales; I supported his department at work and after a little back and forth flirting; we had started office romance. (you will learn this is not a great regular pattern moving forward for me). Matt certainly hadn’t been my usual type. Rather than the usual pretty gym boy I would gravitate towards, Matt was a little different; he sported more grey hairs than my dad and also had a teeny little baby beer belly, which somehow I convinced myself was endearing. Without sounding (but definitely sounding) shallow, Matt was aesthetically not who I had imagined myself with but he had made me laugh at a time when I didn’t feel like laughing and in my book laughs trump looks any day of the week.
Matt had actually messaged me wishing me luck with the move. This would have been a sweet gesture had it not been signed off by “looking forward to next week” with a wink face and aubergine emoji. It was pretty cringe and I was actually a little concerned at how pesty Matt’s message were becoming.
Continuing with context; as well as the demise of Matt’s charm he of late had also been cancelling dates fairly regularly and it always seemed to be at the last minute which was becoming disappointing as I’m sure all women will agree frustrating. (Especially when prepping for date night)
I was snapped out of my date ditching day dream by one of my friends that had finally managed to rise from the empty longue. I went to get dressed to embark on my day and collect the transit van. I pulled well thought out and practical moving attire from my suitcase; a summer dress ballet pumps and Mac. Looking incredibly sensible and certainly not sober; I walked outside to meet one of my close friends, who escorted me to collect my nightmare on wheels.
When we arrived at van hire, it was like I had only just realised realised I was still very drunk. After being handed the keys and completing paperwork I was guided to my van. There stood my motor related Everest …I stared at it …. it stared back at me. Although I knew there was no possible way that I was within the drink drive limit and that I still could not parallel park after 9 years of driving, I had an overwhelming feeling of being equipped and determined. Note to all. I certainly wasn’t. Maybe it was the alcohol but in that moment I was adamant that it was MY day and I was going to drive the van to East London and move like a real adult adulting everywhere. My friend beeped her car horn; probably concerned at the fact I was having a stare-down with a van and we were on our way.
It took a whole day to move my little life over to London. When I finally sat in my battered ballet pumps, exhausted, Ikea anger still lingering. I realised I had done it … I was in London! I was truly proud and excited at the new chapter that was about to begin and I don’t know why, maybe it was driving in London, the truly stressful section of kids Ikea or the fact there were no Swedish meatballs, but I burst into tears a bit overwhelmed by the day.
My new roomie strolled past and noticed his hysterical house mate. A look of confusion and shear uncomfort set on his face (I seem to be good at making men feel uncomfortable *continues writing blog*). But he, without hesitation gave me a huge bear hug.
After the stressful day, I decided a relax was in order. I grabbed a glass of wine and a took a long soak in my huge bath. I finally started to unwind and felt the stresses of the day disappear.
When I had finally settled back in my room (and by settled I mean lay in my towel with wet hair on my bed scrolling through Instagram for a good 20 minutes or so.) I got up to date with my what’s apps; lots of good luck with the move messages from family and friends and an unexpected message from Amaury, a charming French guy I had met in a bar a few weeks back.
Context: I had a very vague memory of Amaury. I had met him in a bar and had drunkenly given him my number (mainly off the back of mini strop at another of Matts last minute cancellations). He had since text me occasionally and had been trying to line up drinks.
Amaury -“Hi Rebecca. I hope your move has gone well and your all settled in. I have been catching up on little work today and feeling tired. When are you free to meet for drink?”.
I put my phone back down as I didn’t have the energy to reply. BEEP BEEP” went my phone again. I scrolled down to the next message…
“What’s app Matt ” – …..Finally, he was checking in on me. I opened the message and there it was ladies without content or reason…
THE DREADED PENIS PICTURE.
Now, I have never classed myself as a prude but after 3 long term relationships this was not something I had come across in my somewhat sheltered love life.
I stared at it unsure of what to do …. What can you even send back to that (nope, not a nude, but nice suggestion gents). I’m just not sure this strange flasher-esq exposure is needed or in anyway attractive or appealing. Gents (and I use the term loosely for the penis posers out there); We know you have one,we know what its for but please avoid this, the only feeling that aroused from receiving this was how I imagine I would feel towards a pet cat brining in a dead mouse – “I know you’re proud but I don’t want to see it”.
After a busy working week, Friday night soon came around and I was already jumping the tube for my first date with Amaury. I was pretty nervous as I had never really “dated” and if I’m being honest with you all; I couldn’t really remember what he looked liked. (this almost never happens…)
As I passed through each stop, trying to keep my mind off the nerves, I finally arrived in Oxford Circus. For anyone who doesn’t know Oxford Circus – it is tourist central and is always super busy.
After wading my way through the crowds I headed to the restaurant bar where Amaury and I had agreed to meet. As I turned the corner, I was pleasantly surprised as in the bar entrance stood a tall, handsome, dark haired French man. Amaury was tres gorgeous and I was also tres impressed with his date location choice. He had suggested Aqua Nueva (http://aquanueva.co.uk/) for anyone visiting central – I would highly recommend; they have an amazing roof terrace that looks out over London, extremely tasty gin cocktails and an interesting take on Spanish tapas (I only managed 2 plates but you shall see why).
Before dinner, Amaury had arranged drinks on the roof terrace and after grabbing a seat (and a cocktail) we sat down to chat. Turns out Amaury was enjoying life in London; he worked in finance for a well known bank and lived in one of the cute Chelsea terraced houses (home goals). I told him a little about myself (scratching the fact I had been drunk for 80% of the last 3 months, couldn’t parallel park and was the proud owner of my first penis picture) and began to relax after my first drink.
Although I was having a pleasant time with Amaruy, something didn’t seem quite right. It appeared Amaurys broken conversation wasn’t down to his first language being French. I will break here to explain what I mean. It seemed Amaury had the occasional “blank moment”. Mid flow of conversation – he would just stop talking and stare blankly. I couldn’t deal. After a few random and awkward silences and me struggling to cope with many emotions (basically struggling not to laugh out loud or cry) I started to feel guilty; what if this poor man had brain damage from an accident and I was his first date? I was being such a terrible person. I forced myself to focus and be more considerate to the brain damaged date in front of me.
We finally went through for dinner. As I walked through narrow glass corridor, I was greeted by an oversized bronzed bull (understated) and behind this a pristine dining area, untouched white tablecloth cloths seated with many overdressed diners. This wasn’t my kind of place.
Once we had been seated our conversation continued (as did the sporadic intervenes of silence) continued. The regular breaks in conversation had now become a frequent and I was now struggling to hold a conversation and myself together. I downed another glass of wine.
After two plates and more wine, I finally started to feel more more relaxed. After a bottle of wine, the silences now seemed more amusing as I had resorted to counting the seconds. Over dinner, another habit of Amaury’s had become apparent. Now, I am fully aware that all men will do this but through out the entire date Amaury had stared intently, without fear of being apprehend, down my shirt. At one stage I wasn’t even sure whether I should give him a wave and assure him breasts don’t disappear. Surely this date couldn’t get any worse…..
I tried to engage Amaurys eyes by starting a conversation about work. “So – how long have you worked for Coutts?” He stared blankly (surprise!) me thinking innocently this was another blank moment went to continue conversation. I was stopped abruptly…
In his thick french accent he asked boldly –
“Rebecca – I have to stop you here and be completely honest with you” (my brain = abort, abort)
“You may think this strange but I need to understand your intentions – so I have an important question to ask you” I gulped both dreading and I have to be honest intriuged about Amaury’s next question
…. “Do you have any how you – fetishes?”
I shuffled awkwardly in my seat. Surely this was a joke? I half expected Aston Carter to run out from behind the bronzed bull and save me but no he didn’t run out and punk me, this was no joke and Amaruy wasn’t about to stop…
“Because I do. B” By this point I was now scanning the room looking for a window that may be big enough for me to jump out of “I have a fetish for larger women- you know, more curvaceous” I looked down at my body – I am by no means a super model – but I work hard in the gym and wouldn’t describe myself as “larger”. Recognising my once over glance at myself, he defended his comment…
“No, no, no B please do not be offended” his thick French accent was now becoming less and less appealing “I think you’re beautiful, with a beautiful face and in that bar WOW what a connection” (such a connection I couldn’t remember it) “but if you put on more weight … We could have the most amazing chemistry”
I had no words and for those who know me that is a rarity.
Mainly as I don’t want to relive the next part of the date, I won’t go into detail, but Amaury proceeded to tell me about the numerous sexual alterations he had partaken in with the “larger woman” including feeding – and I do not mean in a Netflix, take away and chill vibe I mean an actual feeder.
After enduring over 20 minutes of Amaury’s “fat chat” I decided enough was enough. I have never and will hopefully never again have to bail on a date but on this occasion I made the exception. I politely excused myself to the ladies and made a U-turn to the exit of the bar.
After escpaing my first ever date I deleted Amaury from my phone and called my mum. The response from my Mum was expected – “You could have been raped” Nothing quite like a bit of drama.
Surprisingly Amaury and I never re-connected, I don’t think I was his ideal profile. Wherever you are Amaury I hope you find the hippo kind of love you are looking for, it’s out there somewhere I’m sure, but maybe start in an all you can eat buffet.
So apologies this has been a lengthy first post (and a little novel like), but I do love a story. Unfortunately for me these are all true encounters that I have endured and Amaury set a trend. So please enjoy, it has been funny and actually sweet in some parts writing the posts.
Lots of love
Ps. thank you so much for reading